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Why to Use Node.js For Backend Development?

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 17 May, 2022

JavaScript is the universal language for building web applications. It is used in frontend (client-side) and backend (server-side) development as well. But the truth that the beauty of the front-end relies on the back-end can’t be denied. This is when NodeJS comes into the picture. NodeJS is the best choice for server-side application development due to its vast and versatile features. Popular companies like Uber, PayPal, Netflix, Walmart, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even NASA use NodeJS for their server-side development. 

Why-to-Use-NodeJS-for-Backend-Development

So, what is NodeJS? NodeJS is an event-driven JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 engine that is used to build traditional and scalable server-side web applications and back-end APIs (Application Program Interfaces). It was developed by Ryan Dahl in 2009, who was inspired by Gmail for having push capability and building real-time applications. Approximately, 36.42% of developers use NodeJS for its libraries, tools, and frameworks. It is open-source and follows a Single-Threaded” runtime environment. Single-Threaded refers to handling multiple clients simultaneously. NodeJS also offers speed in client-server communication and data processing. Developers can also share code and can reuse it for both the frontend and backend parts of the application which makes it worthy to use.

In this blog, we will discuss why to use NodeJS for backend development. So let’s get started.

Working of NodeJS

NodeJS is event-driven and single-threaded which means the server contains a single thread that is processed one after another. Here, thread means a series of operations that the server needs to perform. Whenever there’s a request made from the client, the server handles it and here that server is NodeJS which handles it with a single thread. Parallelly all the requests are made on the server and a response is given to multiple clients at the same time. It follows non-blocking I/O which means whenever there’s an input made, the server doesn’t block it but instead responds to it one by one. Here, when one request is about to complete, it starts working on another request (callback function) till the time the first request is being responded which ultimately makes it fast. 

NodeJS follows two concepts:

  • Non-Blocking I/O – NodeJS works on multiple requests at a time made at the client-side, and doesn’t block any input request when another is being responded to.
  • Asynchronous – When we receive another request, it resolves it and makes it available for another request. 

Installing NodeJS

Step 1. Download NodeJS from its official website https://nodejs.org/en/ 

Step 2. Install it step-by-step by clicking next. 

Step 3. Once, NodeJS is installed, you can check its version 

Step 4. Go to the Command Prompt and locate the folder where the NodeJS application exists using “cd path” 

Step 5. Type “npm -v” which tells you the version installed in your system. Also, it throws an error in case NodeJS is not installed. 

Why NodeJS? 

1. Real-Time Apps

Real-time apps are those that allow two-way communication between clients and servers. Using NodeJS with Web-Sockets helps developers easily create one. NodeJS eases handling multiple requests made by the client and enables code sharing and re-usage of library codes. The apps get immediate responses and work within the limited time frame. Its single-threaded functionality makes it best suited for real-time communication. It is the perfect platform to create low-latency apps so it’s best when we have to process a high volume of short messages and uses socket.io which makes the creation of straightforward apps. 

2. Data Streaming

Companies like Netflix use NodeJS for streaming data because of its lightweight and fast processing feature. The streams allow users to pipe requests to each other, which results in streaming data to its endpoint. NodeJS handles data streams with I/O bound apps. The process follows file uploading and data coming in a stream and then we process it online. This could also be done for real-time audio or video streaming. There are four types of streams -writable (write data), readable (read data), duplex (write and read data), and transform (convert read to write data, and vice versa). 

3. Microservice Architecture

An architecture that considers every application function and puts its service. NodeJS is so flexible and builds both microservice-based and server-less applications. You can easily divide your app into its parts and place each microservice in a team and develop every section as per the need without affecting other sections. Therefore, the applications become lightweight and stateless making their integration easy with server-less architecture 

4. REST APIs

Representational State Transfer (REST) introduced in 2000 is an acronym for REST. It is an architecture based on web standards and it uses HTTP protocols. These are essential to make microservices work. To build APIs which are responsive, efficient, and lightweight, using NodeJS with Express would be the best choice. JavaScript when used at both the front-end and back-end makes communication easy via REST APIs.

5. Single Page Applications

Single Page Applications are those that load a single HTML page and update it dynamically as user interaction with the app happens. This reduces response time and SPAs content appears easy for the users to interact with the application. Since NodeJS allows server-side rendering using which page can be rendered before it hits the browser. A few benefits of SPAs are SEO Optimization, fast and flexible, less loading time, and ease of navigation. 

NodeJS Packages

NPM is the node package manager which contains packages or modules which can be used while implementing small tasks such as adding real-time features, working with databases, and many more. It is used to discover, install, publish, and develop node programs. The command “npm install package_name” installs a particular package that can be used during the application implementation. Although, there are more than 1300 packages and the count is being increased day-by-day but here are a few packages with which developers can implement tasks very easily and quickly. 

1. Express 

Express is a NodeJS web application framework. It is used widely to create and publish applications. It is fast, unopinionated, and comes with a robust collection of HTTP helpers. It is also best known for its development of APIs. 

2. MongoDB

It’s an official MongoDB driver for NodeJS, that provides API for MongoDB databases. Same as MySQL is a relational database that uses structured query language for accessing MongoDB. It ensures data integrity and meets the standards for security and compliance issues.

3. Request

The request is an HTTP library that is used to make HTTP calls. GET, PUSH, PUT, POST is the four requests made by HTTP during server-side implementation. It deals with the authentication part of the application.

4. Webpack

Webpack is generally referred to as a module bundler that bundles HTML, CSS, and JS files for its usage in the browser. It helps in providing a clean, organized, and divided code as per the developer’s preferences. 

5. Socket.io

Socket.io enables real-time, bi-directional, and event-driven communication and it also focuses on two-way real-time connections. Socket generally consists of a Nodejs server and a JS client library. 

6. Moment 

The moment is a JavaScript library that is used for parsing, manipulating, validating, and formatting dates. It displays data as per localization and in a readable format. It is the most secure and maintainable time manipulation library and is preferred for solving problems of parsing, formatting, and working with time forms. 

7. Async 

Async is a utility module that helps in loading JavaScript content, and also works with browsers so well. It provides powerful functions for asynchronous JavaScript, and render-blocking is eliminated to increase web page performance. 


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