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What is Node JS?

By gswardman January 10, 2022

Node.js is a dynamic JavaScript-based, cross-platform, open-source library and runtime environment for managing web applications out of a client’s browser. Numerous developers use it, and it comes with many advantages.

These advantages make it superior to other server-side technologies like PHP and Java. The latest Node.js iteration, version 15.14 was launched in April 2021. If you are a novice Node.js user, this article will introduce you to its key components.

Is Node.js Frontend or Backend?

Node.js supports both backend and frontend applications. Here are some of the Node. js-based frontend and backend applications.

Frontend Applications

·       Code Processors

Code processors facilitate the exhibition of text in a browser. The CSS and HTML files you receive are reduced by eliminating unnecessary features to accelerate transmissions and rendering. The pre-processors assist the browser in file rendering. Through Node.js, developers can code these processors in JavaScript and achieve customizability and flexibility.

·       Code Linters

A linter allows developers to detect and fix codebase issues. It enables developers to recognize programming errors, specific custom standards, and syntax issues.

Custom linters boost the efficiency of the development team in an organization. A good example, in this case, would be the Node. js-based ESLint. Linters help developers identify errors during the coding process. A comprehensive list of errors is available at the official ESLint documentation. Developers can build custom linters above the ESLint.

·       Module Bundlers

Module Bundlers

Module bundlers are programs that incorporate different bundles and files in one file. Often, such programs are integrated with web frameworks such as React. Web pack is also a static module bundler developed above Node.js.

Backend Applications

Node.js leverages non-blocking I/O. as a result, a considerable decline in the number of components needed for IO request management is possible. Doing so creates a light environment. Here are some of the applications that Node.js supports for the backend.

·       API Calls and Network

Node.js gives developers control over the HTTP requests triggered. A developer can configure proxies, highlight headers, and get responses in versions compatible with your application.

·       Database Integration

Node.js comes with interfaces and libraries that facilitate database integrations. The execution of Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) is done with JavaScript. The integration of databases allows developers to manage database operations in JS (JavaScript), easing the learning curve.

·       Real-Time Applications

These real-time applications include live streaming, tracking, real-time logistics, hardware solutions, and social networking platforms. These features facilitate the development of feature-dense and scalable systems. Having a single language codebase allows developers to fix errors with ease and build easy-to-integrate systems.

·       OS (Operating System) Level Regulation over Application

System-level programming relies on the computational components that a program will utilize and can be regulated with ode.js. JS offers OS programming and concurrency features.

Is Node.js and JavaScript the Same?

To answer this question, here is a comparison between Node.js and JavaScript.

·       Type

JavaScript is a commonly used programming language that runs in all web browsers. On the other hand, Node.js is a runtime environment and interpreter for JavaScript. It comes with particular essential libraries where JavaScript can be used separately.

·       Utility

JavaScript is used in client-side functions of web applications such as refreshing a page at particular intervals, possible feature validation, and facilitating robust changes in web application pages without refreshing that specific web page.

Some of the best IT organizations offering software solutions for accessing or executing an operating system’s non-blocking functions use Node.js.

·       Engine

JavaScript runs various engines like V8, Spider monkey, and JavaScript Core. However, node.js only operates in a V8 engine from Google Chrome. Node. js-based JS programs usually run through the V8 engine.

V8 engine

While JavaScript is used for client-side tasks for a specific web application, Node.js can access or run any operating system for non-blocking tasks.

JavaScript usually follows standard Java programming language, while Node.js is written in C++ and offers a V8 engine foundation to help developers run a JavaScript’s written program in any web browser environment.

Worth mentioning is that Node.js reinforces JavaScript and incorporates a wide range of features. If you are considering web application development work with both JavaScript and Node.js.

Is Node.js a Programming Language?

Node.js a Programming Language

Through Node.js, developers can utilize JavaScript programming language, which facilitates web application development. However, Node.js is not a programming language. Instead, it is a tool that many JavaScript programmers use to generate Server-side scripts.

What are the benefits of node JS?

Today, Node.js is the default tool for developing network and server-side applications. Here are some of its benefits.

·       Node.js is Fast

Node.js is developed on Google’s V8 JS engine, accelerating its engine execution of code.

·        It Leverages Nonsynchronous Programming

All Node.js library APIs are non-blocking. As a result, Node. js-oriented servers do not wait for data to rebound from the API. The server triggers the API, and if no data returns, it transitions to the next API. The Node.js Events module ensures the server receives an answer from the former API call. Doing so accelerates the operation of Node.js.

·       Node.js Features NPM (Node Package Manager)

Node package manager comprises over 50,000 bundles. As a result, developers can import any application functionality with ease.

·       Node.js is Single-Threaded

Node.js uses the single-threaded concept with event looping. Due to this, it can offer service to multiple requests than other servers such as the APACHE HTTP server.

·       No Buffering

Node.js reduces processing time during video and audio file uploads. Node. js-based applications do not buffer data. Instead, they output it in chunks.

·       Node.js is Scalable

The Node.js server responds in a nonsynchronous manner, making it scalable, unlike other servers that generate limited threads for request management.

What is Node.js used for?

Node.js is ideal for building applications that run JS on the server and client-side. Some studies suggest that web apps are the leading use case accounting for more than 80%. However, there are other use cases, as we shall see below.

·       Chat Applications

Node.js is usually used in real-time app development. Its event-driven and non-blocking features enable it to handle heavy output-input functions. As a result, Node.js developers can achieve excellent performance from advanced real-time apps.

When developing Node. js-based web applications, many developers leverage the IO Socket library, which facilitates bidirectional, real-time, and event-oriented communication between the server and the browser. Developers can leverage the Socket IO to develop a group chat app is not more than 30 code lines.

·       Command-line applications

Node js Command-line applications

Command-line apps in the JavaScript development industry hardly get any attention. However, many big organizations utilize not less than one command line system. With various libraries available today, developing Node. js-based command-line apps are cost-effective, fast, and simple. Node.js helps unskilled developers in backend languages to utilize JavaScript out of the web and build multiple work automation systems.

·       Browser Games

Developers can use Node.js with other technologies like Socket IO and HTML5 to develop multiplayer and single browser-based games without installing third-party plugins. Node.js avails numerous tools for game developers that ease the management of complex multiple-player games. Through Node.js, developers can share code between the server and the client.

·       Embedded Systems

Leveraging JS to prototype the internet of things and program microcontrollers may sound weird. However, hardware programming is fast becoming a keynode.js use case. Today, a Node.js port with minimal system requirements known as low.js is now available. It allows Node.js to operate on power-efficient and cost-effective ESP32-WROVER module-based microcontroller boards.

How to Install Node.js?

Before installing Node.js, you need to download it from the official Node.js website. Navigate to the Windows Installer option to download. The Node.js installer comprises the Node package manager.

How to Install Node.js?

·       Install NPM and Node.js

Launch the program once the download process is complete. Click the downloads link from your browser and click on the file. You can also access and launch the file from where it’s saved on your computer.

  • You will receive a system-generated prompt to run the software.
  • Click run to initiate the Node.js setup wizard, then click Next.
  • Review and agree to the license agreement. Click Next if you are comfortable with the terms and conditions.
  • Confirm the default installation location
  • The installation wizard will prompt you to choose components to eliminate or add to the installation. Click Next to accept the default settings.
  • Click install to launch the installation process. Click Finish when the installation is complete.

What are the Specific Features of Node.js?

  • js is a popular runtime environment because of the following core features.
  • Event-driven and asynchronous nature
  • High scalability even though it’s single-threaded
  • Swift code execution
  • Does not buffer
  • Compatible with multiple platforms
  • Streams data fast
  • JavaScript compatibility

Are there any Disadvantages of Node.js

Some of the Node.js drawbacks you should beware of include:

  • Unstable API that changes regularly
  • Lack of strong and effective library support
  • A complex code for huge applications triggered by Node.js’s non-blocking feature

Is it Client-Side Language or Server-Side?

Node is written in JS, making it both client-side and server-side based. Client-side web application development involves interaction and exhibition of data. Client-side programmers leverage their coding expertise to develop functional, visually appealing, robust websites and web applications. They are tasked with every part of a website that users interact with.

Server-side development involves operating and managing data behind the scenes. Server-side developers design, develop, and maintain the backend code that facilitates data exchange with the frontend, or client-side. These developers operate behind the scenes to ensure the smooth execution of operations on application servers.

What is the Scope of Node.js?

Node.js will still exist even in the future. However, as technology advances, serverless services such as Azure Functions and AWS Lambda will start offering the Deno functionality to promote unbarred backend code implementation on systems.

Still, Node.js creates a solid base to build mobile portable applications, small-scale service delivery, and the integration of the serverless framework with the non-web-based system.

The IT industry requires great utility, adaptability, swift execution, proper memory usage, and enhanced flexibility. As a result, signing up for a refresher Node.js course will be critical for boosting your career growth. Here are some reasons why Node.js will still be useful in the future.

·       The Robustness of JavaScript

JavaScript is a programming language that allows developers to use the same syntax when writing code for frontend and backend operations. Node backing JavaScript is crucial for the success of this runtime environment.

·       Node Package Manager

Node Package Manager

There are numerous ready-made solutions and utilities for both less common and regular problems. NPM facilitates the easy implementation and reusing of code other developers make in your app.

·       IoT

Node.js is real-time, asynchronous, and light, making it ideal for making IoT applications that require steady web sockets, enhanced interactivity, and light network packets.

·       Backend Rendering

Backend rendering eliminates SEO-related worries. Developers can leverage the robustness of Node.js to create fast pages and deliver them in HTML to clients.

·       Data Science, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence

With the Tensorflow translation in JS, developers can use machine learning and artificial intelligence with ease.

Conclusion

Node.js has a huge potential to continue operating in the future, especially with numerous big companies adopting it. If you are a novice developer, using Node.js will boost your career. Node.js offers numerous benefits that both entrepreneurs and developers cannot overlook.