Although used primarily for server-side programming, NodeJS offers additional features. It’s neither a library nor a framework, but a comprehensive run time environment dedicated to server-side applications.
NodeJS is a single programming language, which allows developers to write code both front-end and back-end code for server-side applications. The platform is adopted by some of the biggest companies in the market, including giants like Twitter, NASA, and Walmart. It is ideal for building scalable and efficient REST APIs. However, many developers also use NodeJS to build a variety of solutions, including hybrid mobile applications, the Internet of Things, and desktop applications.
Two features stand out in NodeJS development the most, namely, its event-driven nature and non-blocking I/O model. Both these features lay the foundation for NodeJS’s efficient, lightweight, and fast setup.
Advantages of NodeJS
Optimized for web development, NodeJS offers web developers multiple advantages.
Support for JSON
Processes Requests Simultaneously
Since blocking I/O systems fail to distribute multiple tasks effectively, they are significantly slower. NodeJS resolves this problem by giving users access to non-blocking I/O systems. In non-blocking systems, an application’s main thread isn’t blocked in I/O operations.
The application works with an asynchronous code and continues to attend requests, allowing your system to process multiple requests simultaneously. Non-blocking makes NodeJS significantly better at handling simultaneous requests than Python or Ruby. NodeJS helps the system line up incoming requests and execute them efficiently and in an organized manner.
Freedom to Develop Apps
NodeJS gives developers the freedom to develop a range of different apps and software, something that other server-side languages like Ruby on Rails lack. You have the option to build applications from scratch.
NodeJS offers developers a huge library of dependencies known as NPM. NPM (Node Package Manager) is a package management tool optimized for the Node environment. It makes it easier for developers to import and publish libraries for their projects. NPM not only gives developers convenient access to multiple libraries but also helps them configure NodeJS with ease.
NodeJS’s open-source runtime environment helps us leverage caching single modules. In other words, if your application uses a module frequently, it will cache (save) that module in the application’s memory.
As a result, the system can access cached modules faster. Caching plays a key role in helping developers execute a codebase swiftly, allowing applications to respond to user requests efficiently and load web pages faster.
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The secret to NodeJS’s high-performance routines is Google’s powerful V8 engine. The V8 engine translates JS code directly into machine understandable code. As a result, developers can implement code significantly faster.
Read: Node.JS with React.JS
Leveraging Smaller Modules for Greater Speed
NodeJS is comprised of multiple smaller modules, with Node.JS Core and Node.JS application being the two most used. Although both these modules can be used together, it isn’t mandatory. Since applications don’t use NodeJS application and NodeJS core simultaneously everywhere, it doesn’t affect the application’s speed.
NodeJS is optimized for cross-platform real-time applications, requiring you to write code only once to deploy your application in diverse platforms like Linux, Windows, and macOS. NodeJS’s cross-platform ability enables developers to build native desktop applications without mastering C#, Objective-C, or other languages.
Disadvantages of NodeJS
Although NodeJS offers several benefits, it also has some drawbacks:
Heavy Computing Tasks Affect Performance
NodeJS outperforms most platforms due to its event-driven and single-threaded nature. However, when it comes to executing heavy computing tasks, NodeJS fails to deliver the same degree of success.
In an event loop, NodeJS collects a task in the event loop and dedicates its entire strength to complete it. Therefore, if the system receives a heavy CPU-driven task in the event loop, the tsk hijacks all your CPU strength to complete this one task, slowing down the entire event loop as well as the application’s interface. Although NodeJS offers the “worker threads” module for multi-threading, it doesn’t address the issue effectively.
NodeJS APIs are notorious for being unstable. NodeJS API updates can introduce several changes that are incompatible with your existing application. This forces developers to make further changes in the codebase just to make their apps compatible with the latest version of NodeJS APIs.
Paradoxically Harder to Maintain
NodeJS’s asynchronous programming model enables developers to make applications scalable. It’s one of NodeJS’s greatest virtues, but many developers consider it more difficult than linear blocking I/O programming. Additionally, NodeJS’s dependency on nested calls makes it harder for new developers to understand what’s going, making maintenance more difficult.
Today, NodeJS is a consistent part of high-performing web applications. It makes applications fast, lightweight, resilient, and highly scalable. Although NodeJS has a few cons, it gives developers the perfect set of tools to build cross-platform applications.