Table of content
What is Node.js?
How does Node.js work?
The JS is a single-threaded system, which accepts all requests in one thread. This single thread handles everything that happens on the webpage: page scroll, listening to DOM events, printing something on the page, etc.
While one request is being processed, the server will not go on with another one. In this case, the execution will be blocked, and the browser will “freeze.”
Node.js applies a progressive event-driven pattern with an event-loop that replies to specific events. Thus, Node.js uses single-thread non-blocking I/O calls, which supports thousands of connections simultaneously.
Hence, Node.js make JS much more dynamic, bringing in the following novelties:
- I/O calls do not block the main thread;
- Server keeps processing user requests simultaneously;
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Pros of using Node.js
Well, you might have already realized that Node.js is the favorite for many programmers. And here is why exactly:
- Non-blocking I/O calls model
Node.js pros are manifold. But its ace of trumps is the event-based paradigm. When the server has thousands of connections simultaneously, the Node.js processes them in the priority order in one thread instead of spawning a new one. Such resource allocation allows for serving more users simultaneously.
- V8 engine
- Suits both front-end and back-end
Another advantage of Node.js is its universality. Node.js can be used as a single programming language for both front-end and back-end development. This simple feature makes a client's life easier, as it can be difficult to find a team of full stack programmers.
- Rich ecosystem
With such an amount of free resources available, Node.js is the most popular framework among developers.
Cons of using Node.js
Despite the broad scope of use-cases, Node.js still is not a plaster for all sorts of web development. Here are the vulnerabilities that Node.js brings with it:
- Node.js is not suitable for heavy CPU-bound request
Being a single-threaded JS runtime environment, Node.js executes tasks asynchronously. That means it starts a thread once a request comes in, processes it, and triggers a callback upon completion. If a heavy computation request comes along to the thread, it will take the whole CPU to process it before moving on to other queued tasks.
- Poor quality of some Node.js packages
While the main Node.js modules are supervised, some tools in the npm registry do not live up to this standard. This may make it challenging to figure out the best solution for your purposes and again negatively impact the code’s quality.
What is Node.js good for?
Data streaming means breaking large files into smaller batches to provide smooth and impeccable streaming. Node.js is perfect for such tasks, as it provides an application programming interface to work with streams and allows creating readable and writable data streams. For example, Netflix’s programmers chose Node.js for building their streaming platform.
Like in the previous example, this use case leverages Node.js' ability to manage several processes at the same time. The Trello example shows that Node.js comes in handy for applications where immediate updates and management of multiple processes are needed, such as team management programs and documentation suites.
When we talk about hardware, we mean techs that are already taking a large part in our everyday lives – robots, drones, quadcopters, and other IoT devices.
Again, the ability of Node.js to perform several tasks simultaneously is the main reason it is so popular in this industry. With Node.js and the appropriate frameworks (Johnny-Five, Cylon.js), you have the opportunity to develop robots and JS-controlled devices like NodeBots.
What is Node.js is NOT good for?
CPU-heavy server-side computation
Although Node.js is versatile and powerful, heavy computations are not its strong point. It plunges the CPU into an intensive bout of number crunching, which blocks incoming requests from being processed.
CRUD refers to apps related to either of the four categories (Create, Read, Update, Delete) that feature a relational database. Some years ago, building CRUD apps with Node.js could not be the best thing to do.
Among the multitude of frameworks, Node.js certainly takes the lead. Yet, though simple and widely used, the environment is only worth it when used correctly.
Uptech’s programmers have vast experience building complex platforms using Node.js environment. Our team is always on the lookout for new challenges. So do not hesitate to contact us if you have a promising idea on your mind.