What Is Node.js?
Is Node.js a Framework?
A framework, on the other hand, is a set of tools that provides a standardized way of building applications. In other words, the framework acts as scaffolding for an application, offering a uniform structure with solutions to some of the most common development problems already embedded within its architecture.
The difference between a runtime environment and a framework does get confusing, especially when you consider that a framework can contain a runtime environment and a runtime environment can support a framework. The key way to differentiate between the two is to look at how they’re used. A runtime environment is a platform where developers run a program while a framework is a toolkit that allows developers to build applications more quickly with less coding.
What Makes Node.js So Great?
Node.js was first released to the public in 2009 and has been steadily picking up steam ever since. While its market share is still relatively small, Node.js enjoys hearty support from many Back End Web Developers because it’s:
Simplifying Web Development
Using the same language for both the client and server side has additional benefits as well. Because an entire application can be coded from back to front using just one primary language, it takes a lot less time to finish the project. Once completed, the application will operate much more seamlessly because the front and back ends run on the same language.
Fast and Lightweight
Node.js has a reputation for being considerably faster than many of its alternatives. Its speed and lightweight nature can be attributed to two of its features: the engine it runs on and its ability to handle multiple requests at one time without getting bogged down.
The speed and efficiency of Node.js are also greatly improved by its unique event loop which combines non-blocking input/output and asynchronous request handling. In a traditional synchronous model, requests are handled one at a time in the order they were made; additional requests can’t be processed until the ones that occurred first are completed. This takes up a lot of memory and slows down response time. Node.js, on the other hand, handles requests asynchronously in a single thread without blocking the input-output pathway, which allows it to process multiple requests at a time.
Another thing Node.js has going for it is how easy it is to customize, thanks in large part to Node Package Manager (npm). Npm is an extensive open-source command-line tool that provides developers with access to millions of code packages in the npm registry that can be used to tailor Node.js. These packages can be easily installed without making changes to the code base, which allows Node.js to be customized to meet the needs of the project at hand.
These are just a few of the most commonly cited reasons for the popularity of Node.js. There are many others such as excellent scalability, strong corporate support, the benefit of being compatible with multiple platforms, versatility, etc. With this many features, it’s expected that usage of Node.js will only continue to climb.
Who Uses Node.js?
Node.js has been used by countless companies—many of them big names that you’ve probably heard of, such as:
How is Node.js Used?
Node.js is extremely versatile and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Some of the most common usages of Node.js are:
- Single-Page Applications (SPAs): Node.js is often used on complex single-page applications because its ability to process multiple requests in a non-blocking fashion allows the page to load and respond more quickly compared to other back-end options.
- Data Streaming: Companies that stream a lot of data rely on the incredible speed and efficiency of Node.js. It’s even used by streaming giant Netflix, enabling their more than 200 million users in over 190 countries to enjoy hours of entertainment.
- Real-Time Chats: Node.js is exceptionally well-suited to the creation of chatbots and chat applications thanks to its single-threaded asynchronous method of processing requests and ability to scale.
- Social Media Sites: Node.js has been successfully used on the back end of various social media sites including LinkedIn, Reddit, and Twitter thanks to its super-fast routing, secure authentication, and scalability.
- Internet of Things (IoT): Node.js has also proved to be useful in the creation of IoT applications. Node is especially suitable for the task thanks to its ability to seamlessly process concurrent requests from multiple networked devices.
Why Should I Learn Node.js?
While each of these positions typically earns at least six-figure salaries, working as a Back End or Full Stack Developer will earn you a bit more; the national average for Front End Web Developers comes in at $103,000 while Full Stack Developers average $106,000 and Back End Web Developers earn $115,000.
How to Learn Node.js