Why use Node.js for web development?
Node.js: a brief history
Ryan Dahl got the idea for Node when he was watching a demo of the photo-sharing portal Flickr. When a photo was added, a progress bar would pop-up on the screen to show how much time was remaining for it to upload. Dahl realized that the web browser had to continually query the server in order to determine how much of the file had been uploaded.
Before Node.js, a web file request would be sent to a server to open and read the file. The computer would need to wait for the server to send the file back. Once the file had been returned, the server would be able to handle the next file request.
Dahl designed Node.js as a way to eliminate this type of “buffering” (the need to wait for a response from the back-end.) Once Node sends a request to the computer’s file system, it’s ready to handle the next query.
Node lets web developers write Java code that runs directly on the computer rather than in the browser.
Node web development gives you the ability to create real-time server-side applications.
Node.js performance is rated so highly that Microsoft, eBay, PayPal, and Uber all use the platform to develop their web applications. Node is a cross-platform solution that runs on Windows, OS X, and Linux operating systems.
Other benefits of Node.js include:
- Speed – Because it never has to wait for an API to return data, Node is extremely fast. This makes it a good choice if development budgets are tight because it gives you the ability to create an MVP in the shortest amount of time as possible.
- Efficiency – Node runs single-threaded non-blocking asynchronous programming, which makes it very lightweight and memory efficient. Non-blocking means that processing can continue without having to wait for I/O operation to complete before returning.
- Scalability – Node.js scalability is one of the main reasons developers cite for using it when scale is a concern for their clients.
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages Node offers startups it that it’s free. It also features a wealth of libraries with shortcut capabilities that can help developers speed up the pace of programming, which means solutions make it to market faster.
If you’re looking to create a data-intensive or streaming cross-platform web application, Node.js is probably the best choice.
Of course, there are several Node.js alternatives to consider, including Elixir, Python, and Golang. It really comes down to the development team you hire for your project and their overall strengths and preferences in certain programming languages.
Talk to your team about what your web application needs to accomplish and how you want it to perform. They will be able to suggest the perfect development stack for your solution.
If you need qualified Node.js developers, contact us! If you need help with an Elixir, Ruby or Golang project (or any project for that matter), let us know! We have highly-skilled developers that are experts in all these types of languages.