Node.js: What it is used for and when, where to use it for your enterprise app development

January 11, 2021

Node.js is an enterprise app development run-time environment.

Before the creation of Node.js, developers followed a clear-cut process when working on enterprise app development and other application projects. A client requests for resources from the server and the server provides these to the client. It was an easy process that saw the server replying only when the client sends a request. As soon as the resources are given, the server closes the connection. Although this process promoted efficiency, its biggest problem was when multiple requests came in all at the same time.  

Imagine yourself inside a restaurant where the waiter asks you to wait for the previous order to be delivered before ordering. The chef responds to only one order at a time, and the waiter waits for him to complete the order. The waiter does not take the other orders while waiting.

Such scenario is what happens when multiple client requests come in and the server fulfills only one request at a time. In cases like this, a “thread” is created for every request. However, with multiple orders coming in, the “waiter” can run out of threads and you’ll go back to the main problem again. Node.js is an effective solution to this problem.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is an open-source runtime environment based on JavaScript. It is built on Chrome’s V8 and utilizes an event-driven I/O model, which is responsible for its efficiency and scalability. Introduced in 2009 during the European JSConf, Node.js allows developers to execute codes fast using a single-threaded event loop.

In a single-threaded event loop, the server and client can work on the requests or information simultaneously through a free exchange of data. If we go back to the chef and waiter example, the Node.js process would be like this: while the chef works on preparing and cooking the orders that the waiter passed on to him, the waiter goes around the restaurant and takes orders from other diners. He doesn’t have to wait for the chef to finish cooking one order before serving the other tables. That is how Node.js works – a single thread (the waiter) can take care of multiple requests.

In Node.js, there is an Event Queue for requests (ex. a database query) and the thread constantly monitors the queue. Once it finds a request in queue, the thread immediately works on processing it and then proceeds to the next request, and so on. This is one of the reasons why Node.js is a popular choice for enterprise app development, particularly in building real-time applications.

Node.js for Enterprise App Development

There are specific areas in enterprise app development where Node.js is recommended:

  • Single-page Application Development. Node.js is ideal for building single-page apps, especially if the goal is to create a look and feel like that of a desktop application. Additionally, Node.js is also recommended for developing dynamic web applications and social networking platforms.
  • Social Media Networking Backend. One of the most popular social networking sites in the world, LinkedIn, adopted Node.js. Scalability, a V8 engine, reliable authentication system, and its nodes are all essential factors for developing a feature-rich social media network.
  • Data Streaming. Ever wonder how Netflix is able to stream to over 100 million users in more or less 190 countries? Node.js helped make that happen. Its light nature, convenient uploads and encodes, and extra fast speed make it ideal for data streaming apps.
  • IoT Applications. Several enterprise app development companies have already integrated IoT solutions into their system. For those looking to do the same, Node.js is the preferred choice because of its ability to seamlessly process multiple requests.

There are other areas where Node.js is useful, but these four are on top of the list.

Node.js is especially helpful for enterprise developers who want to build real-time apps in the fastest time possible. Likewise, Node.js allows coding in JavaScript for both the server and client sides. It also has multiple tools courtesy of the Node Package Manager (NPM). Lastly, it is the ideal choice for apps focused on microservices, which are popular and preferred enterprise applications.

Conclusion

Node.js has become extremely popular over the years, and more and more businesses are relying on its event-driven, single-threaded technology. As mentioned above, LinkedIn and Netflix use Node.js. Other respected and successful enterprises that implemented Node.js include Uber, PayPal, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, and eBay.

About the author: Ryan Wabe - Operation Manager

After spending 10 years in the ESL industry, Ryan joined Startechup team as operation manager. In charge of HR ( part of the following processes: screening, interviewing, recruitment), manages company Social Media accounts - creating content, posting. And more. View on Linkedin

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