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Is Node.js Good for Backend or Is It a Gimmick?

Without further ado, let’s take a look at what makes Node.js tick and how well it compares to other tools and technologies in backend programming.
Jun 22, 2022
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Today a powerful tech stack helps companies save millions of dollars and perform more efficiently than competitors. In the modern world of web development, JavaScript is an unquestionable leader in programming languages. Astonishingly enough, while it’s used on the client side, its genuine force can be applied on the back end as well thanks to Node.js.

As an open-source app runtime environment, this framework is lightweight and effective compared to other server-side development alternatives. More and more Node.js development services appear in the industry to build and support web applications. NASA, Twitter, Uber, and PayPal are only a few examples of entities using this technology.

In this article, we’ll dot the i’s and cross the t’s answering the question of whether Node.js is still a useful back-end tool, comparing it to alternative options, and revealing its true potential for present-day companies. Read on to learn how you can benefit from using Node.js today!

What Is Node.js and How It Works?

Node.js logo

Written in JavaScript, Node.js implies a framework that allows developers to cover the back end of web applications without a need to apply PHP, Java, Ruby, Python, or any other server-side programming language. Combining the technologies of front- and back-end development, Node.js functions by executing within its own runtime on the server.

So, how does Node.js work in real-life conditions? Companies like Netflix utilize this event-driven and single-threaded framework as a technology upholding content streaming. With the help of this JS-based tool, the company has significantly decreased startup time and simplified the process of integrating microservices into the already-existing system.

Still, what does Node.js do under the hood? Unlike, say, PHP, being an event loop framework, it perfectly handles concurrent requests utilizing a single thread and doesn’t block it for one request. With a non-blocking I/O and a package manager referred to as npm, Node.js. is capable of developing new projects from scratch or supporting the old ones.

Insight Into the Popularity of Node.js

As Stack Overflow reported in 2021, Node.js occupied the 6th position on the list of the most widely used web technologies, having been outperformed by Java, SQL, Python, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript. However, back-end development with Node.js hasn’t always been here to lend a helping hand to coders.

Built by Ryan Dahl on Chrome’s V8 JS engine in 2009, this framework is gradually gaining popularity among professionals, especially when more and more companies are beginning to require full-stack web developers. Therefore, instead of opening two vacancies for front- and back-end developers, a wide range of modern firms are seeking an all-in-one solution.

Is Node.js a back-end or front-end framework?

Can Node.js be used for the back end? Well, it’s time to unveil the real mystery. Node.js is used for front-end or back-end web development whenever it’s necessary, meaning you can fill two needs with one deed. Notably, this is one of the reasons why companies are fond of working with Node.js as a versatile tool.

Being a runtime environment built on top of native JavaScript, Node.js is primarily employed to cover the back end of your website or web application simply because you’ve got other libraries as well as extensions like React and Angular to handle the client side. Thus, is Node a back-end solution? In both theory and practice, the answer is affirmative.

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Why Use Node.js for Backend? — Pros & Cons

Multiple questions arise while choosing the right tech stack for the server side of apps. Why use Node.js as a back-end technology? Is Node.js enough for the back end? As already mentioned, this solution provides all the resources needed to support a web application and its entire system on the server side. In a nutshell, the benefits of Node.js include:

  1. Simplicity in terms of learning and adapting. Having inherited a high number of features from JavaScript, Node.js became a more straightforward and flexible tool for front-end developers to master the server side of applications. In the case of PHP or Python, coders need to learn entire programming languages from scratch. But this doesn’t relate to Node.js.

  2. Advanced performance for real-time apps. Multitasking is one of the most impactful perks that come with this framework. Due to a single-threaded, event-driven architecture, Node.js can process concurrent requests without overloading the RAM.

  3. Cost-efficiency and scalability. Since Node.js is pretty easy to learn for front-end developers, it’s cost-effective for companies to house full-stack professionals instead of hiring and teaching new back-end experts. As for scalability prospects, with the cluster module on board, Node.js makes it possible to balance load over many CPU cores. Moreover, Node.js uses a non-blocking event-loop mechanism that facilitates better scalability, which is stunning news for enterprises.

Most Helpful Frameworks Supporting Node.js

1. Electron

Although JavaScript and its associated Node.js are tools used in web development, this framework allows you to deepen your abilities in developing desktop applications. In case your business requires some sort of additional software, you can extend your web product to function on desktop devices using Electron.

By mixing the Node.js runtime and Chromium rendering engine, the framework enables coders to develop in platform-agnostic web languages. If this is your case and you don’t intend to invest extra resources in teaching your programmers C# (ASP.NET), C++, or Swift, Electron may prove your best companion.

2. NestJS

NestJS has been framed over the ideas of controllers, providers, as well as modules. More specifically, the latter constitute logical code units arranged in a cluster. In this scheme, the abstractions of code injected as dependencies are called providers, whereas controllers are responsible for processing incoming requests on the client side to carry out the app logic.

This open-source and extensible framework for Node.js makes use of TypeScript, which, in turn, is a strongly typed programming superset of JavaScript. Hence, you can build the back-end with Node.js in a more straightforward way. NestJS is the most helpful if you work with microservice architecture.

3. Deno

Released by the same author of Node.js in 2018, Deno serves as an extension of this framework covering the issues and some miscalculations of the original. The Deno runtime also executes code in its own application like the parent. Furthermore, it’s more secure due to the independent sandbox system.

Another benefit of Deno lies in removing the need for a centralized package management system. This is possible because modules are imported straightforwardly by a URL, cashing them if the hosting URL isn’t accessible. Just like Node.js for the back end, Deno gains momentum as more companies and cloud providers opt for this solution.

Node.js Compared to Other Backend Development Tools

Node.js vs other tools for backend

Nowadays, there’s a broad spectrum of programming languages and frameworks facilitating efficient back-end development. Among the most widely addressed are Ruby, Java, PHP, .NET, Python, and so on. Thus, it’s crucial for companies to gain insight into how every technology performs in each use case to be able to make research-based decisions.

Node vs. Java for backend

So, what is a better option for server-side web development — Node.js or Java for backend? Rumor has it that the latter is primarily addressed in enterprise computing apps, while the former is a more versatile option, covering both the front- and the back- end parts of your product. To note, Java is a powerful server-side language dominating Android and enterprise computing. Still, Node.js enables developers to have better control over more web aspects.

In contrast to its alternatives, Node.js provides increased response time, whereas Java is more robust and secure, being equipped with better IDEs. Offering IntelliJ, Eclipse, and NetBeans as fundamental tools promoting a more advanced debugging as well as decompiling, Java is sustainable. Nevertheless, Node.js can be used more effectively with APIs, batch processing, crawlers, parsers, data collection, industrial automation, etc.

Node.js vs. Python for backend

There’s no denying that Python is one of the top-notch solutions for machine learning and carrying out numerical computations on the back end. Depending on the purpose of your application, you’ll need a different programming language as well as framework pack. If you require cost-efficient full-stack web development without a need to constantly rehire personnel, your choice is definitely Node.js.

Such corporations as IBM, PayPal, Microsoft, and GoDaddy utilize this framework as a more universal technology in comparison to others. At the same time, Python is a better choice for AI development, machine learning, and some unique cases of web back end. Besides, its syntax is incredibly readable and quite simple to learn, which decreases the entry threshold for junior coders.

Node.js vs. PHP for backend

Although both web technologies are widely used in the industry, there are multiple noteworthy differences between them. Whereas Node.js is rarely used to process heavy computation, PHP is a more powerful back-end language from this perspective. Also, it’s more HTML-friendly, cross-platform, and capable of quickly connecting all necessary databases, which makes it a versatile yet exclusively server-side technology.

It’s worth pointing out that Node.js has good JSON support, scales effectively, and is more lightweight as opposed to PHP. In addition, this JavaScript framework is greatly supported by Google’s V8 engine, implying that you’ll have a plethora of prospects for improvement if you go with Node.js, inasmuch as the industry heavily bets on this technology.

GO vs. Node.js for backend

Some say that Node.js isn’t even a framework but a cross-platform runtime environment. In turn, Golang serves as a statically typed garbage-collected powerful programming language. Simultaneously, Go has a simple syntax consisting of only 25 keywords and is able to manage about 1k concurrent requests per second, making it an incredibly strong technology in terms of computation.

But what can be considered a Go’s weakness is error handling because this programming language examines errors as values. What’s more, professional Go developers are sufficiently expensive, unlike full-stack coders who work with Node.js. Finally, opt for the latter if you need to develop social media, real-time web, or streaming apps.

What Is the Future of Node.js: Statistics & Prospects

Even though Node.js hasn’t been included in the 2021 statistic displaying the most frequently used web frameworks, research suggests that you can still rely on this technology in the long run. Node.js for backend development is still a choice of Netflix, NASA, Microsoft, and other tech giants. Undoubtedly, it’s not as popular as React.js or jQuery, but it allows companies to house more full-stack web developers than any other framework in the world.

According to another survey conducted in 2021, Node.js was ranked the second most used web development tech stack, giving way only to HTML as the top frequently used technology. Consequently, research demonstrates discrete and discrepant results regarding the future of Node.js. Yet the fact is that a variety of global companies use this tech stack for their corporate development, which makes Node.js a competitive tech stack.

Most popular technology skills in the web development tech stack worldwide in 2021

technology skills in the web development in 2021

Source

Take Advantage of Node.js Development with Program-Ace

Searching for Node.js backend developers to hire, keep in mind that you may want to onboard full-stack coders who can cover your back with both the front- and back-end web development. Beyond question, it’s a tough challenge to find good developers. That’s why you can count on Program-Ace. We house an expert team of professional web developers who can tackle the most difficult tasks. Partner with us to forget about constant re-hiring!

Another thing you can do to skyrocket your business performance is to contact us, and we’ll discuss your most daring projects, finding out how we can help each other.

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