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Building Efficient Web and Mobile Apps Through Node.js

Node.js is quickly becoming IT management’s favorite programming environment and for good reason. Many small enterprises and large organizations have shifted to Node.js because of the many benefits that it provides. Before we go on to describe its utility, let’s first understand what it is.

building-efficient-web-and-mobile-apps-through-node-jsWhat is Node.js?

For years, JavaScript’s advantage of being fast was defeated by its low applicability. It was mainly thought of as a client-side language that only ran in the browser for building user interfaces and components like widgets, sliders and so on. Enter Node.js and the situation takes a 180-degree flip. Node.js allows JavaScript to run on the server side and be used to write full-fledged, in-depth, network applications.

Node.js is a freely available open source application runtime environment that’s built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. What makes it so cool is that it is an asynchronous, event-driven, non-blocking I/O model. Unlike other technologies such as PHP or Apache, Node.js uses a single thread to process tens of thousands of requests simultaneously. It does not block other requests until the first one is completed. This makes Node.js extremely fast, memory efficient and scalable when designing web applications, content management systems, utilities and real-time services.

What are the benefits of using Node.js?

Cross-functionality

One of the best things about Node.js is that it eliminates the need for separate back end and front end developer teams and unifies them together because it relies on JavaScript on both ends. This has a significantly positive impact on development time, productivity, cross-functional collaboration and cost — just as it was in the case of PayPal which adopted Node.js to unify their engineering specialties into one team and built an app “almost twice as fast and with fewer people” as a Java app.

Fast and Lightweight

Not only is a Node.js program faster to code, but also in fixing errors. In the case of eBay, Node.js was a perfect fit for executing real-time applications because of it’s asynchronous, non-blocking and single threaded nature that outputs the data in chunks instead of buffering it. Code written in Node.js is extremely lightweight. According to PayPal, their Node.js app was “constructed with 40% fewer files”.

Scalability

Since Node.js can process millions of queries simultaneously with a faster response time, it is a great choice for building apps that process high volumes of I/O requests, shuffle a lot of data around or are expected to do so in future. Uber is one of the fastest growing cab companies and its app uses Node.js to match millions of riders and drivers globally every day while making sure that each of those riders has a reliable and smooth experience.

The fans of Node.js have been increasing globally ever since organizations found the amazing benefits it offers. Initially, Node.js was used mostly for web applications, but companies such as LinkedIn have shown that it can be successfully used to develop mobile app equally well. When LinkedIn redesigned their mobile app in 2011 using Node.js, the app was reported to be two to 10 times faster on the client side and used a fraction of the resources as compared to its previous RoR based mobile app.

All that being said, there are certain situations in which using Node.js might not be the best idea. Click here to know what they are.

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