Selecting the right stack for the back-end can become a daunting activity. There is an immense number of programming languages and frameworks that you can easily get lost in. Above all, companies must be confident that the tools they choose align well with their business priorities, goals, and specifics. That’s why many of them prefer the most popular and experience-proven frameworks and tools.
Node.js is one of the time-tested back-end frameworks that has proved its efficiency in many projects. It was released in 2009 and such market leaders as Walmart, PayPal, Uber, eBay, NASA, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and others actively search for Node.js development companies to build their apps.
Although back-end development with Node.js is a popular decision, yet you need to define if this solution works well for building your app. In this article, we look into the specifics of using Node.js for back-end development and explore the best Node.js back-end practices.
What is Node.js?
Node.js incorporates unique features that allow creating powerful and stable back-end architecture. These features involve APIs that support HTTP requests, file systems, database integration, real-time logistics, npm package manager, and others.
The Node.js Features and Advantages
Node.js has a unique set of beneficial features that turn back-end development into a consistent and pleasant activity:
An I/O non-blocking and asynchronous model
This model is used for effective server/client communication with multiple simultaneous requests. Node.js libraries don’t wait for data return from one API, instead, they move to the next one, making data processing faster. This way, Node.js-based apps can handle a growing number of app users and load peaks.
This model is determined by events or user actions such as user clicks or password entrance, and others. The event-based model allows building real-time applications, including online games, chats, video conferences, and others.
NPM – a package manager for Node
With an NPM software engineers can simply manage code dependencies and packages in their development projects. This allows them to better structure their codes, easily specify project versions, as well as share and collaborate on one project with others.
Node.js is an open-source framework free for use.
What Types of Software Projects is Node.Js Suitable for?
Node.js offers an extensive set of tools for building various digital solutions. However, there are still some projects for which Node.js works better based on the specifics of the technology and its accompanying stack. Here is a list of projects Node.js would suit best.
The Internet of Things
Due to its non-blocking I/O, event-driven model, Node.js is extensively used in the Internet of Things (IoT) development. With Node.js software developers can build device and server architecture, and its ability to create C++ models significantly facilitates and accelerates IoT development.
Another strong Node.js feature for IoT is that it runs on the V8 Chrome engine. The engine enhances overall system performance and memory consumption. As a result, software engineers can connect a vast number of devices to a single server.
Also, Node.js supports multiple libraries, like Johnny-Five created especially for building applications for IoT hardware, including sensors, displays, motors, and others.
Streaming Services and Collaboration Tools
Node.js’s ability to establish an immense number of simultaneous connections and distribute messages across channels allows building various real-time communication and collaboration software.
By using a popular ws WebSocket library for Node.js software engineers can build a WebSockets server or implement the library to establish communication between a server and a client or several back-end servers.
WebSockets considerably improve communication between a server and a client. They can:
- send messages to their clients without their explicit requests;
- establish simultaneous communication;
- minimize the amount of data needed to exchange messages, and much more.
Therefore, WebSockets work great for real-time and long-lived communications and they can be easily built with Node.js.
Also, Node.js is easily compatible with Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC). Node.js contains a set of WebRTC APIs that allow audio and video communication from a browser in real-time. This way, software developers can build from basic to advanced video-calling and screen-sharing web apps with WebRTC and Node.js tools.
With Node.js software engineers can develop serverless apps. Serverless systems exclude the necessity to manage servers and establish in-depth DevOps practices. Therefore, software engineers have to care only about writing an app’s business logic code.
Node.js supports serverless frameworks for AWS Lambda by Amazon. AWS Lambda is an event-driven serverless platform that automatically scales depending on the app needs, allows fast app deployment, and provides pay-per execution pricing, meaning that you pay only for the used services.
A lightweight and fast Node.js framework is a great choice for building microservice architecture. This architectural style involves splitting an app business logic into small modules created separately and connected into one system. Thanks to the modular design, microservice architectures are extremely flexible, easy to scale, and faster to develop.
All these tools allow building stable, fast, and feature-rich microservices architectures with basic infrastructure requirements, like CPU and Memory, fewer code lines, and in a much shorter time.
What to Consider When Building Your Software Project?
Before choosing the development tools for your future app, you have to consider your software development project aspects. They determine which frameworks and programming languages fit best for building your digital solution.
1. App architecture
While Node.js suits well for projects of any size, your app architecture is what really matters. Use Node.js for microservices architecture and choose other solutions for monolithic apps.
2. Development speed
3. Market niche
Software developers prefer using Node.js for building real-time apps such as video-streaming services, games, social networking sites, IoT solutions, and others.
However, they may run into some development issues when building heavy monolithic apps due to lack of modularity or apps with precise calculations due to Node.js specifics of work with the floating decimal point.
However, before opting for Node.js, companies need to define the architecture pattern of the built apps, the market niche where they want to launch their product, and other aspects to make sure that it’s the best solution for their projects.