Node.js development is used by some of the most prominent players in global business, including PayPal, Netflix, and LinkedIn, to develop real-time applications, high-traffic sites, and IoT devices. But many people still aren’t clear on how it works, the pros and cons of using it, or how it delivers tangible business results. If you’re one of them, this article’s for you.

Though it isn’t the right choice for every project, there’s gotta be some good reasons why it’s one of the top two frameworks, libraries, and programming languages developers prefer today. Let’s take a closer look.

What is Node.js?

Technically, Node.js isn’t a framework at all. It’s an open-source server environment that runs on platforms using JavaScript. First released in 2009, its popularity is greater than ever.

Node.js has several core elements:

  1. Its engine. Node.js development is based on the Google Chrome V8 JavaScript engine, making it incredibly lightweight, efficient, and fast for code execution.
  2. Event-driven architecture. Rather than create multiple threads for every request, or wait for a request to finish before starting another, Node.js runs on a single thread and launches multiple simultaneous requests.
  3. Node package monitor. Unlike other tools, Node.js isn’t supported by SQL. Rather, its support comes from a document-based database model with the planet’s largest open-source library registry. Developers with access to Node.js’ Node Package Monitor or NPM can easily reuse codes to build apps more quickly.

Node.js Development: Advantages and Disadvantages

Node.js has become the go-to choice for many industries that love how extremely simple, cost-effective, and efficient it makes the development process. But like every tech tool, it has its pros and cons.

Still on the fence about whether Node.js is suitable for your software development project? Here’s a brief walkthrough of its advantages and disadvantages and how it could add value to your projects.

The Upside to Node.js

Many developers see Node.js as a sort of knight in shining armor, saving their web and mobile apps with its powerful and flexible nature. They point to its many benefits, such as:

Node.js Development
  • High performance for real-time applications, displaying results in the blink of an eye.
  • Easy scalability for modern apps with cutting-edge technology that comes with tons of features like a cluster module and a non-blocking event-loop mechanism.
  • Cost-effectiveness with full-stack JavaScript. Developers can write codes on both the front and back ends with absolute ease.
  • Community support, with millions of developers contributing insights that simplify development.
  • Easy to learn and quick to adapt.
  • Helps build cross-functional teams. With its full-stack development capability, Node.js makes it easier to build a team that’s focused on enhancing the development lifecycle.
  • Improves app response time and boosts performance. When Netflix decided to switch from Java and JavaScript to Node.js, the streaming giant dramatically reduced its start-up time from 40 minutes to under 60 seconds!
  • Reduces time-to-market. Because Node.js is so lightweight, developers benefit from an accelerated overall development speed.
  • Extensibility to meet custom requirements. Node.js uses a built-in API to develop HTTP and DNS servers and the JSON data format.
  • Reduced load times. Quick caching makes it easy for developers to reduce task workloads and re-execute code.
  • Helps build cross-platform apps. Developers can use Node.js to leverage platforms to build cross-platform real-time web apps, meaning there’s no need to invest time in writing separate codes for various desktop versions like Windows, macOS, and Linux.

While it works well for a variety of projects, Node.js development is especially effective for data-intensive real-time apps, high-traffic apps, and the IoT. It’s also good for apps that expect huge traffic loads that process large numbers of requests on the client-side.

Node.js Downsides

The benefits of Node.js are far more numerous than its drawbacks, but they do exist.

  1. Reduced performance when handling heavy computing tasks. And though Node.js introduced “worker threads” in 2018 to solve the problem, developers still are entirely equipped to deal with CPU-bound computation challenges.
  2. Heavy code changes from an unstable API. Developers consider the frequent API changes in Node.js as one of its most significant disadvantages.
  3. An asynchronous programming model makes it difficult to maintain code.
  4. Not enough experienced Node.js developers to meet growing market needs.

Situations where you shouldn’t use Node.js include image and graphics processing or video and audio editing. It’s also not the best choice for AI or machine learning, and it’s been known to overcomplicate the development of simple apps that transfer data directly from a server.

When to Use Node.js

It’s apparent that Node.js plays a critical role in developing scalable, high-performing applications. Most developers love putting node.js’ advantages of performance, scale, and speed, to good use, and so do the clients they work with.

If you’re still not certain that Node.js can be beneficial to your next project, talk to one of the experienced engineers at Zibtek who can help you decide if it’s right for you