How to install Node js with 1 click on your public Cloud

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JavaScript is a programming language that all web browsers are equipped with. The JavaScript code is located in the web pages and is used to guide browsers. It offers, among other things, the facility to animate page elements, to update some of the elements without updating the entire page, and to insert a new element without reloading the page, etc. Also, JavaScript is generally used in the design of accordion menus or progress bars. Other projects can, of course, be created using this programming language.

So, what is the relationship between JavaScript and Node js? ? It is actually a free and event-driven software platform, programmed in JavaScript. Node js is currently mainly used for the creation of APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces. What exactly is Node js, what are its properties? And above all, why choose this platform? Let’s explain.

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Node js: what is it? What are its advantages?

What is Node js?

Ryan Dahl stands behind the creation of Node js. To develop this platform, he extracted the V8 JavaScript engine used for the Chrome browser in order to use it outside the browser. Node js is therefore considered as an alternative to some programming languages and has already attracted many companies, including PayPal.

Moreover, the modification of a small part of the PayPal platform code to Node js has brought significant results: the version in Node js is 35% faster than the code in JavaScript. As for the code, it has been shortened by 33%. On the other hand, two developers were all it took to complete this project, which proved to be twice as fast to set up as a script in JavaScript.

Before we look at the advantages of this new programming language, it is important to understand its various properties.

What are the characteristics of Node js?

  • A V8 engine: as we have seen previously, Node js uses the V8 JavaScript engine, created by Google and implemented in Chrome, and which is very fast to run. Since its implementation, it has facilitated a fast and efficient reading of the JavaScript language. On the other hand, it is an open source tool. However, Node js does not use this engine in the same way. In this case, the V8 engine transforms and optimises JavaScript into machine code, a process known as Just in Time compilation.
  • A non-blocking platform: Node js is able to run several tasks at the same time, unlike blocking systems, which have to wait until one task is completed and the results are available to run another. A non-blocking platform retrieves the results of processed tasks in real time, when they are completed.
  • Node js is "single thread": while Node js is non-blocking, this program is, however, single thread. This means that it can only process one task at a time. The concepts of single thread and non-blocking platform may seem antithetical. In practice, this means that Node js does not have to wait until it receives the result of a first task to start a second one. On the other hand, it only recovers one result at a time.

We now know a little more about the nature of Node js. So, why use it? What are its advantages?

What are the advantages of Node js?

We have seen previously that the implementation of the code in Node js on the PayPal site facilitated:

  • The reduction of lines of code,
  • The reduction of programming time,
  • The ability to benefit from a much faster version.

However, Node js has other positive points, which we will look at now.

Node js is suitable for RTA and SPA applications

A RTA, or Real Time Application, is an application that requires frequent, real-time updates. A SPA, or Single Page Application, is an application with a single page, the content of which is modified by the user. Node js is particularly recommended for programming this type of application. Indeed, since it is non-blocking, it is able to manage many requests simultaneously, which allows a fast update, in real time.

However, Node js cannot be considered for heavy applications which have a lot of resources and require the processing of very long tasks on the server side. We must remember that it is only a single thread.

Excellent modularity, great simplicity of use

In its original version, Node js does not have a wide variety of different features. On the other hand, it is quite possible to add some modules, depending on the developer's needs. Furthermore, because of its great manoeuvrability, everyone is able to use it as they wish, thus leaving a good margin of manoeuvre in order to carry out a project successfully.

As a result, Node js is suitable for both beginners and expert developers. The advantage of Node js lies in the very many open source libraries it has, as well as in the community that has been created around this platform. As a result, the user will certainly be able to find the answer to his or her questions from other developers using Node js. It should also be noted that the large Node js community is behind many webinars, online courses and meetups.

No need to learn a new programming language

Do you know how to develop using JavaScript? In this case, you should have no problem using Node js! In fact, it is exactly the same programming language. So there is also no need to plan time to learn a new one.

Other advantages not to be ignored

We have seen the main advantages of Node js. But these are not the only ones! Indeed, it is compatible with the different operating systems, namely Linux, iOS and Windows. On the other hand, Node js offers very good stability, so it is an excellent choice of programming language, especially for creating service APIs, as well as managing NoSQL databases.

Today, many of the big names on the web have already switched to Node js. PayPal, as we have seen, is one, but also Netflix, Microsoft, Uber, and Ebay, as well as NASA or Trello, and the LinkedIn social network.