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