Basics of Node.js and How it has Revolutionized Web Development

Node js is a packaged compilation of three components, namely – Google’s V8 Java Script engine, the libuv platform abstraction layer and the core library which is primarily written in JavaScript. Node.js employs a push technology rather than websockets. It’s now possible to have web applications with real time, two way communications where both the client and the server can initiate communication allowing seamless exchange of data. This is a significant difference in contrast to the typical web applications where the client always initiates communication. Furthermore, it is based on the open web stack HTML, CSS and JS and also requires running over port 80.

In simple terms, node.js is an open source, cross platform run time environment for server side and networking applications. It brings the event driven programming to web servers, hence enabling the development of fast web servers in Java Script.

Let’s understand the basics first. In an event driven application, there is one main loop that continuously listens for events and when an event occurs, it triggers the appropriate call back function. Node.js also provides a non-blocking I/O API that optimizes an application’s throughput and scalability because the events are executed in parallel and callbacks are used to signal completion.

Here are some of the benefits of node.js:

Asynchronous I/O
Node.js is built to effectively handle asynchronous I/O and helps solve a number of common web and network related problems. Furthermore, it has the ability to scale to a large volume of clients and all of the I/O intensive operations in Node.js are performed asynchronously.

Speed
JavaScript is used in the backend and that’s enough to understand how fast it executes. It also runs on Google’s V8 engine and is known to compile the JavaScript directly into the machine code. This makes it faster than most of the programming languages.

Real time web apps
Node.js is an appropriate choice for real time applications because it has an event driven architecture. It is especially good for chat applications and games. Both the client and server side is written in JavaScript and the synchronization is faster and better.

Caching support
Node.js supports caching. This means that when a module is requested for the first time, it is cached so that the next time it can be used directly.

Light weight and extensible
It supports the exchange of data using JSON – this makes is comparatively lightweight as compared to any of the other frameworks. It is also open source and hence you can expand it as much as your business required.

REST API Support
Using Node.js you can also develop RESTful services API easily.

Overall, if you are looking at creating real time web apps such as chat apps etc, node.js development services will be the best technology for these type of applications. Whether you are looking for building APIs that have the ability to handle a lot of requests that are I/O driven or you wish to build streaming applications, Node.js is the most suitable choice to build flexible and scalable solutions.

Image Credit: goo.gl/b90f4w

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