NodeJs (Express)

Node.js is an open-source JavaScript environment for backend development. Its asynchronous event-driven processing makes data-intensive, real-time applications faster and more efficient.

Who uses this technology?

General usage

Node improves application performance (e.g. latency & throughput) and scalability due to being:

  • Event-driven: application flow is only triggered by user actions such as button clicks or file downloads, which means less hogging of server resources.
  • Asynchronous: applications don’t wait for tasks to be completed before moving on to the next task, which means multiple server requests can be executed simultaneously. 

Node’s fast, efficient execution of concurrent user requests is ideal for streaming and on-demand platforms like Netflix or Uber. Other real-time applications that benefit from this include video conferencing, VoiP, online gaming, instant messaging, and online trading (stockbroking sites). Mobile devices with slow connections also load content faster with Node, which is good for user retention.

Node makes a full-stack JavaScript product possible, since it can create and run server-side applications, traditionally done by backend scripting languages like PHP. Building both the front- and backend with JavaScript can contribute to a faster, more cohesive development process.

Server-side JavaScript development can be further expedited with Express, the benchmark backend framework for Node.js. It provides prebuilt modules, middleware, and additional features for Node-based web platforms, mobile applications, APIs, and Microservices.

As a server-side application, Node gives you full control over how your frontend is rendered, making it fairly simple to output content that adheres to SEO best practices. So it’s good for organic traffic generation too. 

Popularity

Launched in 2009, Node has a very active third-party ecosystem and developer community. The Node package manager provides access to the world’s largest software library. Developers can choose from over a million free code modules (called ‘packages’) to fast-track or extend their projects.

Node’s growing popularity is reflected in the widespread use of its Express framework by the world’s top sites:

Source: Builtwith

Marketplace benefits

Node is perfectly suited for marketplace features that need to support high-volume concurrent requests. Examples include auctioneering sites, like eBay, that have to handle thousands of simultaneous bids, and real-time messaging systems, such as the group chat feature we built for IHSS Connect, a job marketplace.

We have observed significant performance benefits compared to similar marketplace backends we’ve built with PHP (Symfony). Real-time IoT applications, such as the property access automation we developed for property management platform, Nestify, also experienced performance gains. 

Node also allows us to build a more seamless user experience by establishing closer linkage between front- and backend development, which keeps the focus on the user journey.

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