What is the most used software development language today? It’s JavaScript. Nearly 65% of the software developers around the world use it. This immense popularity is due to the wide range of areas the language can be applied in. It is traditionally used in frontend web development. But JS today is the go-to language for cross-platform mobile software development as well. And it’s applied to backend web development more often than you might think.

All of this is possible thanks to the various frameworks, platforms, and tools built on it and for it. Today we will tell you about one of the most popular JavaScript platform - Node.js. You will learn what Node js is. Its advantages and disadvantages. And what projects benefit most from it. By the end of this article, you will be able to make an informed decision on utilizing it for your project.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is an open-source cross-platform asynchronous event-driven runtime environment built on Chrome V8 JavaScript engine. What a mouthful!

What you need to know is - Node js was created to execute JS written commands server-side. Simply put, Node js makes it possible to run JS code not in the browser, but as a stand-alone application on a server.

With it, developers can write command-line tools in the language. And the server-side scripting can run its scripts. As a result, we get dynamic web page content produced before the user’s web browser receives it.

Node js unifies the whole of the web development process around one language. There’s no need to write frontend and backend separately in different languages. So there’s no need to hire two separate teams.

Node js has event-driven non-blocking Input/Output architecture. This ensures the platform’s outstanding performance. And allows for scalability.

LinkedIn was the first to use node.js in their mobile app’s backend development. Then other tech giants like Uber and eBay have applied the technology. Now it’s very widely used.

But, like with any other technology, there are both advantages and drawbacks of using Node.js. To help you decide if your project needs it we will discuss Node js benefits and disadvantages next.

Node.js Advantages and Disadvantages

Let's start with the node js advantages. You might have guessed some of them from the description of the technology. And it goes without saying - you need experienced Node.js developers to fully enjoy these benefits.

Node.js Advantages

When we talk about Node js the first thing that comes to mind is its built-in scalability. The structure of it implies the whole project is divided into “nodes”. And every node is event-based. The amount of these event-based nodes is unlimited. A developer can add them to a project infinitely. As a result, the projects are very scalable and have a lot of room to grow. Both vertically and horizontally.

Another amazing benefit that comes with the territory is the dynamic tech stack. Node js has all the benefits of JavaScript:

  • very popular language;
  • big choice of tools;
  • speed and performance.

Node.js is also a very efficient choice. Since the same language is used for both user and server sides. As a result, the teams are more flexible. The software is reliable and built much faster. And don’t forget about the code reuse benefits.

Node is capable of processing requests without delays. This is achieved with the asynchronous request handling and the already mentioned non-blocking I/O. As a result Node. js has a short response time and concurrent processing.

Finally, there’s a very active and helpful community. The platform’s popularity means there’s a lot of people who have already done what you are trying to do. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are numerous tools, libraries, and templates at your service.

Node.js Disadvantages

We could have listed a lot more advantages above. We decided to name only the most important ones so as not to overwhelm you. The list of disadvantages will be much shorter.

Being single-threaded and asynchronous is one of the advantages of Node js. It becomes a disadvantage when the system encounters heavy CPU-bound tasks. It prioritizes these tasks and leaves the rest in a queue. As a result, we get a decrease in performance. It slows down the whole thread of events.

Read more: How to Run CPU Intensive Tasks on Server (Using AWS Batch)

Another issue of Node js that comes from its asynchronous nature is the so-called “callback hell''. With multiple tasks running and each of them having a callback the system faces an unmanageable number of “if” statements. As a result, we get impeded performance yet again. And the quality of code lowers significantly.

Being open-source Node js has a great community. But awful library quality. There’s a lot of available packages with no documentation and low code quality.

And, of course, there’s a shortage of experienced developers. Yes, JavaScript developers are aplenty. But very few of them are willing to learn Node. It requires time, effort, and a lot of previous experience in programming.

Find in the guide:

  • Offshore development rates by country
  • Time zone difference
  • Development rates by role

Good news is - we have a well-established team of experienced Node js developers in Fulcrum. We had to do a lot to find and gather them all here. But we are sure they can do pretty much anything with Node js. If you’d like to see for yourself what Fulcrum developers can do just check out our development presentation.

What Projects Node.js is Best For

Node js works best for fast and scalable network apps. Its speed and performance are great for real-time multi-user data systems. Overall these are the types of projects that can benefit the most from it:

  • real-time web apps;
  • streaming apps;
  • messaging apps;
  • chats;
  • social media apps;
  • virtual emulators;
  • multiplayer games;
  • collaboration tools;
  • API

Fans of JavaScript can pursue full-stack development with the help of Node.js. Whether you’re developing a real-time application or high traffic site, Node.js can give you speed, efficiency, and lower development costs. And Fulcrum Rocks will help you to run the NodeJS project!