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By: Sagar Sharma

Node JS Use Cases: When Is It Worth Considering for Web App Development?

If you’re wondering what’s with all the hype around Node JS, you’re not alone.

Since it’s emergence, Node JS has taken the web development world by storm.

In fact, many big companies like LinkedIn, Uber, Airbnb, and even NASA have adopted the technology in their products.

Why?

Because the benefits of NodeJS are unmatched.

In this article, I’m going to share everything about NodeJS, from what it is, to how it is different from other JavaScript frameworks and best Node JS use cases.

Let’s dive right in!

What is NodeJS?

The first thing you should know about NodeJS is that it’s not a JavaScript framework.

NodeJS is a server-side runtime environment that is built upon event-driven programming language that enables non-blocking I/O capabilities.

Thanks to this unique I/O model, building I/O-heavy and data-heavy web applications becomes very fast and easy using NodeJS.

Apart from this, the ability of NodeJS to use JavaScript on both front-end as well as back-end has also opened up many new avenues in web application development.

How Is It Different From Other JavaScript Frameworks?

Though there is no difference between NodeJS and other JavaScript frameworks in terms of the programming language used, what makes NodeJS different from the rest of the JavaScript frameworks is its different sets of APIs.

For example, unlike other JavaScript frameworks, NodeJS provides many APIs for backend development such as HTTP requests, streams, support for file systems, and child processes to name just a few.

Furthermore, since NodeJS uses JavaScript on both front-end as well as the back-end, it significantly increases the development speed.

Simply put, NodeJS development allows businesses and companies to save more as NodeJS holds the capability to handle the same amount of load with less horsepower.

Node JS Use Cases: When Is It Worth Using?

NodeJS, as mentioned before, gives a great boost to the productivity of your team since it uses the same programming language on front-end and back-end.

As a result, the development process becomes much faster, efficient, and cross-functional, which ultimately leads to lower development costs.

However, it’s also worth mentioning that NodeJS works best for only a certain kind of web applications.

Let’s discuss in detail different Node JS use cases to understand when is it worth considering for web application development.

1 – When You’re Building Streaming Web Apps

Thanks to the Native Stream API, NodeJS is an excellent choice for developing streaming web apps.

In addition, NodeJS also has a built-in interface of writable and readable streams that can be easily and efficiently processed and monitored.

These stream instances are nothing but Unix pipes which makes it possible to transmit parts of the application’s executable code to the local system while also keeping a steady connection for new components to download as and when needed.

As a result, streams in NodeJS don’t require caching and storing temporary data because it gives an open connection to the stream app’s data from the server to the local system.

In layman’s terms, the Native Stream API of NodeJS allows downloading only certain parts of the web application initially and the remaining parts are downloaded in the background when needed.

2 – When You’re Building Real-time Collaboration Tools

Real-time collaboration tools are basically Software solutions widely used for project management, co-browsing, audio and video conferencing, collaborative documents editing, and much more.

In these software solutions, lots of I/O requests and events occur concurrently. For example, in a project management solution, multiple users can write comments, update status, and attach media to a specific project.

Now, since NodeJS can handle heavy I/O operations efficiently due to its WebSockets and Event API, NodeJS has become a favorite choice among developers for building such real-time collaboration solutions.

Trello, for example, adopted NodeJS for its event-driven and non-blocking architecture to instantly update their collaborative environment.

3 – When You’re Building Complex, Single-Page Applications

Single-Page applications have become a common approach nowadays.

In SPAs, the entire application is basically fit on a single page to provide a desktop app like experience.

NodeJS is a perfect fit for building SPAs because it can efficiently handle the asynchronous calls and heavy I/O operations.

In addition, NodeJS also works well with data-driven single page applications in which the server acts as the backend to transmit data to the client, while the client-side does all the HTML rendering.

Lastly, Since NodeJS and browsers use the same language (JavaScript), the amount of time for context switching gets drastically reduced and developers can also use the same language structures and approaches in both back-end and front-end.

This ultimately results in better maintainability and faster development time of your single-page application.

4 – When You’re Building Real-Time Chat Applications

As you might already know, real-time chats are widely used on pretty much everywhere on the web these days. In fact, they’ve kind of become a necessity, especially for commercial sites and digital products.

The good news is, NodeJS has all the basic functionalities for building real-time chat apps. Node’s Event API makes it possible for developers to implement server-side events and push notifications, which are widely used in most real-time chats.

In addition, the WebSockets in NodeJS also facilitates a two-way exchange via an open connection, which is ideal for real-time chat apps development.

For example, you can install WebSockets libraries like sockets.io or WebSocket-node to easily deploy real-time chat functionality.

In sockets.io specifically, all you need to do is install the library on both client and server-side and create broadcasters and event emitters to push messages. The best part is, this entire setup can be done with just a few lines of code.

5 – When You’re Building Microservices Architecture

Microservices Architecture is basically an approach to develop a web application as a group of small, independent services in which each service plays a unique role in the business logic.

In recent years, microservices architecture has become extremely popular, especially after the emergence of Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix.

In this type of web application, microservices usually communicate through REST/HTTP protocol with JSON data structure.

NodeJS is the perfect technology to build such microservices architecture because NodeJS makes it easy to mount various instances of server for individual microservices and design appropriate routing addresses for them.

Additionally, the lightweight nature of NodeJS can significantly enhance the scalability, maintainability, and efficiency of a web application.

These benefits were first leveraged by PayPal in 2013. PayPal used NodeJS to modularize its app stack and split the development process into numerous microservices.

The result of NodeJS adoption helped the company to improve performance and reduce their codebase significantly.

Conclusion

NodeJS has become the number one choice among developers as well as companies for building modern web applications.

However, you should not use NodeJS if you’re developing a CPU-intensive web application as it may cause unresponsiveness due to its single-threaded nature.

On the other hand, NodeJS is the best choice if your web app involves dealing with heavy client-side rendering, frequent shuffling of data, multiple concurrent requests, and things alike.

That being said, if you’re planning to use NodeJS in your web application, hire Node JS Developer from Credencys to fully-utilize the capabilities of Node JS.

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