From client-side to server-side
MEAN & MERN
- reusing and sharing code is possible and very simple yet effective. This is with the help of Node.js modules, which are basically independent chunks of code. Developers can use prebuilt modules or reuse their own Node.js modules.
- It is highly scalable, and lightweight (fewer lines of code). Making it the favorite for almost every microservice architecture. Microservice architecture means, breaking down the application into isolated and independent services or simply building a modular code.
- Constant improvements in the engine, as Google continues to invest heavily in it.
- The event-based nature makes Node.js highly efficient for real-time apps that require constant data updates. The non-blocking input-output model solves performance issues. The performance is enhanced by concurrent request processing, which uses a single thread event loop. Furthermore, the non-blocking Input-output model allows for processing several requests at a time. This makes Node.JS highly efficient for processing multiple requests with less CPU, thus increasing speed.
Now that the most significant pros for coding in Node.js are clarified, the drawbacks should be conceptualized. This helps to really understand the choice to (or not to) code in Node.js.
Node.JS uses a non-blocking input-output model for processing requests. It is considered single-threaded by nature. Node.js is capable of processing several simple tasks, for instance, read database queries without blocking the main thread. Whenever there is a heavy-computation request, Node.js would set up a block on other requests on the thread causing an overall delay. This is considered as a major drawback of Node.js.
However, a solution is on its way. The latest updates threading was introduced as an experimental feature designed to process heavy computations using a worker thread. Module developers are now able to spawn additional threads for parallel processing to carry requests that block the event loop. Considering this, Node.js may become suitable for processing CPU-bound tasks and machine learning-based calculations.
- NPM registry seems to be quantity - not quality – driven. This contradicts the core products, which are proven to be stable and well-tested. Furthermore, the NPM registry is poorly structured and badly documented. Of course, that is not uncommon for any open source project.
Wrapping it up
Node.js is a powerful and lightweight tool used for full stack (web) development. Most likely, you would use it when building microservice architectures, or even cross-platform desktop programs with a framework. As with any tool, it has weaknesses like performance bottlenecks for CPU heavy operations. Although the project is strongly supported by the community, enterprise giants are investing in its development, and Node.js is growing and developing fast.
Thus, while choosing a backend tool and comparing options, such as Python-based – Django, PHP - Symfony, or Ruby on Rails, Node.js should be at the top of that list together with Python.