The Good and the Bad of Node.js Web App Development Edit

Rakesh Kumar Sutar | 04 January 2021 | 161

Introduction

Being the most popular programming language, JavaScript is also one of the most universal software development technologies. Traditionally used as a web frontend development tool, it has also become a major cross-platform mobile development tool as a basic technology for a large number of platforms, such as Apache Cordova/PhoneGap, React Native, NativeScript, Appcelerator Titanium. But the areas of application for JavaScript do not end here. Lately, there has been a lot of buzz around the use of JavaScript for server-side programming. One of the tools that indicated this shift in web development was Node.js.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is actually not a framework or a library, but a runtime environment, based on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine. The technology was first introduced back in 2009 by Ryan Dahl at the annual European JSConf and was immediately recognized as “the most exciting single piece of software in the current JavaScript universe”. As an open-source project, Node.js was sponsored by Joyent, a cloud computing and hosting solutions provider. The company invested in a number of other technologies, such as Ruby on Rails framework, and provided hosting services to Twitter and LinkedIn. The latter also became one of the first companies to use Node.js for its mobile application backend. The technology was later adopted by a number of technology leaders, such as Uber, eBay, Walmart, and Netflix, to name a few. However, it wasn't until recently that wide adoption of server-side JavaScript with Node.js started. The interest in this technology peaked in 2017, as per Google Trends, and remains high.

Working with Node.js

Node.js downloads. Install Long-Term Support and the latest versions of Node.js for Windows and MacOS . Also, a reminder – npm is distributed with Node.js out-of-the-box. Documentation. Find the docs and getting started guides at the link. Node.js IDEs . Almost any popular code editor has support and plugins for JavaScript and Node.js, so it only matters how you customize your IDE to your coding needs. But, many developers highly praise special tools from VS Code, Brackets, Atom, and WebStorm. Frameworks. Using middleware over pure Node.js is a common practice that makes developers' lives easier. We have a separate article comparing popular Node.js frameworks, where we look at Express.js, Meteor, Sales.js, Koa.js, Keystone.js, and Loopback.js. For more JavaScript ecosystem tools used with Node.js, see the dedicated article. Node.js strengths and weaknesses make it the subject of a heated discussion.