Node.js has made quite the splash in the development circle with respect to creating real-time applications. The fact that Node.js allows apps to establish a two-way communication channel through Push technology as compared to the traditional WebSocket (where the client initiates a connection with the server) makes this language a developer favorite.
Apps developed on Node.js can interact with the device they are installed on to trigger a user action by activating device screens or displaying notifications. In fact, Node.js conducted a survey of their own which revealed thoroughly interesting results:
- 85% of the respondents were using Node.js for web development
- 43% of the respondents were using Node.js for enterprise applications
- “Fast”, “Easy” and “Powerful” were the most common terms used to describe this platform when respondents were asked to review it
Let’s understand the reasons companies hire Node.js developers for real-time app development.
Adobe and Spotify are among some of the most popular sites that use Node.js today. As of June 2022, Node.js is the most used platform for high-traffic websites, according to W3Techs. The reasons these sites prefer it for real-time application development are discussed below.
Event-based server architecture is faster and can handle more queries and connections at any time. Traditional servers work on the principle of dedicated threads that manage a connection by invoking select() system call while keeping the line open, waiting for events to happen over it.
On the other hand, event-based servers are able to close a connection when not in use and free up these threads for other queries, delivering a quicker response. When developing real-time apps, this functionality comes in handy as the servers are required to handle thousands of real-time users at the same time.
Node.js is known for its non-blocking programming features. Traditional programming deals with synchronous execution of operations. It means that with traditional programming, until one operation is complete, it will block the next in line from initiating.
In Node.js, however, this isn’t the case. The non-blocking, asynchronous architecture allows the program to initiate one system call and move to the next without waiting for the response. This speeds up the communication between the two parties. Additionally, it helps better utilize the CPU and memory capacity of the system. For real time apps, Node.js delivers high-speed communication between client and server.
Using Node.js, developers can approach real-time app development as a collection of microservice. In a traditional app or software developed as monolithic, the user would have only one channel to interact with it regardless of the services he wants access to, because of the unified nature of the app.
In the microservices architecture, Node.js allows the development of a whole application as a collection of smaller services. It is augmented and made more powerful with the non-blocking feature of Node.js, making it extremely simple for users to get information from the app. Many communication channels exist that patch the user query through directly to the called service.
This lightning-fast response is a must for real-time apps.
By adding a short code of 20 lines into the programming, any Node.js server can be transformed into a proxy server. It works to provide an extra layer of security against cyberattacks, as the Node.js server is capable of creating a gateway between the user and the internet.
Real-time apps require security to prevent cyberattacks; since Node.js can serve as a proxy server, it helps create a relatively secure environment for using the app. This can be leveraged for great benefit by the finance industry, stock market apps and the like.
Node.js is known to be a language that is easy to use, fast and creates applications that are just as good. The event-based loop model with single-thread function allows users to pull the applications faster and deal with multiple client requests without any issues.
You can incorporate SEO-friendly features into your Node.js apps, making them a great source of information for users searching for real-time data or certain information. Using server-side rendering libraries in Node.js, you can create apps that are delivered to the user fully rendered – and this is very important for SEO today.
The backend rendering in Node.js helps increase user engagement which is one of the benchmarks of SEO.
Real-time applications need a lot of special functionality to work the way they are intended to. Node.js can make it happen with its highly acclaimed features like event-based servers and lightning-fast performance. In fact, according to Hackernoon, Netflix and PayPal were able to drive economic and performance results in their platforms by using Node.js for development.
Netflix, being a real-time streaming app, catering 7 billion video-hours to almost 50 million watchers in about 60 countries – the kind of reliability, stability and performance needed for this app is thus laced with high expectations. Node.js makes it possible.
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