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What is Node.js Used For and How Does It Work?

Node.js is an open-source, back-end JavaScript runtime system that is quickly gaining popularity since its inception in 2009. Node.js was originally written as a set of bindings to V8 JavaScript Virtual Machine. It is currently used by corporate giants such as Netflix, Paypal, and Amazon Web Services with more platforms utilizing it every day.

 

What is Node JS?

Now a household name, JavaScript is a computer programming language first written and developed over 25 years ago. While it has been front and center in the creation and advancement of the World Wide Web, the language was originally written to only be used in web browsers.

Node.js expands the language’s functionality by allowing developers to create dynamic web pages as a result of server-side scripting. Ultimately, Node.js unites web-application development around a single language to create scalable network applications. Node.js allows JavaScript to do more with less, permitting it to be written on a web server rather than just a web browser. This is especially advantageous in the age of real-time web applications.

 

How To Use Node JS ?

Node JS was written to run on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript Engine. Developed in the shadow of Google Chrome, the software enables developers to create extensive and modern real-time applications using JavaScript. The language supports countless concurrent connections and optimizes throughput and scalability in web applications with a high number of input and output operations. While this makes Node JS impressively fast and efficient, comes with a learning curve. Below are steps and best practices on how to use Node JS so its advantages are not overshadowed by endless hours of research and troubleshooting.

 

Know JavaScript

First, it’s important to have a fundamental understanding of JavaScript prior to beginning a new project with Node.js. A beginner or intermediate coder may have difficulties discerning where JavaScript ends and Node.js begins. Be sure to have insight into the following concepts:

 

  • Expressions
  • Types
  • Variables
  • Functions
  • Arrays
  • Scopes
  • Loops
  • Semicolons
  • Temperate Literals

 

As asynchronous programming is a large part of Node.js, it’s also advantageous to have an understanding of:

 

  • A-Synchronous Programming and Callbacks
  • Timers
  • Promises
  • Closures
  • The Event Loop

 

Download and Install

Next, download the program for Windows or Mac from its official website found here. Included on their website are separate links for Linux and AIX. It is recommended to check out a Node Version Manager (NVM) to manage the installation of various node versions on your system. Separate NVMs are available from Github. Separate packages are available for all operating systems. NVMs give you the ability to install any version of Node.js you prefer and switch between versions.

 

Run The Program with ‘Hello World’

To begin, use the node command as follows:

 

node hello.js

 

If performed correctly, the program will output the following command:

 

Hello World

 

Congratulations, now your computer works as a server!

 

Exercise Patience

Your coding experience and expertise will be essential here, and the learning curve can vary from coder to coder. Asynchronous programming may prove difficult to get correct with the runtime environment. In return, Node.js can handle hundreds or even thousands of data requests without interrupting data flow. While time-consuming to adjust to, the language is a great jumping-off point for full-stack development.

 

For Which Cases Can Node JS Be Used?

While adjusting to and learning Node.js will involve much patience, it proves useful in a number of cases thanks to its open-source functionality:

 

Data Streaming

Companies such as Netflix, Youtube, and Hulu are facing stronger competition as the marketplace is flooded with new and exciting streaming services. The new generation of content providers gives users access to endless data that can be viewed anywhere from any device.

 

Node.js optimizes streaming by breaking up data into chunks, making it feasible to playback content bit by bit rather than downloading the entire file at once, creating a much more enjoyable user experience that does away with long buffering times.

 

Social Media

Have you ever wondered how social media platforms such as Instagram, Spotify, or Twitter can personalize your news feeds feed? These companies know and trust Node.js to optimize client performance. User experiences can be scaled to support varying amounts of users.

 

American social networking company LinkedIn, for example, utilizes Node.js to handle its large amount of traffic. The organization cited much faster performance and the ability to consolidate development personnel in their support of it.

 

Education and Distance Learning

The unfortunate events of 2020 have resulted in an uptick in online education and distant learning services and web applications.

Node.js gives developers the power to create effective apps that can efficiently create server-side JavaScript code for purposes of video meetings, course creation, management of data, as well as for analytics.

 

E-Commerce

Node.js is an efficient and effective way to grow your e-commerce store, and is used widely by companies such as eBay and Walmart, The software’s asynchronous, event-driven architecture creates quick and efficient scalability. Frameworks from Meteor.js and Total.js offer unique features in support of e-commerce and lay the foundation for web applications and program interfacing. Other frameworks integrate inventory management, shop customization, cart & checkout, plus much more.

 

Why Should Your Business Consider Using Node JS?

 

Trello, Uber, Netflix, Yandex, Paypal, Walmart, and NASA all use node.js for their dynamic website needs.

What is node.js ?

Unbelievably quick, personalized, and interactive web experiences are why countless companies are becoming more familiar with the software. Increased internet and mobile phone usage worldwide, and the ongoing trend towards digitalization are creating fierce competition in online marketplaces. Node.js gives you the ability to go above and beyond to give clients an amazing web experience that will keep them coming back.

As Node.js is often called a “JavaScript everywhere” mode, developers versed in JavaScript will find it easy as it does away with switching programming language between back-end and front-end development, saving precious time in the long run.

Node.js also proves quicker to employ and easier to scale, creating the ideal scenario for businesses or e-commerce services with plans to grow and expand.

Banks and social media services will find the software’s mobile feature advantageous, while its quick and efficient performance is ideal for streaming services like Netflix.

Node.js opens doors to a vast, open-source, JavaScripted-formed library. Its ease of use and high functionality makes the software ideal for developers hoping to stay efficient in the era of data-hungry real-time web applications.

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