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Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment. Sounds great, but what does that mean? How does that work?


Apr, 19

What is Node.js?

What is Node.js?

Node.js is a cross-platform JavaScript run-time environment that can execute JavaScript code outside of a browser. Node.js is an open source software which unifies web application development on a single programming language which focuses on both server and client-side scripts. Node.js uses JavaScript to do things other scripting languages (e.g. Python) do and is no longer limited to just making websites interactive. Even though .js is the standard filename extension for JavaScript, Node.js doesn’t refer to a particular file but merely the name of the product.

The Node run-time environment includes everything you need to execute a program written in JavaScript. Both JavaScript and Node.js run on V8 JavaScript runtime engine which converts the code into machine code. Node.js optimizes throughput and scalability in web applications with many input/output operations, as well as for real-time Web applications.

One of the main functionalities of Node.js is that it allows the creation of Web servers and networking tools using JavaScript and a collection of modules which handles various core functionalities. The modules are used for file system I/O, networking, cryptography functions and other core functions. Node.js is supported by almost all of the operating systems. For example, Windows VPS, Linux VPS, FreeBSD, macOS, OpenBSD are officially being supported by Node.js while the provided source code is modified in order to be supported by other systems.

Advantages of Node.js

Easy to learn

  • As JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages which front-end developers are familiar with, it’s easier to start using Node.js at the backend. Node.js is easier to learn and consumes less time to work with it.

Easy scalability

  • The applications can be scaled in a horizontal manner by the addition of additional nodes to the existing system. This also offers you the option of adding extra resources to the single nodes during the vertical scaling of the application.

Used as a single programming language

  • js allows writing both front-end and back-end web application in JavaScript using a runtime environment without the need of any other server-side programming language.

Offers high performance

  • As mentioned earlier the JavaScript code is run on V8 JavaScript engine and this compiles the JavaScript into machine code. This makes it easier and faster to implement the code in an effective manner while the speed of code execution increases as it supports the non-blocking I/O operation.

Support of a large and active community

  • js has a very large and active community of developers who keep a continuous contribution of solutions which helps its further development and improvement.

Disadvantages of Node.js

Application Programming Interface (API) is not stable

  • One of the main drawbacks of Node.js is that the API keeps on changing at frequent intervals and does not remain stable.

Node.js doesn’t have a strong library support system

  • In comparison to other programming languages, Node.js is not equipped with a robust library system which results in users being forced to take support from common libraries when executing tasks like image processing, handling database operations, XML parsing, etc.

Susith Nonis

I'm fascinated by the IT world and how the 1's and 0's work. While I veture into the world of Technology I try to share what I know in the simplest way possible. Not a fan of coffee, a sweet addict and a self accredited 'master chef'.