An Introduction to Node JS

Sshekhar Jha
April 25, 2022

As the spectrum of software development has widened, Node JS is a tool that has found its way amongst the most reliable development tools in the global developer community.

But what is Node JS? Why is it so popular, and what is it useful for? In this article, we shall delve into a few such questions and more. 

Node JS is a free-to-use multi-platform, open-source environment that uses the V8 JavaScript engine on its server to function, which allows it to be highly performant. It’s renowned for reducing waiting time and running single-threaded, non-simultaneous programming without the hassle of blocking. It’s widely used to create back-end services such as API’s for web or mobile apps.

A few popular applications of the Node JS platform are creating:

  1. Real-time chat interfaces
  2. Complex single-page applications
  3. Real-time collaborative tools
  4. Video/Audio streaming applications
  5. API based apps

A few ways that Node JS is advantageous are:

  1. Creating dynamic, adaptive page content
  2. Collecting and modifying data in your database
  3. Enabling you to interact with your data on the server itself, eliminating the need to export the data elsewhere.
  4. Letting developers write the server-side code in addition to the client-side code, hence eliminating the need to learn a whole new programming language.
  5. It facilitates easy scalability, both horizontal and vertical, for apps built on its platform.
  6. It’s easy to learn and code on, primarily because it runs on JavaScript.

A typical Node JS file can be identified by the extension “.js” in the file name. It contains the tasks that have to be executed at defined ‘events’. An Event being someone attempting to access a particular port on the server. A Node JS file has to be implemented initially on the server; only then will it have any effect.

Typically Node JS handles a file request by transferring the task to the computer’s file system, and after the file system opens and reads the file, the server assigns the file’s content back to the client.

Node JS, due to its ease of use and numerous advantages, has been adopted as the go-to platform for web and mobile app development for some of the biggest corporations in the world. The scope that it affords developers to create apps without learning a whole new language has seen it be embraced by the developer community. 

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