What is Node.js?
The guiding principles behind Node.js can be summed up in the phrase “lightweight design”. Node.js is built with simplicity and reliability first and foremost on its list of concerns. For example, the framework runs on a single event thread, making use of non-blocking I/O calls and eliminating the overhead of multi-thread context switching and management.
It’s this design choice that makes Node.JS inherently scalable and capable of handling tens of thousands of concurrent connections without running out of memory resources.
Of course, this approach does also place a limit on the amount of heavy computation that can be done on the framework’s event thread. Computationally intensive tasks would naturally block incoming requests until completion and create a challenging bottleneck in the system.
As a result, these design choices have to be carefully considered to determine if the framework is the right one for your apps. Node.js is ideally suited to some types of applications and use over others. Some of the best uses for Node.JS technologies include:
- Data Streaming Apps
- Server-side Proxy
- Dashboards and real-time Monitoring
- Chat and Communication Apps
- Small server-Side Web Apps used with Front-end packages
In comparison, Node.js is poorly suited to applications that require heavy amounts of server-side processing. Though, one potential workaround is for teams to use clustering to deploy several node instances at once to serve concurrent users.
For teams, another exceptionally useful facet of the technology is the framework’s package manager. Similar to Ruby gems, the Node package manager (NPM) provides well-tested and reusable components that developers can depend on to add functionality to enterprise apps.
The most popular and essential NPM modules development teams use today include: