An explanation of Node.js
Since it is intended specifically for backend use, Node.js comes with a variety of modules to handle common tasks one would use a server-side scripting language for. This can speed up the development process immensely, abstracting common features that you would otherwise have to write from scratch.
The basic features of Node.js
Here are some of the fundamental features of Node.js that separate from other scripting frameworks:
Event-Driven, Asynchronous Programming
APIs used as apart of the Node.js framework are totally asynchronous, otherwise known as non-blocking. This equates to Node.js never having to wait on a specific API to send data without moving on to another task. Node.js will move on to another API, keeping track of the data it is still waiting to receive from other APIs.
Node.js is extremely fast compared to other server-side alternatives, having been built on Google Chrome’s V8 Engine. Depending on the versions compared, Node.js has outperformed PHP and Python in benchmark tests.
Node.js applications always output data in chunks, in order to avoid buffering.
Node.js was developed to be used for both small projects and large, enterprise systems. Node.js utilizes a single-threaded model to allow for asynchronous events, whereas common server languages utilize a limited number of threads to deal with data requests. This ultimately means that Node.js can handle a larger number of server requests at one time than a more typical server setup such as Apache HTTP.
Node.js in Practice
Node.js is being used for a wide-array of uses, from open-source projects or small startups, to Fortune 500 companies. A short list of companies utilizing Node.js include PayPal, Uber, Microsoft, eBay, and GoDaddy.
What Node.js is best for
Some of the uses in which Node.js really shines include I/0 bound applications, such as chat messaging, data streaming services such as live video, Data Intensive Real-Time Applications (DIRT), single page web applications, and applications utilizing a lot of JSON-based APIs.
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