What Is Node.js and How Does It Work? What Are the Benefits of Using It?

What Is Nodejs and How Does It Work What Are the Benefits of Using ItSynopsis: Node.js transforms real-time web applications in contrast to the normal web response where the client always initiates the communication. Node.js is a platform based on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime to build fast and scalable network applications. 

An event-driven, non-blocking IO model makes it efficient for data-intensive real-time applications that run on distributed devices. In traditional techniques, each request gets a new thread, taking up RAM and eventually taxing the available RAM. 

Node.js works on a single thread with non-blocking IO calls, allowing it to support multiple requests in the event loop. An open-source cross-platform, it helps in developing real-time network applications. You need the expertise of a top Node.js development company to negotiate the journey.

 

Working of Node.js

Node.js accepts requests from clients and sends responses. When dealing with requests, Node.js handles them from a single thread. A thread is a sequence of instructions that a server needs to execute. It runs parallel on the server to provide information to multiple clients. An event loop single-threaded language, it works on two concepts:

 

  • Non-blocking IO

Blocking IO means that a given thread cannot do anything else until the IO is fully received. Non-blocking IO means that an IO request is directly queued and the function returns. And an actual IO is processed at some point later.

So, it means dealing with multiple requests without blocking the thread for a single request. IO (input/output) interacts with external systems such as files and databases.

 

  • Asynchronous

It’s about executing a callback function. The moment the response comes from the other server or database, it will execute the callback function. Callback functions act as soon as some work is finished because Node.js uses an event-driven architecture.

The asynchronous functions are generally preferred over synchronous functions as they do not block the execution of the program. The synchronous functions block the execution of the program until it is finished processing. Node.js uses the Libuv concept to implement the system to handle the request.

 

About Libuv concept

Libuv is an open-source library built-in C. It is asynchronous and focuses on IO. It gives node access to the underlying computer operating system, file system and networking. Libuv implements two important features of Node.js, namely:

 

1) Event loop

It has a single thread and is responsible for handling simple tasks like executing callbacks and network IO. When the program needs to initialize top-level code, the code is not in the callback function. All application code inside the callback function will run in the event loop.

When a node application starts, the event loop starts running. An indefinite loop, it continuously receives requests and processes them. It checks the queue and waits indefinitely for the incoming request.

It executes the tasks from the event queue only when the call stack is empty i.e. no tasks are running.

 

What is a callback?

It is an asynchronous part of a callback function. A callback function is called upon completion of a given task. Node.js makes heavy use of callbacks. All the Node.js APIs are written in such a way that they support callbacks.

 

What are queues?

A queue is a data structure used in Node.js to properly organize asynchronous operations. These operations exist in various forms, including HTTP requests, read or write file operations, streams and more.

 

2) Thread pool

Node.js is single-thread but maintains a thread pool. When non-blocking requests are accepted, they are processed in an event loop. When accepting blocking requests, it checks the available threads in the pool and assigns a thread to the client’s request which is then processed and sent back to the event loop. And, a response is sent to the respective client.

 

Node.js uses

It is not recommended to use this framework for CPU-intensive applications. Node.js is proving itself as a perfect technology partner in the following areas:

 

Chat rooms

People use phone-based apps or social media to chat with friends. Node.js can create chat rooms very easily. Independent chat rooms are used in online games which makes it exciting.

 

Data collection 

Node.js allows the collection of large amounts of data and makes it efficient. Large data in the database can create a bottleneck, as database access is a blocked operation. Node.js receives this data and sends it piecemeal to the backend. This ensures that the data is stored without system breakage.

 

Browser games

Browser-based games are perhaps the most exciting application of the real-time web. Users need not open Flash, Java or other programs to play. They can do it in their browser. Node.js, in conjunction with HTML 5, can help design real-time browser games with multiplayer games with the same technology.

 

Streaming

Audio and video media content files are uploaded to streaming videos on YouTube or Facebook. It has to be processed to make it available to users. Node.js application allows these videos to be processed while they are uploaded.

 

Real-time applications

Node.js is a great choice for applications that process a high volume of small messages and require low latency. Node.js helps develop such systems easily. It can also be a good alternative to real-time collaborative drawing and editing-type apps like Dropbox.

 

Node.js benefits 

Node.js’s advantages allows developers to load mobile apps while simultaneously running tasks without crashing or slowing down the server. As a backend environment, it runs on JavaScript, which is one of the easiest and most popular programming languages. Benefits include: 

Excellent caching

Node.js comes with a major benefit of caching. It can cache or store data. When requests are made to the app, they are stored in the in-app memory. Therefore, when requests go through execution and re-execution, nodes still run efficiently.

 

Speed and performance

Its non-blocking, IO operations make it one of the fastest options available. The code runs faster and enhances the entire run-time environment as it runs on Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. Likely to be programmed end-to-end in JavaScript, the interoperability adds speed and performance.

 

Flexibility

Node.js flexibility is probably the biggest advantage of all. When a change is made in Node.js, only that node is affected. It requires nothing more than a change to a node. It works for your initial build, and also for your ongoing maintenance.

 

Scalability

All nodes in Node.js are event-based. Let’s say, a customer makes an in-app purchase, or sends an email to customer service, the number of nodes you can add to your core programming function is high. It allows for vertical scaling, adding new capacity paths and horizontal scaling with new resources in existing programming.

 

Efficient queuing of requests

Node.js can handle multiple requests at once. It provides users with an alternative non-block IO system. This system works by prioritizing the requests that take the shortest response time. The priority helps speed up your overall app operation.

 

An active user community

Node.js’s advantage also includes its huge user community. Thousands of programmers that are part of this thriving community help each other and provide new, open-source code for every type of mobile application need that may arise.

 

Single programming language

It runs on Javascript. Programmers can easily add nodes to the rest of the full-stack development. It becomes easier for frontend developers to perform more difficult backend programming tasks. No other server-side language is required. This speeds up the development process and gives programmers access to your mobile app’s backend.

 

All things considered 

Node.js language helps to build fast, scalable network applications, and is capable of handling a large number of simultaneous requests which equates to high scalability.

A cross-platform development in JavaScript runtime environment, it is for servers and applications. It is built on a single-threaded, non-blocking event loop and the Google Chrome V8 JavaScript engine. 

Node.js has grown in popularity and will continue to do so, allowing companies around the world to choose it among other available options. Widely used for backend development, it is a top choice among frameworks.

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