Node.js - The Ultimate Guide (2022)
In the past few years, Node.js has absolutely taken off as a server-side platform that is now one of the richest environments to develop web applications, APIs, or microservices.
Node.js has seen an increase in adoption over the past few years. The time to leverage the powers of Node.js is now since it’s still not too late to catch the hype train. This article will provide you with the best ways to get started with Node.js.
So what exactly is Node.js all about?
Let’s find out!
What is Node.js?
It was developed by Ryan Dahl in 2009 and can be downloaded for free from the official website.
What makes Node.js unique from other server-side languages?
Why Use Node.js?
Node.js is an event-based, asynchronous environment, meaning that it operates on a non-blocking event loop. In other words, this means you can easily use Node.js to make fast, scalable network applications.
Node has a large number of libraries, which makes it ideal for use in a wide range of applications. There are thousands of free npm (Node Package Manager) modules that can be incorporated into your projects, such as authentication and file upload functionality.
Using Node.js, a wide range of applications can be created, from simple CLI (command line) tools to sophisticated programs and autonomous HTTP servers. It's this versatility that has made Node.js so popular for use by many enterprises and developers!
And with big companies like LinkedIn, PayPal, and Yahoo using Node in production, you know it is a reliable option for your next project.
Projects Node.js is Ideal For
Node.js is a very flexible and powerful platform, making it ideal for use in projects involving real-time data transmissions such as chat, stock market tickers, or games.
For example, products such as Slack and Trello, use Node.js to power their real-time features!
It is also widely used for developing APIs, as well as creating custom web servers (game, streaming, and advertisement servers) and backend services. Unlike other server-side languages, Node.js is a single-threaded process and scales well for high-performance applications.
It is also suited for developing collaborative web applications with real-time data updating, document sharing, etc.
As it is so lightweight, you can even run Node.js on a Raspberry Pi! This makes it an ideal option for prototyping the next big thing!
What are the Downsides of Node.js?
Although there is no doubt that for many projects Node.js is a great choice, there are some caveats to be aware of.
It is not suited for applications that require heavy computation running in the background, as it can be memory intensive. It's also not the best choice for CPU-intensive applications.
What is NPM?
One term you will definitely hear a lot when getting started with Node.js is NPM or the 'Node Package Manager. This command-line tool allows you to install, share and distribute Node.js packages.
It's the default package manager for all projects created using Node.js. It allows you to install modules that are compatible with your project by listing them in the package.json file which is automatically generated when you create a new Node project!
Each application is made up of many different components. For example, an API might include authentication and file upload modules which can be reused in other projects.
A framework is an open-source library that provides functions to create custom modules that can be used in any project. Frameworks are great as they can speed up development and also ensure consistency across projects.
Node has a large number of frameworks, so the choice can be overwhelming! In this post, we will look at some of the most popular frameworks, their various features, and how to use them.
Express is one of the most common Node.js frameworks. It provides a lightweight code structure which is great for building APIs, web applications, and microservices.
Express works seamlessly with Node's modules and has a large number of plugins available.
Koa was created by the same team as Express but is more performant. It's an ideal choice for developing APIs and microservices, as well as building web applications.
Koa uses generators which makes it more efficient with asynchronous code, in comparison to Express.
Sails is “designed to emulate the familiar MVC pattern of frameworks like Ruby on Rails, but with support for the requirements of modern apps: data-driven APIs with a scalable, service-oriented architecture” according to the official website.
It is a great framework for creating real-time applications such as chat, gaming servers, and live data apps.
Hapi was created by Node experts at Walmart Labs in collaboration with IBM. This framework has been designed specifically for building large applications and is already being used at an enterprise level by many big companies.
Hapi provides a comprehensive toolkit for building APIs and web services, which includes authentication tools and monitoring capabilities. The team behind Hapi has also built plugins that can be easily incorporated into your project to create custom modules!
Features of Node.js frameworks
Node has a large number of feature-rich, powerful, and flexible frameworks at your disposal. So what exactly are these modules capable of doing? There is so much choice! Let's take a look...
Data storage: Using NoSQL databases in combination with Node.js modules allows you to store data quickly and efficiently, regardless of the size or number of users!
Using NoSQL databases in combination with Node.JS provides a scalable solution for fast-paced projects where user numbers are constantly changing.
The MERN stack: This popular (and catchy!) acronym stands for MongoDB, Express, React, and Node.js, the hyper-flexible combination of technologies that are used to create full-stack web applications!
The MERN Stack is a great choice for building single-page apps with modern UI/UX features such as animations or infinite scrolling since it provides everything you need in one package!
Parts of Node.js - Unraveling what the building blocks
Node.js has a built-in library system that allows you to use prebuilt modules in your application. It is an incredibly useful feature, as it allows you to easily call functions from a library without having to modify the source code.
Every Node application comes with a built-in module system. This system is designed to help you organize your code and reuse it in other projects.
Examples of Node.js modules: HTTP, URL, fs, util, query string, stream, path, assert.
A Node.js cluster is a way to share server load across multiple processes or machines, allowing you to create applications that use all available resources.
Global objects are functions, modules, strings, etc. They can be found in every Node.js module.
Streams are the objects that enable you to read data or write data in Node.js.
Buffers are used to process streams that contain only binary data.
Errors that remain unhandled are caught by the domain module.
The DNS module is what allows you to connect to a DNS server and conduct name resolution.
The debugging process can be done using the built-in debugger module.
Together the above-mentioned parts of the Node.js ecosystem form a very powerful and flexible tool that can be used in almost any project, whether it is for personal use or commercial use.
How To Use Node.js?
The first thing you will need to do is install Node.js. Head over to the official website (nodejs.dev) and download the installation package of Node.js for your operating system (Mac, Linux, or Windows) and follow the installation steps.
The LTS (Long-term Support) version is recommended as the best option for download since it is more stable than the most recent edition.
To verify that Node.js is installed correctly, open the terminal/command prompt and access your project directory (create a new one if you don't have any yet) and enter the following command:
You should see the current version of Node.js, which is displayed when you enter the command node -v.
What about NPM Installation?
Ideally, NPM is already included with the installation of Node.js.
To verify that NPM is installed correctly, open the terminal/command prompt and access your project directory (create a new one if you don't have any yet) and enter the following command:
You should see the current version of NPM, which is displayed when you enter the command npm -v.
Once you have successfully installed Node.js, you can start creating your own applications.
Using NPM to install Node Modules
NPM can also be used to install packages for your project, including submodules. All you have to do is open a terminal and navigate to the folder containing your package.json file. Then type npm install MODULE_NAME --save
The '--save' flag allows you to save packages in your package.json file, under the "dependencies" section. This means that if another developer clones your project and runs npm install, they will automatically download any packages listed in dependencies!
NPM also has a huge number of plugins available which allow you to automate many development tasks.
Key Industry Trends with Node.js
Node.js is fast emerging as one of the most popular platforms for building web applications, and it's not hard to see why when you look at the stats.
Node.js has been downloaded over a billion times, and the number of downloads is increasing at an incredible rate.
Some of the world's largest enterprises have adopted Node.js as a strategic platform for digital transformation initiatives that support their business goals. Node.js is also widely used in high-traffic websites, startups, and new ventures across different industries including financial services, retail, education, health care, media, and entertainment.
Because Node.js has emerged as the preferred platform for building scalable web applications, the demand for Node.js professionals has increased, with startups all around the world offering attractive packages to experienced Node.js developers.
There are several reasons behind this popularity, including the following:
- The Vibrant Ecosystem - Node has an enormous community of open source contributors and users, which is constantly growing and evolving. This vibrant ecosystem has allowed developers to create over 200,000 free packages in the NPM registry and they can be easily installed using NPM.
- Low Learning Curve - Developers can use the same language they are already familiar with for both frontend and backend development, which means less time spent learning new technologies.
- Modular Architecture - Node is based on modules, which are reusable code that can be easily plugged into other modules. This modularity makes it easy to work with other frameworks and libraries in Node, including AngularJS, React, or Express.
Other factors that are fueling the growth of Node.js include its scalability, speed, and simplicity - all making it a great choice for businesses who are looking to create highly scalable and data-intensive web applications.
Hire the best Node.js experts online right now to stay ahead of the curve
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