May 03, 2019

Why Node.js has become a standard for corporate organizations

Average Reading time: 4 minutes, 25 seconds

Corporate organizations across the world are choosing Node.js as their technology of choice for building game-changing applications. From PayPal to Trello to Walmart and even NASA, it seems that Node.js has something to offer to everyone, and the question we want to answer is: why Node.js?

JavaScript as a backend language

The immense success of Node.js has a lot to do with the equally enormous success of JavaScript and its omnipresence on the modern web. While there have been many JavaScript frameworks over the years, such as Electron JS, helping developers deliver advanced web applications, it was always assumed that JavaScript and backend development don’t go together. That is until Node.js arrived in 2009 and showed everyone that JavaScript could compete with well-established programming languages.

Node.js is an open-source JavaScript run-time environment for executing JavaScript code outside of a browser. It’s cross-platform, which means that corporate organizations can easily target all major platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. Node.js is designed with scalability in mind, and it uses an asynchronous event-driven I/O model, ensuring that almost no function in Node directly performs I/O.

In August 2018, Node.js celebrated one billion downloads. “In the last few years, we’ve seen incredible success with Node.js not just within backend development, but with cross-platform and desktop applications,” stated the Node.js Foundation in the official announcement of the milestone.

“The technology goes beyond simply an application platform but is used for rapid experimentation with corporate data, application modernization, and IoT solutions.”

Considering the rapid rate at which Node.js has gained traction, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it now ranks as one of the most demanded developer skills by corporate organizations that would like to use or are already using it to build modern applications.

Why Node.js instead of something else?

We’ve already explained some reasons why Node.js has become a standard for corporate organizations, but they don’t exactly tell the whole story.

With Node.js, software developers don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel because they can simply download common features in the form of smaller open-source software modules using the Node Package Manager, known as npm. Essentially, npm is an online database of public and paid-for private packages, and it comes included by default with every installation of Node.js. If you’re familiar with Ruby Gems, npm modules will feel instantly familiar to you.

For example, mongodb and mongojs are MongoDB wrappers that provide the API for MongoDB object databases; moment.js is a library for parsing, validating, manipulating, and formatting dates; pug is a popular templating engine; and connect is an extensible HTTP server framework that allows software developers to glue together various middleware services to handle requests. Thanks to these and many other modules, software developers can create highly capable applications much faster than they could otherwise.

To fully understand why Node.js has become a standard for corporate organizations, you need to be familiar with Google Chrome’s V8 runtime, upon which Node.js is built. Developed by the Chromium Project for Google Chrome and Chromium web browsers, Google Chrome’s V8 runtime, commonly called Chrome V8 or even just V8, is an open-source JavaScript engine written in C++.

Top reasons why Node.js is a good choice for large organizations.

Because it compiles JavaScript directly to native machine code before executing it and deploys various optimization techniques, V8 makes Node.js applications very fast. The high-performance nature of V8 is further emphasized by Google’s continuous effort to improve it. When LinkedIn migrated from Ruby on Rails to Node.js, the professional social network quickly noticed that its mobile app became two to ten times faster and more lightweight.

While software developers, including Node.js developers, are used to things constantly changing, with new technologies replacing old ones, corporate organizations seek stability and long-term support. With stakeholders to please and customers to serve, they can’t afford to blindly follow the hype and adopt every new technology that comes along, hoping it can survive past the stage of infancy and deliver on its promises.

Node.js has detailed long term support (LTS) policy that clarifies release schedules and specifies exactly how long a given version will be supported for critical fixes. According to the 2018 Node.js User Survey Report, the third annual Node.js report by the Node.js Foundation, LTS support is seen as an important feature by up to 70 percent of Node.js developers, which is a significant number that largely explains why Node.js has become a standard for corporate organizations.

Conclusion

There is no single reason why Node.js has become a standard for corporate organizations. Its immense success can be attributed to a plethora of different factors, starting with the popularity of JavaScript and ending with its stability and long-term support, both of which are rare in the current era of ever-changing technologies and constant disruption.

In time, Node.js could very well become the default go-to technology for all corporate organizations that are interested in developing high-intensity, real-time applications capable of meeting the needs of modern users.

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