Is Node.Js A Good Choice For Your Next Web App?
Is Node.js a good choice for your next web app?
Akbar S. Ahmed | May 10, 2014

Yes and no. It depends.

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime that allows you to run JavaScript on the server. And, if you’re developing a web application, then you are already going to run JavaScript on the client as JavaScript is the main language that runs in the browser.

So the first main advantage of Node.js is that you can develop your application with the same language (i.e. JavaScript) on the client (in the browser) and on the server (with Node.js).

Importantly, Node.js is seeing rapid adoption by the web development community. This means that you’ll find a large number of answers to most questions via a Google search, in StackOverflow or even with code samples on GitHub.

However, you may be wondering if Node.js is a good choice for your next project. Whether or not Node.js is a good choice for your next project depends on what you are building.

Node.js excels at web development. The main types of projects where you should strongly consider Node.js are for:

  • Static web sites
  • Web applications (aka web apps)
  • APIs
  • Real-time web apps

Web sites

Node.js works just fine for developing static web sites. While this is not it’s sweet spot one good reason for using Node.js for web site development is so that you use the same environment for your web app and API development. In fact, this is the reason that Exponential develops our web site in Node. We find it easier to learn one technology for most of our web development.

Web applications (aka web apps)

Web apps are software applications developed using web technologies, such as an online project management, CRM, time tracking, or other online applications. Node.js really shines when developing a web app.

First, you can use the same programming language for your client-side code and server-side code. For example, on the client you can use AngularJS which is a client-side JavaScript framework while on the server you can use ExpressJS which is a server-side JavaScript MVC framework.

APIs

As great as Node.js is for web apps, it’s an even better choice for developing an API. All of the benefits above apply, plus JavaScript handles JSON with ease.

JSON is the data interchange format that is used to communicate between client and server.

Additionally, if you’re using Node.js for web app development, then you’ll need an API to power the server-side of your web app. Node is a a natural fit.

Real-time Web

Lastly, Node.js is a great solution when developing real-time web apps such as chat or gaming. All of the benefits above apply, plus Node’s asynchronous coding style combined with SockJS are a great fit.

Summary

Node.js is a great solution for web development. The community is growing rapidly, plus you’re already using JavaScript in the browser, so using it on the server will enable you to reuse your existing skills and will provide more opportunities for you to master JavaScript.




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