Until a few years ago it seemed that there were no alternatives: the combination MySQL / PHP appeared as the only possibility to develop and manage websites. But since 2008 the situation has changed dramatically.
The first is being asynchronous. In PHP when you query the database, code execution stops until the query results are returned.
This means that at that moment PHP cannot do anything but wait. On sites with low traffic this problem is not evident but on high traffic sites there are significant slowdowns and often the site goes into a stalemate.
Usually to mitigate the problem the site owner is forced to invest significant numbers to improve performance, for example by purchasing a dedicated server, modifying the web server configuration, replacing the basic MySQL installation and increasing the resources available to PHP.
The underlying problem however remains: PHP is synchronous and works sequentially. Recently, Facebook has created its own version of PHP called HHVM which works on how the code is executed but not on the basic design.
Node.js Development is asynchronous. Its I/O model is designed not to crash. When Node.js queries a database, it can perform other tasks and routines in parallel without stopping.
This aspect allows those who have a site or an application in Node.js to operate only small changes and optimizations to the performance without being forced to make radical choices as in the case of PHP and MySQL.
Node.js App Architecture (Client + Server + Database)
Google choose Node.js
The reason is simple: Node.js offers a greater level of consistency and stability in the way the app modules are managed internally.
Google has decided to push towards a universal standardization because it has been realized that today Node.js has reached that level of development and maturity necessary to carry out this type of process.
The use of command-line app generators is a standard introduced by Node.js, perfected by its frameworks such as Express.JS and Sails.js and adopted by Google with angular-cli.
This allows us to have a standard and universally compatible basic structure on which to operate in order to develop a site or an app.
It would also be appropriate to list what pros and cons there are to Node, so let’s do that.
Pros of Node.js:
- A runtime environment supporting the caching of modules.
- Event-driven input/output (I/O) ensures better request handling.
- Same code for both server-side and client-side = painless deployment of web applications.
- NPM – the biggest package manager in the software world.
- It is also possible to stream large files.
Cons of Node.js:
- Inconsistently enhancing API.
- Not an optimal solution for tasks intensive on CPU in comparison with low-level languages like C, C++, C# or Golang.
- Split opinion about the asynchronous approach.
What is Node.js great for?
So while there is some debate about appropriate Node.js use, what are the areas where Node shines? Below are some examples.
A most typical real-time application, a messaging chat application shows all the best of Node.js. Multiple users, big traffic, intensive data and running across devices. Also good to learn Node while making a chat, as it covers almost all the paradigms of a typical Node.js app.
- Server-side web apps
- Data streaming
Leveraging the fact that HTTP requests and responses are basically data streams, we can use Node.js to create some positive features. For instance, processing files while they are just being uploaded, e.g. for audio/video encoding.
- Monitoring dashboards
To collect real-time data about website visitors and visualizations, you can use Node.js nicely to make system dashboards. User statistics and the ability to see what they are doing instantly, isn’t it great for business?
Bacancy Technology, a reputed Node.js Development company believes that Node JS is a relatively young technology with ample room for development in the immediate future. Investing in Node.js today means stepping out of the fence of development models that are substantially outdated in design and embracing new models already adopted by Google and many other big names in the IT industry internationally.