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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Top Features of Node.js
2.1.
Asynchronous And Non-Blocking
2.2.
Written in JavaScript
2.3.
Scalable
2.4.
Cross-Platform Compatibility
2.5.
Single Thread Event Driven Loop
2.6.
Open Source
2.7.
Performance
2.8.
Node Package Manager
2.9.
No Buffering
2.10.
License
3.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of NodeJS
3.1.
Advantages
3.1.1.
Open-Source
3.1.2.
Seamless JSON Support 
3.1.3.
JavaScript Based
3.1.4.
Event-Driven Architecture
3.1.5.
Large Ecosystem of Packages
3.1.6.
Cross-Platform Compatibility
3.2.
Disadvantages
3.2.1.
Cannot Handle Heavy Tasks
3.2.2.
Callback Hell Issue 
3.2.3.
Dependency Management
3.2.4.
Single-Threaded Nature
3.2.5.
Unstable APIs
4.
How NodeJS Is Better Than Others?
4.1.
Python
4.2.
Java
5.
Frequently Asked Questions
5.1.
Can NodeJS be used to write programs as in C++?
5.2.
Is NodeJS suitable for applications which use machine learning?
5.3.
Is NodeJS open-source?
5.4.
What is the main function of JavaScript node?
5.5.
What are the new features of Node.js 17?
6.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 31, 2024
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Features Of NodeJS

Author Rituraj Seal
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Introduction

NodeJS is very efficient when it comes to handling a large number of operations which are light in computation. NodeJS has a non-blocking architecture, meaning that if one of the processes runs, other processes would not be blocked by default. NodeJS is very similar to Javascript used in browsers. This allows web developers already well-versed in JavaScript to learn NodeJS with little difficulty. So web developers who can build front-end applications can also quickly build back-end applications.

NodeJS Features

Well, you are at the right place. Today we will be discussing the NodeJS features. We will see how NodeJS works and manages to handle multiple clients simultaneously. So get ready as you are about to learn about the NodeJS features.

Top Features of Node.js

The following are the top 10 NodeJS features which make it popular for developers

Asynchronous And Non-Blocking

NodeJS is a JavaScript environment which uses a single thread to handle all the requests. All the requests are handled asynchronously, meaning the client side never needs to wait for data when requested. It also means it is non-blocking; if a request is being processed in the CPU, the I/O operations are not blocked.

Written in JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most used programming languages currently in the industry. Almost all web applications have JavaScript running. This makes it easy for web developers already familiar with JavaScript to learn NodeJS quickly. As it is written in JavaScript, handling JSON also becomes more manageable as JavaScript has inbuilt functions to parse JavaScript.

Scalable

Another of the NodeJS features is scalability. This means that NodeJS can handle a large number of requests when needed. NodeJS can handle many requests due to its “single thread event-driven loop”. It also has a cluster module that manages load balancing for all available CPUs. 

Cross-Platform Compatibility

NodeJS features include cross-platform compatibility. This means it can run on many operating systems like Mac, Linux, and Windows, to name a few. This helps NodeJS run efficiently on many devices without any worry about compatibility and provide all its features.

Single Thread Event Driven Loop

One of the NodeJS features is that it uses a single thread to handle all the requests. This thread is an event-driven loop, as each request is an event; once the event is processed, all the callbacks to that event are processed. This loop of handling requests and subsequent callbacks makes NodeJS a very efficient runtime when there are multiple lightweight requests.

Open Source

Node.js is an open-source platform, meaning its source code is freely available to the public. This fosters collaboration, innovation, and community-driven development. Anyone can contribute to improving Node.js, which has led to its rapid evolution and widespread adoption in various industries.

Performance

Node.js is known for its high performance and scalability. It utilizes an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model, allowing it to handle a large number of concurrent connections efficiently. This architecture makes Node.js particularly well-suited for building real-time applications, such as chat applications or streaming services, where responsiveness and low latency are critical.

Node Package Manager

Node Package Manager (NPM) is a powerful package manager for Node.js, allowing developers to easily install, manage, and share reusable code modules (packages). With NPM, developers can quickly integrate third-party libraries and frameworks into their projects, streamlining development and reducing time to market. NPM also provides tools for dependency management, version control, and script automation, enhancing the overall development experience.

No Buffering

Node.js applications are non-blocking, meaning they do not wait for I/O operations to complete before moving on to the next task. This eliminates the need for buffering, as data is processed in chunks as soon as it becomes available. As a result, Node.js applications can handle large volumes of data efficiently and respond to requests quickly, making them ideal for handling streaming data or real-time communication.

License

Node.js is released under the MIT License, a permissive open-source license that allows users to freely use, modify, and distribute the software. The MIT License imposes minimal restrictions on how the software can be used, making Node.js accessible to developers and organizations of all sizes. This licensing model encourages widespread adoption and fosters a vibrant ecosystem of contributors and collaborators.

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of NodeJS

Advantages And Disadvantages Of NodeJS

Advantages

Open-Source

NodeJS is an open-source runtime, meaning that a community of developers maintains it. By being an open-source runtime, its code is visible to everyone, so its vulnerabilities are well-known by everyone. By knowing the runtime vulnerabilities, the developers can make the application they are developing as robust as possible. Also, as the code is visible to everyone, one can create extensions to the plain NodeJS. This makes implementing some problematic features in the application relatively easy, as a not-so-experienced developer can add the attachments to achieve the same performance as an experienced developer.

Seamless JSON Support 

NodeJS can use its inbuilt JavaScript functions to parse a JSON document. Though it is also possible to do it in other programming languages, it takes a bit of processing to make it into a format that can retrieve the data. As it is easy to create and parse data in JSON format in NodeJS, it sends data from the back end to the front end and vice versa.

JavaScript Based

NodeJS is a JavaScript runtime environment. Most web applications have JavaScript for handling fetch requests, so that most front-end web developers can write JavaScript very well. This allows front-end developers to learn NodeJS quickly, enabling them to build both the front and back end by knowing only a single programming language.

Event-Driven Architecture

Node.js follows an event-driven architecture, allowing developers to build highly scalable and responsive applications. Its non-blocking I/O model enables handling multiple concurrent connections efficiently, making it ideal for real-time applications such as chat platforms, gaming servers, or IoT (Internet of Things) devices. By leveraging event-driven programming paradigms, developers can create applications that can handle a large number of requests concurrently without sacrificing performance or responsiveness.

Large Ecosystem of Packages

Node.js has a vast ecosystem of packages available through its package manager, npm (Node Package Manager). These packages cover a wide range of functionalities, including web frameworks, database connectors, authentication modules, and more. By leveraging existing packages, developers can accelerate development cycles, reduce code duplication, and focus on building unique features for their applications. Additionally, npm's registry provides a centralized platform for sharing and discovering reusable code, fostering collaboration and innovation within the Node.js community.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Node.js offers cross-platform compatibility, allowing developers to write and deploy applications seamlessly across different operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and various Linux distributions. This versatility eliminates platform-specific dependencies and ensures consistent behavior across diverse environments, simplifying deployment and maintenance processes. Whether deploying applications on local development machines, cloud servers, or containerized environments, Node.js provides a consistent runtime environment, enabling hassle-free deployment and scaling of applications.

Disadvantages

Cannot Handle Heavy Tasks

NodeJS uses only a single thread to handle all requests. This architecture works excellently when multiple requests of moderate to low computational complexity exist. Still, when a heavy task is allotted, using a single thread slows down the application considerably. This happens because if a single heavy task is assigned to the CPU, all the requests queued behind it stay in a processing state till the heavy job has left the system.

Callback Hell Issue 

NodeJS is an asynchronous JavaScript runtime environment. This means that after each task in the queue is completed, the task’s callbacks are called. This can cause a lot of computation if the callbacks are nested and run very deep.

Moreover, if the same job in which callbacks are nested heavily is called often, it can slow down the system.

Dependency Management

In node, you can add modules to your code to handle some tasks. If the dependency is used stops being maintained, there will be no trouble. This can cause vulnerabilities to appear in the application. Also, if there is a breaking change in some NodeJS version, the module will stop working altogether and then removing the dependency will be the only solution.

Single-Threaded Nature

Node.js operates on a single-threaded event loop, which means it can only utilize a single CPU core at a time. While this design simplifies asynchronous programming and improves scalability for I/O-bound tasks, it can become a bottleneck for CPU-bound tasks. Applications with heavy computational processing may experience performance issues or struggle to fully utilize multi-core CPUs, requiring developers to implement strategies such as clustering or offloading CPU-intensive tasks to separate processes.

Unstable APIs

The rapid evolution of Node.js and its ecosystem often results in frequent updates and changes to APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). While these updates introduce new features and improvements, they can also lead to API instability and compatibility issues, especially when upgrading Node.js versions or dependencies. Developers may need to invest time and effort in adapting their code to accommodate API changes and ensure compatibility with the latest versions of Node.js and related libraries.

How NodeJS Is Better Than Others?

Python

Django, a Python framework, can also create back-end servers like in NodeJS. But they differ significantly in the way they are used. As discussed earlier, NodeJS performs excellently when handling multiple requests, which are light in terms of computation due to its “single thread event-driven loop”. Django, on the other hand, is based on traditional architecture. It can handle requests which are CPU intensive. As Python is used, it is also easier to develop applications due to its extensive library support. 

Java

In Java, Spring Boot is a popular framework for building server-side applications. Java, similar to Django, is great when it comes to performing CPU-intensive tasks. More than that, Java is a strong type language, which means that every variable in Java has a predefined datatype. This makes debugging easier as an exception will be raised whenever a datatype mismatch occurs. On the other hand, NodeJS runs excellently when many requests are lightweight in terms of computational complexity owing to its “single thread event-driven loop” architecture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can NodeJS be used to write programs as in C++?

Yes, NodeJS can be used to write programs and perform the same tasks which can be performed using C++. C++ being much faster than NodeJS, it is not preferred to write programs in NodeJS, where C++ is also an alternative.

Is NodeJS suitable for applications which use machine learning?

Applications which use machine learning are usually computationally intensive. It is preferred to use Python in such applications, as Python has a lot of support for building machine learning-based applications, and it can also handle high computational complexity algorithms.

Is NodeJS open-source?

Yes, NodeJS is an open-source runtime environment written in JavaScript. By being an open-source application, its code is visible to everyone. So its vulnerabilities are visible to everyone, and developers can ensure they are not affected by the vulnerabilities while developing applications using NodeJS.

What is the main function of JavaScript node?

The main function of JavaScript in Node.js is to enable server-side scripting, allowing developers to build scalable and efficient network applications. It provides a runtime environment for executing JavaScript code outside the web browser.

What are the new features of Node.js 17?

Node.js 17 introduces several new features, including improved ECMAScript module support, updated V8 engine, enhancements to diagnostics and tracing, and experimental support for Promise.any() and Array.prototype.intersection(). Additionally, it includes updates to npm and various performance improvements and bug fixes.

Conclusion

As we conclude, we have discussed the NodeJS features. We have discussed where to use NodeJS and where not to. Also, we have compared NodeJS to its alternatives and discussed when and why the developers should use them. The NodeJS features make it a trendy choice among web developers.

For further reading, you can visit Introduction to NodeJS.

Recommended Readings:

NPX vs NPM

Visit Web Development using NodeJS and Coding Ninjas Studio NodeJS. If you are a complete beginner to NodeJS, make sure to visit Learn NodeJS: The Beginning.

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