4 min read

Last year Mikeal Rogers, the community organizer of Node.js foundation stated in an interview: “Node.js will take over Java within a year”.

No doubt Java has been the most popular programming language for a very long time. But Node is catching up quickly thanks to its JavaScript connection; the most used programming language for the front end web development. JavaScript has gained significant popularity for server side web development too and that is where Node.js has a bigger role to play.

JavaScript functionalities get compiled in the browser and are capable of creating sleek and beautiful websites with ease. Node.js extends JavaScript capabilities to the server side and allows JavaScript code to run on the server side. In this way, JavaScript is able to utilize the resources of the system and perform more complex tasks than just running on the browser.

Today we look at the top 5 reasons why Node.js has become so popular with the potential to take over Java.

Asynchronous programming

Node.js brings asynchronous programming to the server side. The meaning of Asynchronous request handling is that while one request is being addressed, the newer requests will not have to wait in queue in order to be completed.The requests are taken up in parallel and are processed as and when they arrive. This saves a lot of time and also helps to maximize the processor’s power to the full extent.

Event Driven Architecture

Node.js is completely built upon the foundation of Event Driven Architecture. What do we mean by event driven architecture in Node.js?

Every request, be it access to database or a simple redirect to a web address is considered as an event and is stored in a single thread. Once the thread is complete with requests, be it a single request or multiple requests, the events are completed in sequence and any new request is added as an event on top of the previous events. As the events are completed, the output is either printed or delivered. This event driven approach has paved way for the present event driven architecture based application and implementation of microservices.

Vibrant Community

The Node.js developer community is a large and an active community. This has propelled the creation of several other third party tools which have made server-side development easier. One such tool is Socket.io which enables push messaging between the server and the client. Tools like Socket.io, Express.js, Websockets etc, have enabled faster message transfer resulting in more efficient and better applications.

Better for Scaling

When you are trying to build a large scale industrial grade application, there are two techniques available – multithreading and event driven architecture. Although the choice depends on the exact requirement of the application, Node can solve a multitude of your problems because it doesn’t just scale up the number of processors, but it can scale up per processor. This simply means the number of processes per processor can also be scaled up in node.js in addition to the number of processors.

Real Time Applications

Are you developing real time applications like Google doc, or Trello where there is a need of small messages travelling to and from, from the server to the client? Node.js will be the best choice for you to build something similar. The reason being the feature we discussed in the second point – event driven architecture and also the presence of fast messaging tools. The smaller and more frequent your messaging needs, the better node.js works for you.

Although we’ve looked at some of the features in favor of Node.js, no technology is above limitations. For example if you are building CRUD applications and there is no need for real time data flow, then node.js would not make your job any easier. If you are looking to build CPU heavy applications, then Node.js might disappoint you because it comprises of only one CPU thread.

But keeping in mind that it brings the flexibility of JavaScript to the server side and is the inspiration behind groundbreaking technologies like Microservices, it’s imperative that Node.js is going to grow more in the near future.

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