Everything Executives Need to Know About NodeJS

NodeJS is a rising star in the enterprise software world. It’s being used by everyone from fledgeling chains to entertainment giants. For those tasked with leading software projects, though, popularity is the least important aspect of technology.

They’re more concerned with tangible benefits – what NodeJS is, why developers love it, and how it can boost their digital initiatives.

Read on for answers to the most common executive questions about NodeJS.

What is NodeJS?

NodeJS is an open source platform for developing server-side and networking applications. Written in JavaScript, it’s quick to build with and scales extremely well.

What do people actually use NodeJS for?

NodeJS may be best known as a tool for real-time applications with a large number of concurrent users, but it also sees use for:

  • Backends and servers
  • Frontends
  • Developing API
  • Microservices
  • Scripting and automation

Why do developers like NodeJS?

Being easy to work with makes a tool popular with developers, and NodeJS is both lightweight and efficient. The Javascript is written in a clear, easy to read format.

Because developers can use the same language throughout the project developers find working with teammates assigned to other areas of the stack less disruptive.

The Node Packet Manager is another major draw. With half a million NPM packages available for use, developers can find something to suit all but the most specific needs.

There’s also the fact that technical tasks that are usually difficult – for example, communicating between workers or  sharing cache state – are incredibly simple with NodeJS.

Finally, many developers just like using NodeJS. Creating performant apps can be fast, easy, and fun. There’s an active and engaged community full of peers to share ideas or coordinate with on a tough problem.

When a tool makes their job more enjoyable, developers are going to want to use it whenever possible.

How does NodeJS benefit enterprise?

When it comes to business value, NodeJS brings a lot to the table.

  • Faster development: NPM packages help reduce the amount of code that must be written from scratch. On top of that, using the same language end to end makes for a smoother, more productive development process. It’s faster than Ruby, Python, or Perl. Testing goes faster, as well.
  • Scalability: NodeJS uses non-blocking I/O. Processes aren’t held up by others that are taking too long. Instead, the system handles the next request in line while waiting for the return of the previous request. This lets apps handle thousands of concurrent connections.
  • High quality user experience: Applications built with NodeJS are fast and responsive, handling real-time updating and streaming data smoothly. They provide the kind of user experience that makes a positive impression on customers.
  • Less expensive development: Open source tools are a great way to lower development costs. The productivity offered by NodeJS pushes savings even farther; developers spend less time building the same quality app as they would with other tools. NodeJS can be hosted nearly anywhere, too.

How are companies using NodeJS now?

  • Netflix: The largest and best-known streaming media provider in the world reduced their startup time by 70% by integrating NodeJS.
  • Walmart: As their online store gained popularity, Walmart experienced problems handling the flood of requests. NodeJS’ non-blocking IO improved their ability to manage concurrent requests for a better user experience.
  • Paypal: Originally there were separate teams for browser-specific code and app layer-specific code, which caused a lot of miscommunications. Switching their backend to NodeJS meant everyone was now speaking the same language. More cohesive development allows the Paypal team to respond faster to issues.

Are there times when NodeJS should not be used?

Although it’s a powerful tool, there are times when NodeJS doesn’t fit. Using it for CPU-intensive operations basically cancels out all its benefits.

It doesn’t support multi-threaded programming, meaning it’s not the best choice for games and similar applications.

The best use cases for NodeJS are when there will be a high volume of concurrent requests and when real-time updating is key. Other benefits – low costs, smoother development – can also be found with other tools, but performance at scale is a serious advantage.

Is NodeJS the right tool for your next project? Talk through your options with one of Concepta’s development team to find out!

Request a Consultation