Software Development

Unlocking Business Potential: The Practical Advantages of Node.js

September 18, 2023
Monika Sianko

According to the Stack Overflow survey from 2022, Node.js is the most commonly used web technology by professional programmers (46.31%). But all technology should primarily serve people and respond to business needs. So, drawing from the insights of FINGO's Node.js application developers, I decided to delve into the practical benefits of Node.js.

Node.js is the perfect tool for prototyping web applications

Node.js is an open-source runtime environment that works across different platforms, crafted around fast Chrome'sV8 JavaScript engine. The framework allows the usage of JavaScript or TypeScript, which facilitates sharing the same logic/models between the frontend and backend.

Some Node.js programmers even belong to the community that dynamically develops the NPM: Node Package Manager. A huge base of ready-made libraries that allows software developers to create some functionality without building a modern web application with Node from scratch, e.g., integrating the API with complementary service providers such as the Stripe payment platform.

From a business perspective, thanks to those qualities of Node.js, the development team can iterate and refine concepts swiftly, making it the ultimate choice for bringing MVP to life. This can be a cost-saving for businesses (especially startups or small businesses with limited budgets) that want to quickly test their product’s ideas on the market.

I like Node.js for the great flexibility it offers. A large community and great number of libraries allow to find the right tools for solving various types of problems, and native support for the JSON format simplifies  integration with other components of the system. What also matters is the ability to choose between JavaScript and TypeScript languages. JavaScript will be great for prototypes and 'proof of concept' applications, while TypeScript will work for bigger and more mature projects – says Ewa Grabowska, Senior Software Developer at FINGO.

Real-time and high-performance applications thanks to asynchronous I/O operations

Real-time server applications (such as Slack, Google Docs and LinkedIn) are characterized by instant data processing and communication, providing seamless user experiences. They deliver immediate responses and updates, enabling live interactions and dynamic content delivery. Real-time communication requires fast, non-blocking input/output(I/O), and Node.js seems to be a great response to this need.

The asynchronous nature of Node.js refers to the capability of executing multiple operations simultaneously, without waiting for each one to finish before starting the next. Thanks to this approach, when some tasks are waiting for a response from a database or another service, it doesn't block the entire program. Other operations can continue to run. In other words, creating real-time apps handling many clients concurrently without sacrificing performance, is much easier using Node.js than in other technologies.

Asynchronous code execution and non-blocking queries can be especially important in cloud applications, where the billing is for the space used. The traffic on the platform varies(e.g., depending on the time of day) and easier scalability and faster setup of subsequent server instances is desirable. In that, we can reduce infrastructure costs while ensuring high service availability during high application traffic, or software solutions based on microservices architecture.

Sometimes, we come across very complex platforms based on monolithic architecture. Some clients decide to change this architecture to microservices by using Node.js technology. It is a reasonable idea, but you have to take care of the appropriate design of the new architecture. We recommend being careful here, because there is a so-called ‘microservices dependency hell risk.’ This leads to a complex and problematic situation when numerous microservices within a software architecture have conflicting dependencies and require different, often incompatible versions of shared components. Otherwise, we will reach better scalability and infrastructure management, which will cost effortful maintenance – says Dariusz Wiśniewski, Senior Software Developer at FINGO.

Single-threaded but asynchronous, Node.js, is an advantageous solution for REST API microservices implementations. It is also worth noting that the ease of Node.js to work with JSON-based interfaces (HTTP API, MongoDB), thanks to the native JSON support in JavaScript/TypeScript, makes this technology well integrated with various IT solutions, even cloud platforms.

Node.js gives easy access to full-stack developers

Due to an (apparent) lower entry threshold to Node.js and the popularity of JavaScript, there are many developers on the market who support this open-source cross-platform. The ability to use a single language for the frontend and backend means that full-stack developers can more often be found in this technology.

Full-stack developers can bring value to project management, especially in cases of staffing problems. The first association here is events such as holidays, sick leave or leaving the company. But during the various phases of project development, work on the frontend and backend parts can be distributed unevenly. Well-orientated in the project, full-stack developers can help complete the tasks when a deadline approaches.

In smaller projects, usually only one frontend developer is employed, and s/he cannot consult the ideas with anyone with frontend area experience. This problem disappears when a full-stack is on board – s/he is an equivalent partner with accurate technological knowledge.

Looking at the market, the line in salaries between frontend or backend developers and full-stacks blurs with greater seniority. Of course, there are some exceptions. Some full-stack developers update their knowledge continuously, even expanding it with, for example, DevOps issues. Often, their dream is to become a well-orientated IT system architect. Some are in demand due to their knowledge of niche technologies that must be maintained in large and old systems. But in general, most full-stack developers have their preferences anyway – some more prefer the backend tasks and some the frontend ones. Node.js makes their work more amiable in both areas - says Rafał Hamela, Business Partner at FINGO.

Node.js development team in the financial sector

Node.js can streamline the development of various applications, especially those built on cloud infrastructure. This versatile technology empowers even companies from the financial sector to harness its potential for efficient and agile application development. Penneo and Predictive Layer are FinTech examples from FINGO's portfolio of projects using Node.js.

Of course, Node.js also has its downsides. But let's face it, what technology doesn't? Undoubtedly, using Node.js might speed up the implementation of new functions in the application, and finding a dexterous full-stack software developer is much easier than in other technologies.

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