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Ankit Gupta
Ankit Gupta 6 July 2017

Understanding the Basics of Node.js

Node.js is an emerging framework for future applications. It helps in developing and managing intricate network applications. This post shows some peculiar design aspects of Node.js which makes it a powerful development tool for developing high performing and scalable web applications

Knowing node.js is not bad as it is a next generation and popular framework for developing robust network programs. There are some peculiar design aspects of Node.js which makes it a powerful development tool for developing high performing and scalable web applications. Some of them are its asynchronous nature and programming style. One amazing feature of node.js development tools is its module system – that allows multiple dependency versions to coexist on a system. Before going for node.js consulting service it is suggested to go through these components. The basic overview will help in taking web design related decisions and solving many problems in the long run.

Node.js is based upon a philosophy which was evolved by its creator Ryan Dahl: small core, small modules, don’t repeat yourself, small surface area and simplicity and pragmatism. To learn node.js one must embrace an entire culture and community.  

Small Core with limited functionality and userland for other operations are one of the tenants of node.js development philosophy. The idea behind this principle is to keep the core functionality to a bare minimum and having a userland for other functions. This philosophy fosters the development of entire network application ecosystem.

Small modules is another tenant of the node.js philosophy. The trick is to use module as a medium to structure the entire code of a program. The modules are used to build the reusable libraries. In Node.js small modules are designed considering the overall size and scope of the application.

This principle is quite similar to the Unix:

1.) small is beautiful
2.) make each program do one thing beautiful
3.) Don’t Repeat Yourself

But node.js development has further radicalized this principle. The package manager of node.js, npm solves the dependency problem by ensuring that every installed package has its own set of dependencies. So small codes ranging between 90-100 lines are frequently used for designing the application. This also provides many reusable components to the developers which are easy to use, test, maintain and share.

Besides being small in size, the node.js uses small surface area and minimum functionality. This allows in effectively using the API with fewer errors. Many times, the user needs specific features only with one piece of functionality to reduce use cases, simplifying implementation and increasing usability.

Simplicity is the fourth tenet of node.js philosophy. Experts prefer having a simple design at implementation and interface phase. It is an essential pillar that makes node.js easily deployable, adaptable, maintainable, and more importantly understandable. It should be understood that the ultimate aim of a technology should be to make the experience sublime. Besides having a series of coding structure it is better to have an event driven architecture for dealing with real world needs.  

Node allows in event-driven programming for agile development of web servers in JavaScript. The developers can make high performing servers without the need of threading. Node.js was evolved primarily to resolve concurrency issues present in server-side programming languages.

This web application development tool works on a single thread using non-blocking I/O calls to support thousands of connections without the need for context switching. Having a single thread helps in developing highly scalable applications.

Node.js uses Libuv (an abstraction layer) to manage asynchronous events. Libuv is a layered mechanism for managing file system functionality on both Windows and POSIX-based systems.

For package management, node.js uses npm package manager in its server platform. npm helps in installing node.js programs from the npm registry and managing third party applications. Npm is not a common.js statement.  Unified JavaScript development stack can be developed by combining node.js with a browser, database, and JSON. It also allows in reusing the components for the same kind of models and interface.

An event loop is another component used by node.js. Node registers itself with OS for staying notified about a connection. Previous to the event loop, large OS processes were used to handle the connection. The event loop of a node automatically defines call back. Moreover, the node.js framework exits the event loop when callbacks are not required.

Node.js helps in developing and managing intricate network applications. It is based on simple yet powerful principles that provide answers to critical questions. It helps in Scaling applications beyond a single server; troubleshooting the complexities of I/O operations; eliminating redundancies, and optimizing the resources. The node philosophies are based on some principles which need to be understood before opting for node.js consulting services. The understanding will help in preparing a better development strategy.

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