Web development with node.js has become very popular and widely used by developers, recently due to its scalability and ease. Web development with node.js is becoming more and more popular amongst web developers.
Node.js is based on Chrome’s V8 JS runtime engine which is capable of converting JS codes into low-level machine codes. Node.js is extremely fast and finds application in various areas for developing apps and websites. It is often referred to as the king of backend development.
Let’s take a look at the Architecture of Node.js which will help us understand web development with node.js better.
- Event Loop: This allows Node.js to execute non-blocking input-output operations. With the use of the libuv library, Node.js can very easily handle queuing and process any asynchronous event.
- Non-blocking input-output: The loop is based on a single thread. But the runtime tasks are performed in an asynchronous manner which returns the result through a call back to the event loop thread.
- Single-threaded: Node.js works on a single thread which helps in avoiding context switching.
- Back-end development: This part is invisible to the application users. It mainly deals with the server-side scripting and database integration to receive and return the requested data from the front end.
Node.js has a lot of features which makes it great for web and application development.
- Great for microservices: Node is capable of optimizing the performance of any application. It further eliminates the unwieldy modules.
- Cross-platform development: The collaboration of Node.js with NW.js or Electron allows the developers to create user-friendly and efficient cross-platform applications.
- High performance: Node.js delivers a high performance which is the reason why developers are doing web development using Node.js. The single thread JS runtime supports applications that perform seamlessly. Node is built upon Chrome’s V8 runtime engine and is coded in C++. Node is built for diverse operating systems and is regularly updated with performance optimizations and security patches.
- Real-time applications: Node.js is so highly regarded because it is ideal for developing real-time applications like chatting and gaming applications. Node.js is also very good for a program that needs an event-based or non-blocking server.
- Data Streaming: Node can be used to stream data faster by including features like processing files while uploading. It reduces the entire processing time considerably.
- Scalable and lightweight: Node.js is known for enhancing the development time without making any compromises with quality or security terms. The apps that are developed are scalable, lightweight, and behave in a very network friendly manner due to the non-blocking feature of the threads.
- Encourages sharing: The Node Package Manager encourages the sharing of codes. It is equipped with a vast and robust repository of more than 50,000 packages which helps the developers build effective solutions. It is very easy to share, update, and reuse codes.
There are a lot of benefits to using Node.js.
- Blazing Fast: Node.js has an event-driven architecture which makes it a very fast tech stack. Node.js is capable of processing multiple requests at a time, instead of creating distinct threads for every request or waiting for a request to complete before another one starts.
- Saves effort, time, and cost: Node.js comes with a vast repository of libraries. The modules can be reused across the code which brings diverse functionalities into any application. The repository reduces development costs and efforts significantly and also shortens the deployment time while simultaneously driving innovative solutions.
Steps to build a fast and scalable website using Node.js.
So we have seen how Node.js is great for web development and app development.
Let’s see how a fast and scalable website can be built using Node.js in brief.
The prerequisites to web development using Node.js are obviously Node.js and npm,
It can be easily downloaded for your preferred platform.
- We need to get started by downloading the Starter files from Github.
We start off by importing Express which is the webserver which can be used. After this, we need to set up the website according to the port we want to run it on.
The web server can be started by running node server.js from the root of the project folder.
- Setting up Nodemon to auto restart the Node.js application server:
There are many tools that can be used to auto restart the Node server after every change is made so that one does not need to do it manually every time. Nodemon is a preferred tool that is used for web development with Node.js.
- Rendering HTML in the browser:
Developers can send some HTML instead of just some text when someone hits a route. The HTML files can be authored by hand and even the files that we want to send can be specified. But it is always helpful to use a template engine to generate the HTML files.
A template engine allows developers to define the templates for the application and replace the variables with actual values during runtime while transforming the template to an actual HTML file which is thereby transferred to the client.
Express, Mustache, EJS, and PUG are some of the most popular template engines.
Express expects the template files to be kept in a folder called views. This folder needs to be created in the root of the project directory.
The example given here has been created using Pug.
- Pug basics:
The first thing to know about Pug is that it relies on indentation to describe the structure of the template and there are no closing tags. To nest elements, elements should be indented by one level.
- Creating a website:
First, a default. pug file needs to be created in the views directory and needs to be pasted in the following content:
The keyword block allows developers to extend a template through inheritance. While extending a template, the custom content for any block can be defined in the parent template.
The default template needs a title variable that needs to be passed in while rendering any template that extends it.
- Working with static content:
Express needs to be told where the static files like fonts, images, etc for the website are placed so that it can serve them correctly.
- Working with JSON data:
A people.json file can be found in the root folder which can be used to construct the pages of the website. On inspecting it, we can see a profile key which is nothing but an array containing a few objects each of which represents a person’s profile. The data will usually be fetched from a database somewhere.
While constructing the website we need to pass the JSON data to the index template and carry on accordingly.
The proper use of JSON data with the template being used is essential to create a user-friendly and responsive website
Node.js can work with any database efficiently both the SQL ones and the NoSQL ones like MongoDB.
Node.js is often considered as hosting agnostic. That implies it can run effectively on any server provider including Google Cloud, Azure, and Amazon Web Service. However, according to a study by Stack Overflow, most of the Node.js-based applications are hosted on AWS.
Applications and websites developed using Node.js can be scaled both vertically and horizontally. The cluster module in Node is extremely helpful for this purpose.
We have a team of Professional developer at knovator to develop and design custom websites using Node.js, Email us or Get in touch with us to get yourself a website created and stay updated about the latest technology for web development, You will find a lot of benefits as mentioned in the article previously.