[caption id="attachment_4344" align="alignright" width="400"] The following diagram shows a Node.js server lifecycle.[/caption]
Other platforms and applications normally have an Application Starting Point event, function or file, where code is run linearly with a well-defined beginning and end. Node.js is different: events are defined and attached to a server port, where they wait to run code until an event is triggered. “Node.js runs single-threaded, non-blocking, and asynchronously.”
This makes Node.js very fast and memory efficient due to the way that the server handles a new request.
It does not create a new thread, instead it starts running asynchronously and is always ready to handle the next request. This consumes less memory and makes the server fast, but it is important to understand when this is useful and when it may not be the best approach for a given set of business needs. This approach does not work as well as other options when the application needs to perform a big, long, complex calculation but becomes very powerful when it is required to perform several actions at the same time or handle a high traffic load (horizontal scaling).
It is important to note that the Sleep function will make the main single thread sleep, therefore putting everything to sleep! Apart from being fast and asynchronous, Node.js is also lightweight thanks to its modular approach. Node.js code can be seen as defined modules on ports. Common frameworks are heavy and contain all the references possible to use within that framework even if they aren’t used in a particular implementation. On the other hand, since Node.js defines modules, the references are only loaded when they are deliberately included (they need to be included with the ‘require’ keyword).
FrontEnd + BackEnd
Popularity & Community
After exploring some of Node.js’s characteristics, it shouldn’t be surprising to know that even big companies increasingly are choosing to use Node.js in production environments. Some examples: Netflix, LinkedIn, Walmart, Uber, PayPal and many more. Being popular and active in various production environments and companies makes Node.js a technology that has one of the most important advantages for any technology under evaluation, the community. Node.js has a very large and fast-growing community, thanks to its efficiency and its unique abilities. This helps because if an environment running Node.js presents an issue or needs diagnostics or maintenance, it is highly probable that someone else has already encountered the same issue, and the solution can be easily found and digested.
A big community for a given technology means that there is a lot of support and documentation on the web, which can drastically shorten the time-to-resolution.
A big community gives rise to another advantage, Node.js has a package manager (NPM) available to facilitate downloading and using third party libraries. There are countless extensions in these libraries that offer solutions to most problems that a developer might face, reducing the learning curve or development time of the project.
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