What is Node.js?

Mishan Kavindu Perera
5 min readMay 15, 2022


Node.js is a server-side platform based on the JavaScript Engine in Google Chrome (V8 Engine). Ryan Dahl created Node.js in 2009, and the most recent version is v0.10.36. Node.js is a cross-platform runtime environment for developing server-side and networking applications that are free source. Applications created in Node.js are written in JavaScript and can be run on any platform. Apple OS X, Microsoft Windows, and Linux using the Node.js runtime.Node.js also come with an extensive library of JavaScript modules to help you get started. To a large extent, Node.js is used to build online applications.

Characteristics of Node.js

The features that make Node.js the primary choice of software architects are listed below.

  • Asynchronous and Event-Driven, The Node.js library’s APIs are all asynchronous or non-blocking. It means that a Node.js server never waits for data from an API. After accessing an API, the server moves on to the next one, and a notification mechanism in Node.js called Events assists the server in receiving a response from the previous API request. Node.js library is rapid in code execution because it is built on Google Chrome’s V8 JavaScript Engine.
  • Node.js uses a single-threaded structure with event looping, making it very scalable. In contrast to typical servers that create limited threads to process requests, the event mechanism allows the server to reply in a non-blocking manner and makes it more scalable. Node.js uses a single-threaded program and the same program can provide service to a much larger number of requests than traditional servers like Apache HTTP Server.
  • There is no data buffering in Node.js apps. The data is output in chunks by these apps.
  • The MIT license governs the distribution of Node.js.

Where to Use Node.js?

The areas where Node.js is proving to be an excellent technology partner are as follows.

  • I/O bound Applications
  • Data Streaming Applications
  • Data-Intensive Real-time Applications (DIRT)
  • JSON APIs based Applications
  • Single Page Applications

Advantages of Node.js

1. A solid technological foundation

Among the most popular programming languages, JavaScript has proven to be the unchallenged king. As a result, Node.js has established itself as a brand name. According to the Node-by-numbers report 2018, the project is stronger than ever, with 368,985,988 downloads and over 750 new contributors. When you use Node.js for your backend, you receive all of the benefits of full-stack JavaScript development, including:

  • Improved developer productivity and efficiency
  • Code reuse and sharing
  • A large number of free tools; speed and performance
  • Easy knowledge sharing within a team

2. It is not a misconception that Node.js is quick. Check out toptal.com’s performance tests to see how GO, PHP, Java, and Node.js handle concurrent queries.

3. Microservices and scalable technologies

Node.js for microservices architecture is a beautiful choice because it is a lightweight technology platform.

4. A diverse ecosystem

5. Corporate support is vital.

6. JSON support is seamless.

Other backend technologies, such as PHP and Ruby on Rails, can communicate in JSON format. However, Node.js does so without translating between binary models and instead uses JavaScript.

Disadvantages of Node.js

  • Heavy calculation activities cause performance constraints.

Node.js’ major flaw is its inability to handle CPU-intensive activities. However, we need some background information to understand the origins of this problem. Let’s start with the fundamentals of JavaScript.

Node.js, as we all know, is a server-side runtime environment for JavaScript. As a front-end programming language, JavaScript processes tasks in a single thread. Because JavaScript jobs are lightweight and utilize little CPU, it does not require threading.

  • Issue with callbacks

Because of its asynchronous nature, Node.js mainly relies on callbacks, which are routines that run whenever each task in the queue has been completed. Keeping a multitude of queued activities running in the background, each with its callback, can lead to callback hell, which directly influences code quality.

  • Tooling immaturity

Even though the core Node.js modules are relatively stable and mature, numerous tools in the npm registry are either of poor quality or are not adequately documented/tested. Furthermore, the registry isn’t well-structured enough to allow users to search for tools depending on their rating or quality. As a result, if you don’t know what to look for, finding the ideal solution for your needs could be challenging.

  • Demand for skilled workers is increasing.

Despite popular perception, not all JavaScript engineers also work with Node.js. Mastering server-side JavaScript programming necessitates substantial time and experience with back-end development. The number of Node.js engineers is much smaller than the number of JS professionals due to the steep learning curve.

Node Package Manager

For the JavaScript runtime environment Node.js, the node package manager is the default package manager. It consists of a command-line client, the node package manager, and the node package manager registry, an online database of public and paid-for private packages. The client may visit the registry, and the node package manager website can be used to browse and search for available packages. The node package manager is in charge of the package management and the registry.

The Node Package Manager (npm) offers the following two primary features:

  • Node.js package/module repositories that may be searched on search.nodejs.org
  • Install Node.js packages, control their versions, and manage dependencies with this command-line utility.

Uses of Node Package Manager

  • Packages that are local dependencies of a project and globally installed JavaScript tools can be managed with Node Package Manager.
  • When used as a dependency manager for a local project, Node Package Manager may install all of a project’s dependencies via the package in a single command.
  • Each dependency can designate a range of valid versions using the semantic versioning system in the package.json file, allowing developers to auto-update their packages while avoiding unnecessary breaking changes.
  • Developers can use Node Package Manager’s version-bumping tools to tag their packages with a specific version.
  • After reviewing semantic versioning in package.json, Node Package Manager additionally delivers the package-lock.json file, which contains the entry of the precise version utilized by the project.



Mishan Kavindu Perera

Software Engineering Undergraduate of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology