Magic and Myths of Node.JS

Magic and Myths of Node.JS

Since its inception, this programming language has brought the magic of asynchrony into JavaScript and gave us the ability to create applications with an unprecedented speed of request processing. And over all these years Node.JS has overgrown with many myths about its reliability and functionality. I have known Node.JS since its first appearance, and we have been united by close cooperation for years. That is why I decided to write this article and share my own point of view regarding the magic and myths of Node.JS.

In May 2020, Node.JS turned 11 years old.

Since its inception, this programming language has brought the magic of asynchrony into JavaScript and gave us the ability to create applications with an unprecedented speed of request processing. And over all these years Node.JS has overgrown with many myths about its reliability and functionality.

I have known Node.JS since its first appearance, and we have been united by close cooperation for years. That is why I decided to write this article and share my own point of view regarding the magic and myths of Node.JS.

Magic of Node.JS

Back in 2009, then unknown Ryan Dahl created Node.JS and gave the IT community a completely new way to build scalable network servers — simple, low-cost and fast.

Dahl created magic: he turned JavaScript from a highly-specialized into a general-purpose language. Node.js added the ability for JavaScript to interact with input/output devices through its API to connect other external libraries written in different languages, providing calls to them from JavaScript code.

However, the most important Dahl’s trick was event-oriented and asynchronous (or reactive) programming with non-blocking I/O.

In the world before Node.JS, we worked with a multi-threaded server which used the thread-per-request model: the server can process several requests at the same time, but only one request per thread. What does it mean? Supposing, to process with N requests, the server needs N threads. If the server receives N + 1 requests, then it must wait until one of the threads becomes available.

Unlike a multi-threaded server, Node.js uses non-blocking I/O operations. It means that the mainstream will not be blocked by I/O operations, and the server will continue to serve requests, regardless of their number. It’s a kind of magic, isn’t it?

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