The perfect architecture flow for your next Node.js project

The perfect architecture flow for your next Node.js project

In this article, I will introduce you to the architectural flow for your next Node.js projects

A good start is half the battle, said someone wiser than me. And I can’t think of any quote that would better describe the situation every developer gets into whenever starting a new project. Laying out a project’s structure in a practical way is one of the hardest points of the development process and, indeed, a delicate one.

We can define a path about discussing Node.js technologies, how to choose what front-end framework to use, and now we can try to dig deeper on how to structure our web apps once we have decided on the tech stack to use.

The importance of good architecture

Having a good starting point when it comes to our project architecture is vital for the life of the project itself and how you will be able to tackle changing needs in the future. A bad, messy project architecture often leads to:

  • Unreadable and messy code, making the development process longer and the product itself harder to test

  • Useless repetition, making code harder to maintain and manage

  • Difficulty implementing new features. Since the structure can become a total mess, adding a new feature without messing up existing code can become a real problem

With these points in mind, we can all agree that our project architecture is extremely important, and we can also declare a few points that can help us determine what this architecture must help us do:

  • Achieve clean and readable code

  • Achieve reusable pieces of code across our application

  • Help us to avoid repetitions

  • Make life easier when adding a new feature into our application

Establishing a flow

Now we can discuss what I usually refer to as the application structure flow. The application structure flow is a set of rules and common practices to adopt while developing our applications. These are the results of years of experience working with a technology and understanding what works properly and what doesn’t.

The goal of this article is to create a quick reference guide to establishing the perfect flow structure when developing Node.js applications. Let’s start to define our rules:

Rule #1: Correctly organize our files into folders

Everything has to have its place in our application, and a folder is the perfect place to group common elements. In particular, we want to define a very important separation, which brings us to rule number #2:

Rule #2: Keep a clear separation between the business logic and the API routes

See, frameworks like Express.js are amazing. They provide us with incredible features for managing requests, views, and routes. With such support, it might be tempting for us to put our business logic into our API routes. But this will quickly make them into giant, monolithic blocks that will reveal themselves to be unmanageable, hard to read, and prone to decomposition.

Please also don’t forget about how the testability of our application will decrease, with consequently longer development times. At this point, you might be wondering, “How do we solve this problem, then? Where can I put my business logic in a clear and intelligent way?” The answer is revealed in rule number #3.

Rule #3: Use a service layer

This is the place where all our business logic should live. It’s basically a collection of classes, each with its methods, that will be implementing our app’s core logic. The only part you should ignore in this layer is the one that accesses the database; that should be managed by the data access layer.

Now that we have defined these three initial rules, we can graphically represent the result like this:

Separating our business logic from our API routes.

And the subsequent folder structure sending us back to rule #1 can then become:

By looking at this last image, we can also establish two other rules when thinking about our structure.

Rule #4: Use a config folder for configuration files

Rule #5: Have a scripts folder for long npm scripts

Rule #6: Use dependency injection

Node.js is literally packed with amazing features and tools to make our lives easier. However, as we know, working with dependencies can be quite troublesome most of the time due to problems that can arise with testability and code manageability.

There is a solution for that, and it’s called dependency injection.

Dependency injection is a software design pattern in which one or more dependencies (or services) are injected, or passed by reference, into a dependent object.

By using this inside our Node applications, we:

  • Have an easier unit testing process, passing dependencies directly to the modules we would like to use instead of hardcoding them

  • Avoid useless modules coupling, making maintenance much easier

  • Provide a faster git flow. After we defined our interfaces, they will stay like that, so we can avoid any merge conflicts.

    Using Node.js without dependency injection.

Simple but still not very flexible as an approach to our code. What happens if we want to alter this test to use an example database? We should alter our code to adapt it to this new need. Why not pass the database directly as a dependency instead?

Rule #7: Use unit testing

Now that we know we have got dependency injection under our belt, we can also implement unit testing for our project. Testing is an incredibly important stage in developing our applications. The whole flow of the project — not just the final result — depends on it since buggy code would slow down the development process and cause other problems.

A common way to test our applications is to test them by units, the goal of which is to isolate a section of code and verify its correctness. When it comes to procedural programming, a unit may be an individual function or procedure. This process is usually performed by the developers who write the code.

Benefits of this approach include:

Improved code quality

Unit testing improves the quality of your code, helping you to identify problems you might have missed before the code goes on to other stages of development. It will expose the edge cases and makes you write better overall code

Bugs are found earlier

Issues here are found at a very early stage. Since the tests are going to be performed by the developer who wrote the code, bugs will be found earlier, and you will be able to avoid the extremely time-consuming process of debugging

Cost reduction

Fewer flaws in the application means less time spent debugging it, and less time spent debugging it means less money spent on the project. Time here is an especially critical factor since this precious unit can now be allocated to develop new features for our product

Rule #8: Use another layer for third-party services calls

Often, in our application, we may want to call a third-party service to retrieve certain data or perform some operations. And still, very often, if we don’t separate this call into another specific layer, we might run into an out-of-control piece of code that has become too big to manage.

A common way to solve this problem is to use the pub/sub pattern. This mechanism is a messaging pattern where we have entities sending messages called publishers, and entities receiving them called subscribers.

Publishers won’t program the messages to be sent directly to specific receivers. Instead, they will categorize published messages into specific classes without knowledge of which subscribers, if any, may be dealing with them.

In a similar way, the subscribers will express interest in dealing with one or more classes and only receive messages that are of interest to them — all without knowledge of which publishers are out there.

The publish-subscribe model enables event-driven architectures and asynchronous parallel processing while improving performance, reliability, and scalability.

Rule #9: Use a linter

This simple tool will help you to perform a faster and overall better development process, helping you to keep an eye on small errors while keeping the entire application code uniform.

Example of using a linter.

Rule #10: Use a style guide

Still thinking about how to properly format your code in a consistent way? Why not adapt one of the amazing style guides that Google or Airbnb have provided to us? Reading code will become incredibly easier, and you won’t get frustrated trying to understand how to correctly position that curly brace.

Google’s JavaScript style guide.

Rule #11: Always comment your code

Writing a difficult piece of code where it’s difficult to understand what you are doing and, most of all, why? Never forget to comment it. This will become extremely useful for your fellow developers and to your future self, all of whom will be wondering why exactly you did something six months after you first wrote it.

Rule #12: Keep an eye on your file sizes

Files that are too long are extremely hard to manage and maintain. Always keep an eye on your file length, and if they become too long, try to split them into modules packed in a folder as files that are related together.

Rule #13: Always use gzip compression

The server can use gzip compression to reduce file sizes before sending them to a web browser. This will reduce latency and lag.

An example of using gzip compression with Express.

Rule #14: Use promises

Using callbacks is the simplest possible mechanism for handling your asynchronous code in JavaScript. However, raw callbacks often sacrifice the application control flow, error handling, and semantics that were so familiar to us when using synchronous code. A solution for that is using promises in Node.js.

Promises bring in more pros than cons by making our code easier to read and test while still providing functional programming semantics together with a better error-handling platform.

A basic example of a promise.

Rule #15: Use promises’ error handling support

Finding yourself in a situation where you have an unexpected error or behavior in your app is not at all pleasant, I can guarantee. Errors are impossible to avoid when writing our code. That’s simply part of being human.

Dealing with them is our responsibility, and we should always not only use promises in our applications, but also make use of their error handling support provided by the catch keyword.

Conclusion

Creating a Node.js application can be challenging, I hope this set of rules helped you to put yourself in the right direction when establishing what type of architecture you are going to use, and what practices are going to support that architecture.

Originally published by Piero Borrelli at blog.logrocket.com

Top 7 Most Popular Node.js Frameworks You Should Know

Top 7 Most Popular Node.js Frameworks You Should Know

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, runtime environment that allows developers to run JavaScript outside of a browser. In this post, you'll see top 7 of the most popular Node frameworks at this point in time (ranked from high to low by GitHub stars).

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, runtime environment that allows developers to run JavaScript outside of a browser.

One of the main advantages of Node is that it enables developers to use JavaScript on both the front-end and the back-end of an application. This not only makes the source code of any app cleaner and more consistent, but it significantly speeds up app development too, as developers only need to use one language.

Node is fast, scalable, and easy to get started with. Its default package manager is npm, which means it also sports the largest ecosystem of open-source libraries. Node is used by companies such as NASA, Uber, Netflix, and Walmart.

But Node doesn't come alone. It comes with a plethora of frameworks. A Node framework can be pictured as the external scaffolding that you can build your app in. These frameworks are built on top of Node and extend the technology's functionality, mostly by making apps easier to prototype and develop, while also making them faster and more scalable.

Below are 7of the most popular Node frameworks at this point in time (ranked from high to low by GitHub stars).

Express

With over 43,000 GitHub stars, Express is the most popular Node framework. It brands itself as a fast, unopinionated, and minimalist framework. Express acts as middleware: it helps set up and configure routes to send and receive requests between the front-end and the database of an app.

Express provides lightweight, powerful tools for HTTP servers. It's a great framework for single-page apps, websites, hybrids, or public HTTP APIs. It supports over fourteen different template engines, so developers aren't forced into any specific ORM.

Meteor

Meteor is a full-stack JavaScript platform. It allows developers to build real-time web apps, i.e. apps where code changes are pushed to all browsers and devices in real-time. Additionally, servers send data over the wire, instead of HTML. The client renders the data.

The project has over 41,000 GitHub stars and is built to power large projects. Meteor is used by companies such as Mazda, Honeywell, Qualcomm, and IKEA. It has excellent documentation and a strong community behind it.

Koa

Koa is built by the same team that built Express. It uses ES6 methods that allow developers to work without callbacks. Developers also have more control over error-handling. Koa has no middleware within its core, which means that developers have more control over configuration, but which means that traditional Node middleware (e.g. req, res, next) won't work with Koa.

Koa already has over 26,000 GitHub stars. The Express developers built Koa because they wanted a lighter framework that was more expressive and more robust than Express. You can find out more about the differences between Koa and Express here.

Sails

Sails is a real-time, MVC framework for Node that's built on Express. It supports auto-generated REST APIs and comes with an easy WebSocket integration.

The project has over 20,000 stars on GitHub and is compatible with almost all databases (MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Redis). It's also compatible with most front-end technologies (Angular, iOS, Android, React, and even Windows Phone).

Nest

Nest has over 15,000 GitHub stars. It uses progressive JavaScript and is built with TypeScript, which means it comes with strong typing. It combines elements of object-oriented programming, functional programming, and functional reactive programming.

Nest is packaged in such a way it serves as a complete development kit for writing enterprise-level apps. The framework uses Express, but is compatible with a wide range of other libraries.

LoopBack

LoopBack is a framework that allows developers to quickly create REST APIs. It has an easy-to-use CLI wizard and allows developers to create models either on their schema or dynamically. It also has a built-in API explorer.

LoopBack has over 12,000 GitHub stars and is used by companies such as GoDaddy, Symantec, and the Bank of America. It's compatible with many REST services and a wide variety of databases (MongoDB, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL).

Hapi

Similar to Express, hapi serves data by intermediating between server-side and client-side. As such, it's can serve as a substitute for Express. Hapi allows developers to focus on writing reusable app logic in a modular and prescriptive fashion.

The project has over 11,000 GitHub stars. It has built-in support for input validation, caching, authentication, and more. Hapi was originally developed to handle all of Walmart's mobile traffic during Black Friday.

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A Beginner Guide To Node.js (Basic Introduction To Node.js)

Node.js is a very popular javascript free and open source cross-platform for server-side programming built on Google Chrome’s Javascript V8 Engine. It is used by thousands of developers around the world to develop mobile and web applications. According to StackOverflow survey, Node.js is one of most famous choice for building the web application in 2018.

Introduction

Node.js is a very popular javascript free and open source cross-platform for server-side programming built on Google Chrome’s Javascript V8 Engine. It is used by thousands of developers around the world to develop mobile and web applications. According to StackOverflow survey, Node.js is one of most famous choice for building the web application in 2018.

In this article, you will gain a deep understanding of node, learn how node.js works and why it is so popular among the developers and startups. Not In startup even big companies like eBay, Microsoft, GoDaddy, Paypal etc.

Why is Node.js so much popular

It is fast very fast

It’s a javascript runtime built on google chrome javascript v8 engine which means both node js and js executed in your browser running in the same engine that makes it very fast in comparison to any other server-side programming language.

It uses event-driven and non-blocking model

Node.js uses the event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it very lightweight and efficient.
Now let’s understand the above statement in more details. Here I/O refers to Input /Output.

Event Driven Programming is a paradigm in which control flow of any program is determined by the occurrence of the events. All these events monitor by the code which is known as an event listener. If you are from javascript background then most probably you know what is event-listeners. In short, event-listener is a procedure or function that waits for an event to occurs. In javascript, onload, onclick, onblur most common event-listener.

**Blocking I/O **takes time and hence block other function. Consider the scenario where we want to fetch data from the database for two different users. Here we can not get the data of the second user until we did not complete the first user process. Since javascript is a single threaded and here we would have to start a new thread every time we want to fetch user data. So here Non-Blocking I/O parts come in.

Example of Blocking I/O operation

<span class="hljs-keyword">const</span> fs = <span class="hljs-built_in">require</span>(‘fs’);
<span class="hljs-keyword">var</span> contents = fs.readFileSync(<span class="hljs-string">'package.json'</span>).toString();
<span class="hljs-built_in">console</span>.log(contents);

In** Non-blocking I/O **operations, you can get the user2 data without waiting for the completion of the user1 request. You can initiate both requests in parallel. **Non-blocking I/O **eliminates the need for the multi-threaded, since the system can handle multiple requests at the same time. That is the main reason which makes it very fast.

Example of Non-blocking I/O operation

<span class="hljs-keyword">const</span> fs = <span class="hljs-built_in">require</span>(‘fs’);
fs.readFile(<span class="hljs-string">'package.json'</span>, <span class="hljs-function"><span class="hljs-keyword">function</span> (<span class="hljs-params">err, buf</span>)</span>{
    <span class="hljs-built_in">console</span>.log(buf.toString());
});

Note: You can learn more about the event loop and other things by going through this link.

What is Node Package Manager ( NPM )

It is is the official package manager for the node. It bundles automatically installed when you install node in your system. It is used to install new packages and manage them in useful ways. NPM install packages in two modes local and global. In the local mode, NPM installs packages in the node_module directory of the current working directory which location is owned by current user. Global packages installed in the directory where the node is installed and the location is owned by the root user.

What is the package.json

package.json is a plain JSON text file which manages all the packaged which you installed in your node application. Every Node.js applications should have this file at the root directory to describe the application metadata. A simple package.json file looks like below

{
    <span class="hljs-string">"name"</span> : <span class="hljs-string">"codesquery"</span>,
    <span class="hljs-string">"version"</span> : <span class="hljs-string">"1.0.0"'
    "repository": {
	"type" : "git",
	"url" : "github_repository_url"
    },
    "dependencies": {
	"async": "0.8.0",
	"express": "4.2.x"
    }
}
</span>

In the above file, name and versions are mandatory for the package.json file and rest is optional.

Installing Node.js

  • In Windows, you can install the node.js by using the installer provided by the official node.js website. Follow the installer instruction and node.js will be installed in your windows system.
  • In Linux OS, you can install the node.js by adding the PPA in your system and then install node js. Run the below command the terminal to install node js
sudo apt-get install curl python-software-properties
curl -sL https:<span class="hljs-comment">//deb.nodesource.com/setup_10.x | sudo -E bash -</span>
sudo apt-get install nodejs

  • In macOS, download the macOS installer from the official node.js website. Now run the installer by accepting the license and selecting the destination.

Test Node.js Installation

You can test the node.js installation by typing below command in the terminal

node -v

If node.js was installed successfully then you will see the installed version of the node in the terminal.

Frameworks and Tools

After gaining the popularity among the developers, there are so many frameworks built for the node js for the different type of uses. Here, I will tell you some of the most famous node js frameworks in the market

  • Express.js is the most popular framework for node.js development. A lot of popular websites is powered by express.js due to its lightweight.
  • Hapi.js is a powerful and robust framework for developing the API. This framework has features like input validation, configuration based functionality, error handling, caching and logging.
  • Metor.js is one of the most used frameworks in the node js web application development. This framework is backed by a huge community of developers, tutorials and good documentation.
  • Socket.io is used to build a real-time web application like chat system and analytics. Its allow the bi-direction data flow between the web client and server.
  • Koa.js is yet another most used framework to build the web application using the node js. This framework is backed by the team behind Express.js. It allows you to ditch callbacks and increase error handling.

Conclusion

Today, Node.js shaping the future of web and application development technology. This is the just the basic of how node js works. If you want to build a scalable web application using the node js then you need to know more then this.

Till now, you have got the basic idea of node.js and now it is time to build something using the node.js. You can start with first by create a simple server using the node.js and then connect your node with MongoDB to perform the basic crud operation.