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Node.js Definition & Meaning

Node.js is an open-source platform built on Google Chrome's JavaScript Engine (V8 Engine). It executes JavaScript code outside a web browser and is designed to build scalable network applications. It uses an event-driven, non-blocking Input/Output model and is influenced by Ruby's EventMachine and Python's Twisted. Node.js allows developers to use JavaScript for writing command line tools and using server-side scripting, which employs scripts on a web server to produce a response customized for each client's request to the website.

Node.js was developed by Ryan Dahl in 2009. The initial version supported only Linux and Mac OS X. Though .js is the standard filename extension for JavaScript code, the name Node.js does not refer to a particular file and is solely the name of the product.

How Node.js works

The server engine uses an event-based, non-blocking I/O model, meaning the adaptation of JavaScript to machine language is easier and code can be executed quickly and simply. In comparison to traditional web-serving techniques where each request spawns a new thread, Node.js operates on a single-threaded event loop. This helps servers respond in a non-blocking way and makes the server highly scalable.

Node.js features built-in support for package management using Node Package Manager (NPM). It's a default tool that comes with every Node.js installation. NPM contains millions of free downloadable libraries according to specific requirements. Anyone can publish their own module to be listed in the NPM repository. Popular NPM modules include:

  • Express: A Sinatra-inspired web development framework (yes, there's a programming language named for Ol' Blue Eyes)
  • Hapi: A modular configuration-centric framework for building web and service applications
  • Connect: An extensible HTTP server framework that provides a collection of plugins known as middleware
  • Redis: Redis client library
  • Forever: One of the most common utilities for ensuring that a given node script runs continuously
  • Moment: A JavaScript date library for parsing, validating, manipulating, and formatting dates

Node.js uses

Node.js can be used for:

  • Backend for social media networking
  • Single-page application development
  • Chatbots
  • Data streaming
  • IoT application development
  • Data-intensive real-time applications

It is not advisable to use Node.js for CPU intensive applications.










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