Server side programming made easier through Node js

In this article, I have discussed how node js framework meant for server side programming came into being, and it what scenarios it can be really useful for the middle ware programmers

What is it

Node.js or commonly referred to as Node js framework in javascript is a software system that has been designed and built to code for large scale internet applications. It is notably meant for server side programming on web servers. In order to maximize scalability and minimize the performance overhead, the server side code is written using JavaScript based on event-listener model and asynchronous input-output operations. It is a perfect choice for real time applications that have an extensive amount of data storage and processing. It can also run across distributed services. With node.js the response time which is the duration to execute the slowest query is reduced. The best part of node js is that it has minimum number of dependencies.

History of Node.js

Node js is a packaged compiled of V8 JS engine by Google, the platform abstraction layer libUV and a core library which is composed in JavaScript itself. The project was initiated in the year 2009 by Ryan Dahl and his employer Joyent had sponsored its growth. Dahl had intended to replicate the push capabilities in web sites as it is in applications such as Gmail. He zeroed in JavaScript which is capable of handling non blocking and event driven input-output after trying his hands on many programming languages.

Also Read: Review of Zend Studio 10: An efficient tool for PHP programming

Getting started with server-side javascript

We have had a lot of JavaScript frameworks and APIs at our disposal to play around with the front end part of a web application. But, at the end of the day, we remained JavaScript users and not programmers. This means that we are well aquainted with the capabilities of what wonders we can achieve through javascript, but not aware of what this scripting language can itself do. Just like any other complete programming language, node.js exposes us to the other context, where in we can execute the code written in javascript in backend without having the need of browser. It also gives an interactive environment for debugging and testing. Additionally, it exposes an API which can access network drive and file system. For anyone to get started with node.js, having a sound knowledge of at least one object oriented language such as Java, PHP or python is a must. A little hands on experience in JavaScript should be good to go.

It works perfectly on Linux, Mac and Solaris OS. But to execute it on a Windows machine, a bit tweaking is required. One solution can be installing Cygwin emulation layer to get emulate the desired output.

Unique selling points in node js

Node js uses closures which completely exploit its inherent asynchronous nature. Linear programs can be written without having to care about synchronization and threading process. One major advantage of this framework is that it is quite a low level API and hence gives the developer a great degree of control . It was meant for real time communication and it accomplishes that pretty effectively. Ajax and json interaction seems to be smooth and easy. Also, the entire HTTP server is directly integrated into the code and is then out sourced to internet information server(IIS). Not only that, it is also capable of running TCP server.


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