What is Node.js?

Node.js is a server side platform built on Google Chrome’s JavaScript Engine(V8 Engine). Node.js was developed by Ryan Dahl in 2009 and it’s latest version is v0.10.36. Defintion of Node.js as put by its official documentation is as follows:

Node.js® is a platform built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.

Node.js is an open source, cross-platform Runtime Environment for server-side and networking applications. Node.js applications are written in JavaScript, and can be run within the Node.js runtime on OS X, Microsoft Windows, and Linux.

Node.js also provides a rich library of various JavaScript modules which eases the developement of web application using Node.js to a great extents.

Node.js = Runtime Environment + JavaScript Library

Features of Node.js

Following are few of the important features which are making Node.js as the first choice of software architects.

  • Aynchronous and Event Driven All APIs of Node.js library are aynchronous that is non-blocking. It essentially means a Node.js based server never waits for a API to return data. Server moves to next API after calling it and a notification mechanism of Events of Node.js helps server to get response from the previous API call.
  • Very Fast Being built on Google Chrome’s V8 JavaScript Engine, Node.js library is very fast in code execution.
  • Single Threaded but highly Scalable – Node.js uses a single threaded model with event looping. Event mechanism helps server to respond in a non-bloking ways and makes server highly scalable as opposed to traditional servers which create limited threads to handle requests. Node.js uses a single threaded program and same program can services much larger number of requests than traditional server like Apache HTTP Server.
  • No Buffering – Node.js applications never buffer any data. These applications simply output the data in chunks.
  • License – Node.js is released under the MIT license.

Who Uses Node.js?

Following is the link on github wiki containing an exhaustive list of projects, application and companies which are using Node.js. This list include eBay, General Electric, GoDaddy, Microsoft, PayPal, Uber, Wikipins, Yahoo!, Yammer and the list continues.

  • Projects, Applications, and Companies Using Node

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