What Your Team Has to Know Before Launching a New Project in Node.js

What your team has to know before launching a new project in Node.js

Introduction

Mobile Internet traffic exceeds desktop traffic and is growing year on year, we won’t argue about this. But it would be incorrect to think that this implies that preference is given to mobile applications instead of websites. For example, the development principle PWA allows websites to compete freely with the native iOS and Android applications in the mobile environment. However, it’s not PWA we’re talking about today.

Web technologies can be part of the technical stack even in a mobile application. The backend platform Node.js is one of them. It’s not time to mock at the web as it’s living and fast, it’s developing and growing more sophisticated. And while such technologies as Node.js are born in its interiors, it will need specialists who maintain them.

Node.js is the environment used to execute JavaScript code on the server. It was presented to the development community in 2009 as the possibility to use JavaScript to write not only the frontend but also the backend of web applications traditionally written in Java, PHP, Python, and other languages. Node.js has turned out to be useful as part of the infrastructure to develop applications with multiple concurrent processes on the server and instantaneous response to users’ actions in the browser.

Do you need Node.js in your project? We suggest finding the answer in two ways. Just tell, does your project look like any one from the list below?

  • Amazon
  • AliExpress
  • Uber
  • Netflix
  • eBay
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • PayPal

Does it have anything in common? OK, perhaps, you’re going to do something unique. If that’s the case, can it be described as follows?

  • In the future, it will have dozens, hundreds of thousands, millions of users all over the world;
  • The actions of every user cause changes in the data, with multiple such changes taking place simultaneously;
  • The project’s popularity depends on the speed of the application startup and page load;
  • The project budget is not open-ended;
  • Upscaling is in prospect.

The projects from the first list use Node.js, and the features from the second list describe them. According to the projects’ developers, the speed of project loading, page loading, and responsiveness of the website elements are growing while the costs of development are decreasing. You’ll also experience all benefits of Node.js in your technology stack; you only need to find savvy specialists. In this post, we’ll list the required knowledge without which there’s no point in starting a new project in Node.js. We’ll say nothing of HTML and CSS, as this has already become a truism.

Languages and technologies

To be able to work with Node.js, it’s desirable for the programmer to be familiar with:

  • JavaScript. The use of this language for frontend development in the operation of server technology is one of the things explaining the popularity and usefulness of Node.js. If your team includes an experienced frontend developer, it will take less time and money to train the developer in Node.js as compared to selecting and training a backend developer. In return, your team will have a universal full-stack developer.
  • The principles of event-oriented and asynchronous (or reactive) programming – the projects where Node.js is used are characterized by simultaneous execution of multiple events;
  • The Sequelize library used to work with databases PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, SQLite, and MSSQL. And if your project needs a NoSQL-database, it would be great to be acquainted with MongoDB, the control system for such databases;
  • The libraries and frameworks React, Vue or Angular – depending on the experience available or historically developed inclination of the team towards one of these tools. In one way or another, all three are used for JavaScript projects.
  • Server framework Express. It’s based on JavaScript, which means that it suits Node.js ideally. Together with Node.js, MongoDB and React compose MERN, one of the most popular technology stacks used to develop applications containing loads of JavaScript;
  • Frameworks Next.js (if you work with React) or Nuxt.js (if you work with Vue). Both of them were written in JavaScript and both are used to develop SSR (Server Side Rendering) applications. The latter are indexed by search engines better than websites and applications which are rendered only on the client side. In the MERN stack, Next.js can replace Express;
  • Nest.js framework. This is another server framework which is based on the Express and expands its functionality;
  • Module and parcel bundlers Parcel, Rollup, Webpack;
  • The version management system Git;
  • GraphQL syntax describing data transmission from the server to the client;
  • Communication protocol Websocket.
  • Docker – the platform used to develop, deploy, and test web applications.

Documentation

RTFM, RTFM and again RTFM! A competent developer knows that the answers to many questions related to Node.js can be found in the official documentation, manuals and tutorials for Node.js. In the Docs section on the official website of the technology you can find the API reference documentation, description of ES6 functionality, and detailed guides on the features of Node.js.

Books

It might be strange to ask the developers to show what they keep on their table and shelf or store in their Kindle. However, if there are Node.js Design Patterns, Node Cookbook, books on microservice architecture, scaling and cloud platforms, you are dealing with specialists who have a love of self-education. Here we’ll also mention the twitter accounts of Node.js and OpenJS Foundation where you can learn the news, fresh releases, and other people’s experience with the platform.    

Bonus

There are some other languages, technologies, and technical skills which will work in favor of your project:

  • The TypeSсript language expanding the capabilities of JavaScript.
  • Ability to organize a reliably operating system of databases and various data sources.
  • Experience in setting up the user authentication and authorization to ensure the security of personal data.
  • Ability to write clear and effective code so that all team members could understand it in the same way.
  • Work with test tools and search for errors in the code.

Conclusion

Every second millions of people all over the world are using mobile and web applications that have Node.js in their technology stack. If you asked us to describe all these applications in only five words, these would be “lots of events and data”. Node.js helps dealing with them, eventually saving the development budget and making a positive impact on the key metrics.

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