Node.js for Backend Development

Pros and Cons of Node.js for Backend Development

Node.js is very trending nowadays! In Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey Results 2020, JavaScript comes in the first position under ‘Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages’ and Node.js tops the list of ‘Other Frameworks, Libraries, and Tools’.

“Unsurprisingly, for the eighth year in a row, JavaScript has maintained its stronghold as the most commonly used programming language.” -- Stack Overflow

[Image source]

[Image source]

“For the second year in a row, Node.js takes the top spot, as it is used by half of the respondents. ” -- Stack Overflow

In this post, I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of Node.js for backend development. But before that, let’s discuss a few important things about this programming tool.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is a modern software development tool used for several purposes including back-end development. It is neither a framework nor a library. It is also not a programming language.

So what is Node.js?

It’s an open-source, cross-platform JavaScript development environment that lets you run JS code on the server. Executing JavaScript was possible only in the browser earlier. Now, with the advent of Node.js, you can execute JavaScript on the server and build powerful cross-platform applications.

According to the Node.js official website, “Node.js® is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine.”.

Similar to other server-side technologies, this tool also lets you fetch data from databases and add, delete, and manage them.

Download link: Get Node.js.


Coded in C, C++, and JavaScript, Node.js was officially launched on May 27, 2009.

What can you do with Node.js?

With this amazing development tool, you can make command-line tools, server-side web apps, neural networks, chatbots, desktop applications, high-performance real-time chat apps and the like.

[Image source: 2018 Node.js User Survey Report]

Companies using Node.js

Here’s a list of companies using Node.js:

LinkedIn: LinkedIn has switched from Rails to Node.js for their mobile app’s backend development. VB interviewed LinkedIn’s mobile app development lead Kiran Prasad and asked him to share their team’s development experience with Node.js.

PayPal: PayPal used to rely on Java for their backend architecture. Then they moved to Node.js and JavaScript and have been happy with their decision ever since. These articles from Paypal’s engineering team shed more light into their decisions and experiences.

Medium: Medium has used Node.js for the development of their web servers. This post by a senior engineer at Medium gives greater insight into their software stack and how they do engineering. 

eBay: eBay engineer Senthil Padmanabhan talks about their Node.js development journey in this article. The eBay engineering team was open to new development tools and saw awesome results after choosing Node.js.

Other top Node.js users are NASA, Yahoo!, Uber, Trello, Groupon, Walmart, Home Made, and so on.

[Image source: SimilarTech]

[Image source: SimilarTech]

[Image source: SimilarTech]

[Image source: SimilarTech]

Advantages of using Node.js for backend development

Here are the major advantages of using Node.js for building backend solutions:

Lightning-fast speed: One special thing about Node.js is that you can make high-performance  apps that scale well. 

Why is Node.js so fast? It’s because Node.js uses asynchronous programming, and it runs on Chrome's V8 engine that converts JS into machine code. And machine code runs fast, very fast!

Node.js has the ability to handle a large number of requests at the same time. It runs single-threaded and can handle many, many concurrent connections.

As this programming tool utilizes a non-blocking input/output model, no functions are blocked when an I/O operation is performed.

Small learning curve: Node.js is very easy to learn for developers already familiar with JavaScript fundamentals - especially its asynchronous features.

[Image source: 2018 Node.js User Survey Report]

[Image source: 2018 Node.js User Survey Report]

Fast app development with NPM: Node Package Manager gives you a large number of package modules for different types of development tasks and helps you complete your project quickly. Packaged modules are frameworks and libraries.

Modules from NPM come with high-quality code which will help you build high-quality software.

[Image source: 2018 Node.js User Survey Report]

Modules such as Express, moment, connect, redis, hapi, mongodb,, forever, mongojs, and socketjs are some of the most popular npm modules.

Development flexibility: Node.js doesn’t have strict rules. So you can build your project how you want. You can build things from scratch.

Amazing business benefits: Node.js gives you great business advantages such as reduced development costs, improved developer satisfaction, increased app performance, increased uptime, and so on. It can help you boost customer satisfaction and customer engagement.

[Image source: 2018 Node.js User Survey Report]

Great community support: On GitHub, Node.js has 2,892 contributors that are working to make improvements in this tool. This number is growing gradually.

Cons of Node.js for backend development

Not a good fit for small projects: Node.js is ideal for large projects. If you try to complete a small project with this tool, you will end up spending more time than required. For small projects, you may use other web development technologies such as Laravel, Ruby on Rails, and Django.

Not good for server-side computation: Node.js is not a good fit for projects that involve heavy server-side computation. The use of this tool for such projects will negatively affect your app’s performance.

Unstable API: As the APIs of Node.js change very often, the developers may have to repeatedly make changes to their code so they are compatible with the new versions of the APIs, as they are not backward-compatible most of the time.

Best resources to learn Node.js

The best Node.js tutorials and courses are mentioned below. Some of them are paid courses while others are free of cost.

In this post, we covered a brief overview of the origins of Node.js, how it’s evolved within the developer community and some of its strengths and weaknesses. At Tempest House, we have mastered Node.js over the years. If you’re looking for help, book a call with one of our experts here.