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Node Js and React Overview: What makes it perfect to have both on your side?

March 22, 2022

Intro

ReactJS and Node.js are both JavaScript-based tools. Node.js allows building apps on the server-side, and ReactJS is used to develop the user interface. React is a free and open-source front-end JavaScript library for building user interfaces based on UI components. React can be used as a base in the development of single-page or mobile applications.

While Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, backend JavaScript runtime environment that runs on the V8 engine and executes JavaScript code outside a web browser. Node.js lets developers use JavaScript to write command-line tools and for server-side scripting. Node.js represents a "JavaScript everywhere" paradigm, unifying web application development around a single programming language, rather than different languages for server-side and client-side scripts.

Let us dive deeper into React.js - the tool for user interface development and everything you need to know about it

React - the tool for user interface development. Everything you need to know about

What is React?

React makes it painless to create interactive UIs. You can design simple views for each state in your application, and React will efficiently update and render just the right components when your data changes. Also, you can develop new features in React without rewriting existing code.

Who uses React.js?

Lots of Fortune 500 companies and startups use React.js because it has a faster time to enter the market, reusability of components, the richness of design, programming, and debugging tools are just some of the reasons why well-known companies chose React to build or rebuild their web applications. Here is a list:

  • Facebook - This is the place where the React.js library was created.
  • Atlassian - Atlassian is a world-famous Australian brand that owns, among others, such products as JIRA, Confluence, Bitbucket, Trello, Hipchat. And almost all of them are being built using React.js.
  • UberEats - React has improved the user experience of the Uber Eats web application and seamless way to communicate with both suppliers and consumers.
  • Netflix - In 2015, Netflix used React to redesign its UI to improve launching speed, performance, and modularity.
  • Skyscanner - In 2019, the Skyscanner development team created an entire design system - Backpack. This is important enough to mention because this system is based on React components. The main goal of the developers was to create a coherent, clear interface for all users. The programmers wanted the UI/UX design and the brand appearance to be impeccable.

React.js Main Features

  • JSX (JavaScript Syntax Extension) - It allows users to directly write HTML in React (within JavaScript code). It is easy to create a template using JSX in React, but it is not a simple template language, instead, it comes with the full power of JavaScript. Also, JSX is incredibly simple to read and work with.
  • Virtual DOM - what modern frameworks like React do is whenever something is changed in the data. Virtual DOM allows for partial UI updates, rather than whole component tree recreation. It boosts React applications performance by a great margin.
  • Simplicity and community support. In a typical “easy to learn, hard to master” manner React has a relatively low entry-level threshold. However, building large and more complex applications definitely requires some skill. The good part here is that React is popular and widely adopted, so there are numerous amount of free packages to solve typical problems which can accelerate the development process.

Node.js - library for back-end development. Everything you need to know about

What is Node.js?

Node.js is a library for back-end development and lots of startups lean towards it because it is exceptionally fast for multi-user real-time data situations. The popularity of Node.js has been growing since its first release in 2009. Node.js is used to build scalable network applications, offers benefits in performance, and high-speed development.

Node.js is best suitable for:

  • Real-time web applications
  • Streaming applications
  • Messaging apps
  • Chat programs
  • Social media apps
  • Virtual emulators
  • Multiplayer games
  • Collaboration tools
  • API

Who uses Node.js?

  • Uber chose Node. js to build its massive matching system due to its ability to keep up with the pace of Uber's huge business needs and enhanced data processing capabilities. “Node. js is particularly well-suited to writing systems that have all their state in memory,” said Kris Kowal, Software Engineer at Uber.
  • NASA improved database access time with Node.js - the aeronautics pioneer was facing difficulties in consolidating its dispersed legacy databases related to EVA Spacesuits. It made it difficult for scientists to access databases for research purposes. Data access was slow and required rummaging through multiple locations to get the data for proper research.
  • Trello was able to achieve quick prototyping with Node.js - Trello needed an event-driven technology that could process multiple concurrent requests at once. Hence, Node.js became the first choice for precisely those reasons.
  • PayPal decreased its loading time with Node.js - in 2013, PayPal decided to migrate from Java to Node.js, becoming one of the very first companies to do so.
  • Linkedin improved its app performance with Node.js - LinkedIn was working on Ruby on Rails before switching to Node.js. By using Node.js as their backend, they moved from synchronous to asynchronous request processing, which offers much faster interface loading speeds.

Node JS Key Features

  • Asynchronous and Event Driven − All APIs of the Node.js library are asynchronous, that is, non-blocking. It essentially means a Node.js based server never waits for a process to return data. The server moves to the next process after calling it and a notification mechanism of Events of Node.js helps the server to get a response from the previous API call.
  • Very Fast and cross-platform − Being built on Google Chrome's V8 JavaScript Engine, the Node.js library is blazingly fast in code execution. Its engine also removes most of the operating system and hardware requirements. So your backend application can be deployed to pretty much every service or machine of your liking.
  • Single-Threaded but Highly Scalable − Node.js uses a single-threaded model with event looping. The event mechanism helps the server to respond in a non-blocking way and makes the server highly scalable as opposed to traditional servers which create limited threads to handle requests. Node.js uses a single-threaded program and the same program can provide service to a much larger number of requests than traditional servers like Apache HTTP Server.

Can you use Node.js and React in one project?

100% Yes. Nodejs and React can be executed for server and client sides respectively. An added benefit from using Node in conjunction with React is that sometimes it’s even possible to have exactly the same code running both on the frontend and backend. It positively affects development time and costs.

Over the years, in StartupCraft, we have successfully developed applications using Node.js and React.js. Also, we have quite a number of positive cases in migrating projects from other languages to Node/React stack.

How much does it cost to build a Node.js and React.JS app?

As usual, there’s no straightforward answer to a question like this. It always depends on project complexity and scale. However, one thing can be stated here with a great degree of certainty — the simplicity and effectiveness of these frameworks in tandem make it perfect for starting your new project. Development costs will be way lower compared to those more complex, almost enterprise-level solutions. Be it something like Ruby, C++, or native SDKs for mobile applications.

If you want to learn more about how we estimate projects - check our fresh article about Blueprint.

Summary

In conclusion, Node.js and React.js are great frameworks. Node is very well-suited for real-time applications or single-page apps with a high volume of data streaming to the client-side and great for building fast web servers. React is great for building rich, interactive user interfaces or data-driven applications where the client-side needs to be constantly updated with new information.

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Dmitrii Alymov
Article by:
Dmitrii Alymov
Dmitrii Alymov
Senior full stack developer with more than 16 years of experience. Specializes in mobile applications. Passionate about compact, effective and easy to use system architectures design.
3401 N Miami Avenue, Suite 230, Miami, FL, 33127, USA
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