NodeJS language: the future of back-end ?

Known as the probable successor of PHP, NodeJS was created in 2009 through Google Chrome V8 to add a back-end function to the JavaScript language. In this article, we will see if it would be the main server-side language.

NodeJS language: JavaScript reborn

JavaScript is a programming language created in 1995 but for a long time, it was underrated and only used as a plugin to add effects in web pages. One of the reasons the language was underrated is that JavaScript was too complicated for developers at the time compared to others stacks like PHP or C.
In fact, JavaScript has its own specificities which make it as famous and unique today. We can distinguish 3 significant periods JavaScript since its creation:
The 90s: during this period JavaScript was used to male web pages more interactive like by showing an image after clicking on a button.
The 00s: JavaScript was used for the end-user interface. The use of the language for this is still wide today. With the Document Object Model (DOM), people transfer their beacon from HTML to JavaScript.
The 10s: JavaScript entered a new era when Google made the language faster through Google Chrome. The V8 Google Engine made the apparition of NodeJS which accelerated the coding execution of JavaScript. New languages from JavaScript appeared in the same period as Meteor.js, EmberJS or BackboneJS.

Specificities of NodeJs

NodeJS has been developed to be the JavaScript server-side. In fact, now we can create a website with the same language at the front and at the back-end which facilitates work on the back-end for JavaScript users.

The real strength of this combination is that JavaScript is a language based on events (called Real Time Applications) that makes changes and updates in real time. This is useful to create fast apps like a server web chat, a fast upload system, or for example, WhatsApp (which turns to NodeJS to regulate its instant chat).

Additionally, NodeJS is a non-blocking system which runs with the V8 from Chrome – meaning,  NodeJS allows you to manage several requests at the same time ( despite doing one-by-one like a blocking system) with a remarkable speed.

Due to the former, it’s pretty great to use with Single Page Applications (SPAs) like Wikipedia, Twitter or Google Drive.Node JS is also very flexible. In fact, it is a very light platform which has a few plug in functions.

Is NodeJS going to replace PHP?

Since its release, a lot of big tech companies turned to NodeJS. PayPal for example currently uses NodeJS. They first tested it for a part of its code. After implementing JodeJS to write code, they were able to create the code for their application by using 2 Java developers instead of 5, decreasing time spent on writing code by half. In fact, they were able to write 1/3 of line of code and 40% less of files than with Java. The result was increasing functionality in the app to become 35% faster. That explains why other big companies like Netflix, Trello and LinkedIn also use this framework today.

From the developers side, 49,9% of developers rank NodeJS as the first technology commonly used when today PHP is one of the 5th most used in the tech domain.

 

By the way, what is PHP ?

By definition, PHP is the most widely used programming language for web development. Today, thousands of websites and content management systems such as Facebook (with HipHop), WordPress or Drupal run PHP on their servers.
This is a language known for being easy to configure and access as it requires less code than NodeJS.
Its strength is that’s easy to use: you can customize it to your needs, there is a fast way to writing code for web applications. The language also has several frameworks which are always updated like Symfony, Laravel and Zen.
Due to its popularity and longevity, PHP has acquired a wide community of programmers all around the world.

To conclude, PHP is a real symbol in the IT world because of its ease of use and also its good price in the hosting solutions. But year after year, developers are using other languages which are more recent and useful to the new technological environment. To keep up the pace, PHP created many frameworks to boost its development process. Some people assure that they will be popular in the net years. Despite the big rise of NodeJS, PHP is still on the rise because of famous technologies like Joomla, Drupal or WordPress which use PHP. If you are a user of these technologies, maintain working with PHP.

Ultimately, PHP and NodeJS are 2 languages for 2 different uses. Your choice will depend on the kind of application you will develop, the hosting needs and the delivery time of the application. For example, if you want a real-time application based on a single page, take NodeJS, if you are more for a « random website » with good hosting support, choose PHP.
Technologies are growing around JS today. But given the volume of innovations and emerging technologies, no one will be able to use PHP in 5 years. The developers who would still be operational on this technical stack will be worth gold.

 

 

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