If you have kept abreast of developments in web-development architecture, you will doubtless be aware of a general movement away from the two traditional platforms. Where once the majority of applications were built on either the Microsoft or LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Python / PHP) stacks there seems to be a gradual move towards a more eclectic approach. Leading to a richness and growth of the ecosystem, at the forefront of this move you will find Node.js.
Node.js is open-source and boasts of a package manager, npm, which has the largest ecosystem of open-source libraries in the world. As an aside, many developers have Node.js and npm installed not to serve content locally, but to make use of the tools available via the package manager.
Working with Node.js is simplicity itself, and the code should make sense to someone with only a rudimentary knowledge of programming. This snippet of code creates a simple server that listens on port 8080:
Express makes up the E in the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express, Angular and Node), but this should not be taken as a static stack as trends in development change quickly in the realm of Node.js with React taking some of the lustre from Angular recently and other NoSQL databases replacing MongoDB. It can be hard keeping track!
I mentioned above that Node.js is dormant until required. AWS have recognised that and have developed Lambda where Node.js invocation occurs on input - with bills for compute time consumed rather than for the provisioning of the underlying architecture. The serverless model is perhaps the most exciting use of Node.js and one that is gaining particular traction of late.
I would recommend that you follow some of the links in this article to learn more about what Node.js does.
About the author
After a long career as a nurse, Dom moved into a career he thoroughly loves. You’ll find him wandering around the internet playing, learning and teaching new shiny technologies.