Introduction to Node.js

Introducing the platform that is making fullstack web development monolingual.

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Welcome to Node.js! This lesson is an overview of what Node.js is and why it is awesome!


What is Node.js?

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient. Node.js' package ecosystem, npm, is the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in the world.

- Node.js

In software development, Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment for developing server-side Web applications. Although Node.js is not a JavaScript framework, many of its basic modules are written in JavaScript, and developers can write new modules in JavaScript. The runtime environment interprets JavaScript using Google's V8 JavaScript engine.

- WikiPedia

Node.js was developed by Ryan Dahl in 2009. Node.js basically takes JavaScript out of the browser and puts it on your server and command-line. It allows you to perform file system operations, run servers, read binary data, and much more.

Node.js is not a framework, it is an environment in which you can run JavaScript. This is a common misconception with Node.js. Because Node.js is executed outside of the context of the web browser it does not have access to APIs that you're used to working with in the browser (BOM).

Node.js ships with its own libraries of JavaScript code so it is appropriate to identify Node both as a runtime environment and a JavaScript library.

Node.js is built on top of Google Chrome's V8 JavaScript Engine, so it is very fast. Node.js is single threaded with asynchronous event looping which makes it scalable and non-blocking.

Node.js quickly exploded with popularity. This can be seen clearly by an overall comparison of module counts made over the past several years. Tons of major companies use Node.js. Some big hitters would be eBay, GoDaddy, Heroku, LinkedIn, Microsoft and PayPal.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have a bit of background on what Node.js is and how it is put together you are much better suited to use this powerful technology. Node.js is a valuable skill to have at your disposal and opens the door for all kinds of useful applications. So let's get started!

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