Node.js Consulting

  • Node.js is the first major server runtime built on the principle of asynchronous-first. It has non-blocking I/O operations and Event Loops. It is truly a revolutionary technology.
  • Node.js achieves hyper-scale with commodity level machines.
  • Cazton has been one of the early adopters of Node.js and have been using it to build secure, scalable and enterprise-level applications. We have helped clients save millions of dollars by providing world-class high quality solutions and expedited delivery.

Did you know Node.js, a popular open-source web development framework, is one of the most adopted JavaScript runtimes? Did you know that Node.js runs the V8 JavaScript engine which is the core of Google Chrome? Node.js is async-first which makes it achieve hyper-scale with commodity level machines.

Our company has been one of the early adopters of Node.js and have been using it to build secure, scalable and enterprise-level applications. Our experts have helped clients save millions of dollars by providing world-class solutions and finishing the project in the least amount of time. While being experts in Node.js and other web development technologies, we are also experts in MEAN and MERN stack where we have explored and fully utilized the capabilities of those technologies in building enterprise level web applications, e-commerce applications, real-time data drive applications and many others. Continue reading to learn more about Node.js and our Node.js consulting, training and development services.

What is Node.js?

JavaScript is one of the most popular and powerful client-side scripting languages, typically used for frontend development. It is the language of the web and we always needed a browser to run it. However with the advent of Node.js, which is basically a runtime, we can run JavaScript outside the browser. This is possible because Node.js relies on Google Chrome's V8 engine behind the scenes. We will learn more about the V8 engine in the upcoming section.

Before Node.js, developers used JavaScript for frontend development and they had to choose a different technology like .NET, Java or PHP for building server-side applications. However Node.js enabled developers to use JavaScript for both server-side and client-side. This made it easy for front-end developers to use their existing skills on the backend. It made full-stack JavaScript development possible for the first time. As Node.js became popular, many companies started adopting it. Popular front end JavaScript frameworks like React, Angular, Vue etc. use Node.js tools like Babel, Webpack, Angular CLI, etc. Node.js is the first major server runtime to be asynchronous. It has non-blocking I/O operations and Event Loops. Node.js is truly a revolutionary technology.

How does Node.js work?

Since Node.js is async-first, the order of execution of the program could be a bit misleading for developers, especially for those that come from traditional server side technologies like .NET, Java, Python etc. With the help of the picture below, we would like for you to understand how Node.js executes.

Node.js Event Loop Execution
Node.js Code Execution with Event Loop

On the left side, we have a very basic code sample with some log statements and a setTimeout function. Please note that the setTimeout function is not a part of the Node.js API. It is an API provided by the browser. Below the sample code we have displayed the order in which the output will be displayed in the console window.

On the right, we have the Call Stack. The call stack is an in-memory data structure that is managed by the V8 engine that lists all functions in a Last-In First-Out (LIFO) manner. The above picture displays the order in which functions are loaded in the call stack and executed one-by-one.

The next section, Background Workers, is added for demonstration purposes only. It represents the set of background workers/threads where the actual blocking code is executed. A blocking code is code that blocks the main thread running the program. In the above example, the main thread is relieved right after calling the setTimeout function which happens to be an async function. What does that mean? It means that it will not block the main thread and will relinquish control of the main thread to the next line of code. Since, we have specified the wait time to be 5000 milliseconds, the setTimeout function waits for 5 seconds before printing the message, "Function executed after timeout."

Node.js makes sure that all I/O calls are non-blocking. The general definition of I/O is input/output where input represents an operation being performed on any information and output represents the result of that operation. Any out of process call would qualify as an I/O call. For example, a call to an API or a database would be I/O calls. Imagine while we are cooking food in a kitchen, we are only asked to do things sequentially: we are required to wait for five minutes while the water boils, then start cutting vegetables, then warm something in a microwave for another 15 minutes, then bake the bread for another seven minutes. So, now consider yourself as the main thread. Traditionally, the main thread would be blocked sequentially, but Node.js realized that this impedes optimum utilization of computing resources. This age-old practice led to loss of performance and scalability. That explains why Node.js is async-first and introduces non-blocking I/O. It relinquishes the main thread to perform other tasks and signals it to pick up the results once the I/O operation is complete. After the popularity of Node.js, other popular frameworks like Spring, .NET and .NET Core introduced support for async, non-blocking I/O even though they still execute traditionally and are sync-first frameworks.

Below the Call Stack and Background Worker sections, we have a section called Message Queue. This is a section where all callback functions are stored temporarily. As per the above sample, the function that holds the "console.log("Function executed after timeout.")" statement is the callback function. Now that we have understood about each section, let's look at the steps in which code is executed.

  • User opens a terminal window and executes the command "> node app.js"
  • This first loads the application and calls the main function.
  • Now each line of code is executed step-by-step starting with console.log("Hello World!"); loading first in the call stack.
  • On the next line the setTimeout(function (){...}); function is loaded in the call stack.
  • Since setTimeout is a blocking code, it is handed over to the background threads for execution. Here the timer object is initiated and the function waits for five seconds.
  • The execution continues and console.log("Program Execution Ends!"); is executed and output is displayed to the user.
  • After five seconds, the callback function is pushed to the message queue. Many people also call this queue a callback queue or task queue.
  • The Event loop then waits for all the functions in the call stack to be executed and removed from the stack. Once the call stack is empty the callback function is pushed to the call stack from the message queue and executed.
  • Finally once the call stack is cleared, node.js stops execution and the process ends.

This is how a Node.js application executes. Event loops which run on a single thread play a major role in pushing the blocking functions to background threads. Each function in the call stack is loaded in a last in first out manner. The last function loaded in the stack is executed first and then removed after its execution. Callbacks which are queued in the message queue are executed in the end once the call stack is empty. Now that we have understood how Node.js executes code, let’s take a look at the different features it offers.

Top Features of Node.js

  • Single Threaded: Node.js runs in a single process and handles multiple requests on a single thread. To be more specific, the Event Loop model is what is single threaded. But when an I/O operation is being processed it is handled by multiple threads in the background. The advantage of being single threaded is that now you can scale Node.js without worrying about managing thread concurrency.
  • Asynchronous and Event Driven: Node.js is async-first and introduces non-blocking I/O, which relinquishes the main thread to perform other tasks and signals it to pick up the results once the I/O operation is complete. Node.js implements event driven programming and Event Loop is what makes it possible. It also offers an "Events" module which has an "EventEmitter" class, which enables us to create, listen and fire custom events.
  • High Performance: In addition to the non-blocking I/O execution, the V8 engine of Node.js offers compilation of JavaScript code into Machine code as well as optimized garbage collection of objects to free-up memory. The combination of asynchronous operations, non-blocking I/O execution and leveraging the power of V8 engine makes it high performant.
  • NPM: Node Package Manager (NPM) is the default package manager for Node.js. It is the world's largest software registry where people from around the world share and use each other’s code in the form of packages. NPM is used for managing dependencies in a Node.js application, downloading standalone tools, sharing custom packages with other NPM users, managing multiple versions of packages and their dependencies and much more.
  • Caching: Caching is the process of storing copies of files in a cache or a temporary storage location so that they can be accessed more quickly. With Node.js you can either use third-party in-memory storage tools like Redis or create your custom caching mechanism. This helps in faster page loads and better user experience.
  • Open Source: Node.js is developed and maintained by an open-source community and is free to use. It is licensed under MIT license.

JavaScript Engines

Different browsers offer different JavaScript engines. For example, Chakra is the JavaScript engine of the Internet Explorer browser, JavaScriptCore is Apple's engine for its Safari browser and SpiderMonkey is developed by Mozilla for use in Firefox and its forks. Similarly V8 is the JavaScript engine for Google Chrome.

But you may ask, what's the role of a JavaScript engine? Well, JavaScript engines are responsible for executing your JavaScript code and converting them into Machine code. They are responsible for allocating memory for objects, perform Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation which increases performance as well as perform garbage collection to free-up memory.

Google Chrome's V8 is an open source high-performance JavaScript and WebAssembly engine written in C++. Even though V8 engine is hosted in the browser, it still works independently without relying on any browser specific features. This makes it unique to be used with technologies like Node.js, Electron, Couchbase and many other frameworks. V8 engine was chosen to be the engine for Node.js and since then it has been used to create many server-side applications written in JavaScript.

Introduction to Deno

Deno is the latest secure runtime for JavaScript and TypeScript developed by Ryan Dahl who is also the creator of Node.js. Deno explicitly takes on the role of both runtime and package manager. It is based on Google's Chromium V8 JavaScript engine and written in the programming language Rust as opposed to C++ for Node.js. Unlike Node.js, Deno does not depend on an external package manager like NPM for installing and managing packages, nor does it use package.json file for module resolution. While Node.js is heavily dependent on callbacks for its asynchronous operations, Deno offers a different set of APIs and all of its async actions return a promise. It requires explicit permission for file, network, and environment access. Lastly, it does not support the CommonJS module system and relies on ES modules. All third party modules are imported via URLs. At the time of writing this article, Deno is still in its early stage and it will be interesting to see how it makes progress.

Deployment

Deploying a software application requires proper planning, experience and expertise in different software tools and technologies. As technology keeps changing, the deployment team should be flexible enough to accept changes and embrace best practices. Security and scalability should be given the highest priority during deployment. A lack of prior planning and experience is many times responsible for failed or delayed deployments. This is where we can help you.

Our team of experts embrace all security and deployment best practices and have years of experience deploying applications with custom scalability requirements in different environments. Based on your requirements, we can help you setup a CI/CD (continuous-integration continuous-deployment) pipeline that automates the building, testing, and deployment process for your applications. Providing the best service at an extremely reasonable cost has always been the motto of Cazton. Our team of highly talented software consultants and architects is adept at understanding client requirements from different business domains including financial, tech, airlines, manufacturing, health care, insurance, fintech. Continue reading to learn more about our deployment services.

Azure: We have team members that work closely with Microsoft product teams including Azure, Cosmos DB, .NET, ASP.NET and many others. Cazton's experts have been awarded as Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals and are Cosmos DB Insiders and Azure Advisors. Azure offers many different deployment options including Azure Service Fabrics, Azure Stack, Virtual Machines, App Services and Containers - Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Our experts leverage full capabilities of these services and can help you with application deployment on these services based on the amount of control and portability you want to have.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP): Our team of experts also include Google Developer Experts who have years of experience working on the Google Cloud Platform. To automate the creation and management of Google Cloud resources and services which includes Cloud Storage, Compute Engine, Cloud SQL and more we use the Google Cloud Deployment Manager. Our team is well versed with the Google cloud platform and can provide you secure and robust deployment solutions using google cloud services. We can help you deploy your applications on Google’s container services including Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Compute Engine and Cloud Run.

Amazon Web Services (AWS): Similar to Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) also offers different compute services including Amazon EC2, AWS Fargate, AWS Lambda for application and service deployment. Our experts use AWS CodeDeploy to automate software deployment on these services and offer secure and robust deployment solutions. We also help you deploy your software on Amazon's container services including Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) and Amazon Elastic Container Service.

On-Premises: Your expertise is tested when you deploy an application on-premises. Because unlike cloud, which provides a platform and infrastructure as a service where we don't have to worry much about maintaining the infrastructure. An extra responsibility is added for on-premises deployment. Here you not only have to think about security and scalability but also constantly monitor how your servers are performing. At Cazton, our experts can work closely with your team, analyze your requirements and come up with strategies that let you automate deployments and have a seamless deployment experience. Be it a single server or multiple data centers, we can provide the best deployment solutions at affordable rates.

Hybrid (On-Premises and Cloud): Hybrid deployment is another option where you choose both on-premises and cloud services to deploy your software. Hybrid may also include deploying services on both private and public cloud services. Cazton can easily handle this complex deployment model for you. Our team of experts work closely with you and analyze your private and public workloads. We then come up with a solid strategy where all your sensitive workloads are either deployed in your organization's private cloud or secured on-premises servers and deploy less critical workloads hosted in a public cloud and allow both services to communicate securely.

Microservices: Imagine waiting for months before a new feature could be delivered? Compare that to a DevOps enabled microservices model that enables delivering independent services multiple times a day. Microservices in combination with Docker and Kubernetes brings in more value and enables faster delivery. When we talk about Microservices architecture, containers have a special place. With containers, we can standardize and automate how we build, manage and secure applications. It makes collaboration between the development and ops team. With a balanced microservices approach, we can move legacy apps within containers. This way we can use them with newer applications. Traditionally, companies had to pick one technology stack and for the most part stay with it. However, with the introduction of containers, we can make different tech stacks work well with each other. At Cazton, we help clients not only with understanding the benefits of Microservices, but also with the right way of implementing it. We were featured on Microsoft.com as a microservices success story involving one of Norway's biggest eCommerce companies, Elkjøp.

Since we are a technology agnostic company, we focus on providing the best value to the client and recommend the best tech stacks for you. Other the above mentioned cloud service providers, we have worked extensively with other services and technologies including Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Service Meshes in Istios, Openshift, Terraform and many others. We have saved our clients millions of dollars and have proven repeatedly that we can be more economical than even offshore options. Feel free to reach out to us for any deployment related issues or service requirements.

Listen to our podcasts where we meet industry experts and discuss DevOps, Scalability, Site Reliability Engineering, Web Development, Node.js and more.

Cazton Success Stories

Did you know our team once worked on a multi-billion revenue generating application and more than 80% of the code had to be eliminated? Did you know that that project was years behind and way overdue before our team got there? Did you know that they anticipated a few more years and tens of millions of dollars to finish the project? Did you know three executives who led that project either quit or were let go in less than one year?

Fortunately, not only we were able to make the project successful, we were able to make it happen way ahead of schedule and provided cost effective resolutions to help the project come in under budget. We are also proud of the fact that the executives who hired us to help them got a huge raise. Tech currently has 1.9% unemployment at the time of writing this article. It’s hard to hire and retain the top developers and architects in an environment like this. We have been fortunate to have a growing team of experts and the good news is, our team can be a part of your team. We take our engagements seriously and we will work extremely hard to make you successful.

Most technologies are good, but with the frequent changes in operating systems, platforms and frameworks as well as browsers, frameworks have a lot of keep up with these days. Developers have a lot to keep up with. They can’t specialize and be experts in every technology they work on. With an expert-led team like ours, we bring the benefit of our network to you. We save our clients a serious amount of effort on tasks they shouldn’t be doing by providing them a streamlined strategy and updating it as and when we get more information. We work with Fortune 500, large and mid-size corporations and we learn what works and what doesn’t work and incorporate that in our feedback to our clients to make sure their projects are successful.

How can Cazton help you with Node.js Consulting, Training and Development?

Node.js has made it easy to write efficient and effective server-side JavaScript code in addition to the client-side code without the need to learn a completely different language. Our company has been one of the early adopters of Node.js and have been using it to build scalable and real-time applications. At Cazton, our experts have helped clients save millions of dollars by providing world-class solutions in the least amount of time. While being experts in Node.js and other web development technologies we are also experts in MEAN and MERN stack where we have explored and fully utilized the capabilities of those technologies in building enterprise level web applications, e-commerce applications, real-time data drive applications and many others. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your dreams.

At Cazton, we never compromise on writing "good code" - making it minimal, readable, maintainable, scalable and efficient. Our experts are able to quickly identify, predict, and satisfy our clients' current and future needs. Our hierarchy of consultants include principal consultants, senior architects, senior managers, lead senior consultants, senior and junior level consultants and developers available at your disposal with flexible engagements. We offer the following services at cost-effective rates:

  • Analyze your business requirements and consult you with architectural and coding best practices.
  • Help you develop high performance, scalable and enterprise-level applications utilizing full capabilities of Node.js and other related technologies.
  • Help you migrate your existing application, built using any framework to Node.js.
  • Perform code reviews and troubleshoot any performance issues.
  • Help you with DevOps by containerizing your existing or new Node.js application.
  • Provide Node.js training from beginner to advanced level.

Cazton is composed of technical professionals with expertise gained all over the world and in all fields of the tech industry and we put this expertise to work for you. We serve all industries, including banking, finance, legal services, life sciences & healthcare, technology, media, and the public sector. Check out some of our services:

Cazton has expanded into a global company, servicing clients not only across the United States, but in Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; London, England; Berlin, Germany; Frankfurt, Germany; Paris, France; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Brussels, Belgium; Rome, Italy; Quebec City, Toronto Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and Winnipeg as well. In the United States, we provide our consulting and training services across various cities like Austin, Dallas, Houston, New York, New Jersey, Irvine, Los Angeles, Denver, Boulder, Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, San Antonio, San Diego, Stamford and others. Contact us today to learn more about what our experts can do for you.

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