In fact, industry giants like eBay, LinkedIn, Groupon, Uber, and Netflix have been choosing Node.js over other solutions for building web applications.
So how does this newbie on the developer scene compare to a strong language like Java? Read on to find out.
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Java and Node.js: the basics
Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented, platform-independent, portable, and robust interpreted programming language, which was designed to be used in the distributed environment of the Internet. Java code can run on any Java Virtual Machine, which offers developers a lot of flexibility. Today, you will find Java in web and mobile enterprise applications – but also in smart cards, games, embedded systems, and even robotics.
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If you're choosing between Java and Node.js, here are the key pros and cons you should take into account.
Java: pros and cons
- A rock-solid foundation thanks to over 20 years of engineering;
- A vast ecosystem of libraries developers can use to increase the speed of development;
- Java Virtual Machine, which offers excellent stability thanks to its large number of unit tests;
- Quality IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) and a collection of monitoring and debugging tools that are mature and ready for deployment, making developers' lives easier and their apps bug-free;
- Proven tools such as Eclipse, NetBeans, or IntelliJ, which are integrated with servers, debuggers, and decompilers (plus a solid ecosystem of plug-ins), all of which make the development process faster;
- With the right framework or thread-models that are part of the latest Java frameworks, it's possible to boost the speed of development to match the one of Node.js’s;
- Incredible computation efficiency;
- Great code maintainability.
- The slow development process;
- Works best if the code is clean and straightforward – if it deadlocks, your risk that the entire server locks up;
- Configuring tools can take a lot of time;
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When to choose Java?
Applications that are CPU intensive or CPU bound will benefit from Java. The same goes for applications with a vast code base – since Java provides strongly typed sources, refactoring it and bug fixing will be more straightforward during its maintenance. If your application uses RDBMS (Relational Database Management System), Java will be a great pick – it includes tools that provide multi-database support for object-relational mapping to make configuration easier when you switch to another database.
Node.js: pros and cons
- Offers a reactive style out of the box (something that's far more complicated in Java);
- Includes a code re-use feature – that’s what makes Node.js so popular among developers, as it seriously boosts their productivity;
- Lack of IDEs – Node.js developers type code in text editors equipped with plugins, which is great, but a far cry from Java’s IDEs that make developers’ job easier;