The backend can be considered as the brain of an application as it is responsible for the business logic and various sensitive operations under the hood. The backend of an application also influences the app’s quality, performance, security and scalability. All of this emphasizes the importance of efficient backend development. And when it comes to backend development, choosing the right tech stack is the key.

There are multiple options to choose from – Ruby, PHP, Python, Node.js, Go etc. and they are all good; which makes choosing one from the lot quite challenging. This blog is aimed at making this decision easier though we are only taking two options from that list above – Node.js and Go.

Node.js & Go

Before getting into the details, here is a brief introduction of the two.

Node.js is a Google Chrome V8 engine-based JavaScript runtime environment that first popped up back in 2008. The open source tool quickly established a thriving developer community while turning heads as a great tool to create web servers.

Go, which is also known as Golang, is a lightning fast, open source, cross-platform programming language introduced by Google a decade ago in 2009. Its creators wanted a programming language that combines everything good about existing languages in order to solve the most common problems that existing languages experience. They succeeded with Go.

Choosing between the two

To make the choice, we will take various factors into account including performance, concurrency, tools etc. Let’s start with performance.

Performance

A mobile app’s performance is measured by assessing various factors like load time, response time etc. and it directly influences mobile user satisfaction.

And when it comes to performance, Go is as good as C and C++, if not better. There are no virtual machines in Go, and it compiles to machine code which means programs are executed impressively quickly. The built-in garbage collector in Go identifies occupied memory that is no longer required, and frees it up for later use. This effective memory management also lowers the risk of security vulnerabilities considerably due to code encapsulation.

Node.js on the other hand is akin to JavaScript owing to its asynchronous, non-blocking nature. This means, smaller and simpler tasks are performed in the background without impacting the main thread. Additionally, it’s based on the V8 engine – the fastest JavaScript engine available. However, with JavaScript being an interpreted language, code execution takes longer in Node.js compared to Go.

So, performance-wise, Go ranks a bit higher than Node.js.

Concurrency

Concurrency in a mobile app is the app’s capability to efficiently utilize CPU to deliver great performance i.e. the app’s programs organize their execution into separate flows while facilitating communication between them utilizing only enough CPU power required for their execution. Concurrency is vital for apps that handle thousands of requests simultaneously. This attribute also translates to the app’s scalability

And concurrency is one of Go’s major benefits thanks to its lightweight Goroutines. The environment of Go allows developers to run a lot of Goroutines in parallel without using too much RAM while also hiding the complexity of the process.

The single-threaded Node.js may sometimes find CPU-bound tasks blocking the event loop which in turn slows down the program resulting in a slower app. Though this doesn’t always happen, it’s still something worth considering. Node.js already proved itself as a great choice to build super-fast, scalable apps. But the technicality that we just mentioned gives Go a slightly higher score again in terms of concurrency.

Tools

The right set of tools can cut app development costs significantly. When it comes to tools, Node.js is far ahead of Go.

Node.js features a microservices architecture which means that a single app is divided into smaller modules each with their own operational interfaces which makes adding new components to the app much easier and faster. This is complemented by Npm (Node.js package manager) that comprise over 800,000 ready-made ‘building blocks’ or tools that can be installed and used on the go.

Though Go has a smaller number of tools compared to Node.js, it features a great library brimming with features that don’t need third party support. However, the absence of a built-in GUI library drops Go’s scores here even further.

Node.js leads when it comes to the number of useful tools available.

Community

As both Node.js and Go are open source, it’s obvious that they both have communities engaged in improving them in many ways. They have repositories on GitHub as well. However, with Node.js being a more mature tool, its community is much bigger and more vibrant. It has reached 1 billion downloads and 56,000 stars on GitHub. So finding a Node.js specialist won’t be difficult.

The Go community, though smaller compared to Node.js community, keeps growing at a rapid pace every year. With Google offering great support to push Go into mainstream, migrating to Go doesn’t seem like a bad investment at this point.

What big corporates think about Node.js & Go

Netflix, arguably the world’s biggest media streaming platform, has their app built on Node.js, and they are only praise for the open source runtime environment. LinkedIn is another Node.js supporter along with Groupon which can now process more than 425,000 active deals without hassle thanks to Node.js.

As for Go, the list is impressive and growing. Uber, that used to rely on Node.js, migrated to Go in 2016 in order to improve the performance of their geofence lookup microservice. But there were other reasons too which is a topic for another time. In addition to Uber, Google, Docker, BBC, Intel etc. all use Go highlighting Go’s simplicity.

Conclusion

By now, you might have realized the fact that Go has great potential. Even so, it’s not possible to definitively say that one is better than the other. Making a choice between the two depends on type and traits of the app that one wants to build.

Go is great for microservices and enterprise-grade app development but Node.js has a plethora of ready-made solutions that significantly reduce custom software development time. If you still can’t choose between the two, drop us a line and talk to the experts at AOT.


An open source JavaScript runtime engine developed by Ryan Dahl, Node.js got a great start right after its debut in 2009. Its pioneer adopters included corporate giants like Microsoft, Netflix, Uber, Yahoo!, LinkedIn etc. which soon caught the attention of developers worldwide. Today, Node.js is one of the most widely preferred runtime environment backed by a growing developer community.

Node.js has a lot of capabilities but there are developers that still think the engine isn’t cut out for enterprise app development. This is probably because enterprise apps come with tougher challenges compared to standard app development. Enterprise apps serve different purposes as well, like assessing business performance, facilitating collaboration between employees, securely storing sensitive data, tracking employee performance, and even making analytics-based forecasts.

To implement all these features, enterprise app developers work with a robust language and powerful technologies. This is where the role of Node.js is often debated.

Can developers use it to build enterprise apps?

Contrary to what many developers believe, Node.js which is built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine, actually is a great option for enterprise app development. Let’s explore why.

The npm

The npm is one of the most important things that make Node.js remarkable. Node Package Manager or npm is a huge online repository for the publishing of Node.js projects. It gives developers access to a wide array of tools that can be used to develop high-end enterprise applications relatively easily.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are a few other qualities of Node.js that makes it an awesome pick for enterprise app development.

Node.js is single-threaded

There’s a misconception that Node.js being single-threaded makes it slow for the development of enterprise apps. On the contrary, being single-threaded can be considered one of its major advantages. Non event-drive frameworks require multiple parallel threads to be created to handle several requests. As the number of parallel threads is limited, the number of requests that can be handle will also be limited. Node.js doesn’t have such a limit on parallel threads. Provided there is enough memory and the kernel permits, a several number of parallel requests can be processed in Node.js without hassle.

Microservices-based architecture

Node.js has a microservices-based architecture which ensures optimal utilization of resources for both horizontal as well as vertical scaling. The architecture also enables Node.js to function with the lowest amount of resources in terms of computing power and CPU & RAM usage. Additionally, it also makes it easier to handle separate codebases and smaller teams. This way the development ecosystem can have multiple teams handling various services collaboratively thus resulting in faster development.

Asynchronous programming

Enterprise application developers often find it a challenge to deal with legacy software and monoliths where the main program flow is constantly stuffed with more features, increasing the complexity of the whole system in the process.  This won’t be an issue with Node.js thanks to its asynchronous programming feature.

With Node.js, asynchronous events are independently executed which means the main program flow isn’t affected in any way while it processes requests. This also contributes to cutting down the cost of I/O operations while speeding them up at the same time. As each single operation is independent, and each can be processed simultaneously, throughput and latency are improved considerably.  

Promises

Developers are probably familiar with the term ‘Callback Hell’. But they don’t need to be concerned if they are using Node.js. This is because Node.js gives them ‘Promises’. ‘Promises’ is a different alternative to callbacks when asynchronous code is involved. With ‘Promises’, a future value is represented which can be returned when a call is made. The callbacks are essentially replaced with this technique.

Reusability of RESTful APIs

This is one of the biggest advantages of Node.js that led to its rapid adoption over the last few years. Node.js focuses on resuable RESTful APIs. These APIs are a great way to develop complex software systems as they are capable of handling tremendous amounts of data by connecting to the backend.

Improved productivity

Node.js apps are written in JavaScript which makes it much easier to learn and adapt to though it takes some effort to master. One entire stack can be built using the same language which obviously speeds up development. Because Node.js gives them access to better tools, improves flexibility and collaboration, the developers would be more satisfied resulting in increased productivity.

Endnote

Many of these uncertainties and doubts around Node.js being a great choice for enterprise app development stem from complacence of developers who are comfortable with Java. They don’t want to change what’s already good. But the fact of the matter is that Node.js is not ‘good’; it’s better. At AOT, we have developers with proven expertise in both Java and Node.js. We choose what’s best for our clients when developing apps for them. Interested in how we do things? Drop us a message.

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By observing technological advancements, businesses would be able to leverage new-gen technology better to accelerate their growth. This is why big companies are always looking out for the ‘next big thing’. Acquiring advanced data management, network control, and analytics tools is the key to achieve smoother business flow. However, it’s not easy for businesses to figure out the right technology that meets their business needs or get the best digital solutions to carry them forward.

As of now, the technologies that are making a big difference for businesses are IoT, big data, and the cloud. We will be focusing on IoT in this blog.

IoT application development

IoT or the Internet of Things is all about synchronized connection. Devices of different shapes and sizes, serving different purposes are connected to each other in an IoT environment. To provide the best results, IoT integrates microservices, wireless technology, sensors, and powerful analytics algorithms. It’s safe to say at this point that IoT applications can deliver great results for businesses today.

Building an effective IoT application is the hard part. Most systems today are incapable of providing a uniform experience across devices in an IoT ecosystem. This is where Node.js comes into the picture.

Node.js addresses the needs of IoT

According to IHS, IoT is predicted to expand to over 30 billion devices by 2020.

Correlate this fact to the dominance of Node.js today in building highly scalable, feature-rich modern applications.

Built on Google’s V8 open source JavaScript engine, the popular cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment is a favorite of big brands when it comes to developing and maintaining powerful real-time applications.

IoT devices generate a lot of requests due to the interaction of the connected devices. Node.js is fast enough to handle the requests smoother and faster than every other alternative. In addition, the Node Packaged Modules (NPM) is armed with advanced repositories capable of meeting IoT needs. Node.js also occupies less memory on the server-side, and delivers better performance and better real-time execution capabilities.

Why it is the ideal choice for IoT apps?

If IoT is involved, there’s obviously a need to connect with sensors, beacons, transmitters etc. What makes Node.js ideal for IoT apps is its ability to handle such sophisticated interconnection and the massive number of data transactions generated.

The open source platform’s sockets and MQTT messaging protocol are designed to streamline data transmission in IoT applications. For large-scale IoT application production purposes, there exists a number of devices, platforms, and programs including Arduino, Galileo, Intel Edison, Raspberry Pi etc. The Node Packaged Modules (NPM) consists of packages for Arduino controllers, Intel Edison, and Raspberry Pi. The NPM also offers many different built-in architectures for Bluetooth sensors and devices.

Conclusion

Node.js, being a JavaScript platform, is very easy to use and understand making it a great asset for budding IoT developers. To conclude, it facilitates data collection, inter-device communication, and data analysis much better than most other options available today. Node.js certainly is a great technology for IoT application development.

If you seek an IoT partner to get your business on the Internet of Things bandwagon, you should talk with AoT’s Node.js experts. We have experienced analysts and IoT professionals to help you determine the best approach to adopting the revolutionary technology.

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