Traditional Web Servers are Inadequate
Node.js is all about event-driven programming. The traditional thread-based programming model could not possibly accommodate the growing needs of requests awaiting tasks to be serviced; making the entire process highly inefficient and time-consuming. Conventionally speaking, web servers are always developed on the principle of the thread-based model. As soon as Apache or any other web service is launched, the server starts to receive connections. The server holds the connection open until it has performed the request for the page or any other transaction. This implies that the server remains “blocked” to the point it completes the request, making it impossible for any request to be serviced in that duration. When it comes to web servers, a matter of even microseconds is debatable. This type of web server issue is termed as I/O Blocking. Ultimately, the solution lies in launching additional copies of the server.
Revolutionizing the Web Server Development
Node.js is a breath of fresh air in writing programming constructs for web servers because it uses an event-driven model through which the web server accepts the request, spins it off to be handled and then goes on to service the next web request. As soon as the original request is complete, it gets back in the processing queue and waits for its turn. On reaching the front of the queue, the appropriate action takes place. The web server continuously processing requests either through the read or write operations terming the server as “non-blocking I/O” or “event-driven I/O”.
In a fast-paced environment, efficiency even by a few microseconds matter – which is exactly what Node.js promises to deliver. Any web developer familiar with the concept of java scripting will be able to appreciate the effectiveness and scalability of Node.js. There is a lot of research and speculation going around regarding the usefulness of Node.js. In a latest study by Hughes-Croucher in their book, the authors explain that the amount of resources used is comparatively smaller that in turn helps in achieving more out of the web servers.
Just to emphasize on the continuing reverence for Node.js, Erlang the language behind Facebook’s chat server uses the same model. Another notable factor behind Node.js in comparison to its contemporaries such as Tornado is that Node takes on a language that is widely used by developers all over the world. Node makes a smaller footprint on a web server by allocating resources on an as-needed basis, while traditional servers pre-allocate a large chunk of resources for each user. A clear example of this is Apache that possibly assigns 8 MB to a user while Node only assigns a meager 8KB.
With all these factors, Node.js is sure to continue its momentum in gaining further popularity as developers all over the world turn to Node for web server development.