Node.js becomes popular and popular. Worldwide famous websites like Microsoft, IBM, GoDaddy, PayPal, LinkedIn, Walmart, Voxer, etc. are using it. And in this post, we would like to take a brief review about Node.js from what it is, why it, and how to install it. We hope our review is helpful for readers to know Node.js better.
What is Node.js?
Dahl, the creator of Node.js, noticed a file upload progress bar on Flicker, which was inefficient. The browser had to ask the web server about how much the file that had been uploaded. And Dahl thought that the progress would be faster if the server directly told updates to the browser. So, he created Node.js.
Initially, Node.js was for Linux use only. In 2011, Microsoft and Joyent, the company Dahl worked, implemented a version of Node.js for Windows operating system. Also in 2011, npm, Node.js package ecosystem was introduced. npm allows the community to publish and share open source Node.js libraries. npm is also the biggest ecosystem of open source library throughout the world.
Some people could hard distinguish Node.js with PHP or Python, since they can all be used to create network programs, such as web servers. However, PHP is a blocking script language while Node.js is non-blocking. It means, by using PHP, only when the previous command has completed, the next command could execute. But Node.js allows commands to execute in parallel.
For a long time before, people had to passively watch, read or download content. In terms of communications, they had to chat on blogs or on message boards. All activities show content or message exchange was not in a real time. However, today we can receive instantaneous feedback over the web, right? We can chat in real time. We can game in real time. We can even collaborate in real time. But according to the client-server working model before, each client has to constantly query servers if we want real-time web experience. It means inefficient response times.
Node.js comes to make things efficient. Node.js is an asynchronous non-blocking event-driven framework to maintain efficient and lightweight real-time applications. Let’s put is simpler.
In the next place, Node.js is an asynchronous framework. It uses Event Loop, a single thread, to asynchronously perform I/O operations along with a callback function. So, clients using Node.js need not to query servers again and again. But before, I/O operations run synchronously by spawning off parallel threads, which consumes much memory and make I/O inefficient.
And we see another significant advantage, coming from Node.js Event Loop. That is, website masters can take advantage of Node.js to create websites that allow millions of visits. And website masters need not worry that their sites get down because of too many queries. They can spend more time on website design, web security, marketing, etc. On the other hand, Event Loop will take on real-time communications without accounting for much memory.
In a word, Node.js comes to make real-time applications operate efficiently. And website masters can use it to create sites allowing millions of visits smoothly. Since an application using Node.js, such as a Node.js website, will never lock up, even a programmer with less knowledge can utilize Node.js to develop scalable applications.
Here we just get to know some Windows hosting providers support Node.js. ASPHostPortal and HostForLIFEASP.NET are two of them. If readers want to create Node.js applications on servers, the 2 web hosts are great choices in the Windows hosting industry. Both of them acquire Microsoft golden web hosting provider status and are best cheap asp.net providers as well.
How to Install Node.js?
Node.js is compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac as well as some other systems. It is compatible with both 32 bit and 64-bit platforms as well. Here we would like to briefly introduce how to download and install Node.js on Windows operating system as following.
Firstly, you can download Node.js source code or pre-built Windows installer on https://nodejs.org/en/download/. Note that the download is for free.
Next, run Node.js Setup. Just follow the instructions step by step to install Node.js on your machine.
At last, get started with Node.js. When you finish the installation, you will see Node.js icon on the Windows menu. Click the icon to open Node.js command prompt to get started with Node.js. There is another way to open this Node.js console: open the Run Window and enter node.