The revolution in digital product technology has disrupted every market sector, and the global COVID-19 pandemic has only served to accelerate this trend. In fact, according to data shared by Statista, spending on digital transformation is projected to reach 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022 alone. 

Businesses are clamouring for apps to enhance their products and services, and consumers are always on the lookout for technologies to make their lives easier. For entrepreneurs seeking to turn their ideas into a reality, digital product development is an exciting challenge with a steep learning curve. That’s why it’s so important that entrepreneurs understand how technologies like Node JS and React JS can help provide quality solutions. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between Node Js and React JS and how each technology supports particular elements of digital product development. We’ll cover specific use cases and how major companies use Node and React to improve their websites and mobile apps.

However, if you’re looking for an answer to the question: Node JS vs React JS, which is better? — you should know that each of those technologies serves different roles; therefore, it’s not a matter of choosing one of them. It’s even highly possible you might want to use both of those technologies — and after reading this piece, you’ll have a clear idea of where and when each of them can be useful.

What is Node JS?

Node JS is a backend technology. It is powered by Google Chrome’s V8 — a high-performance, open-source Javascript and WebAssembly engine. This framework allows developers to host APIs, serve HTTP requests, and access the database. 

What does that mean in simple terms? It’s fast and powerful, making it a favorite for real-time applications like Trello’s collaboration tools and Netflix’s start-up time. Rather than following the cumbersome model of receive, process, send, wait, and receive, Node uses a constant event stack and sends repeated small requests to process incoming requests. 

nodejs vs react

What is React JS?

React JS is a front-end technology. It is not a programming language — it’s a development library for Javascript-based UI created by Meta (Facebook) and open-source developers. React JS streamlines the creation of dynamic web applications by requiring less coding and more functionality than Javascript on its own.

This means that React is a high-performance, organized solution for creating user interfaces for content-based websites and apps. Both the New York Times website and the Twitter app employ React JS.

This should help you remember what React JS is for: to build the face of your app, with the progenitor of React being Facebook.

Comparison of Node JS and React JS

Those who ask the question: “Node JS vs. React JS, which is better?” must understand that they are both javascript technologies that serve different functions regarding web app development. 

For example, Node JS is an excellent choice for developing server-side web applications like an online streaming platform, while React JS is better suited for projects that involve evolving states like dynamic inputs. 

A notable difference is that Node supports a model-view-controller (MVC), while React does not. That typically means that Node JS will be familiar territory for software development teams because MVC is common throughout the industry. However, React JS does not support MVC because it employs a modular and recyclable approach to UI.

Furthermore, React JS has less of a learning curve because it uses Javascript XML (JSX), which has an HTML-like syntax and highly detailed documentation. Node JS is not necessarily difficult to learn, but bringing web applications to fruition may be a greater endeavor. 

So, Node JS vs. React JS, which is better? Well, as you can see, it’s not really a question of Node vs. React — you can find a use for both technologies in a single project. In fact, Netflix uses Node JS to decrease its start-up time and the React JS library to enhance speed, modularity, and performance. 

Read also: Node vs. Python

Advantages of Node JS and React JS

The purpose of this article is not necessarily to answer the question: Node JS vs. React JS, which is better? As stated above, each technology has its use cases and its advantages. The following outline of their relative advantages will help you determine if one, or both, will be useful for your purposes. 

Advantages of Node JS

  • Scalability — server-side application development is nothing to sneeze at. For this reason, scalability should be considered early on. Node JS is resourceful in this sense as it is better able to handle more simultaneous connections than other methods, allowing for efficient horizontal and vertical scaling. 
node js vs react js - node js gives you great opportunities for scaling

Fast Data Synchronization — PHP is a solid alternative to Node JS when it comes to building web applications. However, when it comes to chat and gaming apps, Node JS takes the cake due to its faster synchronization and effective prevention of HTTP overload. 

Read more: Node js vs. PHP

  • Easy to Learn and Code — Programmers with a background in JavaScript shouldn’t be worried about the learning curve when it comes to picking up Node JS. It is widely considered as relatively easy to learn and code.
  • Effective Data Streaming Process — Node is great as reducing load times when streaming audio and video files through an application. That’s because data transfer is chunked into small bits before they are sent to the front end, allowing one to process and upload files simultaneously.
  • Hosting — Platforms as a Service (PaaS) and Heroku are intuitive hosting platforms that are popular among Node JS users. 

Advantages of React JS

  • Flexibility — The efficiency of Ford motors was a result of the assembly line. By breaking down tasks modularly, efficiency is increased. React JS employs a modular design that increases efficiency and decreases costs.
  • Speed — React JS is one of the speediest development frameworks you’ll come across. Most hiccups with speed for React JS users are readily solvable with simple tools and best practices. Its speed is partially attributable to the developers’ ability to tinker with both the client-side and server-side of an app.
node js vs react js which is better
- by using React JS you can speed up product development
  • Performance — React’s JS virtual DOM program and server-side rendering boost the speed and performance of complex apps. 
  • Reusable Components — The modularity of React JS allows changes to be made in one module without effects rippling to others. These recyclable components mitigate the need for developers to write multiple codes for a single feature. 

Use cases of Node JS and companies that use it

It’s likely that you interact with Node JS every day without realizing it. Massive companies like Netflix and Walmart use Node to improve the website experience. Nasa uses it to improve database access time, and Twitter is able to achieve a 5-second loading speed with Node JS.

Here are a few use cases to help you determine with Node JS is right for you:

  • Real-Time Chats — Real-time apps are characterized by their ability to perform myriad functions in short enough period of time that the user feels it’s occurring instantly. Think instant messaging and video conference apps. Since Node JS allows constant two-way connection, it is a preferred technology for scaling real-time chat apps.
  • Highly Scalable Applications — Node is able to quickly pull the application because it is a JavaScript-based program. That means that apps with the event loop and the single-threaded model can efficiently manage various clients. This makes Node JS excellent for handling increasing requests and scaling quickly.
  • Single Page Application (SPA) Hosting — Node JS is a powerful asynchronous tool that streamlines the transition of content when using SPAs. You can also load your page at lightspeed because Node allows server-side rendering. Additionally, Node’s non-blocking I/O is excellent at handling concurrent requests. 

Read also: How to build a recommender system?

Use cases of React JS and companies that use it

Recall that React was originally created and maintained by Facebook (now Meta). It is used by companies like Uber, Netflix, Yahoo!, Airbnb, and The New York Times. For example, Airbnb has used React JS on the front-end of its platform to boost loading times, and Uber has been using React to produce open source libraries since it was a small startup.

Here are some further use cases:

  • Dashboards or Data Visualization Tools — React JS employs reusable components, complex algorithms, and D3 — a data visualization tool. These features make React incredibly effective when it comes to data visualization, particularly when it comes to machine learning and BI.
  • Social Platforms — Facebook started as a website and eventually moved to a SPA. SPAs improve performance, but it’s difficult to synchronize data with the user interface, and working with HTML templates is inefficient. React JS is the answer to all of these issues.
  • Cross-Platform Mobile Apps — Cross-platform is typically more cost-effective and less time-consuming than native development because you can use the same code on both platforms. The React Native framework enables progressive web apps (PWAs) and functions like a native app on both IOS and Android.

Read also: Famous apps built with Node JS

Difference between node JS and React JS — summary

It’s time to ask ourselves this question one last time: Node JS vs. React JS, which is better? At the beginning of this article, we talked about the paradox of choice, and that’s just what the choice between node vs. react is—a paradox. You can employ both in a single project. 

The task now is to parse the difference between Node JS and React JS and determine whether or not one, or both, will be of use to you. 

Let’s say you want to create a scalable and complex server-side web app for streaming, something like Netflix. Well, from all we’ve learned, the tool you’ll need is Node JS. In contrast, if you’re working on a project with changing states and dynamic inputs, something in the realm of a social media platform, you’ll want to employ React JS. 

To reiterate the most fundamental difference between Node JS and React JS — Node is primarily a back-end framework, while React is a front-end framework. 

Now that you have a working knowledge of Node JS vs. React JS, you can take the next step on your entrepreneurial journey. Alternatively, if you’re still having trouble, you can always consult with a web app development company.

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