Which solution contributes more to web development?
Is this the ultimate clash of titans in the ongoing feud to rule the internet? What aspects of these two programming languages may be compared and, most importantly, is it possible to clearly state which one will be more beneficial for your enterprise?
Pros and cons of Node.js
Read also: Using Node.js for back-end development
- the server handles numerous requests simultaneously
- has a wide range of hosting options and built-in server support
- enables shortening of software development time and serves the same amount of traffic with less hardware
- stream modules make working with large files easy
- thanks to the event loop and multiple requests handling, it is the right framework for real-time applications
- unstable API – changes in frequent intervals
- callbacks result in numerous nested callbacks, affecting real-time applications (e.g. longer gif loading)
- no multithreading, meaning no execution of multiple requests simultaneously
Learn more about the types of applications you can build with Node.JS
Advantages and disadvantages of Java
It’s a general-purpose, class-based, object-oriented programming language. Specifically designed to require as few implementation dependencies as possible, making the code easier to understand.
Modern Java servers are non-blocking, due to the previous blocking execution being the main criticism factor. Currently, the servers wait for background threads to complete tasks while yielding the control of execution back to the processor. Usually, Java web servers use hundreds or even thousands of threads. Does it affect the performance of Java apps? Not necessarily as single thread executors can perform tasks in parallel.
Java source is compiled to Java Byte Code and executed by JVM (Java Virtual Machine). Its programs need to be converted into byte code only once and can run on any platform with an existing JVM.
Java may resemble some popular web browsers in its never-ending hunger for space, memory and CPU (you know the jokes about Chrome – how much memory does Chrome take? All it can find). Java, in theory, can be used for building an almost-real-time applications, but it’s not a common use.
Advantages of Java:
- familiar to all C-based languages programmers
- has a well-written class library
- good portability, as the JVM works the same way on every system it’s implemented on, reducing transitioning issues
- simplified syntax, comprehensive documentation, enabling avoiding potential programming mistakes
- Automatic Memory Management thanks to GarbageCollection and NoExplicitPointers, reducing the application’s memory footprint
Disadvantages of Java:
- it’s CPU intensive – it leaves large memory footprint, meaning more expenses on memory management
- lack of templates limits Java’s ability to create high-quality data structures
- orthodox approach, resulting in a slower introduction of radically improving solutions
- long compilation process
Node.js vs. Java: Node.js is faster than Java! Java is faster than Node.js!
Is the app’s performance as much of a hallmark, as companies using Node are indicating? Node.js benefits from its non-blocking ecosystem with over 50.000 ready-to-use modules, written asynchronously. So far, such level of async pattern is outside of reach for Java developers and as long as it is, it doesn’t matter as much whose raw NIO performance is better in benchmarks. In real-life applications, projects in need of remarkable concurrency will go with Node.js. Using a common language for both client- and server-side enables fast synchronization, which is a crucial factor. Due to this, Node.js is the right technology for all sorts of high performance, scalable real-time applications, starting with games and chatbots to streaming apps, collaboration tools, and other responsive SPAs.
Node.js is future-proof (as for now)
Initially released in 2009 and recently gaining popularity, Node is looking optimistically into the future, as there are no indicators it could become obsolete any time soon. Every six months, a new version is released. Moreover, Node.js gets special treatment from Google, the entity behind the Node’s V8 engine. Google won’t permit any features from the V8 team, that could’ve possibly affect Node’s functioning.
“Node has popularized event-driven programming. With event-driven programming, the actual amount of resources you use is much smaller, and you can get a lot more out of fewer servers.”
– Tom Hughes-Croucher, contributor to the O’Reilly book on Node
Java is a more mature, well-established technology that still holds a firm position in web development, but doesn’t seem as beneficial for future, modern projects. Although a slight declining tendency is observable, there are no strong indicators that Java might become obsolete any time. It’s still a relevant technology, especially in enterprise web development.
Node.js or Java – who wins the battle of technologies?
Java is used to develop such applications as mobile apps (including Android), scientific applications, desktop GUI applications, middleware products, a wide range of web applications, including front and back office electronic trading systems and data processing projects. Java is the optimum technology for projects requiring a powerful language, able to handle large numbers of calculations, even at the cost of the longer application development process.
Node.js is suitable for “lighter” projects, however, development of applications requiring handling extensive amounts of data and calculations is possible as well, proven by numerous success stories. Among others, Node.js enabled PayPal’s software developers to double the number of requests served per second, while at the same time decreasing average response time by 35%.
Node and Java aren’t strictly the same and exact comparisons between these two, based only on benchmarks, won’t be conclusive. One of the key factors is the surrounding ecosystem and community support, and in this matters both Node.js and Java are perfectly backed due to their popularity and years of development. Also, comparing solely their performance, without a broader understanding of the process and concurrency models will not bring the answers you’re looking for. In order to find out which of these platforms will bring the most value for your project, you need to look further than just the performance – first, consider what type of application are you building. Then, mind the speed of application development (how fast do you want to get to the market?), the security of your product, and its scalability.
Read also: Popular companies using Node.js
“So what should I choose, Node JS or Java?”