What is Nodejs, Express and When Should It Be Used.


By Amarachi Iheanacho

Technical Writer

Node.js and Express.js are powerful tools in the world of web development. This article will provide a simple yet detailed explanation of what these technologies are and how and when to use them.

What is Node.js

Node.js enables the execution of JavaScript on servers, allowing it to function outside of web browsers. Powered by Chrome's V8 engine, Node.js is tailored for creating scalable network applications.

Traditionally, JavaScript was only executable in browsers. This implied that data retrieval from databases or external websites required communication with a separate server-side language (e.g., PHP or Python), which would then fetch and deliver the data back to the browser. Node.js revolutionizes this by empowering JavaScript to engage with servers directly, resulting in enhanced speed and efficiency.

Node.js employs an event-driven, non-blocking I/O architecture, contributing to its lightweight and efficient nature. This design makes it an ideal choice for real-time applications demanding high data output and operating across multiple devices.

Node.js Evolution in a Nutshell

Dated back to December 5th, 1995, JavaScript originated as a client-side programming language, primarily confined to the front end alongside HTML and CSS. As the need for a language translation engine emerged, JavaScript Engine came into play. Noteworthy engines include:

  • V8: Google's creation, extensively used in browsers like Google Chrome.
  • SpiderMonkey: Crafted by Mozilla, powering the Firefox browser.
  • JavaScriptCore: Apple's engine for Safari.

JavaScript's simplicity and robust developer community led to its popularity.The concept of making it cross-platform was born, and V8 was chosen for its speed in converting code to machine language, resulting in the creation of Node.js. Node.js, utilizing V8, operates as a JavaScript engine on a physical machine. Introducing the HTTP module extends its functionality to the server side.

Unveiling Node.js Features

Known for its asynchronous, non-blocking, and single-threaded nature, Node.js efficiently handles requests without waiting for time-consuming operations, exemplifying its non-blocking prowess.

Where Node.js Excels

1. Non-blocking Operations

Node.js guarantees continuous execution of code, even during incomplete operations, by referring to actions that do not interfere with other processes.

2. Event-driven Operations

Node.js operates on events, initiating functions when predetermined events occur, showcasing its event-driven architecture.

3. Data-Intensive Applications

Node.js proves beneficial for applications handling significant amounts of data, facilitating efficient data management.

4. I/O Intensive Applications

I/O intensive applications, dependent on external devices, find Node.js advantageous as it can proceed with other operations while waiting for external inputs.

What Can Node.js Do?

  • Generate dynamic page content
  • Create, open, read, write, delete, and close files on the server
  • Collect form data
  • Add, delete, modify data in your database

Introducing Express.js: The Framework Powering Node.js

While Node.js is a runtime environment, the framework it runs is Express.js. Express.js is an open-source web application framework that follows the architectural pattern.

Express.js simplifies the development of secure and fast web applications, fostering a straightforward approach. It's lightweight, adopting an organized model-view-controller (MVC) architecture, freeing mental bandwidth for business logic.

Why Express.js is popular among developers

Here are some of the reason Express.js is popular among developers:

  • Being a JavaScript framework with an expansive and accessible community.
  • Streamlining backend code development for web applications.
  • Providing flexible middleware, enhancing the Express server request lifecycle.

Choosing the Right Time for Node.js and Express.js

Ideal for both small and large-scale web applications, Node.js excels in scalability and performance. It's a top choice for real-time applications like chat applications and web games. Express.js complements Node.js, excelling in developing robust and secure web applications, APIs, and microservices.

Node.js and Express.js extend their utility to:

  • Developing native mobile applications for iOS and Android using Node.js.
  • Crafting APIs for mobile applications, facilitating swift route creation and request handling.
  • Creating applications for the Internet of Things (IoT), where Node.js interacts with IoT devices, and Express.js swiftly tailors APIs for IoT applications.


Node.js and Express.js are powerful tools for web development. Node.js allows you to run JavaScript on the server, while Express.js simplifies the process of building web applications on top of Node.js. Whether you’re building a quick JSON API or a full-fledged web application, these technologies provide a solid foundation for your development needs.

Build modern projects using Bootstrap 5 and Contrast

Trying to create components and pages for a web app or website from scratch while maintaining a modern User interface can be very tedious. This is why we created Contrast, to help drastically reduce the amount of time we spend doing that. so we can focus on building some other aspects of the project.

Contrast Bootstrap PRO consists of a Premium UI Kit Library featuring over 10000+ component variants. Which even comes bundled together with its own admin template comprising of 5 admin dashboards and 23+ additional admin and multipurpose pages for building almost any type of website or web app.
See a demo and learn more about Contrast Bootstrap Pro by clicking here.

Related Posts