when we should go for nodejs

To Say Generic,

  • is a command-line tool that can be run as a regular web server and lets one run JavaScript programs
  • utilizes the great V8 JavaScript engine
  • is very good when you need to do several things at the same time
  • is event-based so all the wonderful Ajax-like stuff can be done on the server side
  • lets us share code between the browser and the backend

Node.js is especially suited for applications where you’d like to maintain a persistent connection from the browser back to the server. Using a technique known as “long-polling”, you can write an application that sends updates to the user in real time. Doing long polling on many of the web’s giants, like Ruby on Rails or Django, would create immense load on the server, because each active client eats up one server process. This situation amounts to a tarpit attack. When you use something like Node.js, the server has no need of maintaining separate threads for each open connection.

This means you can create a browser-based chat application in Node.js that takes almost no system resources to serve a great many clients. Any time you want to do this sort of long-polling, Node.js is a great option.

Why cant we use old traditional methods in sending data like ajax,push etc etc

Sending Data

Nowadays, to send a request to a server, it is very common to use AJAX to send an XMLHTTPRequest to the server without any page reloads.


One way to solve this issue is by requesting the server periodically. This could be achieved by a simple setInterval function with an ajax call to the server every x seconds. This would be called polling, because we are constantly asking the server, ‘do you have anything new?’.

Push Technology – Event Based Programming

But what if the server wants to send the client new data that the client is interested in, but has no idea when the data would be available? This is sometimes referred to as push technology, where a server wants to send data to a client. A way to think about push technology is to only do something when there’s a reason. That is, the server will only send a data response when there’s data available.

Long Polling

Long polling is where the client requests new data from the server, but the server does not respond until there is data. In the meantime, the client has an open connection to the server and is able to accept new data once the server has it ready to send.

subscribe: function(callback) {
      var longPoll = function(){
              method: 'GET',
              url: '/messages', 
              success: function(data){
              complete: function(){
              timeout: 30000

When it comes to Nodejs:

On the server side, the request is then subscribed to the message bus.
In Nodejs, the message bus is built in and can be required as follows. And you’ll probably want to set max listeners to more than the default of 10.

var EventEmitter = require('events').EventEmitter  
var messageBus = new EventEmitter()  

Subscring the request.

router.get('/messages', function(req, res){  
    var addMessageListener = function(res){
        messageBus.once('message', function(data){

And so you’re wondering, when will this message bus ever fire back data to the response?
Since we have a subscriber to the event, we also need a publisher to cause an event.

To emit a message to the message bus, the client, or something else, will need to initiate a publish event.

publish: function(data) {  
    $.post('/messages', data)

And so the server can then emit a message to the message bus.

router.post('/messages', function(req, res){  
    messageBus.emit('message', req.body)

In this set up, you ensure that every client continually has an open connection to the server, but the server is not easily overloaded to a multitude of requests, because it puts every request/response inside a message bus to be emitted once it is ready.
This method has been widely popular due to its relatively easy set up and wide support accross all browsers.

 How does it work??

A quick calculation: assuming that each thread potentially has an accompanying 2 MB of memory with it, running on a system with 8 GB of RAM puts us at a theoretical maximum of 4000 concurrent connections, plus the cost of context-switching between threads. That’s the scenario you typically deal with in traditional web-serving techniques. By avoiding all that, Node.js achieves scalability levels of over 1M concurrent connections (as a proof-of-concept).

There is, of course, the question of sharing a single thread between all clients requests, and it is a potential pitfall of writing Node.js applications. Firstly, heavy computation could choke up Node’s single thread and cause problems for all clients (more on this later) as incoming requests would be blocked until said computation was completed. Secondly, developers need to be really careful not to allow an exception bubbling up to the core (topmost) Node.js event loop, which will cause the Node.js instance to terminate (effectively crashing the program).

The technique used to avoid exceptions bubbling up to the surface is passing errors back to the caller as callback parameters (instead of throwing them, like in other environments). Even if some unhandled exception manages to bubble up, there are mutiple paradigms and tools available to monitor the Node process and perform the necessary recovery of a crashed instance (although you won’t be able to recover users’ sessions), the most common being the Forever module, or a different approach with external system toolsupstart and monit.

NPM: The Node Package Manager

When discussing Node.js, one thing that definitely should not be omitted is built-in support for package management using the NPM tool that comes by default with every Node.js installation. The idea of NPM modules is quite similar to that of Ruby Gems: a set of publicly available, reusable components, available through easy installation via an online repository, with version and dependency management.

A full list of packaged modules can be found on the NPM website https://npmjs.org/ , or accessed using the NPM CLI tool that automatically gets installed with Node.js.


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