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Node.js vs Java: What to Choose in 2020?

What is more relevant to use for app development today — Node.js or Java? Is there a big gap between them? What about the Node.js vs. JavaScript differences? Let’s take an in-depth look into the main characteristics and purposes of these two languages. In this article, we dive into the specifics of Java vs. Node.js to see their advantages in programming.

Node.js overview

Node.js is a JavaScript code execution environment. It is based on Chrome V8 — a JavaScript engine that translates JavaScript calls into machine code. This is the difference between Node.js and JavaScript — the first is a running environment for the language called JavaScript.

Node.js appeared in 2009 when American developer Ryan Dahl created the Node.js platform. While the developers vastly exploited the principle of “one thread for each connection,” the new platform created by Dahl focused on events. The primary purpose of the system was to build scalable network servers.

Advantages of using Node.js

Node.js has become a stand-alone command-line tool that excels in building fast and scalable applications. It got approval among developers all over the world due to the following reasons:

  • Ability to use the same language on the client and server-side;
  • Speed of work;
  • The lightness of the system that allows creating lightweight applications;
  • The opportunity to use JavaScript syntax;
  • A Node package manager that you can use to install and search for packages;
  • Constant technology development (e.g., TypeScript is being developed now).

What is a better way to use Node.js?

This programming language has a vast range of uses. Today it is difficult to imagine a fast multi-user real-time data scenario without Node.js. Below we’ve listed several main areas Node.js is more suitable:

  • Collectors and translators;
  • Batch processing and deferred processing scenarios;
  • Scripts, CLI (command-line interfaces);
  • Document generation delayed report generation;
  • Web Applications and SPA Servers;
  • Servers and APIs for mobile applications;
  • Message Servers and Event Broadcasting (Chats, Games, Interactive);
  • Patches on already prepared systems, written in other source languages;
  • Window applications (nw.js, Node-WebKit);
  • Crawlers, parsers, and data collection;
  • Microcontroller programming;
  • Industrial automation;
  • CMS, content publishing;
  • Mass e-commerce and trade.

Java overview

Java is a strictly typified and object-oriented programming language. It was created in 1991 by Sun Microsystems engineers, Patrick Naughton and James Gosling. At the time, this language was called Oak. Now, it’s the world’s most influential and widely used computer language.

Advantages of using Java

Java is a high-level programming language and it excels at solving general problems of any type. Even though there are more and more technologies appearing, Java still has a number of benefits to outrun the competitors:

  • Object-oriented programming allows you to reuse objects in other programs.
  • Java is a high-level language with simple syntax and smooth learning curves that make writing, reading, and maintenance easier.
  • Java supports many libraries, so many hosting providers support this language. You can also work with it from any computer.
  • There are no pointers in Java, and there is a Security Manager that allows you to specify access rules.
  • You can create a Java application on Windows, compile it into byte code and run it on any other platform that supports a Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
  • Automatic Storage Management is presented by a special system called a garbage collector. It finds and deletes objects that are no longer in use.
  • Multithreading. Threads are independent of each other: one thread does not affect the work of other threads.

What is a better way to use Java?

With all its positive features, Java is very widely used. At the same time, it is almost invisible in use. Below you will find some areas where you can use Java:

  • Android applications
  • Server applications in financial services
  • Web applications
  • Software tools
  • Trading applications
  • J2ME applications
  • Embedded systems
  • Big Data
  • High-frequency trading spaces
  • Scientific applications

The key differences between Node.js and Java

Below is a comparative table of Node.js vs. Java to demonstrate their distinctions more clearly.

Comparison factors Node.js Java
Definition A server platform for working with JavaScript. A programming language and platform.
Productivity and resource consumption Node.js performance vs. Java is lower, but is lightweight and can be used to maintain lightweight tasks. Along with high performance, it requires a lot of memory.
Flow control Uses two types of threads: the main thread processed by the event loop, and several additional threads. You can create an application and run multiple threads while the load is being distributed.
Frameworks Express.js, Sails.js, Socket.io, Partial.js, etc. Spring, Struts, JSF, Hibernate, Tapestry, etc.
Usage Cross-platform applications, web applications. The multifunctional language for complex corporate applications.
Runtime environment V8 engine from Google. Java virtual machine.

Conclusion

At the end of our comparison of the two programming languages — Node.js and Java, we can note that each has its advantages and disadvantages. Java is an older, universal language, but at the same time, it is more complicated than Node.js. Regarding Node.js vs. Java performance, we can say that not very high performance of single-threaded Node.js is compensated by speed and lightness. As we can see, the relatively young Node.js is used in many areas. The TechMagic team offers high-quality services for backend and frontend development using Node.js.

TechMagic is a software and web development company from Lviv, Ukraine that builds dedicated teams skilled in JavaScript, Node.js, Angular, React, AWS, Serverless, and Salesforce.
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