Node.js vs. Java: Differences, Applications, and Why You Should Learn Them

There is currently a battle raging for control of developers and programmers' hearts and minds in today's IT world. There’s Java, the venerable champion long used by programmers worldwide, and there’s Node.js, the relatively young upstart JavaScript runtime environment.

This article explores these two powerful tools, highlighting the difference between Node.js vs. Java. We may not ever settle the question of which is ultimately better, but we can better understand both tools and where to use them.

Let’s begin with the newcomer.

What Is Node.js?

Ryan Dahl developed Node.js in 2009. It is an open-source, cross-platform JavaScript (JS) runtime environment that allows programmers to write JavaScript on the client and server sides. It runs JavaScript applications outside of a browser. Node.js is not a programming language, but rather an environment that works with JavaScript. Node.js also lets developers execute their code on the server-side and provides a faster way to write light, scalable scripts.

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Advantages of Node.js

Node.js brings valuable benefits to the table, including:

  • It’s easily scalable
  • It’s simpler than Java
  • It’s ideal for full-stack developers
  • It offers faster and easier code writing
  • It has a node package manager, letting you store many libraries in one line
  • Each library falls into a dependency tree, simplifying the operation
  • It’s always growing and evolving, continually developed, and improved
  • A large community supports it

Drawbacks of Node.js

There aren’t many disadvantages to Node.js, but programmers and users should watch out for these pitfalls when considering Node.js vs. Java:

  • It’s not suitable for CPU-heavy applications
  • Due to constant updates, users must carefully monitor Node.js, since sometimes not all the additions are thoroughly tested
  • The API changes at frequent intervals, causing stability issues
  • It lacks a solid, well-equipped library support system.

Examples of Node.js

Many noteworthy companies and organizations use Node.js for their applications. Here are some examples of Node.js applications, showing why it’s such a versatile environment.

Social Networking

Node.js’s event loops allow apps to receive new data without constantly refreshing, making it a natural for social networking apps. LinkedIn certainly thinks so, which is why it traded Ruby on Rails for Node.js.

Data Collection, Analysis, and Visualization

Node.js is perfect for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data in real-time. Heap and YCharts rely on that data handling capability to make their apps faster and more responsive to users.

Streaming

Netflix improved its app’s performance by switching to Node.js and taking advantage of its Stream API. The interface allows new components to be easily downloaded on demand. It transmits parts of the app’s code to local machines without closing the connection, caching, or temporary data.

Ecommerce

Groupon switched to Node.js because it needed faster speeds and the means of handling heavy traffic. PayPal was having execution issues and became one of the first major companies to give Node.js a try. In both instances, Node.js resolved the problems, resulting in faster page-loading times, handling more massive traffic volumes, and enhancing the sites’ overall performance.

Online Marketplaces and Stores

eBay switched to Node.js due to its ability to maintain live connections with their servers while simultaneously handling multiple requests. Wal-Mart enjoyed similar results when it used Node.js to redesign its mobile app to provide more client-side features.

What Is Java?

Java, developed by James Gosling and the “Green Team” at Sun Microsystems in 1991, is an object-oriented, class-based, general-purpose programming language. Stability, efficiency, and cross-platform capabilities count among Java’s chief characteristics. Java is one of the most popular and heavily used programming languages around the world.

Programmers use Java to build quality efficient applications for computers and mobile phones alike. You will find Java associated particularly with Android phones, enterprise computing, and several embedded worlds such as Blu-ray disks.

Java’s source program is converted to bytecode by the Java compiler. This bytecode can then run on any operating system with a compatible JRE (Java Runtime Environment) installed on it. That means that any source code written in Java can be run on any platform, providing one of Java’s most significant benefits.

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Advantages of Java

Speaking of benefits, here’s a list of Java’s good points:

  • It has many libraries
  • It’s widespread—you can find it everywhere
  • As pointed out before, it can run on any platform with a JRE installed
  • It’s simple and easy to learn and understand
  • Java programs are more stable compared to those of other languages
  • It’s extremely secure
  • It’s object-oriented so that programmers can build modular programs and reusable code

Drawbacks of Java

Although Java enjoys a big list of benefits and has the advantage of longevity, it’s not all sunshine and daffodils for the venerable language. When considering Node.js vs. Java, you should know the disadvantages of Java.

  • It’s slower than native languages like C or C++, and its automatic memory management (garbage collection) eats CPU time, resulting in a less than optimum performance
  • It requires a lot of memory space
  • It has no backup facility, working instead on storage
  • Java’s GUIs aren’t attractive, and they cannot be complex
  • Although Java is easy to learn, its codes are verbose, with many complex sentences that can get challenging to read or understand

Examples of Java

Java’s age and ubiquity make it easy to find everywhere, across all industries and institutions. Here are some examples of popular Java applications:

Android Apps

 The vast majority of Android apps are written in Java, often with Google’s API. For example, Spotify’s app uses Java.

Financial Services and E-commerce

Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and other financial institutions rely on Java-based applications, especially for server-side applications, which usually require no front end. Server-side applications take data from a server, processes it, then sends it downstream to other processes. Amazon also relies on Java.

Service Industries

Uber and AirBnB use Java-based apps.

Third-Party Traders

Murex, a company that provides tech solutions in the finance sector, relies on Java for their trading applications.

Big Data

Big data technologies such as Hadoop use Java in many different capacities, including ElasticSearch, Apache’s HBase, and the open-source Accumulo.

Social Media

Pinterest, LinkedIn, Slack, and Instagram use Java-based apps.

Search Engines

Google uses Java for server coding and developing user interfaces and Google Doc’s applications.

You can also find Java in the Internet of Things, scientific applications, and Gmail.

Node.js vs. Java: What’s the Difference?

Let’s sharpen our focus on the question of Node.js vs. Java performance by illustrating their differences with a table, presenting them in a head-to-head format.

Node.js vs. Java

 

Java

Node.js

Origin

Object-oriented language created from C++, class-based

Framework created with C, C++, and JavaScript

Application Type

Complex, web-based, highly concurrent

Speedy and scalable server-side

Best Suited For

Complex, larger, web-based projects that need concurrency

Smaller-sized projects

Installation Requirements

Needs a Java Development Kit (JDK) to run

Needs an archive file installation on the system

Multi-threading (e.g., running several tasks simultaneously)

Uses the concept easily

Doesn’t handle threads as well as Java. Best used as a single-thread option.

Uses

Highly concurrent applications, messaging, complex web applications

Running scalable and faster applications, real-time collaborative applications (e.g., Google Docs)

Available Frameworks

JSF, Spring, Struts, Tapestry

Express.js, Sails.js, and Partial.js

Scope

Emphasis on server-side interaction, and has nothing to do with the browser

Can be used efficiently by developers for either the client or server-side

To sum up the differences between Node.js vs, Java: Java is a programming language used to develop applications for various environments, including Android apps, video games, desktop apps, consumer devices, and enterprise systems. It also functions well as a server-side language used for backend development. In contrast, Node.js is a cross-platform runtime environment best suited for JavaScript developers, especially for creating event-driven I/O bound applications.

Taking Advantage of Development Resources

The best way to get a better appreciation of the capabilities of Node.js vs. Java is to increase your knowledge base using courses related to web and app development. Also, if you’re already a programmer, these courses work well as upskilling resources.

The Python Certification Course gives you the skills and hands-on development experience in Python, another often-used programming language. You can learn about front-end development with the Angular Certification Course, or learn about developing user interfaces with the React.js training course that uses JavaScript libraries to help design UI and UX solutions for web and mobile apps.

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Want to Learn More About Node.js vs. Java?

Simplilearn offers you the chance to learn more about Node.js vs, Java, courtesy of two highly informative and comprehensive courses.

The Node.js Certification Training Course teaches you how to build network applications quickly and efficiently with JavaScript. The Node.js certification training course is designed to help developers understand and build web applications using JavaScript. The Java Certification Training Course guides you through Java's concepts, starting with introductory techniques and taking you to advanced programming skills. The course teaches you about Core Java 8, operators, arrays, loops, methods, and constructors, and gives you hands-on experience in the JDBC and JUnit frameworks.

According to Ziprecruiter, Node.js programmers can earn an annual average of USD 113,791, while entry-level Java programmers can average USD 76,723 a year.

So whether you’re an experienced programmer who wants to upskill or someone who wants to get their start in programming, check out Simplilearn, and put those plans in motion today!

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