Node.js is used by large, established companies and newly-minted startups alike. Open-source and completely free, the platform is used by thousands of developers around the world. It brings plenty of advantages to the table, making it a better choice than other server-side platforms like Java or PHP in many cases.
In this article we will cover the following topics that will give complete understanding of Node.js architecture:
- Node.js server architecture
- Parts of the Node.js architecture
- Workflow of Node.js architecture
- Advantages of Node.js architecture
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A web application, as you may already know, is a program that runs on a server and is rendered by a client browser, using the internet to access all the resources of that application. It usually can be easily broken down into three parts:
Fig: Web application
The server is responsible for taking the client requests, performing the required tasks, and sending responses back to the clients. It acts as a middleware between the front-end and stored data to enable operations on the data by a client. Node.js, PHP, and Java are the most popular technologies in use to develop and maintain a web server.
The database stores the data for a web application. The data can be created, updated, and deleted whenever the client requests. MySQL and MongoDB are among the most popular databases used to store data for web applications.
Node.js Server Architecture
Fig: Node.js architecture
Now let’s understand each part of the Node.js architecture and the workflow of a web server developed using Node.js.
Parts of the Node.js Architecture:
RequestsIncoming requests can be blocking (complex) or non-blocking (simple), depending upon the tasks that a user wants to perform in a web application
Node.js ServerNode.js server is a server-side platform that takes requests from users, processes those requests, and returns responses to the corresponding users
Event QueueEvent Queue in a Node.js server stores incoming client requests and passes those requests one-by-one into the Event Loop
Thread PoolThread pool consists of all the threads available for carrying out some tasks that might be required to fulfill client requests
Event LoopEvent Loop indefinitely receives requests and processes them, and then returns the responses to corresponding clients
External ResourcesExternal resources are required to deal with blocking client requests. These resources can be for computation, data storage, etc.
The Workflow of Node.js Architecture:
A web server developed using Node.js typically has a workflow that is quite similar to the diagram illustrated below. Let’s explore this flow of operations in detail.
Fig: Node.js Architecture Workflow
- Clients send requests to the webserver to interact with the web application. Requests can be non-blocking or blocking:
-Querying for data
-Updating the data
- Node.js retrieves the incoming requests and adds those requests to the Event Queue
- The requests are then passed one-by-one through the Event Loop. It checks if the requests are simple enough to not require any external resources
- Event Loop processes simple requests (non-blocking operations), such as I/O Polling, and returns the responses to the corresponding clients
A single thread from the Thread Pool is assigned to a single complex request. This thread is responsible for completing a particular blocking request by accessing the external resources, such as compute, database, file system, etc.
Once, the task is carried out completely, the response is sent to the Event Loop that in turn sends that response back to the Client
Advantages of Node.js Architecture
Node.js Architecture comes with several advantages that give the server-side platform a distinct upper-hand when compared to other server-side languages:
Handling multiple concurrent client requests is fast and easyWith the use of Event Queue and Thread Pool, the Node.js server enables efficient handling of a large number of incoming requests.
No need for creating multiple threadsEvent Loop handles all requests one-by-one, so there is no need to create multiple threads. Instead, a single thread is sufficient to handle a blocking incoming request.
Requires fewer resources and memoryNode.js server, most of the time, requires fewer resources and memory due to the way it handles the incoming requests. Since the requests are processed one at a time, the overall process becomes less taxing on the memory.
All of these advantages contribute to making the servers developed using Node.js much faster and responsive when compared to those developed using other server development technologies.
Check out the video below that will help you understand all about the Node.js architecture.
Get Ahead of the Curve and Master Node.js Today
Now that you have a basic understanding of how the Node.js architecture works to keep up with high client requests, you may be wondering how you can obtain the skills necessary to take advantage of its rising popularity.
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