Node.js is a perfect enterprise application platform

In a July 2017 article, Node.js Foundation surveyed developers around the world asking them how they use Node.js. As it turns out, Node.js is taking over the world of business applications and the enterprise by storm and is rapidly supplanting platforms like Java which has to do with a few factors.


Node.js is a JavaScript platform. JavaScript is a simple language that in and of itself is easy to learn. JavaScript opens up an opportunity for people with no formal computer science education to become productive as coders in a relatively short period.

API Mashups

Humanity tends to invent tools and build platforms on which we then make more complex tools and platforms. Consider the evolution of an enterprise developer.

Back when dinosaurs roamed the data centers, enterprise developers were writing financial systems in assembler. Over time, languages like PL/I and COBOL have invented that improved developer productivity. Eventually, we got Java, C++, C#, etc.

By now, enterprises built out API ecosystems supporting critical business processes. Add to the mix cloud APIs, and now we can rapidly develop new applications as API mashups.

As it turns out, JavaScript and Node.js form a fantastic API mashup platform.

Node.js performance

Node.js does not outperform Java at CPU and memory intensive tasks and probably never will. That is not where it shines, however.

Where it does outperform Java, however, is in IO-intensive use cases. For networked API-driven applications that are a yet another point in favor of Node.js as an API mashup platform.

Increased developer productivity

I remember the days when to build out a Java-based web server one had to get an application server like Tomcat, JBoss, WebLogic, or WebSphere. Those are expensive resource hogs.

As a Java engineer I’ve long advocated the approach of bypassing JEE application servers altogether. In Java, that is not trivial.

In Node.js, however, setting up an application server involves a handful lines of JavaScript code. Consider a simple “hello world” application server built using Node.js and express framework and compare it to doing this same using JBoss. Who wants to go through all that pain in Java, when in JavaScript all that is needed to get started is a few lines of code?

The perfect storm

The net result is that as new coders join the Node.js bandwagon because of JavaScript, the old school engineers coming from Java and other such platforms recognize the increased productivity features of Node.js. These two formidable forces combine to create the perfect storm. Enterprises are realizing that, and they are adopting Node.js as the platform for all new applications.