The best part about Node.js is that it enables developers to craft web applications on both the server and client side. This effectively saves development time and efforts. No wonder that the developers across the world consider Node.js to be the perfect platform for enterprise app development. From live-streaming apps to robust gaming apps and high traffic-driven chatting apps – Node rules them all!
Major Tools to Advance Node.js Development Process
We are not getting into the architecture, features, and advantages of Node.js as that will lengthen the article. If you are curious, you may take a look at this exhaustive Node.js FAQ. We have addressed all the common (and uncommon!) concerns related to Node.js development in the blog.
Below, we will introduce some of the advanced Node.js development tools used by the developers. Keep reading to know all about it.
This framework enables a real-time, event-based bi-directional communication. In fact, it is one of the most reliable, comprehensive, and quickest real-time engine. It offers real-time analytics along with charts, logs, and counters.
It powers several chatting applications advanced by Trello, Microsoft, Zendesk, Yammer, etc. Socket.io offers binary support, scalability, integration, and easy debugging. It boosts up the development process and is easy to use both by the experts and beginners.
Some of its advantages are:
- Programmers can code chatting and instant messaging features without breaking a sweat.
- Real-time analytics modules can send data to clients for a real-time graphic representation.
- Implementation of binary streaming of image, video, audio, etc. has been made easier.
- Developers can create apps that are perfect for facilitating concurrent editing of any document.
This is a flexible and robust Node.js web app framework that offers excellent features for developing web applications. It also lets users create a robust API in a simple and easy manner. It got some brilliant features like simplified multiple template engines and routing, ability to integrate database, and many more to craft user-friendly web apps.
Some of the advantages of this minimalistic framework include the following:
- It is fast and helps to develop scalable web apps.
- It provides a lightweight layer while creating web apps and enhances app performance.
- It offers an extensive range of HTTP methods so the dev team can easily create custom APIs.
It is an authentication middleware. With Passport.js, you can select from 300 distinct ways of authenticating your app. Some of these include login via social media or Google profile, using a username and password model, etc.
Designed by the team of Express, Koa is a next-gen web framework for Node.js. Within a few years of its market release, it turned out to be an expressive, small-sized, and robust framework for crafting web applications and APIs.
Koa demands Node v7.6.0 or even higher for ES2015 as well as async function support. Unlike other similar frameworks (say, Express), it doesn’t depend on middleware. It has inbuilt plugin package to provide support for operations like caching, compression, routing, and more. It also has the potential to remove callbacks and reduce errors. Thus it facilitates robustness and interoperability of the codes.
Some of its advantages are mentioned below:
- It doesn’t depend on the middleware.
- It got readymade plugins for supporting compression, caching, routing, and other common tasks.
- It improves error-handling.
- It facilitates asynchronous programming. This blog will give you an idea of what asynchronous programming is and why developers love it!
It makes asynchronous testing simple for the developers and facilitates the app development process. Mocha tests run serially and allow an accurate and flexible reporting all the while mapping unrestrained exceptions to the correct test case.
One of the major advantages of Mocha.js is its modularity. You can easily use other libraries like Should.js, Sinon, or Chai with this.
PM2 is one of the simplest tools for Node.js development. For a Node application, it works as a process manager. It is equipped with several features ideal for a production environment. It has an inbuilt load balancer. The online payment gateway PayPal and finance software companies such as Intuit use PM2 – so you can understand the efficacy of this tool.
PM2 checks whether the web app is properly working and can reload it without a downtime. So the developers need not worry about restarting the app once it has crashed.
Some of its key features include:
- Watch and reload
- Container integration
- Source map support
- Behaviour configuration
- Key metrics monitoring
- PaaS compatible
- Startup scripts
- Development workflow
- Deployment workflow
- Hot reload
- Cluster mode
- Max memory reload
- Log management
Chai is a TDD/BDD assertion library for Node and the browser that allows a combination with any JS testing framework. Various interfaces and chain-capable BDD styles ensure a readable style along with an expressive language. And the TDD assert style offers a more classic feel. Here the developers can craft their own plugins and later share with the community or use existing plugin pattern to DRY up tests.
Webpack has found a wide usage in Node.js development because of its ability to bundle and serve assets in a faster and easier manner than other development tools. It simplifies the entire process of deployment of apps and makes the development process easy.
It is also used for bundling the JS pages for further implementation in the browser. As a result, the overall initial loading time gets minimized.
Built on MongoDB and Express, Keystone.js is an open-source framework. It is an ideal option for crafting database-driven web applications and APIs. One of the most important features of the tool is its auto-generated UI that enables you to easily handle the web app.
Both Express and MongoDB power a robust CMS (Content Management System) framework. Some of the advantages of the tool are as follow:
- The integration between MongoDB and Express uses Mongoose – a well-known Node-based ODM for MongoDB.
- It is easy for the programmers to manage routes, views and templates with Keystone.js.
- It can power a robust admin interface for CMSs. It also helps in providing easy form-processing abilities to the web app owners.
- Email marketing is a crucial aspect for the entrepreneurs and Keystone makes it easy to create template-based emails.
- Asynchronous coding is easier with the tool.
- Coders can easily implement session management, encryption and authentication for the password field with the tool.
Created and launched by Walmart Lab, Electrode.io is a universal platform for web applications based on React.js/Node.js. Other than a set of best practices modern technologies and standardized structure, it also includes Electrify and Electrode Explorer.
The tool will let you explore all the docs and components and visualize the module tree of Electrode.io and Webpack project bundle in a clear and appealing manner. It ensures reusability of the components, deploying the web apps to the cloud and high performance.
Meteor framework is built for rapid prototyping of JS-based apps and writing cross-platform codes. Based on Node.js and integrated with MongoDB, the tool can be used with any JS user interface widget library.
Developers across the world admit to witness an improved productivity while working with the tool as it significantly reduces their coding effort. The tool has an ability to shorten about 1000 lines of code into just 10 lines! So they need to write less code while developing a highly functional and scalable app.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that Meteor.js is a great tool for app prototyping but not so good for maintaining the finished apps.
Based on the ES6 module, Broccoli is a reliable and fast asset that supports compact build definitions and constant-time rebuilds. The build specification is stored in the project root. Some of its advantages include the following:
- The tool offers a reliable and fast asset pipeline for build management
- It is an easy-to-use tool
- It offers a CLI or Command Line Interface
However, it doesn’t have any built-in plugins so the developers have to build these from scratch.
15. WebStorm IDE
The tool can also be used for tracking (using the inbuilt tool spy-js), debugging and unit testing. It is also easy to integrate with Mocha.js and Karma.
Whether you are engaging or offering web application development services, an extensive knowledge of these Node.js tools will contribute to empowering your business app. Feel free to share your thoughts with us.