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NodeJS vs. JAVA: Which Backend Language Wins The Battle?

In the history of computing, one revolutionary year was 1995, when JAVA made it to the headlines. Closely following its heels, JavaScript appeared in the same year. Both backend technologies sound more like twins name-wise, however, nothing is as distinct as JAVA and JavaScript. Despite their technical differences, they have somehow managed to collide as tech stacks, all thanks to NodeJS. 

Today, enterprises of all scales and sizes prefer to hire NodeJS developers for their projects. You don't believe me? Hear this out. Netflix recently migrated from JAVA to NodeJS. 

But Why? 

Because NodeJS is not only faster but has a flexible development process along with scalable benefits. But that does not make JAVA any less of a master. There are tons of areas where JAVA still rules as a backend. 

All we need to do is, look at their individual benefits and then decide which backend technology can serve better for different projects?

But before we make a head-to-head comparison of NodeJS and JAVA, let’s take an overview of both the technologies to clear our basics. 

JAVA: An Overview

JAVA is a traditional programming language that works on object-oriented concepts, after C++. It follows the principle of “write once and run anywhere,” which states that the code once written can be used anywhere without the need for recompilation. 

The language is highly secure and stable, and it is perfect for eCommerce, transportation, FinTech, and banking services. There are four significant platforms of JAVA:

  1. JAVA FX
  2. JAVA, Standard edition (JAVA SE)
  3. JAVA, Micro edition (JAVA ME)
  4. JAVA, Enterprise edition (JAVA EE)

Currently, JAVA is empowering the web with almost 3.4% of the websites. It is also ranked amongst the top 5 master programming languages. 

NodeJS: An Overview

NodeJS is a JavaScript-based runtime environment working as a server-side open-source tool. NodeJS runs on the single-threaded technique that delivers scalable and high-performing results. You can easily extend the capability of your project by using NodeJS based frameworks like Socket.io, Meteor.js, and Express. 

NodeJS is developed in push-based architecture. Hence, the framework is expert in making SPAs (Single Page Applications), API services, and complex websites. 

Currently, more than 43% of enterprises hire NodeJS developers to develop business-grade applications.  

NodeJS is also rated as one of the most loved tools in the Developer survey report of 2020. 

Now that we are familiar with both the backend technologies let’s quickly get into the comparison mode. For a balanced comparison, we will use some significant metrics such as: 

  1. Performance
  2. Architectural structure
  3. Testing

Performance comparison of Java and NodeJS:

Performance is an unavoidable factor in any website or application development. 

Java- 

  • Programs written in Java are in the form of Byte codes which state that the language performs much better than any other traditional technology. 
  • These byte code instructions are quickly taken by the virtual machines, hence, resulting in smooth performance. 
  • To deliver high-performing applications, Java has also implemented components like a “just-in-time compiler.” 

NodeJS- 

  • NodeJS is massively popular for its non-blocking and asynchronous structure that helps in creating a perfect environment to run micro-operations. 
  • These backend operations process in multithreading; hence, they do not impact the main application thread. 
  • NodeJS utilizes a V8 JavaScript engine, which delivers fast results in the least time possible. 

 Architectural Structure:

When it comes to choosing a framework, every product owner tries to avoid strict guidelines or architectural protocols. Let’s see which one is more flexible in terms of architecture. 

Java-

  • With Java, developers tend to follow the MVC (Model View Controller) architectural pattern.
  • This facilitates hassle-free testing and easy maintenance of code. 
  • Since developers work individually on the design, one change in a module doesn’t impact the entire application. 
  • Hence, you save yourself from a lot of rework and documentation processes with Java. 

NodeJS- 

  • NodeJS is modern and advanced and leverages a single-threaded event loop architectural system.
  • This system manages multiple concurrent requests altogether without interfering with the performance. 
  • NodeJS also allows you to follow the MVC architecture pattern to ease out onboarding issues in the code. 
  • The best part is that the technology encourages asynchronous communication between the components. 

Testing:

To be able to work without any defects or glitches is a blessing to development projects. Customers today expect continuous and fast-loading websites and applications. Let’s see which one passes the testing phase efficiently. 

Java- 

  • Developers can easily create test cases with Java. 
  • These cases include grouping, sequencing, data-driven features. In addition to this, one can also create parallel tests. 
  • The language is compatible with multiple testing tools and frameworks like- FitNess, Apache JMeter, Selenium, JUnit, etc. 

NodeJS-

  • NodeJS has rich debugging capabilities for competency testing. 
  • It creates a sound ecosystem for applications with tools like Mocha, Jasmine, AVA, Lab, etc. 
  • The critical feature is compliance with testing libraries like Chai and Mocha to provide a seamless user experience. 

Several other factors like scalability, database support, and microservice architecture can help weigh the benefits of both the backend technologies.  

But the primary dilemma is when and where to use Java and NodeJS in your projects. 

You can consider NodeJS under these conditions:

  1. Your application supports web streaming content. 
  2. You require a performant single-page application.
  3. Your app should contain efficient data processing capabilities. 
  4. You expect a real-time multi-user web app. 
  5. Your project is a browser-based gaming app. 

You can consider Java under these conditions:

  1. You want to develop an enterprise-grade application. 
  2. You are looking for rich community support for accessible services. 
  3. Your business is Big Data or eCommerce. 
  4. You need mature technology with security features. 
  5. You wish to develop a cryptocurrency application with security functions. 

Conclusion

Since every technology serves individual features and benefits, there is no master to rule all. Thus, everything relies on your project requirements. We hope the above factors helped you overcome your backend tech dilemma. If you wish to explore more technical insights, you can hire full-stack developers that are expert in NodeJS and Java. They might make your development process even smoother. 

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Tags: JAVA, NodeJS, dsc_code

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