Node JS

Guide to Node.js and what it’s used for

By Cesar Contreas

Back in 2009, Ryan Dahl saw the need for a new development option.  Dahl created Node.js as an open source, cross-platform JavaScript run-time environment with the flexibility to run on macOS, Windows, and Linux.

What makes Node so special

Node is a high-performance JavaScript run-time environment for executing JavaScript code outside of the web browsers. Node is used to build back-end services or API’s ( Application Programming Interface).

To understand how Node.js is different, you need to first look at web browsers. Web browsers read JavaScript using a JS Engine (JavaScript engine) to translate JavaScript into machine language, some of the most popular JS Engines are:

  • Chakra for Microsoft Edge
  • Spidermonkey for Mozilla
  • V8 for Google

Node was built from the fastest of these JS Engines, V8 JavaScript engine. The V8 JS engine makes it so JavaScript can run outside of a browser.

Node.js key features

  • Great Prototyping
  • Agile Development Friendly
  • Fast
  • Scalable
  • Clean and consistent

The open source label gives Node a great advantage in today’s web environment.  There’s a lot of free documentation and best practices tips that can help you build better applications.

Beware of what Node isn’t

Node is not a programming language, neither a framework. Node is a runtime environment written in JavaScript for JavaScript applications.


In a sense, Node is a program that includes the modern JavaScript engine V8 that helps us execute JavaScript outside a web browser. Node also gives you all the benefits the JavaScript language grants, with the added benefits of single thread query management. This means that Node allows you to program web apps in a more effective, efficient, and precise way than the web browser by themselves.





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