5 Reasons to use Nodejs with React for Web Development
During my early correspondence with new clients, these questions typically come up without fail:
- I have heard Nodejs is scalable. Could we use it with React?
- I also need a scalable UI for my web application. What do you think is the better option, Reactjs or Nodejs?
As I began responding to these questions on a daily basis, I knew I had to give a detailed account of Nodejs and React, covering all the whys, hows, and what ifs. Here’s when I thought of writing a dedicated article that covers these questions.
In this blog, I will explain to you 5 reasons why you should use Nodejs with React. But before we dig into the meat of the matter, let’s kick things up with a few notches and get the basics right.
What is Node.js?
Node.js empowers developers to build robust, server-side applications that are fast and scalable. Particularly for real-time applications, Node.js has become a common choice due to its event-driven, non-blocking I/O architecture.
What makes Node.js different from other runtime environments is its capability for single-thread processing. Single-thread architecture makes a framework easily scalable and highly performant. That is why around 2% of all websites across the globe are built using Node.js.
Features of Node.js
- Non-blocking, asynchronous, and event-driven
- Open SSL 3 Support
- Super fast data streaming
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Core test runner module
- Global fetch enabled
Advantages of Node.js
- Enables easy vertical and horizontal application scaling
- Improves application performance with its non-blocking thread execution
- Has a vast ecosystem of packages that make web development easier
- Massive community support
What is it used for?
Node.js is commonly used to build:
- Streaming web apps
- Real-time collaboration tools
- Advanced Single Page Applications (SPAs)
- REST API servers
- Microservices architecture
What is React?
React also employs a virtual DOM (Document Object Model) to manage updates efficiently. This makes state management in React applications seamless. Although React is a library, you can integrate a few third-party libraries with it and it is ready to work as a full fledged front-end framework.
React was launched by Facebook and since then, it has been maintained and updated by a large community of developers.
Features of React
- Component-based architecture
- One-way data binding
- Virtual DOM
- Declarative UI
Advantages of React
- Reusable components
- Effortless dependency handling
- Efficient state management
- Excellent developer tools
- Seamless template designing
What is it used for?
React is commonly used to build:
- Dashboards and data visualization tools
- Social networking web apps
- eCommerce websites
- Discussion forums
- Single page applications
- REST APIs
Can you use Node.js with React?
Yes, definitely, and in fact, Node.js is the most convenient platform for hosting as well as running a web server for a React application. It’s because of two main reasons:
- Using an NPM (Node Package Manager), Node works alongside the NPM registry to easily install any package through the NPM CLI.
- Node bundles a React application into a single file for easy compilation using webpack and several other Node modules.
Furthermore, using Node.js to host and run your web server helps in a lot of ways:
- Node.js uses a speed optimized V8 engine to address bulk requests that are handled through callback functions to ensure quality and quantity.
- Developers can execute the Reactjs code directly in the Node.js environment.
- The React DOM has components specifically designed to work with Node.js that reduce lines of code, making server-side rendering comparatively easy.
Sometimes, changing your backend completely is not a feasible option. Let’s assume you have RoR (Ruby on Rails) as a backend. You can still use Node.js to run the web server hosting your React application.
But how would I need Node.js for a web server when I’ve already got ROR, you may ask?
Well, Node.js offers highly reliable and efficient tools which can be used without the need for a Node Web Server. You can use Node’s assets to build the RoR asset Pipeline, thereby leveraging CommonJS to make your work a lot easier.
Do you still need Nodejs in the backend to run React?
Decision-makers sometimes assume that for running Reactjs, they must have a Nodejs backend. It is not true; you DO NOT need Nodejs every time you use React.
See Reactjs is a library, which is only used to render the user-interfaces of your web and mobile apps. On the other hand, Nodejs is a runtime environment to handle data communication on the server-side. It’s used in networking applications to provide real-time data management across systems.
Both React and Node exist in the developer ecosystem for different reasons. So it’s important to analyze their use-cases before you approach the development process.
While Reactjs can only be used to build UI components on the frontend, Nodejs will take care of the data stored on the backend. Reactjs offer tools like react-router and redux, which will provide dire communication to be handled at the server-side by Nodejs.
So when a user interacts with the user-interface (Reactjs) and a server request is made — the browser responds appropriately by sending data as per the specified URL path from the backend (Nodejs).
Now here comes the gist: Reactjs, being a frontend framework, loads the components attached to the specific routes (read Routing and Navigation). Whereas Nodejs, being a Backend framework does not care which component loads on a particular URL request made. It’s only providing an environment for the entire data communication, does it make sense?
Are there any specific conditions or reasons that would help React developers to use Nodejs?
Yes, there are some specific conditions or reasons where Nodejs can be used with React. In fact, using these two technologies in conjunction can do wonders and save you a lot of development time.
Top 5 Reasons to Use Nodejs with React:
1. High server load: Using Nodejs with React makes sense when your web application needs handling of multiple requests and maintaining server load balance.
2. Real-time data: If your application’s core is based on Real-time Data-Intensive management or Data Streaming, using Nodejs is highly advisable for continued server connection.
3. JSON APIs: Building JSON APIs for your application is very efficient with Nodejs due to high code reusability and easy code sharing in Reactjs.
4. Single Page Applications (SPA): Developing Single Page Applications in React while using Node to build a lightweight backend model for asynchronous data loading through callback functions.
5. MERN stack: Nodejs can also be used with React with MERN (MongoDB, Express, React, and Nodejs) stack.
How to do React Migration And Increase Your Performance 3X?
Can Node.js with React Help Meet Changing Market Demands?
React and Node.js top the chart when it comes to the widely used frameworks by the developer community. In the StackOverflow survey 2022, around 47.12% of respondents said they have used Node.js extensively in their projects, while 42.62% of respondents have loved working with React.
Product owners looking to develop responsive and modern web applications that manage large amounts of data would find the combination of Node.js and React an excellent choice.
React’s flexible design model provides users the convenience and flexibility to create reusable UI elements. In contrast, Node.js’ event-driven model enables more efficient and effective handling of massive data.
Considering the market trends and the growing popularity of both frameworks, we can infer that they will grow in the coming years.
Undeniably, both React and Node have different functions such as React for front-end, and Node for the backend. Nodejs can do a lot more than making servers; it can do all sorts of scripting and CLI tools.
If you want to use Node.js with React, knowledge of NPM is essential. React is best utilized in a Node environment unless a backend is needed. Combining React with Node can greatly enhance project scalability, as demonstrated by its success at tech giants like Netflix and PayPal.
Planning to combine React as a front-end with Node as a backend for full-stack web application development? Hire experienced and dedicated developers and start your two weeks free consultation call.
Detailed and nice article explained in very simple language to make understand everyone
Nice article with simple explanation
Wonderful explanation. I had this doubt before jump into React.
This article is clear and easy to pick up. Very helpful, thank you for sharing.
Thank your for this article. It gave me a great motivation to combine both Nodejs and React.
More detail explanation