Nodejs vs React: Comparing Learning curve, Performance, Use-case

Web App Development
difference between node and react

Nodejs vs React: Comparing Learning curve, Performance, Use-case


You may have questions like what’s the difference between Nodejs and React? Or which is better: Nodejs or React? Comparing the two, however, is metaphorically incorrect. It’s like you are comparing apples with oranges. While React is a front-end library, Node.js is mainly used at the backend, or on the server-side for that matter. Since neither of them represents any same category, they are completely different from each other. The major difference between Nodejs and React boils down to how these two technologies are used in web application development. Said another way, both Nodejs and React serve different purposes in the web development world, and are not interchangeable at any cost.

To put things in perspective, we’ve weighed up Nodejs and React-based on performance, learning curve, community, and microservices support.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Nodejs vs React: usage statistics and popularity worldwide

 React usage statistics and popularity: 

There’s a reason 1,408,233 customers use Reactjs for their frontend development.  Moreover, about 302,311 live websites use React, and additional 1,105,922 sites have used it historically, as per the report from BuiltWith

According to Stackoverflow Survey 2019, React was the most loved, wanted, and least dreaded for its users. 

Here’s a graph that indicates the popularity of Reactjs when compared to other frameworks and libraries:

Node js vs React

Node.js usage statistics and popularity:

According to Node.js User Survey Report, a majority of 49.9% developers used Node.js, making it one of the most used libraries, frameworks, and tools in 2019.”

Most Used Libraries & Frameworks 2019

Nodejs vs React: a brief introduction

Node.js: A compilation of Google’s V7 Javascript engine, Node.js lets developers write command-line tools and server-side scripting to produce dynamic web page content. 

React: As Wikipedia states: “React (also known as React.js or ReactJS) is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It can also be used as a base on the development of single-page or mobile applications.” 

Nodejs vs React: The Comparison Parameters

Criterion #1: Learning curve

React

React has an easier learning curve compared to others for, developers don’t need to spend a ton of time re-learning the programming language. In other words, React is built on what developers already know– JavaScript. Thanks to its simple design, use of JSX (an HTML-like-syntax), and highly detailed documentation, React is the best library that makes web development easier to implement and iterate.  

Node.js

In contrast, Node may be easy to learn, but it takes more effort to implement web applications with it. What makes it difficult is the asynchronous programming that executes the non-blocking code. However, this does not prevent the execution of a piece of code. That’s why, sometimes, it is difficult to program.

Criterion #2: Nodejs vs React – Microservices

Microservices architecture is an entirely new approach to revolutionize scalable backends. According to the definition: It’s an approach to develop a single page app as a suite of small services, each running its process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms, often an HTTP resource API. The main idea was to allow different teams to work efficiently on separate features of a web app. Such an approach increases developers’ productivity and decreases time-to-market.

Let’s compare how this approach can be used with Nodejs and React:

Micro Frontends in React

The concept of micro frontends introduces a way to disintegrate a scalable frontend into smaller and more manageable chunks. Over the time, a separate team of developers work on these chunks until the code is ready to be deployable as sets of loosely coupled applications. Moreover, each team is then responsible for a separate set that primarily serves different content. Micro frontends in React are a more friendly and less bulky team. 

For instance, an eCommerce platform built with Reactjs can be divided into different sets of features that can be handled by separate teams such as the shopping, frontend, Devops, and backend team (microservices). 

Micro frontends in ReactIn more advanced stages, the teams can be divided at a deeper level.

React micro front-endsReact allows micro frontends to communicate indirectly, minimizing direct coupling. Choosing React is also a good solution that makes the process of passing callbacks and data downwards. This solution makes the contrast more explicit.

Microservices in Node.js

Node truly complements microservices since both as a tech stack enables organizations to achieve agility, security, and superior performance. Using microservices with Node allows you to develop apps without complexities. This powerful combination can also power highly-scalable apps and handle thousands of concurrent requests without slowing down the system.

Using microservices in node.js based eCommerce app empowers multiple services and lets them update and scale separately. Candanza, a subscription-based eCommerce platform, migrated its NodeJs app from MEAN stack to microservice-based architecture. Microservice architecture based on Nodejs allowed Cadenza to overcome challenges like API integration, continuous app crashes, and huge costs.

Node.js microservices architecture

By switching to a microservices architecture pattern, Cadenza got an opportunity to integrate several features of their app into independent services. It also eliminates long-term commitment to any tech stack. What’s more It also helped them to cut down the huge costs. Likewise , eBay also moved to the microservice architecture and scaled beyond 1 billion users.

Hire Reactjs Developers

Criterion #3: Community Support

For your developer to work efficiently on a project, it is essential to have vast community support around the framework.

React

Founded and maintained by Facebook, React is undeniably backed by a huge team, which regularly supports it. The best thing about it is its frequent updates that make developers work efficiently without breaking the application. This way, developers can be continuous learners. Popular websites like Netflix, Airbnb, PayPal, Uber, Khan Academy, and Asana use React in their production. 

Node.js

Like React, Node.js is also an open-source that means its community are actively engaged in improving the languages and fixing bugs. A large community means a lot of developers have the best tips and tricks at their disposal when they communicate around the community.

Community Support Nodejs vs React

Criterion #4: App Size & Performance

The app size and performance are two aspects that drastically impact the quality of your web app, having a direct effect on the load and response times. Thus, it impacts customer satisfaction with web apps. Let’s compare how React and Nodejs stand against each other in terms of performance aspects:

React

React is efficient in handling frequent UI updates, all thanks to the Virtual DOM feature. It works like this: for every DOM in React, there is a copy of Virtual DOM. But here’s the catch: although Virtual DOM possesses the same properties as a regular DOM, it lacks the power to update the UI directly. In fact, for every UI update, React updates Virtual DOM and compares it with the regular DOM on a regular basis. This way, it figures out what changes need to be made to the regular DOM. Upon analyzing the changes, React updates the UI. 

Now this entire process is so fast that sometimes developers face UI rendering related performance issues. However, there is a workaround to solve almost each and every performance issue in React. We even covered these workarounds in our previous article on React performance

Node.js

According to Node.js 2018 user survey, Node.js is continuing to have a positive impact on many users due to increased productivity and satisfaction, reduced development costs, and increased app performance.

Impacts by years using Nodejs

Here’re some reasons that make it a robust backend and highly performing:

  • It possesses asynchronous and non-blocking nature because of event-loop feature.
  • The code of Node.js is reusable, which is mainly useful for event-based applications that update data in real-time. 

PayPal is one of the biggest examples of companies that benefited the most in terms of performance by using Nodejs. The company said that after migrating to Node.js, they experienced a 35% decrease in the average response time, and their pages served 200ms faster. One major contributing factor that improves Node.js performance greatly is its event-driven architecture. We’ve talked about it in-depth in our previous blog on Node.js for eCommerce

PayPal Performance using Nodejs

Criterion #5: Nodejs vs React – Use Cases 

Both React and Node are used by many companies and have several clients like Netflix, Airbnb, Uber, and PayPal. Often, Nodejs and React are used in conjunction to build web apps that support real-time updates.

React

Being a frontend library, React is best suited for Single page applications 

Since React is best-suited for single-page apps, choosing it alone for large or complex apps might be an overkill. For building complex apps, using Reactjs with another tech-stack is mandatory as React only caters to an application UI.

Node.js

A packaged compilation of Google’s V8 JavaScript engine, Node.js, is a core library, which is primarily written in JavaScript. Taking into the account of advantages of Node such as its rich ecosystem and asynchronous non-blocking I/O, we’ve compiled a list of the use cases of Node.js:

  • Data Streaming Apps: Node.js is used to build some data streaming features. For example, there is a possibility to process the files while they are still being uploaded. When data comes in through a stream, it can be processed online without being interrupted. This can be done for real-time audio or video encoding. 
  • Chat Rooms: High traffic capacity, lightweight, and intense data flow requirements are necessary for building real-time apps like Chat rooms. These requirements can be fulfilled by using node.js combined with some JS framework like Express.js on the backend. 

Build PWA With Reactjs And Nodejs

Nodejs Vs React Infographic

In this infographic, we take a look at the comparison between Nodejs vs React on different parameters such as learning curve, community support, app size and performance, use cases, data binding, and UI components.

Nodejs vs React

Conclusion

Comparing React with Node is like comparing apples to oranges. While one is a library that deals with the frontend, the other is a core library 

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Node provides scalability, speed, and better performance. That’s why it is more suitable for a variety of tasks.
  • Using React, it is easier to create light-weight web and mobile apps. One can run React on the server-side, and the virtual DOM will be rendered, which will return to the browser as a regular web page. 
  • Both Node and React possess active and large community support. 

Do you have any suggestions that explain the difference between Nodejs and React? If yes, you can share them with us in the comment section. 

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Prayaag Kasundra

Prayaag is a serial entrepreneur and COO at Simform. At the business level, Prayaag excels at assessing the market opportunity, building, and inspiring extended teams, understanding the value of a customer and driving consistently exceptional results.

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