Java vs Node

Colin Shah
Colin Shah
March 23, 2023
Clock icon6 mins read
Calendar iconLast updated March 23, 2023
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Preface

There is a tag “Use the right tool, for the right job, in the right way” and it very much applies to a programming language. Not all programming languages are designed the same and that’s why they are not equally good for everything.

If you’re in the web app development world, choosing an ideal programming language can turn your fortunes while running an enterprise. Thousands of web app languages are already there and up for upgrade. It means you have many web development platforms available for building web applications. But how can you make the right choice? What is the ideal way to create a web application?

Without wasting any more of your time, let’s check the 2 widely used programming languages.

Java

The robust security features and functionality makes Java the Ideal most used programming language for enterprises. Java started as an all-purpose low-level language in 1995 and was a huge success due to its focus on object-oriented programming. Since then, it has been nothing but a victory lap for it, as almost every single device in the world has a bit of Java in it. As for server-side programming, it’s really powerful, it’s flexible, it’s extremely fast, and like any other low-level language, a good developer can deeply optimize it for peak performance.

Node.js (JavaScript)

Node.js is the newest in the list (released in 2009) and the quickest-growing today. It provides the ability to run JavaScript code server-side. The great thing is that you do not have to learn a new language for back-end development. You can use JavaScript for front-end rendering and then reuse it later in the back end, which is one of the key benefits of writing JavaScript.

Java vs. Node JS: Statistics

  • According to a Stack Overflow 2021 poll, Java is the fifth most widely used programming language and Node JS is the sixth most popular programming language.
  • According to Upwork last press release about Highest Paying Programming Languages, Java engineers get $58 per hour.
  • According to the Tech Overflow Survey, NodeJS was the most frequently and widely used language in the Technologies, Architectures, and Libraries categories in 2017 and 2018.
  • Netflix saw a 70 percent drop in startup time after switching to NodeJS
  • According to W3Techs, Java is used by about 4 percent of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know. NodeJS is used by about 1.8 percent of all well-known websites.

Java vs. NodeJS: What Is The Difference?

Learning Curve

Since JavaScript is so widely used, NodeJS often has a lower learning curve. This makes learning the language quite straightforward for programmers. In the case of Java, however, programmers are frequently faced with a high learning curve.

Performance

First of all, it should be noted that Java performance is much higher than on JS, and, accordingly, node.js.

If you run a simple task, like squaring, then in tests the indicators can differ up to 10 times. If you run loops in millions of calculating tasks, Java will almost always exceed node.js.

Plus, the huge difference between Java and node.js is that node is single-threaded, which may be considered its advantage, and its disadvantage on the other hand.

Java can work with threads that are supported at the OS level, and it turns out that a program written in Java makes the most of the OS features. And if you need to write a high-load application that will use a large number of calculations, then Java will definitely work better for this. The problem is that even a small server written in Java will take up a lot of memory — both on disk and operational.

Node.js is lightweight due to its event-based architecture. It is built to work as a web server and copes very well with servicing lightweight tasks. For example, a simple query like calculating, or writing to a database happens very quickly. And if there are a lot of requests and we want to scale the system into a node, you can use the Nginx or Apache webserver. You can have many identical node instances. Then everything will be distributed through load balancing on a round-robin. If we run 8 node instances on 16 cores respectively, the OS itself will distribute the instances between the cores. Node does not control this, it will have one thread.

Application architecture — Java vs. Nodejs

When choosing a framework, it’s important to choose flexibility and avoid any strict enforcement of architecture and guidelines. As a matter of fact, it’s always recommended to treat a framework as a guide, not methods and standards. That said, let’s bring together Nodejs and Java with each other and check whether they are flexible in terms of architecture.

Java

Developers prefer the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern to build applications in Java since the Model represents objects in Java, and the design pattern resembles the internal architecture of the language. It promotes easy maintenance of code and trouble-free testing of applications. Development teams can classify individual roles and work on the different functionalities in large applications. So the changes made in one module don’t affect the entire application. This increases development teams’ productivity and results in faster time to market apps.

Nodejs

Under the hood, Node. js leverages the Single-threaded Event Loop architecture that enables it to handle multiple concurrent requests with high performance. However, Nodejs also lets you use MVC/ MVP architecture pattern, which eases isolating and onboarding issues in the application codebase. In addition to this, it creates multiple views for the same data and supports asynchronous communication between various components.

Here’s how you benefit from the async architecture of Nodejs:

  • Processes multiple concurrent requests simultaneously and offers high performance.
  • Ensures faster and more flexible development of modules.
  • Reduces time-to-market of applications.

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Testing Java vs. Nodejs

To be able to work without a glitch under continuous, high load and growing market expectations, your application development project needs to go through a series of tests to ensure compliance with the UI standards, compatibility, and usability. Here’s how Nodejs and Java stand out when compared with testing.

Java

Java allows developers to write test cases. So your teammates can write flexible tests with sequencing, grouping, and data-driven features. Also, it makes it easier to write parallel tests. It supports multiple testing frameworks and tools such as JUnit, Selenium, TestNG, Apache JMeter, and FitNess. It also provides support and compatibility to several popular IDEs and builds tools like IntelliJ, IDEA, Eclipse, NetBeans, Maven, and more.

Nodejs

Nodejs offers competent testing and debugging capabilities with its rich ecosystem of third-party packages. Various automated testing tools/frameworks like Mocha, Jest, Lab and Code, Jasmine, and AVA create a sound testing ecosystem for Nodejs apps. Moreover, you could use testing libraries such as Mocha, Jest, and Chai to offer a seamless, bug-free experience to your users.

Scalability — Java vs. Nodejs

Java is highly scalable, which makes it superior in performance for enterprise applications. However, it’s important that you implement some best practices like vertical scalability to add more computational resources such as CPUs and RAM. Here are some more:

● Horizontal Scaling

● Vertical Scaling

● Introduce a Single point of failure

● Use a one-size-fits-all architecture

Nodejs builds highly-scalable applications. The non-blocking I/O and event-driven models handle multiple concurrent requests. Moreover, the event-loop mechanism enables the server to process maximum requests. It’d be best if the multiple services are distributed to separate work servers, as it increases Nodejs’ efficiency and scalability. That way, different development teams can segregate the tasks and build applications more quickly and scalably with Nodejs.

Community Support — Java vs Nodejs

Java has strong community support for any complicated queries or issues. A huge community means frequent updates, bug squashing, and innovation. When it comes to the active software developers community, Java holds its place in the top three programming languages.

Nodejs has a well-supported and robust community. According to StackOverflow, 51.4% of professional developers use Nodejs for frameworks, libraries, and tools. Tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google have made significant contributions to the Nodejs environment, making the technology more credible.

Conclusion

Choosing either Nodejs or Java must be a tough decision for development teams with experience in both backgrounds, Java and Javascript-based technology, Nodejs. However, overlooking the use cases seem the best bet for developers when making these decisions in a short span.

Java if

You want to build enterprise applications

You want to build a highly scalable application

You want to leverage a matured framework with rich community support

You want to create eCommerce and Big Data applications.

You want to build a cryptocurrency app with advanced security features.

Node.js if

You want to build a web application to stream content.

You want to build a performant single-page application.

You wish to create a real-time multi-user web application.

You want to create browser-based game applications.

Colin Shah

Colin Shah

Colin is a lead Java developer with 8+ years of experience designing and developing scalable, reliable, high-performance web applications. He has expertise in Java, Spring Boot, Hibernate, Microservices, RESTful APIs, AWS, and DevOps. He is passionate about learning new technologies and sharing his knowledge through blog posts and tutorials.

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