Contact Us

An Introduction to MERN: NodeJS

Mobile App | March 25, 2022

As an entrepreneur who is looking for a digital partner for the development of their very own application, it can be difficult to follow the technical jargon that’s mentioned in many consultancy meetings and proposals. If you’re not a software developer yourself, the information regarding technical specifications can be complex and difficult to understand. As a company of digital experts, we want to make sure our clients are always on the same page as us, no matter how complex the topic. That’s why we have been taking a deep dive into the technologies and frameworks our development team at Lizard Global works with on a daily basis. This week, we’re having a look at our MERN tech stack, and the programming language NodeJS in particular.

The tech stack of MERN

MERN is a full-stack web development framework made up of four important Javascript technologies: MongoDB, ExpressJS, ReactJS, and NodeJS. All layers of application development are covered by these four technologies. At Lizard Global, we use ReactJS for the UI (frontend), ExpressJS and NodeJS for the server and MongoDB for databases. Since these technologies are carefully picked to work together seamlessly, the MERN tech stack allows us to build high-quality applications in an efficient and agile manner, while accommodating fast-changing requirements.

Reading an object from database and sending it to the browser (Node & MongoDB)

Introducing NodeJS

NodeJS is a programming language, a modified version of Javascript that can be run outside the user’s browser, typically on the server. It’s extended with some modules to be able to interact with the server such as reading the file system or sending HTTP responses. It’s relatively new, compared to other popular programming languages, as it was released in 2009.

NodeJS is an asynchronous language, which means that it can do more than one thing at the same time. For example, the language can fetch a network request and work on other tasks simultaneously while waiting for the response. NodeJS also implements the revolutionary concept of so-called “two-way web communication”. While classically only the browser could request information from the server, now the server can also notify the browser, allowing it to be used to build real-time applications.

NodeJS in MERN

As mentioned above, NodeJS forms an indispensable part of the MERN tech stack. This means that the language closely interacts and collaborates with the other languages and frameworks in that particular stack. Most importantly, NodeJS shares data with the other MERN elements in a unified format using JSON (Javascript Object Notation). It’s a data model that is easy to work with and is natively understood by all the frameworks and languages in the MERN stack. MongoDB is also using this format to store and send data from the database. All these technologies are tightly connected – ReactJS is a framework built on Javascript, a specific implementation of Javascript, so to speak. NodeJS is also built on Javascript. ExpressJS, which is basically a middleman between the server and the browser, is built on NodeJS. They’re all connected and working together, carefully and strategically stacked on top of each other, hence the term “tech-stack”.

Defining backend routes on the server (Express & Node)

NodeJS and Javascript

NodeJS and Javascript can be seen as roughly the same language. The key difference is the fact that Javascript is mostly aimed at working in browsers. Javascript is what makes a website interactive: it can handle logic, but can also directly modify the DOM (Document Object Model), which is the structure and look of the website. At Lizard Global, we use it to request and handle data coming from the server, then dynamically render a certain user interface based on that. A modern website is unimaginable without using Javascript. Although it’s been around for a long time, it’s still being improved and extended from time to time to keep up with the rest of the industry and rapidly advancing technologies. With new ways being invented to use Javascript (like nodeJS or React), websites nowadays are more reliant on it than ever.

Node Package Manager

We can’t talk about NodeJS without mentioning NPM – node package manager. It’s the world’s largest software registry and also happens to be open-source. It lets us easily install and integrate modules to our application that was already developed and published by other developers, saving incredible amounts of development time. For example, if you need a tool to handle and format dates, you don’t have to write it from scratch. Instead, you can find an NPM module for this purpose and build on that. ReactJS and ExpressJS are also integrated into our software via NPM.

Importing open-source NPM packages to the software (NodeJS)

All in all, NodeJS offers numerous benefits. Let’s have a look at the most notable advantages:

Need a hand?

Want to know more about our tech stack at Lizard Global and how we make sure your solution is always following the latest advancements in technology? Get in touch with our experts! Are you still looking for a digital partner for the technical development of your very own application? We’d love to hear more about your innovative ideas, so give us a call and let’s schedule a meeting!

This content was originally published here.