Book Image

Web Development with MongoDB and Node - Third Edition

Book Image

Web Development with MongoDB and Node - Third Edition

Overview of this book

Node.js builds fast, scalable network applications while MongoDB is the perfect fit as a high-performance, open source NoSQL database solution. The combination of these two technologies offers high performance and scalability and helps in building fast, scalable network applications. Together they provide the power for manage any form of data as well as speed of delivery. This book will help you to get these two technologies working together to build web applications quickly and easily, with effortless deployment to the cloud. You will also learn about angular 4, which consumes pure JSON APOIs from a hapi server. The book begins by setting up your development environment, running you through the steps necessary to get the main application server up-and-running. Then you will see how to use Node.js to connect to a MongoDB database and perform data manipulations. From here on, the book will take you through integration with third-party tools to interact with web apps. You will see how to use controllers and view models to generate reusable code that will reduce development time. Toward the end, the book supplies tests to properly execute your code and take your skills to the next level with the most popular frameworks for developing web applications. By the end of the book, you will have a running web application developed with MongoDB, Node.js, and some of the most powerful and popular frameworks.
Table of Contents (19 chapters)
Title Page
About the Authors
About the Reviewer
Customer Feedback

A short introduction to Node.js

One of the most important things that people get confused about while getting introduced to Node.js is understanding what, exactly, it is. Is it a different language altogether, is it just a framework on top of it, or is it something else? Node.js is definitely not a new language, and it is not just a framework on JavaScript. It can be considered as a runtime environment for JavaScript built on top of Google's V8 engine. So, it provides us with a context where we can write JavaScript code on any platform where Node.js can be installed. Anywhere!

Now, a bit about its history! Back in 2009, Ryan Dahl gave a presentation at JSConf that changed JavaScript forever. During his presentation, he introduced Node.js to the JavaScript community. He concluded it after a roughly 45-minute talk, receiving a standing ovation from the audience in the process. He was inspired to write Node.js after he saw a simple file upload progress bar on Flickr, the image-sharing site. Realizing that the site was going about the whole process the wrong way, he decided that there had to be a better solution.

Now let's go through the features of Node.js, which make it unique from other server-side programming languages.

The advantage that the V8 engine brings in

The V8 engine was developed by Google and was open sourced in 2008. As we all know, JavaScript is an interpreted language and it will not be as efficient as a compiled language, as each line of code gets interpreted one by one while the code gets executed. The V8 engine brings in an efficient model, where the JavaScript code is first interpreted and then compiled into machine-level code.

The new V8 5.9 provides a stable release that introduces TurboFan compiler which provides performance and mass optimization benefits. It also launches Ignition interpreter which is quiet efficient for all the small and big devices like servers or IOT devices etc that varies on memory spectrum. Due to such low memory footprint it delivers fast startup of an application. We can study benchmarks in following link :

With two powerful updates, the v8 team is also working on Orinoco, which is a garbage collector that works on mechanism of parallel and concurrent compacting.

Such a high performance with promising results was the reason to push the node 8(LTS) launch date from may 2018 to october 2018. Currently we are using node 8 with a non-LTS version. It provides clean replace for users using node v4.x.x and above with no broken library. The version 8 also has various inbuilt features like buffer improvements and inbuilt promisify methods etc. We can study them in following link :

Node.js is single-threaded!

With the advent of the web, the traditional JavaScript was intended to add simple functionality and minimal runtime in the browser. Thus, JavaScript was kept as a single-threaded scripting language. Now, just to get a brief idea regarding single-threaded model, let's consider the following diagram:

A single-threaded model creates a single Callstack in an execution context. In the preceding code, when the function getData() is invoked, the function is pushed in the stack for execution sequentially.

In the context of Node.js, JavaScript is the base scripting language, hence, Node.js is single-threaded. You might be asking, how does a single-threaded model help? Typical PHP, ASP.NET, Ruby, or Java-based servers follow a model where each client request results in the instantiation of a new thread or even a process.

When it comes to Node.js, requests are run on the same thread with shared resources. A question that is often asked is, what will be the advantage of using such a model? To understand this, we should understand the problem that Node.js tries to resolve. It tries to do asynchronous processing on a single thread to provide more performance and scalability for applications that are supposed to handle too much web traffic. Imagine web applications that handle millions of concurrent requests; if the server makes a new thread for handling each request that comes in, it will consume a lot of resources and we will end up trying to add more and more servers to increase the scalability of the application.

The single-threaded, asynchronous processing model has its advantage in the previous context, and you can process much more concurrent requests with fewer server-side resources. However, there is a downside to this approach; Node (by default) will not utilize the number of CPU cores available on the server it is running on, without using extra modules like pm2.


The point that Node.js is single-threaded doesn't mean that it doesn't use threads internally. It is just that the developer and the execution context that the code has exposure to have no control over the threading model internally used by Node.js. If you are new to the concept of threads and process, I would suggest you go through some preliminary articles about these topics. There are plenty of YouTube videos on the same topic as well. The following reference could be used as a starting point:>

Non-blocking asynchronous execution

One of the most powerful features of Node.js is that it is both event-driven and asynchronous. So, how does an asynchronous model work? Imagine you have a block of code and at some nth line you have an operation that is time consuming. What happens to the lines that follow the nth line while this code gets executed? In normal synchronous programming models, the lines that follow the nth line will have to wait until the operation at that line completes. An asynchronous model handles this case differently.

Let us visualize this scenario with the help of the following code and diagram:

In the preceding case, the setTimeout() method is provided by JavaScript (Node.js) API. Hence, this method is recognized as synchronous and is executed in a different execution context. According to functionality to setTimeout() , it executes the callback function after a specified duration, in our case after three seconds.

Further, the current execution is never blocked for a process to complete. When Node.js API determines that the completion of an event has been fired, it will execute your callback function at that moment.

In a typical synchronous programming language, executing the preceding code will yield the following output:


If you are still interested in learning more about asynchronous models and the callback concept in JavaScript, Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) has many articles that explain these concepts in detail.