Node.js is a cross-platform, open-source JavaScript run-time environment initially developed by Ryan Dahl in 2009 that works as a backdrop for the creation of networking tools, web servers, and modules that have many vital functions. Node.js uses the simplicity of JavaScript and connects it with the network programming power of Unix. Many of the world’s biggest internet companies use the software including Microsoft, SAP, Yahoo!, Walmart, PayPal, Netflix, and GoDaddy.

The platform uses a server-side set of JavaScript libraries running with Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. Because Node.js uses JavaScript, the language can be used on both the client side (the traditional use of JavaScript), and on the server. This allows for a greater degree of parallel code and leverages the fact that JavaScript is widely known and easy to code.

Servers implemented using Node.js are scalable and event driven. Because Node.js uses an asynchronous event-driven non-blocking input-output model, servers implemented with Node.js allow many tasks to execute concurrently. Tasks use the callback technique, which allows the server to accept a request immediately but only respond to the request later (asynchronously), when the desired resource or result is available. In this way, many requests can be handled concurrently.

Node.js was designed to run on a dedicated HTTP server and employs a single thread with a single process at a time. This is useful for developing web applications that require a consistent connection to the server and browser, and the platform is often used for real-time applications such as news feeds, chat, and web push notifications.

Unlike other platforms that follow the receive, process, send, wait, and receive model, the node platform supports a different model. It processes incoming requests in a stable event stack. After receiving the processes, it then sends small requests one after another without the need to wait for responses. This is entirely different from some of the mainstream models. Those models can run large and complex processes, running several of them simultaneously, with every thread waiting for the most appropriate response before moving to the next step.

One significant advantage of Node.js is that it doesn’t block input-output like other platforms. However, compared to multi-threaded applications, this may allow a CPU-intensive application to block other processing. The consensus seems to be that although this is a theoretical concern, most servers receive a high volume of requests with small processing requirements.

Node.js is governed by the Node.js Foundation, a vendor-neutral organization entrusted with the development and maintenance of this popular web technology.

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