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Learn Node.js in 7 Minutes for Front-End Web Developers

Joseph 48

Learn Node.js in 7 Minutes for Front-End Web Developers

Joseph
Level Up Coding
Published in
4 min readJust now

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As frontends interact more with backends, having a grasp of Node.js is becoming essential.

In this post, we’ll explore some key Node topics and APIs relevant to frontends. Understanding Node’s modules, asynchronous code, V8 engine, event-driven model and common utilities will enable you to better collaborate, troubleshoot and extend your frontend work.

Let’s level up our Node knowledge!

Node Modules

Node has 3 types of modules:

  1. Core modules — bundled with Node like fs, http, path etc.
  2. Local modules — modules created locally in a project.
  3. Third party modules — modules installed from npm registry.

Modules are loaded and compiled on first use:

// Loads and compiles on first require
const math = require('./math');

All modules expose functionality via exports:

module.exports.add = (a, b) => a + b;

Async Operations in Node

Node uses asynchronous, non-blocking I/O to stay lightweight. All async tasks use callback functions instead of waiting:

fs.readFile('file.txt', (err, data) => {
if (err) throw err;
console.log(data);
});

This allows Node to handle high concurrency and scale efficiently.

A key advantage of Node’s asynchronous, non-blocking I/O is high performance and scalability. Because I/O operations like filesystem access or network calls do not block other operations, Node can handle high levels of concurrency efficiently.

For example, a typical web server makes many I/O operations like reading files, accessing databases, calling APIs etc. Node handles each I/O asynchronously without waiting for completion before moving to the next. This allows it to process thousands of concurrent requests on a single thread.

Synchronous, blocking I/O would limit performance and scalability as each request gets tied up waiting for I/O to finish before handling the next. Node’s async model avoids this.

V8 JavaScript Engine