Node JS Mobile App Development

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Node.js is used to run JavaScript on the server side. It works especially well with Single Page Applications (SPAs) running on a client such as a laptop, mobile phone, or embedded applications(e.g IOT), as it services client requests made via an API. Through Node.js a client can access multiple services simultaneously running on many different servers.

Over the last few years, Node.js has become very popular for developing web applications. The main reason for this is that it enables front-end developers to write server-side code using JavaScript. Thus companies require smaller development teams and the development cycles become faster.

Just like web applications, Node.Js can be used to create mobile applications as well in spite of the fact that there are other popular mobile app platforms like Titanium or PhoneGap.

The Javascript and mobile developers can leverage their knowledge of running Node applications on mobile devices, to develop a whole new set of applications.

There are various Node.Js Frameworks which can be used to build mobile apps as mentioned below :

  • Hapi.js
  • Socket.io
  • Koa.js
  • Meteor.js
  • Mojito
  • Derby
  • Sails.js
  • Total.js
  • Express.js

Once you decide to create a mobile version of your web application, Node.js will allow you to build a responsive mobile application. But in many cases you may require an app which is compatible to the iOS, Android and Windows platform and thus take advantage of the app marketplaces.

You can very easily achieve this by keeping all of the application’s business logic on the server. Here the mobile application would simply act as the user interface, written in the native language or using a hybrid solution like Cordova (aka PhoneGap). This user interface would get data and perform business logic via calls to a server side API.If the mobile app requires access to portions of the business logic, it has to be rewritten in objective-C for iOS and Java for Android. With the help of Cordova, some of the code can be reused but it cannot leverage Node or its ecosystem directly.

Thus technically it is possible to run Node on Android, but not iOS. The reason is, Node uses Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. The job of the V8 engine is to compile JavaScript to a native code before executing it, a process known as Just-In-Time (JIT) compiling. JIT compiling is not allowed by iOS unless the device is jailbroken which is why Node applications cannot be deployed on iOS.

Node JS App Development

Express.js is the most popular and flexible Node.Js framework. It doesn’t have strict rules on how to deal with particular tasks or what components to choose. You can use any middleware package,created by the Express development team, in the order that is convenient for you.They include URL parameters, sessions, POST data, security headers, libraries etc. Also, you can decide how to structure your app, as there is no one right way to do so.

The advantages of teaming up Express with Node.Js to build mobile apps is as follows :

  • Thousands of modules available – Node is the the fastest growing framework with over 110,000 free JavaScript modules. By using this vast resource, you can develop apps much faster and more efficiently.
  • Easy to learn – Express is well-documented and supported by a large community. If you are already familiar with JavaScript and Backend Architecture, you will be able to grasp Express very easily.
  • I/O request handling – Express JS is a great choice for applications that handle a lot of requests and notifications from users. Due to this reason Uber has chosen Node.js as the application platform
  • Open-source community – Express.js is one of the most supported Node.js frameworks. A whole open-source community is dedicated to it. So the code is always reviewed and improved by the team..
  • Fast app development – Express.js framework allows you to use the same language which is JavaScript both on the back-end and front-end. This gives the JavaScript developers the opportunity to become full-stack developers. As a result, the development process is much faster and easier as one person can manage both presentation and data access layer.This also leads to cost saving on the part of the organization as they have to hire less number of developers.
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