Choosing Between Node.js vs. Golang: Which One To Use?

Choosing Between Node.js vs. Golang: Which One to Use?

Final: Node.js and Golang

Golang and Node.js are popular choices often pitted against each other, predominantly due to their ability to build scalable and high-performance applications. Luckily, the choice between both depends largely on the project requirement, developer preferences, and opportunities in both fields. In this article, we’ll compare the features of Node.js vs. Golang, so you can determine which language is best suited for your web project.

 

Key Highlights

  • Node.js is a popular server-side JavaScript runtime environment, while Golang is a compiled programming language created by Google
  • Node.js has excellent support for JavaScript and JSON, making it easy to work with front-end frameworks like React and Vue, while Golang has limited support for front-end web development
  • Node.js is an interpreted language that runs on top of the Google Chrome V8 JavaScript engine, while Golang is a compiled language that generates machine code
  • Golang’s built-in garbage collector and memory management features make it well-suited for large-scale applications that require efficient memory usage.
  • When deciding between Node.js and Golang, developers should consider factors such as performance requirements, project complexity, personal preferences, and job opportunities in both fields

 

Introduction to Node.js and Golang

Node.js is a free, open-source, cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment built on Google’s V8 Javascript engine. It allows developers to write server-side applications using JavaScript.

Node.js has several capabilities that make it a top choice for creating scalable and high-performance web applications. These include an extensive package ecosystem, cross-platform compatibility, and microservices architecture.

Golang, or Go, is a statically typed, garbage-collected, and compiled programming language. It was created by three Google developers to eliminate the extraneous garbage in the C++ language and simplify the software development process.

It has gained admirable popularity among beginners and veteran developers due to its simplicity, readability, efficiency, and concurrent nature (ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously).

 

What Are the Advantages of Using Node.js or Golang for Your Project?

Final: Node.js and Golang

Both Node.js and Golang are ideal for building high-performance and scalable web applications. Let’s explore the perks of both:

Advantages of Using Node.js for Your Project

1. High Performance

One of the most compelling advantages of Node.js is its ability to help developers build robust, scalable, and lightning-speed web applications. What fuels this feature is that Node.js uses the Google Chrome V8 engine, which converts JavaScript to machine code before execution. Google invests heavily in improving this engine’s efficiency, security, and support, resulting in faster execution times.

Another contributor to Node.js’ blazing performance is that it uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model, which allows it to handle large numbers of requests simultaneously without obstructing the execution thread. PayPal reported that they switched their back-end operations from Java to Node.js, which led to a 35% decrease in average response time, and pages were served 200ms faster.

2. Scalability

Another vital feature of Node.js is its asynchronous event-driven, non-blocking I/O model for handling concurrent requests. This means it can execute an operation in the background while processing other requests. This feature contributes largely to its scalability, making it a perfect choice for building high-performance and scalable applications.

3. Large Ecosystem

Node.js is constantly improving and evolving, with several skilled developers making contributions and updates regularly. The large ecosystem makes it easy for developers to find quick and actionable solutions to their problems without reinventing the wheel or writing the code from scratch.

You’ll find a handful of resources – ready-to-use solutions, libraries, tools, codes, frameworks, etc. – that cater to different use cases built by other developers to help you achieve your goal faster. For example, the Node Package Manager (npm), the largest package registry in the world, contains over 1 million libraries and tools to create high-quality, scalable, and efficient node applications.

4. Easy to Learn

Node.js is built on JavaScript, and almost all developers are familiar with it. But, if you’re just starting as a Node.js developer, you need to fully grasp the fundamentals of JavaScript, such as object-oriented programming concepts, variables, loops, etc. The Node.js framework is really flexible and has a shallow learning curve, even for a junior programmer. Other vitals are:

  • Understand how I/O operations are carried out asynchronously
  • Be familiar with Node.js modules and ecosystem, including popular packages like Socket.io, Mongoose, etc., and how to use them
  • Learn the concept of the event loop and global variables
  • Be proficient in hard skills like AWS, PHP, npm, back-end development, etc., and soft skills like emotional intelligence, team player, communication, attention to detail, etc

5. Cross-Platform

Due to its cross-platform compatibility, applications built with Node.js can run on several platforms and operating systems seamlessly without requiring additional code or modifications. This flexibility reduces the time and costs needed to develop and maintain these applications and makes updating them easier.

Advantages of Using Golang for Your Project

1. High Performance

Golang was created to solve performance issues and to fill the gaps in other languages like JavaScript and C++. As a compiled language, the code is translated directly to machine code from the binary file before execution. It doesn’t rely on any virtual machine for code compilation. This is why it’s faster than Node.js.

2. Concurrency

Golang was designed with concurrency in mind. It uses goroutines and channels to perform concurrent tasks. Companies that require programs or applications that can withstand high-level traffic or perform multiple tasks simultaneously can use Golang as their preferred programming language. It’s also ideal for processing large datasets and performing complex calculations in parallel while channels coordinate the actions of different server parts.

3. Simplified Syntax

Golang’s syntax is designed to be intuitive and concise, minimizing the time required to write code. This means you can write codes faster with little to no errors, yet powerful enough to handle complex programs, making it perfect for newbies or experts looking to add another language to their skillets.

4. Memory Management

Golang memory management is done in two ways: automatic allocation when you need memory and garbage collection when it’s not. You don’t need to manually allocate delicate memory during runtime, preventing memory-related bugs like buffer overflows.

In addition, Go’s runtime provides a memory allocator that can dynamically adjust the size of memory segments based on the program’s needs. This can help reduce memory fragmentation and improve overall memory usage.

5. Cross-Platform

Lastly, Go is readily compatible with different operating systems, just like Node.js. The code can be compiled on various platforms such as UNIX, Linux, and Windows and mobile OS like Android. In addition, developing and maintaining separate codebases for each platform can be costly for businesses. With Golang, companies can save money on development and maintenance costs by using a single codebase across different platforms.

 

Node js vs. Golang: Performance Comparison

1. Node.js Performance

Compared to the traditional blocking I/O thread-based approach that inhibits the execution of code until a particular task is completed, Node.js uses an asynchronous event-driven that enables non-blocking I/O model operations. This means you can read files, query databases, and send emails all at the same time. This architecture makes it easier to handle large numbers of connections without using too many system resources.

Netflix uses Node.js for its streaming platform to handle the myriad of requests from daily users. As a result, they experienced 2X faster startup time.

Limitations

  • Node.js is structured to be single-threaded. If the server is processing long calculations in the background, it won’t be able to process other requests. So Node.js is best suited for less dedicated CPU time
  • NPM, the popular resource manager, lacks a library support system compared to other programming languages
  • Node.js comes with constant changes connected to its API, which are backward incompatible with previous versions

2. Golang Performance

Unlike C or C++, Golang compiles so fast even that large files will compile in seconds. The build system is simpler than other compiled languages, requiring a few steps and little bookkeeping to build and run a Golang project. Also, the resulting binary file can be quickly distributed and executed on any computer with the same architecture or operating system without needing a virtual machine or interpreter.

Limitations

  • The garbage collector used to free up memory in GO applications can cause performance issues, especially in large-scale applications
  • Go lacks inherent mechanisms for defining generic types. This makes it challenging to write reusable code
  • Go requires that developers handle errors explicitly in their code, which can result in code that’s hard to read or maintain

3. Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a process of testing and comparing the performance of two or more systems or applications under controlled conditions. There are several methods of conducting benchmark tests for Node.js and Golang. The most common are:

  • Handling HTTP requests
  • Memory bound tasks
  • CPU bound tasks
  • Database operations

In a benchmark test conducted by TechEmpower in 2020, Golang outperformed Node.js in handling HTTP requests, achieving over 1 million requests per second compared to Node.js’s 498,398 requests per second.

However, Node.js showed better latency and memory utilization. Another test conducted by Peerbits shows that Go requires less CPU load, memory, and time to perform operations:

Final: Node.js and Golang

 

Node js vs. Golang: Language Characteristics

In this section, we will cover in detail the language characteristics of Node.js and Golang, their potential limitations, and how both tools can impact the development and deployment of web applications.

1. Node.js Language Characteristics

Since Node.js uses JavaScript on the server, it enables developers to build both the client and server sides of web applications, simplifying development and reducing the need to switch between multiple languages.

Plus, everything on Node.js runs on a single thread, compared to other server-side languages like APS.NET, PHP, etc., that use blocking I/O models and are based on multiple thread web servers. This reduces the page loading time, providing a better user experience.

Limitations

  • Lack of strict conventions to maintain a consistent code base across team members leads to poor code quality
  • Asynchronous programming can lead to hard-to-read code and make it difficult to handle large or complex projects

2. Golang Language Characteristics

Golang is a compiled programming language, meaning the source code will be initially translated to machine code to run on a computer’s processor. This is possible because the compiler reads the source code and produces an executable binary file.

Since it’s also a statically typed programming language, it makes it possible to compile code accurately and minimize errors early in the development stage before the code is deployed. Most developers switch to Go because of its simplified syntax, stability, and performance.

Limitations

  • The Golang management system lacks versioning support. This means  that a specific package cannot be explicitly defined, leading to compatibility issues in the future
  • The package management system does allow transitive dependencies. If a package requires another package, the said package must be explicitly listed as a direct dependency. This can be time-consuming, especially for large-scale projects
  • The Goland package discovery is limited to the official Go package repository. Packages hosted in third-party platforms are not so easily discoverable

Comparison

Node.js is intuitive and easy to use, backed by a large community and rich ecosystem of libraries and packages. It has a modular architecture that enables developers to use small and reusable modules to build complex apps. Although, the single-threaded architecture can limit performance on CPU-intensive tasks.

Golang, however, is a versatile and multi-purpose strongly typed language with in-built concurrency support. This makes it perfect for building microservices, data-intensive and network applications. But unlike Node.js, built on JavaScript, Goland has a small ecosystem. Despite its minimalistic syntax, it can take a while for new developers to learn the ropes.

 

Node js vs. Golang: Community Support

Final: Node.js and Golang

The benefits of community support for any programming language are limitless, from access to a wide array of libraries, tools, and tutorials to connecting with other developers with different skillets and across different walks of life. It’s almost as important as any programming language.

1. Node.js Community Support

The Node.js community is one of the most extensive and diverse communities in the programming world. This isn’t any surprise, considering that it’s built on JavaScript, the most popular programming language in the world. The community comprises developers from different backgrounds, industries, and regions, coming together to exchange knowledge, contribute, and network with other developers.

2. Golang Community Support

Go is experiencing rapid growth and momentum because of its ability to handle concurrent tasks efficiently. The fast compilation and execution times have also contributed to its popularity among developers of all levels.  The Golang community provides a handful of helpful resources where developers can access installation guides, Golang tutorials, Go libraries, etc. The Golang official website also houses the latest releases and documentation covering various language aspects.

Comparison

Node.js  has a larger community than Golang because it uses Javascript, which is one of the oldest languages. Large corporations such as IBM, PayPal, Microsoft, and GoDaddy are active members of the Node.js foundation.

Golang, on the other hand, has a smaller yet more active community. Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Apple are popular companies that have already embraced Golang and are heavily investing in language development. In fact, Google hosts an annual Golang conference, GopherCon, to bring all Go developers together and explore new trends and development in the language.

 

Node js vs. Golang: Concurrency & Stability

1. Concurrency in Node.js

Node provides an event-driven and asynchronous platform for server-side JavaScript. It brings Javascript to the server like the browser brings JavaScript to the client.

Final: Node.js and Golang

This programming approach simplifies the development of concurrent applications by allowing developers to write non-blocking code that can handle multiple requests simultaneously. It also results in faster application performance, as the program can continue executing other tasks while waiting for I/O operations to complete. Examples of applications leveraging concurrency in Node.js are Walmart, Medium, eBay, NASA, etc.

Limitations to working with concurrency in Node.js:

  • You may experience multiple callbacks
  • Difficulty in managing call-back hell when dealing with complex asynchronous code
  • Node.js is single-threaded, meaning that it uses only one CPU core. This makes it unsuitable for CPU-intensive tasks
  • The possibility of race conditions may occur due to multiple asynchronous processes accessing shared resources in an unpredicted order
  • Its single-threaded nature makes it difficult to share data between threads in an application

2. Concurrency in Golang

Golang was designed to enable developers to write code that runs efficiently on multicore machines and distributed systems. Go’s support for concurrency through goroutines and channels enables it to handle multiple requests simultaneously by enabling parallelism and asynchronous programming.

Together, goroutines and channels provide an efficient and effective way to handle multiple requests simultaneously. Examples of applications leveraging concurrency in Golang are Uber, Docker, CloudFlare, and Dropbox.

Limitations to working with concurrency in Golang:

  • Working with Go requires an in-depth understanding of the language’s concurrency mechanisms, best practices, and pitfalls
  • Scalability issues may arise as the number of threads increases
  • Concurrency bugs can be complex to debug and often requires specialized tools and techniques
  • When working with concurrency code, developers need to ensure that multiple threads are not accessing similar data simultaneously and shared data are protected to avoid data races or other synchronization issues

Comparison

Node uses an event-driven model to enable it to handle multiple requests simultaneously. In addition, its cluster module makes it easy to create child processes and handle more requests. This mechanism opens up a new world of creating data-intensive real-time applications. But, Node.js can become less efficient when performing CPU-bound tasks. It also doesn’t support multi-threaded programming,

Golang is tailored to solve the scalability issues in other programming languages through goroutines and channels. This is likely the most significant advantage of this programming language. It is fast, robust, and can be contained in a single binary per platform, making it a better option than traditional compiled languages.

What applications use Node.js?

  • Data-intensive Real-time web applications that require fast response time and data processing, for instance, social media platforms and online gaming sites
  • Single-page apps that require client-side scripting and heavy use of APIs, such as task management systems and web-based client emails
  • Customer relationship management tools like WordPress since it facilitates interaction between users and data simultaneously
  • E-commerce and e-learning platforms due to their ability to handle high traffic and scale without causing website crash

What type of applications use Golang?

  • Network-intensive applications that require high levels of concurrency and low latency, e.g., distributed databases
  • Cloud-native development platforms like Kubernetes and Google Cloud
  • Distributed network services like web servers, mini frameworks, and APIs
  • News outlets and media platforms like British Broadcast Network (BBC), YouTube, and Netflix

 

Hiring and Job Opportunities & Future Outlook for Node.js and Golang

1. Job Opportunities for Node.js Developers

Node.js is more ubiquitous, likely because it is built using one of the world’s best programming languages, JavaScript. It currently ranks as the 9th most loved programming language, according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey. The average salary for a Node.js developer in the United States is $116,179/year and $60/hour. There are myriad job opportunities available for Node.js developers:

  • Full-stack developer
  • DevOps Engineer
  • Mobile app developer
  • Backend developer
  • IoT developer

It’s essential that you have the right skill stack to build a successful career in any of these roles. You should be proficient in JavaScript and Node.js and have experience with front-end frameworks like React and databases like MySQL or MongoDB.

Tip
Tip: Study Node.js job description templates to be familiar with the skills recruiters are looking for in potential candidates for this role.

2. Job Opportunities for Golang Developers

Like Node.js, Golang is used by many big companies – Medium, Dropbox, Netflix, etc. – and doubles as the world’s 5th fastest-growing programming language. The average salary for a Go developer in the United States is $123,400 and an hourly rate of $22 – $42/hr. There are myriad job opportunities available for Golang developers:

  • Cloud engineer
  • Blockchain Engineer
  • Backend developer
  • Data Engineer

To be a successful Golang developer, you should understand the language and its principles. You also need to be familiar with concurrent programming, parallelism, and distributed systems. Knowledge of containerization technologies like Docker and Kubernetes is also valuable, as is familiarity with database technologies like NoSQL databases.

Tip
Tip: Before applying to any roles or hiring Golang developers, study previous Golang job templates to know the preferred skills to look out for.

Examples of skills required by recruiters

Here are a few examples of job postings that illustrate the skills and experience employers are looking for in Node.js and Golang developers:

Node.js developer job posting:

  • Experience with Node.js and popular frameworks such as Express.js or React
  • Knowledge of back-end technologies such as MongoDB or SQL
  • Experience building RESTful APIs
  • Understanding of front-end technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Golang developer job posting:

  • Strong understanding of Golang and its principles
  • Experience with concurrent programming and parallelism
  • Knowledge of containerization technologies such as Docker or Kubernetes
  • Familiarity with database technologies such as NoSQL databases

Hiring Trends And Future Outlook

The future outlook for Node.js and Golang developers looks enviably promising. The increasing adoption of cloud computing, microservices architecture, and containerization technologies is expected to drive the demand for both Node.js and Golang developers.

If you want to pursue a Golang or Node.js developer career, opt for credible certifications and read the official documentation in either field. Here are popular recommended resources for both areas:

 

Conclusion

Choosing between Node.js and Golang is like trying to choose your favorite pizza toppings. But don’t fret. At the end of it all, both have unique strengths, weaknesses, and use cases. As with any technology, it’s essential to carefully weigh each option’s pros and cons before deciding.

The bottom line is;

  • Node.js is an excellent option for developers who prioritize quick development times, a vast selection of libraries and modules, and ease of use.
  • Golang excels in high-performance scenarios with its robust concurrency model and efficient memory management.

 

Next Steps: What Now?

 

Further Reading – Useful Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Node.js used for?

Node.js is an open-source, JavaScript run-time environment used for developing server-based applications. Node.js is perfect for handling or processing applications with high requests.

What is Golang used for?

Golang (used interchangeably with Go or Go language) is an open-source programming language developed by Google for building fast and efficient systems like high-performance network apps, cloud-based systems, distributed network services, etc. Golang is widely accepted because of its minimalistic and intuitive syntax, speed, and versatility.

Is Node.js or Golang faster?

Typically, both Golang and Node.js offer robust performances in unique cases. Which runs faster depends on several factors, such as the specific use case, hardware, and software environment. Golang is considered faster than Node.js for CPU-bound tasks and concurrent app operations, while Node.js is based on the event-driven, non-blocking I/O model, making it more suitable for I/O-bound tasks.

Which language is easier to learn: Node.js or Golang?

Node.js is easier to learn than Golang, mainly because it’s the framework of a popular programming language – JavaScript. Nearly all developers are familiar with JavaScript making it easy to understand Node even as a junior developer. Despite this, Golang has an intuitive syntax emphasizing documentation and testing, making it easier to write cleaner and more maintainable code.

Which language has a larger community: Node.js or Golang?

Although Golang is gaining mainstream adoption and rapidly increasing popularity, Node.js has a larger community because JavaScript is popular among developers.

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