Technologies and tech stacks are often mixed and matched with one another to find the best blend for a particular business use case. One such use case is using NodeJS to power IoT applications. As we advance in this article, we will discover what IoT is and why NodeJS is a natural fit for developing and maintaining such applications.
So let’s start with a short understanding of IoT.
What is IoT?
We have multiple electric and electronic objects around us which are thought to be dumb in nature. Such machines cannot do anything on their own, and they need a clear set of instructions from a manual operator. This system takes time, and it is also not a scalable solution.
To tackle this, people came up with an idea to provide sensors and other such software technologies that provide some intelligence and automation to machines. This is where IoT was discovered. It is known as a network of objects that have sensors, or other such software wherein data is generated, shared, and stored to provide automation capabilities.
After knowing IoT, you might be excited to find out why NodeJS can be a natural fit for such implementations, so let’s find that out in the next section.
Why is NodeJS a Natural Fit For IoT Applications?
NodeJS provides the non-blocking IO model, which makes it impossible for applications to block the main thread. Though it is a single-threaded language, it can easily beat languages that support multi-threading in terms of performance and execution speeds.
The non-blocking IO model is a unique feature of NodeJS wherein the main thread is never blocked for any request. If a request needs to access any other resource, it can be sidelined and left for execution on its own while the next request in line is picked up and served. This way, no matter how many requests are fired on the NodeJS server, the server will never lag and keep on serving requests in real time.
NodeJS is a memory-efficient technology. Due to this, it occupies less memory and serves requests in a much better way than other technologies. NodeJS apps do not require high-specification servers and memory devices because of their excellent execution speeds and optimized code.
IoT networks generate a large amount of data every day, and most IoT apps are data-intensive. As IoT networks are data-intensive, the app needs to be memory efficient so that it can handle large amounts of regularly flowing data in a safe way. In such times, the data that is used by the app needs to be discarded quickly to a better storage option rather than temporary storage, and that can be only done when the execution is completed.
NodeJS is equipped with the latest memory management techniques, and it is capable of releasing resources as soon as the work is over, so there is no unnecessary data stored in the main memory. It also comes with garbage collection that clears up the previously used memory spots and returns them back to the OS.
IoT is not used as much as it should be, and if a business is using it today, there is a high possibility that it needs to scale. When businesses set up an IoT network today, they do it for testing purposes with a small network of few devices, but when the test is successful, things change. The network and IoT apps may perform exceptionally well when they are first tested and finalized, but they can lag as the number of devices increases.
A factory can have a large number of connected devices on the network, which may come in the form of cameras, sensors, beacons, and other things. The IoT network will expand as the factory gets bigger, and the app needs to scale accordingly. In such situations, NodeJS is the best option as it provides excellent scalability options.
Node Package Manager
One of the biggest reasons why NodeJS is a great fit for IoT applications is the Node Package Manager. NPM is one of the largest code repositories in the world, with millions of libraries and modules that can be used directly inside your IoT apps.
IoT apps need to be tested well and built upon reliable code, and what’s better than the libraries available on NPM. It is an extensive repository that is openly available to anyone who wants to use ready-made libraries in their apps and remove the need for writing everything from scratch. These libraries are used by developers around the world regularly, and they are also maintained by excellent developers and open-source contributors.
Moreover, feature updates are released for most libraries, and they make work even easier and more exciting for everyone involved in the development of IoT apps. As of now, more than 80 libraries and modules are available on the npm repository for Arduino controllers, and 30+ packages are available that can help you work with sensors and different Bluetooth devices.
By now, we have seen multiple reasons why NodeJS is a natural fit for IoT applications, and these should be enough to get you started on using NodeJS for your IoT apps. So when you are building your next IoT app, do give NodeJS a chance, and you’ll indeed explore many other reasons than the ones that we discussed above.