More often than not comparing technologies is a kind of necessary evil. Yes, it helps businesses and developers choose the best tools to build their products but at the same time, it’s always susceptive to bias. Sometimes it’s not the inherent features of technologies but the benchmarks we choose for their comparison that ends up influencing the results. And that’s a bias we would consciously try to avoid when we compare two of the most popular technologies these days: Java vs. NodeJS. Before we actually start the comparison, let’s try and take a quick overview of both:
“Java is old but not outdated” is the most common catchphrase you would hear about this massively popular language that supposedly runs on over 3 billion devices! A product of Oracle, the language is known to have an easy learning curve, cross-platform compatibility, reasonably good speed, and verbosity.
Now that it’s clear where they stand, let’s take a look at how they fare against each other on some key benchmarks:
Ideally, the popularity of technology shouldn’t have a role in its competence as the most popular technology isn’t necessarily the best. But there is more to the notion of popularity than it may appear. Basically, it transcends into three core factors:
More popularly means larger developer community that help the language grow and act as a point of reference for tricky situations. Java being a more matured language commands much larger support than NodeJS.
The larger the support, the more third-parties build development tools for it. This is the reason Java has a much larger collection of libraries, APIs, frameworks and more than NodeJS.
There is no definitive winner in this aspect. NodeJS, due to its asynchronous I/O performs very well for real-time time applications that require minimal buffering. Java, on the other hand, is well-equipped for both synchronous and asynchronous that offers developers the liberty to fine-tune their application. Also, as the size of NodeJS application grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the complexity while the same is not true for Java. Its MVC model helps to seamlessly perform at scale.
As mentioned earlier, Java is an extremely versatile language that covers a wide spectrum of software development- from the web and mobile apps to server and IoT applications. NodeJS, on the other hand, is merely a runtime environment for web applications. So as a whole, Java is much more resourceful and flexible than NodeJS.
Ultimately it boils to down to what you intend to do with these platforms and what your past experiences are. For instance, if you already have capable Java developers, there is no point investing in NodeJS. But if you have to choose between the two,
Pick NodeJS if:
- You have prior experience in web development
- You are building a small scale application
- You are building a streaming or real-time application
Pick Java if:
- You have prior experience in enterprise solutions
- You have to build applications at scale
- You have seasoned developers
From the above use cases, you must have understood why NodeJS is so popular among web development services while Java is mainly used for enterprise solutions. Depending on what your business requirements are, you can make your choice accordingly.
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