Surveying The Node JS Best Practices For Developers

To ensure the coding structure is working well, developers need to take measures at every step of the development. In this article, you would know the different Node JS Best Practices they can adopt for handling errors and creating successful applications. It will help any Node JS Developer when he/she working on a web app development project.

Surveying The Node JS Best Practices For Developers

In the concern of executing the codes of JavaScript, Node.js is a cross-platform that builds fast and easy-to-operate network apps. It is mainly used for a non-blocking and event-driven I/O model as it has a single-thread nature. Today, we will explore the Node JS Best Practices in detail.

Node.js makes the server models less complicated and lightweight, thereby increasing efficiency. Today, there is a massive demand for the Topmost Node JS Development Company.

Node JS Best Practices are used for improving real-time applications that are more data-intensive. These applications usually work well with distributed devices, and Node.js suits this process.

So, let’s start the show and analyze each practice in detail.

Let’s Checkout Node JS Best Practices for Development

Start All Projects With npm init

NPM is a good manner of adding dependencies or couplings, but you can use it for more. You should, as a first step, use npm init to create a new program. You can explore all the Node.js Packages using NPM.

That would lead to the formation of a new package.json and you can add new metadata to it. Then, the rest of the programmers in the same project can share this setup easily.

You can add a specific Node.js version to the package, both an older version or the new version update you computed.

The coding includes:

"engines": {

  "node": "6.2.0"

}

Setting Up .npmrc To Improve Performance

During the usage of npm and before Node Best Practices, you would notice the flag, – -save. This is important for the update of the package.json.

Other developers who need to clone the Node.js project use this to choose the correct coupling. However, many often forget to do so.

Plus, in NPM, each version starts with a leading caret sign, ^. Thereafter, when another person runs the installation, they do not get the same module version as the first.

This is usually good, but not when you are working as a team to develop custom software. If everyone has a different coupling, that would result in different API behavior for all.

Thus, Node JS Best Practices focuses on the necessity for everyone to one version simultaneously. Thus, the .npmrc data file has pre-installed properties that make sure to update only package.json and the selected coupling. Run these lines for that:

$ npm config set save=true

$ npm config set save-exact=true

This would save and lock the coupling to your installed version.

Adding Scripts To package.json

Launch scripts are very essential for applications. You need to use the correct file and argument to code a stable application. And knowing the Node.js features would help you overall.

NPM uses a standard method as the start of each Node.js application. In this Node JS Best Practice, you add the object and property, ‘scripts’, to the package.json using a start key.

The value of this would act as the launch command for your app, like:

"scripts": {

  "start": "node myapp.js"

}

When someone runs the start command, the node myapp.js would start running with every node_modules/.bin coupling on the $PATH. Thus, you do not need to globally install all NPM modules.

After npm install, the post-install script would start running. Plus, there is a preinstall script available too. And these work when you need to run Node JS Best Practices before installing any of the couplings.

When a programmer runs the npm test code, the test scripts automatically start up. Thus, another person can simply start testing your application regardless if you have chosen Selenium, Mocha, or any other format. If you desire so, you can add custom scripts as well.

The code for this is:

npm run-script {name}

Thanks to this Node JS Best Practice, your team would have a focused launch scripts list.
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Using Environment Variables

Configuration management is the next and important point of concern in every programming language. This deals with the procedure of decoupling your code and the services, databases, etc, that it works with during development, production, or QA.

The Node JS Best Practices work here to utilize the environment variable in your coding. It would work to find the values in the process.nvm command.

You should evaluate the NODE_ENV environment variables to understand the environment you are using. Use the following command for this:

console.log("Running in :"  + process.env.NODE_ENV);

Maximum cloud-hosting vendors use this very variable name, so that would reduce confusion.

You can use other configurations and the consequent plans too.

Using A Style Guide For Coding

Node JS Best Practices make using and formatting new files a very efficient and easy process. This works when you are using a file that another developer produced and sent or if it belongs originally to another project.

Usually, the recipient has to reformat the file entirely, like changing the tabs to spaces, replacing braces on each line, and repeat. The whole process takes time.

Having no standardized style guide of the company/team or different opinions would cause difficulties. Thus, you need to use a codebase that has a consistent style, as that would lessen the cognitive overhead somewhat.

The Node JS Best Practices of dictating a style using either JSCS, ESlint, or JSHint would make the framework more manageable.

A good thing here is that you can use existing guidelines too and use that for your programming. You may choose to customize your rules if you desire. Some good options you can use from successful websites are as follows.

Embrace async In The Coding

One of the most beneficial Node JS Best Practices is to embrace async for your codes. There is a flaw to synchronous functions though, especially in JavaScript.

It does not allow other codes to run while it is ongoing. Yet, these functions are extremely crucial to simplify the application logic flow for other programmers.

In contrast, a type of async structure called Promises works to keep the blockages out of your code. At the same time, it allows much of the reasoning to return.

Thus, you would appreciate it well when you use the flag, –trace-sync-io when you test your app. This only applies to the development period, however.

As a result, this Node JS Best Practice would inform you when there is an asynchronous API in your application. It prints the stack trace and warning for this automatically during the testing process.

For reference, you can read other articles to learn the process of using Async/Await, or its other competitors like Promises and Generators.

Handling Mistakes and Errors

Many mistakes in Node JS during development can dampen the entire outcome. While there are some ways to combat these, the async structures as mentioned before would help with error management highly.

In the case of Promises, you can use its .catch() handler to transfer the errors that you need to emit cleanly.

To elaborate, while using a chain of this structure, one of them may fail without warning. You can handle this error using the following command scheme:

doSomething()

    .then(doNextStage)

    .then(recordTheWorkSoFar)

    .then(updateAnyInterestedParties)

    .then(tidyUp)

    .catch(errorHandler);

Regardless of the step that did not perform accurately, all the errors would store in the errorHandler.

Ensure Your App Automatically Restarts

After using the previous Node JS Best Practices, you may still notice some errors in the coupling. That would, ultimately, affect your app adversely.

In such a condition, you should use the process manager as that would ensure that the app can restart properly. You can also use the process manager to restart the app when the entire server backfires.

In the latter case, you must avoid more downtime and ensure that the application restarts immediately after the server reruns again.

Install the npm like a global module first:

$ npm install pm2 -g

Following this, launch the process using the following command:

$ pm2 start myApp.js

As a reference, you can use the following example as a guide.

http://pm2.keymetrics.io/docs/usage/startup/

You can use other good packages to improve the overall productivity of the development process.

Cluster Your App To Improve Performance

In general, Node.js works as a single entity and in a smooth one-stretch process. In the ideal scenario, you need a single process for each of the CPU cores to distribute the load equally.

This, in turn, improves the scalability and performance of Node.js app, including the HTTP requests the web pages process.

Plus, in case one of the workers stops operating, the others would continue working and handle the overall workload and requests.

If you like PM2 as your process manager, you would enjoy its cluster mode feature immensely. Run the following command to begin the many app instances in each of the CPU cores:

$ pm2 start myApp.js -i max

Of course, keep in mind that they do not share their resources or memory; each process works alone. All of them would not share their databases either and open their own links.

To store and access every session-related data of the process, you can use Redis which allows this in-memory database. If you need to share the whole session state, this is usable.
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Require All Your Dependencies Up Front

One of the Node JS Best Practices you should maintain is to code correctly. One of the common coding styles many developers adopts is as follows:

app.get("/my-service", function(request, response) {

    var datastore = require("myDataStoreDep")(someConfig);

    datastore.get(req.query.someKey)

    // etc, ...

});

The reason why you should not do so is simple; when one requests the command to /my-service, that would prompt the program to load every file for myDataStoreDep.

Exceptions can occur in any of them, causing discrepancies. This problem may pop up during the configuration step.

Plus, you cannot know for sure how long the resource synchronous setup would last. Thus, during this timing, all the requests automatically get blocked from functioning.

Owing to this, you must load and configure each of your coupling upfronts. Out of the many Node JS Best Practices, you would learn about the errors here from the get-go instead of hours after app launch.

Use A Logging Library

During the production application, course.log is useful but not the most concise. If you need to find any bug, you have to browse through a multitude of log lines. To avoid this tiring process, you should use a developed logging library.

Irrespective of the message, i.e., error, warning, info, or debug, you can set the levels for each. You can also do so through a remote database or different files, both processes easy.

For example, you can use Loggly as a logging library, which uses a pattern system to check log messages. Plus, it also informs the users in case the system reaches a log threshold so that they can resolve it promptly. You may use many other alternative options for this too.

Use Helmet If You’re Writing A Web App

You can use many Node JS Best Practices to secure the web application during development using different languages. These include options and steps like:

  • Use X-Frame-Options to safeguard against Clickingjacking
  • XSS protection
  • Stop attackers from targeting a single software in particular through dismantling the X-Powered-By header
  • Setting up the Context-Security-Policy header
  • Changing all the links as HTTPS

While these headers are helpful, doing them all separately would take time. Helmet, on the other hand, would set up defaults for everyone and tweak the most necessary ones for you. And the Express.js application is very easy to set up as well. Run the command:

$ npm install helmet

And then add:

var helmet = require('helmet');

app.use(helmet());

Read also: Is Express JS Framework An Idea Choice For Developing Enterprise Applications?

Monitor Your Applications On Regular Basis

When you are developing an application, one of the Node JS Best Practices you need to consider is monitoring them.

You must get error notifications as soon as possible instead of hearing it from the users after launching the app. These include issues like your app crashing for hours at a time or your servers dropping service.

Developers sometimes use KeyMetrics and PM2 together with the SaaS process monitoring technique.

For user enjoyment, this option is very simple in usage and it comes with a free plan too. As for the coding, after signing in to KeyMetrics, run the following command:

$ pm2 interact [public_key] [private_key] [machine_name]

Following this, the servers of KeyMetrics would receive the CPU and memory usage data, and exception reports in their dashboard.

You can view this easily through this, and the HTTP request latencies too. Not to mention, you can set up events to manage problems, like using timeouts for dependency management.

Similarly, you can use Loggly for this Node JS Best Practice as well as they also monitor the logs they store. If you use both tools simultaneously, you would get the problem notifications faster, and react accordingly.

Test Your Code Regularly

Every step is important during development, but testing is in another league entirely. This phase of the process allows you to check out if you did the entire process correctly and root out any invisible issues.

It is important to continue doing so throughout the process too, to not to disturb the overall momentum. If you find the errors later, that would halt the development and harm your delivery schedule too.

The best part of this Node JS Best Practice is that you can start in small measures from the get-go. Whenever you enter the testing procedures, you should note down the testing for each of the reported bugs.

This would help assist you in the following manners.

  • Fix the bug and then see if your test passes normally.
  • See what conditions may reproduce any of the bugs after your test fails.
  • Run the testing each time of the deployment to make sure the bug would not appear again.

In the concern of testing, there are many notable testing libraries you can choose, like Chai, Mocha, etc. Supertest would test the endpoints of your web application during coding using the black box method.

Hop-On E56 Train

One of the Node JS Best Practices is the E56 Train, and its updated V8 engines pack a lot of features. You can practice and learn regarding it as you go. The command here that would help you with simple improvements is as follows:

let user = users.find(u => u.id === ID);

console.log(`Hello, ${ user.name }!`);

Stick With Lowercase For Class & File Name

In some particular languages, you would find similar class names and filenames together. You should avoid this in coding, and stick to lowercase files instead.

For example, in the case of MyClass.js or MyClass, use:

let MyClass = require('my-class');

The reason this is among the Node.js Coding Best Practices is that Node.js is a Linus-related tool. It would not treat lowercase and uppercase file names equally.

You have to match the capitalization too when you are writing ‘require’ statements as it makes the codes movable. Thus, for easier usage, only stick to lowercase names.

Avoid Using Garbage Functionality

V8 version of the Node does not use a fast and savings-friendly garbage collector. The default limit is at 1.5 GB, which is not enough.

They have to wait for a long time to get unused memory back. To gain control of this condition, you should add these flags to the V8 inside of the Procfile:

web: node --optimize_for_size --max_old_space_size=920 --gc_interval=100 server.js

If the environment where it is running has less than 1.5 GB memory space, this is relevant.

Only Git Important Bits

In applications, there are both generated and necessary files available. While using GIT, which is a source control framework, you should not track any generated files.

If you do so, it would add unneeded bloat and noise in its history. Plus, some of the couplings are native and you need to compile them for portable architecture.

During this Node JS Best Practice, you should not check the compiled assets in grunt builds or the bower_components.

If you checked the node_modules by mistake, you can remove the error through:

$ echo 'node_modules' >> .gitignore$ git rm -r --cached node_modules$ git commit -am 'ignore node_modules'

Or, ignore the logs from NPM to avoid cluttering:

$ echo 'npm-debug.log' >> .gitignore$ git commit -am 'ignore npm-debug'

Thereby, you would have simpler commits, smaller repositories, and manage to evade any generated directory merger conflicts.

Use JavaScript Best Practices

You should focus on the best practices of JavaScript as one of the Node JS Best Practices. Read and understand the practices like function arguments, data types, scope, asynchronous program writing, callbacks, and objects and functions in JavaScript.

Use Gzip Compression

You can use Gzip Compression before sending the response to the web browser. Compressing it in the server would lessen latency and time lag.

Concatenating Multiple JS Files

One of the Node JS Best Practices you can do is chain-link many JavaScript files together. That would improve the performance of the application.

Employ Client-Side Rendering

If you use client-side rendering as a Node JS Best Practice, it would save bandwidth and reduce latency in your projects.

For example, JS frameworks like AngularJS and BackboneJS would expose APIs directly to their clients. They would not use a server for this, thus saving time and improving efficiency.

Application Monitoring

In the case of production apps specifically, you must receive notifications as soon the app stops working. For this, you need a monitoring system that would inform you of any changes or irregularities.

Make Use Of Promises

As mentioned before, Promises is one of the best concurrency primitives and improves many programming languages.

Utilize Docker For Deployment

To secure the deployment of your app, you should use Dockers as the Node JS Best Practices. It has lightweight images and runs on its own, and it presents complete deployment possibilities.
nodejs-cta-third

Messaging For Background Processes

When you use HTTP as a messaging formula, the crash of the receipt party would remove all messages. You should use a persistent layer of transport, such as a message train. That would carry the direct messages securely and not get deleted.

Use Latest LTS Node.js Version

You should use new updates always to get better stability and improved features. The same goes for Node.js, whose Long Term Support or LTS versions codes accordingly.

$nvm install 6.9.2

$

$

$nvm use 6.9.2

Tracking The Dead Code

When you do not execute the code, that is referred to as dead code. For a new developer especially, this takes time to handle as unit tests need better maintenance, code-base is bigger, etc.

Some of the dead code is too complex and that harms the overall functioning. You would try to improve on it, not knowing that the code is already dead.

Luckily, Node JS Best Practices allow identification tools for this to better catch such coding. However, they are not too helpful as they statically and slowly analyze each code.

Use Built-In Profiler

You need to profile your code well to understand which parts to most focus on. That would help with the overall optimization and performance of the project.

The internal profile of V8, for example, uses the Node JS Best Practices. To cover it thoroughly, the following steps are crucial.

Profiling enabled application running

Run the following command first:

node --prof app.js

Let it operate naturally and handle the HTTP requests and other steps in the meantime. After completion, a sizable text file called ‘tick file’ would appear in the isolate-0x???????-v8.log working directory.

Processing the file

Run this command for processing:

node --prof-process isolate-0x???????-v8.log

This will output what the app results are and it comes in many sections. Since it is long in size, it is best to add it to the text file.

Read the results

The results would appear somewhat like the following sequence:

[Shared libraries]

[JavaScript]

[C++]

[Summary]

[C++ entry points]

[Bottom up (heavy) profile]

Read the Summary portion mainly as it would showcase the necessary information regarding the main area of concern. You would know where the programming is occurring mostly, and if it is the JavaScript functions.

Use Code Change Watcher

Last but not the least, one of the important Node JS Best Practices is that the changed codes automatically gel with the original. You cannot constantly stop and restart the entire Node.js process to work on the new codes.

For this purpose, some tools are specifically focused on this matter. The following are some examples you can use for this.

Nodemon

Using nodemon, you can restart the server for Node.js during file changing simultaneously. In the config file, you would find the possibility to configure the coding through the command line method.

It ignores or supports specific file extensions and directories and delays the restarting period. It also allows the app processes to have a clean exit and aids during app crashes.

In the command line, you just need to replace the ‘node’ command with ‘nodeman’ to operate this.

Installation: npm install -g nodemon

Node-supervisor

Much like nodemon, node-supervisor, or simply supervisor, is a simple and very usable option. It fine-tunes the development behaviors, like making sure the entire coding does not restart after error detection.

Installation: npm install -g supervisor

Conclusion

Indeed, in terms of web development, Node.js is one of the most noteworthy names. It is very easy to handle and makes the projects more simple to understand and develop. In cases of any issues, it is important to know what steps to take to combat it.

There are many best practices that you can utilize in this matter with Node.js techniques and practices. It is important to make sure that you follow each step carefully, regardless of which programming language or project you choose.

03

Frequently Asked Questions

The simple answer to this question would be NO. Node.js is a runtime environment used for developing world-class web applications.
Node JS is neither front-end nor back-end. It is a run-time environment like JRE for Java.
The simple answer to this question would be NO. Node JS is easy to learn, especially if you know the basics of javascript.
NO, Node.js is not a web server, but can be used to build an HTTP Server.
The simple answer to this question would be NO. Node.is is still alive and kicking in 2020 and will continue to do so.
NO, Node.js is single-threaded web technology.
Bluehost, Hostgator, Inmotion, A2 Hosting, etc.
Chintan Gor
Chintan Gor
Enthusiastic for web app development, Chintan Gor has zeal in experimenting with his knowledge of Node.js in various aspects of development. He keeps on updating his technical know-how thus pinning his name among the topmost CTO's in India. His contribution is penned down by him through various blogs on Node.js. He is associated with eSparkBiz - a Node.js Development Company from the past 7-8 years where one can get premium services.
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