NodeJS vs. React Comparison: Make The Right Choice For Your Project

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In the software development world, there are so many things that seem confusing. The same goes for the two technologies that may sound alike while being two polar universes. 

Although Node and React are both Javascript-powered technologies, it doesn’t seem right to juxtapose them. It’s just like comparing sweet potatoes and yams. You can’t compare plants and vegetables as well as you can’t say which one tastes better.

You just pick between the two options or purchase both depending on your needs and preferences. React and Node JS differentiation is the same thing. You just make your choice based on your project type and complexity.

So let us provide a low-down on the specifics of NodeJs and ReactJS and uncover their core differences and similarities. By the end of this article, you’ll find out which option will be suitable for your future project, and when you need an unbeatable combo of two technologies. 

Let’s do it!

Stop number one: NodeJS

NodeJS (or simply Node) is an open-source and cross-platform runtime environment for handling JavaScript through Google Chrome’s V8 engine. JavaScript performs the action on the client-side, while Node performs the action on the server.  

Note! NodeJs is neither a framework nor a programming language. 

With Node, you can build the back-end of applications with JavaScript. Node can work with external libraries, execute shell commands code, and act as a web server.

The main advantage of this runtime environment is that It’s a light and scalable option to execute code. It utilizes an event-driven and non-blocking I/O model which adds to its efficiency and scalability. 

Developers often use NodeJS for traditional websites and back-end API services.

Who relies on NodeJS?

Today, lots of major and popular industry leaders choose to rely on NodeJS. Among the most famous examples are Netflix, LinkedIn, and Trello. So let’s discover why these giants have opted for this platform.

Netflix, an over-the-top content platform with over 195 million paid subscribers worldwide, is one of those leading companies that handed over their servers to Node.js. As you may guess, such a large (and still growing) audience calls for an extremely scalable solution to handle all the requests and streamings. 

The company performs lots of A/B testing to ensure a superior experience for all the users. The main reason why their tech team has chosen NodeJS is the appearance of conditional dependencies and app scalability glitches. The NodeJS technology helped to cut the startup time by 70%.

Trello, a web-based Kanban-style application, uses Node.js for its server-side. The Trello team found NodeJS helpful for the instant propagation of updates and open connections.

Uber, a ride-hailing company, considers NodeJS to be one of the most important tech solutions to conquer the challenge of ensuring a reliably excellent experience. The three main advantages that made this technology a crucial asset are asynchronous I/O requests handling, quick iterations, and the active open source community. 

Node JS Core Features

Now, let us find out about the main Node.js features.

  • Open-source. This means that the copyright holder has granted various rights to study, edit, and distribute the software to anyone for any purpose.  
  • High scalability. Since it uses the event engine, Node.js is highly scalable and helps the server in non-blocking response. 
  • Speed. Powered by the Google Chrome V8 JavaScript engine, its libraries are very advanced and therefore capable of executing code at higher speeds. 
  • No buffering. Node.js is endowed with a special feature, meaning it does not buffer any data. 
  • Single-threaded. Due to an event looping process, Node.js can follow a single-threaded model. This helps a single user to process more than one request. 
  • Asynchronous. Node.js has asynchronous libraries. This is very useful because Node.js servers don’t have to wait for an API to send a response and move on to the next API.   

What is React.js?

ReactJS is a JavaScript library for building fast and interactive user interfaces and web applications in a structured way. Currently, it is the most popular dynamic Javascript library with high performance. At the heart of all React applications are components that simplify interface building. ReactJS sits comfortably on top with its alternatives following – Angular and Vue.js. 

Who relies on React.js? 

Reportedly, around 9148 companies use React in their tech stacks, including Uber, Twitter, and Facebook. Now, let us have a closer look at the apps that use this library. 

Facebook, the creator of ReactJS, obviously makes use of this library. Their webpage is powered by React as well as the script that is used in the application code.

Instagram is another Internet giant that leans onto ReactJS. The app is using React for the geolocations, Maps APIs, search engine accuracy, and other features. 

The Netflix team has also leveraged the ReactJS features, including the fast speed of execution, runtime performance, and modularity. Also, the company uses React on Gibbon, which is their platform for low-performance TV devices.

React.js salient Features 

Let us go on a whirlwind tour of the major React’s differentiators:

  • Reusability. Components can be used across multiple UIs.
  • Performance. React is using Virtual DOM, which boosts app performance and eliminates other code-heavy frameworks.
  • Stable code. The library uses only downward data flow, which ensures code stability and better app performance. 
  • Developer toolset. ReactJS offers engineers a wide range of debugging and design tools, which guarantees high speed and stable performance. 

Now that we’ve got to grips with the two technologies, let’s compare the incomparable. 

Node JS vs. React JS Comparison

Both ReactJS and NodeJS are polar technologies that constitute different parts of a web app. Below, we have curated the main differentiators, pros, and cons as well as important use cases. 

NodeJSReactJS
Created byRyan DahlJordan Walke
TypeAn open-source server environment, for writing code and creating the dynamic web page content. an open-source, client-side library for building user interfaces.
Latest version14.15. 1 (2020-11-21)17.0.0 (2020-10-20) 
AdvantagesHighly extensibleUsed for web developmentEasy data flowReusable componentsApps can be scaled horizontally or verticallyYou can convert JavaScript code into machine code through the V8 JavaScript engine of GoogleEasy scalabilityHigh performanceSupports both Android and iOSProvides server-side and front-end supportCode components are reusableHighly extensibleFaster virtual DOM
DisadvantagesUnstable APIsLack of library supportAsynchronous programming modelHeavy computing tasksRequires more code in some casesRequires the manual processing of data changesView oriented
Use casesStreaming web applicationsReal-time collaboration toolsComplex, single-page applicationsReal-time chat applicationsMicroservices architecture
Dashboards or data visualisation toolsSocial networksE-commerce or retail softwareSingle-page applicationsCross-platform mobile apps
Popularity among the developer community75,5k stars on GitHub161k stars on GitHub
Hourly developer rateAccording to the PayScale data, the NodeJS hourly rate is between $30-$65.According to the PayScale data, the ReactJS hourly rate is between $32-$58.

What’s our take on it?

Both Node.js vs React.js are among the most popular technologies applied by global leading companies.

If you’re planning to build sophisticated yet scalable server-side web applications, then we recommend you to go with React JS. On the other hand, if you have a project with changing states, like dynamic inputs, buttons, and so on, then React.js is your perfect match. 

However, you can combine both technologies in your web application. Thus, you can build the front-end of the web app with React and the back-end with Node js, as Netflix did.