Many of us might already know that Node.js is the most popular development framework as per StackOverflow developers survey 2022. It has gathered a lot of popularity since the last few years. Though node.js is easy to use in smaller projects, with complex projects, the complexity increases. Implementing Node.js best practices makes the Node development process like a cakewalk.
Syntax of Node.js is easy and simple to understand, and Node.js is a better alternative for event-driven and asynchronous programming. Therefore, one can start with Node.js effortlessly at beginner level. However, advanced programming can be troublesome if best practices aren’t followed. Let’s discuss nine such Node best practices for easy node.js programming.
Node.js Best practices to Implement in every Node.js project
Node.js being one of the most used development frameworks, helps developers to develop real-time apps. Here are some primary Node.js best practices to follow while working on Node.js project:
- Add Script
- Error handling
- Avoid synchronous functions
- Use logging tools
- Use environment variables
- Keep your application stateless
- Test your application
- Avoiding Garbage Collection with the use of V8 Engine flags
- Confirming that the application restarts automatically
Let’s see each practice in detail.
The Node Package Manager NPM has a practised way to begin node apps. Adding the script property & object to the package.json file in your project along with one start key. Here’s how you can do it:
“start”: “node app.js”
Now, when someone runs npm start, the NPM will run node app.js with all dependencies from node_modules/.bin on the $PATH. Hence, there’s no need of having NPM modules global instals.
Ignoring error handling in any code makes the debugging and testing of the code more and more difficult. Having any single bug in the app can ultimately cost you in billions. Hence, good and smart error and exception handling is necessary to perform before final deployment of the app to the client.
Error handling doesn’t eliminate the errors in the code; but it makes the code smart enough for dealing with things or errors that happen unexpectedly while the code is running.
The easiest way of handling the errors is done by using .catch() handler which then propagates all the errors to be dealt cleanly.
Avoiding synchronous functions
Synchronous functions prevent other codes from executing until they finish their execution. Turning on the trace-sync-io can make sure that there are no synchronous parts in your code that are being executed. This code also displays a warning whenever an asynchronous API is found.
Asynchronous API helps developers to understand the logic flow of the app. It also helps developers to understand the exact run of the app code.
Additionally, the async functions in the code you are writing will alert you whenever Async API is used. Then during the testing phase, this function automatically shows warnings and also stack traces.
Use logging tools
Console.log is a tool that is good to use but it has limitations too. Its limitations are in production apps hence, one can’t use this tool for logging practice.
It doesn’t provide proper configuration options either. For instance, there isn’t a filter option for filter loggings. Node.js has various logging frameworks that are suitable for use in your app. The logging choice depends on your business requirements and also on resource constraints.
Some better examples of logging practice frameworks are Winston, Bunyan, and Pino. They make logging in Node.js simpler and efficient. They are a better approach to logging than utilising agents because agents consume more resources which affects productivity of the app.
Log libraries also help in formatting, structuring, and transmitting the log messages even without adding any good overheads.
Use environment variables
Using environment variables in Node.js project helps in looking up the values from process.env in the application code. To find out the environment variables you are running on, one can check the NODE_ENV environment variable.
console.log(“Running in to:” + process.env.NODE_ENV);
Keep your application stateless
If you have stored the data like user data, sessions, cache, etc. in the app itself, it can be scoped to that particular process. Hence, you need to store it on any external data stores.
Keeping your app stateless helps the app to survive from system failures too without damaging its performance and services.
To get through this process, one can use serverless platforms like AWS Lambda that impose stateless behaviour from the start.
Test your application
It’s crucial that you test your app before launching the app in the market. However the development phase of your app doesn’t matter, you can test your app code anytime. Testing the app is an inevitable part of the app development process.
Testing is very important for discovering the bugs and defects that guarantees the software quality for making the software easy to use and more reliable.
Experts recommend writing tests for every bug in the app that gets reported. Therefore one must know the following things for testing the app code:
- How to remake the bug
- How to fix and solve the bug
- Ensure the the bug will never appear and occur again in future in any form
Here are some popular testing Node.js libraries for testing node apps easily:
Avoiding Garbage Collection with the use of V8 Engine flags
Node.js (V8) manages heap memory with the use of garbage collection. It frees up the memory that is used by objects which are no longer used or referenced from the stack. This makes space available for new objects.
If your memory usage is bulging unpredictably, this situation might arise from the idle behaviour of the node and not because of memory leaks of the code.
This problem can be avoided or solved by regulating the application’s garbage collector. One can raise the V8 engine and chrome’s debugger to display the garbage collector used for debugging the memory issues.
Node – expose-gc — inspect myapp.js
Confirming that the application restarts automatically
Sometimes, a small dependency mistake can bring down the whole application despite using the best error handling in the app development. Instead of this, one can use a process manager that ensures that the app recovers gracefully from any runtime faults and even while the server is failing.
Besides that, there might occur one more case in which one must restart the program or project. And in this situation, your project must restart automatically if the entire service that is being used fails. For instance if you want the program to continue easily, you can utilise PM2 keymetrics for managing the process quickly and easily.
These 9 are the Node.js best practices that are unavoidable to use while developing any Node.js project or even while working on any existing project. Implementing these practices drives excellence and upgradation in your Node.js coding skills. You can build your dream project in comparatively less time if you implement node best practices while developing the project.
Smarsh Infotech is one of the most popular app/software development outsourcing companies. Our team of skilled Node.js developers will help you quickly develop your business application. Let’s discuss your idea soon!
I’m Bhavik Trivedi, Director of Smarsh Infotech—a leading Custom Software development company that provides offshore developers at competitive rates. I am passionate about implementing the latest technology-related stuff and building profitable tech businesses. I love talking about the futuristic technologies and their usefulness in the world. I am always open to sharing my knowledge and passion about the latest tech things!