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Node Js Vs. React Js: Difference Between Node JS and React JS

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14th Jun, 2023
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Node Js Vs. React Js: Difference Between Node JS and React JS

The Js at the end of both Node and React refer to the language of JavaScript. Node and React are both the frameworks of JavaScript. However, the ensuing language that both the frameworks have been the same, the use cases for both of these frameworks. However, they are totally different.

Some people might even argue that to find the difference between node js and react js is just like comparing a train to an airplane. Both of them work on an entirely different domain. The main reason why Node and React’s comparison is unfair is that Node.js is a framework to handle back-end, meaning it is developed to handle the server-side computations.

Meanwhile, React.js was developed to handle the User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX). Although glaringly present, the differences do not take anything away from the sheer power and the versatility that each of these frameworks brings into their respective domain. Another way to string together the main difference would be that neither Node.js or React.js are interchangeable at any stage of your web development project. 

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 With that being said, there are individual minute differences that any developer should consider when working on their projects, such as the performance, the learning curve, the community of both the frameworks and microservices’ support. Listed below, you will find a comprehensive weighted comparison of node js vs. react js on the aforementioned grounds. But before we begin our comparison, we must first understand both Node.js and React.js intricately and discuss the various use cases of these technologies.

Evolution of Node.js and React.js

When comparing Node js vs React js, it is evident that these are two groundbreaking JavaScript frameworks that are revolutionizing web development. By utilizing Node.js, JavaScript has successfully transitioned to the backend, allowing developers to fabricate server-side JavaScript applications with a high degree of complexity and variation. This remarkable breakthrough has allowed for unprecedented progress and opened up an array of possibilities. 

Further, on comparing node js vs react js, Node.js, which is built on Google’s V8 engine, allows developers to use JavaScript on the server side. This has opposed conventional practice as previously JavaScript was used only for client-side scripting. Node.js brought about tremendous growth and innovation in back-end development, fundamentally transforming it.

Facebook created React.js to address the issues of front-end development. It pioneered component-based design and the virtual DOM notion, greatly easing the development of sophisticated user interfaces. Because of its quickness and versatility, React.js soon became the ideal choice for developing dynamic and responsive online apps.

The Rise of Server-side JavaScript:

This move had various advantages. Node.js offers a lightweight and efficient framework for server-side operations such as API hosting and online content delivery. Its event-driven, non-blocking I/O style makes it ideal for concurrent connections and real-time applications. Developers could use Node.js to create quick and scalable apps that could manage massive amounts of traffic.

Node Package Manager (NPM), a powerful and expansive open-source module library, has had a huge impact on the success of Node.js. With the ability to reuse code, and accelerate the development process, developers have been enabled to focus on crafting application-specific logic instead of wasting time building something from scratch. Consequently, this leads to higher productivity with fewer efforts. NPM thus provides a highly advantageous library that helps developers achieve their desired outcomes with greater speed and finesse.

The Need for Front-end Frameworks:

Front-end development poses unique challenges, especially when creating complex user interfaces. React.js emerged as a solution to address these challenges. Its component-based architecture encourages code reusability, making development more efficient and maintainable. Developers can break down complex UI elements into reusable components, reducing redundancy and promoting a modular approach to development. This approach also facilitates collaboration among team members, as they can work on separate components and bring them together seamlessly.

Another significant advantage of React.js is its virtual DOM (Document Object Model). React.js uses a virtual representation of the actual DOM, enabling efficient updates and rendering of UI components. When the application state changes, React.js intelligently updates just the impacted components in the virtual DOM before applying those changes to the real DOM. This strategy reduces redundant re-rendering and increases the efficiency of React.js apps dramatically.

Furthermore, in the react vs node js comparison, React.js has a thriving ecosystem with a plethora of community-driven libraries and tools. These tools boost productivity and provide answers to common front-end difficulties.  With React.js, developers can create dynamic, interactive, and visually appealing user interfaces that provide an excellent user experience.

Read: Difference between NodeJS and Django


What exactly is the Node.js JavaScript framework?

The need for a robust means to handle the backend, server-side development yielded the framework we know as Node.js. Node.js was developed by Google and is based out of their V8 engine present in their web browser, i.e., Google Chrome. Node.js is a lightweight framework mainly because of its event-driven nature and the fact that it does not block the I/O. Node.js really shines the brightest when used to host API’s, access the database for the website, and serve the HyperText Transfer Protocol. 

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Who are the people making use of Node.js?

Node.js enjoys a very diverse clientele, with major players like Netflix, Uber, and Trello, all making use of Node.js in their backend. The reason why each of these companies uses this framework is different. Netflix, the leading online content streaming service, has to conduct A/B testing; only then would they serve the 93 million active users of their streaming service. The lightweight nature of Node.js has allowed them to serve the content swiftly. They have both reduced their startup time by over 70% and improved their scalability by shifting to Node.js.

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Most prominent features of Node.js:

  1. Open Source: The code of Node.js is readily available for any developer to use and edit free of cost.
  2. Improved Performance: Node.js enables the developers to perform non-blocking operations to enhance the performance of the apps.
  3. Scalability: The apps powered by Node.js can be scaled both horizontally and vertically according to the need of the developer


What exactly is React.js?

React.js is another open-source code library used to develop the front-end or user interfaces for web apps and websites. The main reason for React.js’ existence is to improve speed and provide a dependable platform to serve the front-end. React.js is developed by Facebook.

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Who are the people using React.js?

Facebook has enabled companies of all sorts, from the content-driven websites like the New York times and social media apps like Twitter, to serve their front-end and provide an enriching User Interface. A website like Facebook, which entirely relies on interaction with the user, has to use a dynamic framework. So, any active elements that you see on Facebook were wholly developed with the help of their React.js framework. Instagram, which is another subsidiary of Facebook, is yet another example successful example of React.js.

Most prominent features of React.js:

  1. Maintenance is easy: This library is smart in the regards that it uses or rather re-uses any crucial system components and solves any issue regarding the updation of this framework.
  2. Performance: The use of the Virtual Document Object Model (DOM) improves any React.js-based apps’ performance significantly.
  3. Stability of code: Because of using only the downward flow of data, React.js ensures that any code is written would be very stable.

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Difference between node.js and react.js

The technology behind both React and Node is the same, but they are used in two entirely different domains. Listed below, you will find a comprehensive comparison of both React.js and Node.js. This comparison should help you decide which of the framework would suit the project you are currently working on the most.

  • Great Scalability.
  • It can be extended both vertically and horizontally. 
  • It caches individual modules, thus reducing the load times.
  • You can easily e code which you have written in Javathe’ipt, and with the help, you can convert it into machine code very easily.
  • It supports both the server-side and the client-side.
  • It offers code components that can be easily reused.
  • Uses Virtual DOM for faster computations. 
  • It has support for both of the leading mobile operating systems (android and iOS).
  • It uses asynchronous programming and not linear blocking Input-Output programming.
  • It does not have any rich libraries.
  • It is challenging to learn and master.
  • Because of the leaps and bounds made in this framework keeping up is difficult.
Use cases
  • Data streaming. This framework’s asynchronous nature allows it to handle the streaming of data very effectively, and the speed at which the data is streamed is also very high. 
  • API server. Node.js has the capacity to handle many connections at a time; thus, hosting APIs with the help of Node.js is very useful.
  • Microservices: The lightweight nature of Node.js allows the developers to write microservices very easily and effectively.
  • Dynamic apps. The very nature and the reason for the existence of React.js are to handle dynamic events. So, it is imperative that React is very well suited to handle and make dynamic elements or entire dynamic websites and web apps. 
  • Complex architecture. React.js helps a lot in keeping track of the complexity which are there in your project.

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Node js vs React js: Final Verdict

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The popularity of both Node.js and React.js is unquestioned. Both of these frameworks have a huge community backing them up. However, if you are tussled with what you should choose for your project you are working on, choosing one over the other could prove difficult.

A straightforward thumb rule that you should keep in your mind is that if you want to create the front end, choose React.js and if backend creation your domain, you should choose Node.js without a shadow of doubt lingering in your mind.

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Rohan Vats

Blog Author
Software Engineering Manager @ upGrad. Passionate about building large scale web apps with delightful experiences. In pursuit of transforming engineers into leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1How is Virtual DOM different from Real DOM?

DOM means the Document Object Model, which represents the user interface of the entire web app as a tree structure. Virtual DOM is a concept in which a virtual representation of the interface is saved in the memory in sync with the real DOM. It is done using a ReactJS library “ReactDOM” and is called reconciliation. The virtual DOM updates faster as compared to the real DOM. The Real DOM can directly update the HTML part, whereas Virtual DOM can’t. The Real DOM creates an entirely new DOM whenever any element updates, whereas virtual DOM updates the JSX with the changes. The virtual DOM provides no wastage of memory, whereas Real DOM wastes a lot of memory.

2How is NodeJS better than other popular backend frameworks?

NodeJS provides simplicity through its non-blocking IO and event-based model results in short response time and concurrent processing. On the other hand, frameworks have to use thread management for simultaneous processing. It runs on a high-performance Chrome V8 engine developed in the C++ language. Also, if we use Javascript for both the client-side and server-side, the development process will be simpler and faster. There are many libraries to help us with any problems during the development phase. NodeJS helps create scalable products through its in-depth documentation and vast community support on the web. Also, it is an open-source, cross-platform language.

3What are the merits of the ReactJS framework?

ReactJS is a frontend javascript library that helps create single-page applications by building UI components for the client-side interface. It increases the application's performance and can be easily used for both the client-side and server-side. It uses JSX, which helps to increase the code readability. It is open-source and can easily integrate with other frameworks like Django, Angular, etc. It is easier to write UI test cases in ReactJS. It has features like Virtual DOM and server-side rendering. It follows data binding or unidirectional flow of data. It has a component-based approach that helps us create reusable components for the user interface.