The Fall of the House of Node
TJ Holowaychuk, a long-time Nodist (from a Nodist colony?) who has contributed much to Node, finally abandoned Node in favour of Go. TJ writes:
The more I’ve been working with distributed systems, the more I’m frustrated by Node’s direction, which favours performance over usability and robustness. In the past week I’ve rewritten a relatively large distributed system in Go, and it’s robust, performs better, it’s easier to maintain, and has better test coverage since synchronous code is generally nicer and simpler to work with.
TJ is right, Go generally does outperform Node in terms of JSON serialization and request routing using HTTP pipelining, although Node does fairly well when it comes to database queries (roughly at par).
Eric Jiang also writes a great post about what’s wrong with Node. In particular, Eric points out two reasons why front-end developers use Node:
- “The frontend devs can work on the backend!”
- “We can share code between the backend and frontend!”
Node by itself is not a sufficiently good reason. People have been creating fast, powerful server solutions for decades in languages other than JS. There’s really no rationale to choose JS.
Moreover, server applications are rarely tied to one set of front-end applications written in one language, esp. if the server is providing a general public-facing web service. Thus, Reason #2 is pretty weak.
So node was great, don’t get me wrong, but I think it’s time we admitted that node has served its purpose, and it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.
Node has outlived its usefulness.
Alexandra Grant has subsequently published an excellent article about why they abandoned Node in favour of Go: