Node.JS Hype or Reality?

I like to keep up with new skills… I take tons of courses on data science, languages, frameworks, etc.  Personally I’m not a fan of JavaScript… but if it’s being used, I’d like to dig into it.

All I hear is the hype on who’s using Node.JS… you’ve probably heard it to…. EBAY, PAYPAL, NETFLIX, WALMART…. Headlines like, “Walmart switches to Node.JS Exclusively,” seem to be everywhere…

So I broached the subject with some Sr. Dev’s I know… they scoffed at the idea of using Node as one full stack solution… They told me that Node being used in a large scale system like millions of Paypal transactions is insane or impossible.

Feeling they were perhaps jaded, I dug into it to try and prove them wrong…

What I found is they appeared to be right… there was no real shift from backend stacks like Java/Spring Boot/Rails to NodeJS…

2013

What happened in 2013 was interesting.  All the pro-Node.js hype came out during the  year 2013.  Every article referencing Paypal, Netflix, Walmart, etc. all sources back to 2013.  Very little since and little before.  It’s like a marketing blitz.

Interviews with Non-Employees

Some of the dev blogs, such as Paypal’s own devblog, where written by folks who were part time contractors – proposing Node over Java itself.  This was also suspicious.

Job Openings

But perhaps the most telling was the job openings.  Feel free to double check my leg work, but again each of these companies hailed in the news as switching entirely to “node.js” turns out to have few or NO openings for Node.JS dev’s… and they tend to hire exclusive backend developers with Java/Scala backgrounds….

Paypal

First we see Paypal as the go to Node.js success story.  Their own blog is sourced time and time again… but my friends told me, “no way, they didn’t use node.”

In researching PayPal’s current job openings I discovered this data (links avail.):

Java related positions open: 50 (https://g.co/kgs/32FvAb)
Node Specific positions open: 22 (https://g.co/kgs/633urV)

While the Paypal dev blog in 2013 states they are moving away from Java and had converted several sections of Paypal to Node.js… claiming 20x faster responsiveness… in 2018 they are mostly focused on building up Java teams?

Either a) the initial data was hype or b) they came to a conclusion that Node just wasn’t viable.

Walmart

This is even more surprising.  We hear all over the internet that Walmart shifted away from core technologies to embrace Node.JS…. yet again… if you check out available positions at Walmart for Java and Node, you see a different story:

Java focused positions: 40+ (https://g.co/kgs/sXngff)
Node specific: 11 at the time of this writing: (https://g.co/kgs/5qR8UQ)

This surely isn’t the poster child of a “we moved from Java to Node.JS and love it,” situation.  So what happened?  Where’s that Node.JS hype?  Why are there 4 to 1 positions for Java vs. NodeJS?

Ebay

Another heavy hitter is Ebay… if you read the article hype on Node and Ebay, it appears Ebay transitioned fully to Node.js in 2013.  Again, 2013 being the coincidental year here…

As I dug into it, I found some recent discussions on a site called Hashnode about how they use Node: https://hashnode.com/post/does-ebay-use-nodejs-ciqvz732s06cur853ft5c1yq0

According to the developer’s response, they use Node strictly on the front end – not the backend.

Again, if you look at the job openings we see something interesting:
Java related Job Openings: 25 (https://g.co/kgs/26SsK9)
Node related Job Openings: 1 (https://g.co/kgs/3w3Aai) “Front End Eng.”

Obviously these things can change.  But we still see a significant issue where 25 to 1 in favor of Java to manage the backend stack.  Where’s all this hype that the backend switched to Node?

 

Who Really Uses Node Exclusively?

It really comes down to a question of skillsets… should I learn Node? Should you?  I hate JavaScript… but heck, if everyone is using it, I should know it.

Did anyone ever make a Call Control system entirely in Node?  Does Node really perform 20x faster than rails?  Is Node really a better performer than Java/Spring Boot/Go?

These questions should be easy to answer.  I can find such answers when reviewing the performance of Python to Ruby, or Java to Go.  But the Node universe is filled with so much fakery of data and usage info, that it’s hard to really grasp the extent or non-extent of the framework.

I find this all very frustrating.  But if anyone out there is fully using NodeJS as a viable framework – let me know, I’d love to hear about it.

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About Admin 329 Articles
I work for a Telecom company writing and testing software. My passion for writing code is expressed through this blog. It's my hope that it gives hope to any and all who are self-taught.