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Express.js Decoded: All you Need to Know

05 Aug 2022
Application frameworks (or software within or under software) are those that create entities such as web pages or application pages for the internet or mobile applications. Nowadays, they are exceedingly popular. These application frameworks often allow websites or applications to conduct distinct functions. This includes handling server-related requests to pull up a page, hosting different […]

Application frameworks (or software within or under software) are those that create entities such as web pages or application pages for the internet or mobile applications. Nowadays, they are exceedingly popular.

These application frameworks often allow websites or applications to conduct distinct functions. This includes handling server-related requests to pull up a page, hosting different web pages, etc., which are related to the web pages or mobile applications.

One such application framework is Express.js. It is an application framework or software under Node.js. Notably, Node.js is an application that allows web servers affiliated with websites or mobile applications to run JavaScript in their respective environments. 

To elaborate, JavaScript is the ‘logical’ part of any website or mobile application. The reason being it manages all the requests made by users to the web server that hosts the website. For example, a user clicking on the ‘electronics’ section on an e-commerce application is sending a request to the concerned web server to display the page containing all the electronic goods.

Interested users can continue reading to know more about Express.js, which assists in making all these functions easy and seamless for developers and organizations below.

History of Express.js 

Developed by an individual called TJ Holowaychuk in 2010, Express.js was built to be an open-source application framework. Launched on GitHub, Express.js allowed different websites and mobile applications to use it for their development. Eventually, Express.js was sold to the organization named StrongLoop in 2014 by TJ Holowaychuk. 

It is also important to learn about Node.js which currently owns Express.js. 

Node.js is an open-source server-side JavaScript runtime software. An individual named Ryan Dahl developed it in 2009. Node.js was based on Google Chrome’s JavaScript V8 engine and was initially compatible only with Linux OS. The purpose of developing this software was to allow developers to create applications which were scalable and reduced the work of the server responding to requests.

Over the years, Node.js became a bigger entity due to –

  • The introduction of Node Package Manager (in 2011) which enabled Node.js to oversee more requests
  • The formation of the Node.js Foundation (in 2015) by big names such as PayPal, IBM, Joyent, SAP, Microsoft, and the Linux Foundation
  • Node.js managed to acquire StrongLoop by IBM (in 2015). StrongLoop now is an American company that partners with the Node.js Foundation to manage its API, the StrongLoop Suite 
  • The handover of Express.js to the Node.js Foundation led to the release of the current Express.js version, version 5, alpha 7.

Features of Express.js

Express.js has various useful features and concepts that set it apart from other similar applications that also create JavaScript-friendly environments. Those are –

1. Allowing Template Creation

This web-server-based application framework allows users and developers to create their templates or frameworks as per their needs. This freedom to create templates supports the creative and problem-solving streak of most developers.

Since Express.js is an open-source application, developers can contribute to each other’s projects, leading to creation of richer material.

2. Debugging Capabilities

Express.js comes with a debugging module that helps users and developers to identify their mistakes while creating JavaScript-friendly runtime environments.

Few of these mistakes are routing or re-routing, the lack of or incorrect process of requesting for or responding to a response cycle.

3. Routing or Re-routing 

Routing or re-routing refers to the forwarding or sending-ahead of data or request packets to their onward destinations, such as servers and users. 

In this context, Express.js provides quite a stable framework for routing that does not harm the state of health of the website or URL in question. It is one of the key concepts of Express.js. 

4. Enhanced Speed of Developing Server-side Capabilities

As Express.js is fundamentally based on Node.js, the features displayed on Node.js are the ones that enable faster creation of server-side capabilities. The presence of such useful features reduces the time invested in coding, hence, making the whole process more efficient.

5. Efficient System Management via Middleware Systems

Express.js comes equipped with an efficient system that increases the productivity of users and developers. Express.js itself manages various other systems, such as client requests and databases, which helps it function effectively.

Key Concepts of Express.js 

Express.js has a couple of core concepts or frameworks. 

I.Requesting for or Responding to a Request:

This function refers to either placing a request for a particular function from a particular server or responding to a request made by a particular user to or on a particular server. 

1. Community Building: 

Since Express.js is an open-source application, we can often find scores of developers working on the same project at once, which builds a sense of community. 

This effort has led to the creation of vast libraries of information on different aspects and types of JavaScript-based environments. These prove to be quite useful for future and current developers facing a coding or creative block. 

Role of Express.js and its Uses in the World of Development 

Express.js’s role is vivid and extremely important to the World of Development –

  • Building WebSockets

WebSockets refer to those protocols that facilitate the daily functioning of websites that deal with or in internet streaming, for example, Amazon Prime and Netflix. 

WebSockets thus have useful functions, such as allowing for the server-client transfer of binary data. This allows clients to easily view videos or images, the recurring subscription-based events. With this, one can also see functions like reminders for payment or renewal of subscriptions. 

This is where Express.js comes to play with its ability to seamlessly monitor the inflow and outflow of requests for such protocol-based applications.

  • Creating IoT frameworks

As IoT (internet of things) deals in building and maintaining connections between multiple devices, Express.js comes handy. Users and developers can use its ability to simultaneously manage a variety of devices. 

Express.js can do this with its dynamic single-thread or stream framework that can manage all the devices and their associated functions, such as reading and responding to requests.

  • Building Mono or Single Page Applications

Single page applications or SPA refer to those applications that lower the load time of a website. They do it by only loading portions of a website, which is relevant to the request of a user or a client. 

This dynamic method of presentation of relevant material based on need increases client-website interaction. Express.js facilitates this by allowing users and developers to use its routing capabilities to create these applications. 

  • Chatbots

Chatbots are real-time applications that allow clients to directly communicate with the website servers regarding various queries like leaving their contact details, providing feedback, or even airing their complaints. 

These functions make chatbots useful. Therefore, users and developers can use the request-respond feature of Express.js to create such applications, as chatbots often deal with the inflow and outflow of information or data packets. 

  • Collaborative Applications

As already mentioned above, the open-source nature of Express.js allows users and developers to create applications by combining their minds and resources, thus fostering a true community spirit. 

Frameworks Created by Express.js

You will find that multiple users and developers have over the years have created multiple frameworks enabling the smooth functioning of various websites. These are -

1. Kraken 

Extends the bounds of Express.js by allowing users and developers to create easily scalable environments. It makes room for dynamism, advanced system management capabilities to mention a few.

2. Express Gateway

Using Express.js as its foundation, this Application Processing Interface Gateway controls everything about the project, understands various languages, and is highly adaptable. 

3. Kites

It is an application framework that is template-based and suitable for those wishing to create a trading platform. This means functions like high frequency of receiving orders and responding to them, will be common. 

4. Hydra-Express

It is a library that supplies information on creating and building Express.js and Node.js based on distributive functions. 

5. Feathers

This is an Express.js framework that is popular for creating real-time mobile or website applications. The reason is its versatility for dealing with both backend and frontend systems and software.

The introduction of Express.js has been a boon for the website and mobile application development industry. This application changed how mobile applications and websites function and brought the much-required flexibility and efficiency.

Thus, as seen above, learning Express.js can prove to be a lifesaver to those who aspire to become successful developers, as it will open all the major doors to full-stack development. If you wish to learn more about full-stack development and associated technologies, then Hero Vired has different specialty courses. The in-depth certificate program in full stack development with cloud for web and mobile will prepare you for the future.

Apart from this, you can also pursue courses like DevOps and cloud engineering to increase your employability.

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