Node.js is becoming well regarded in enterprise environments, as a technology capable of scaling-up, and useful for rebuilding or reworking even the biggest and the most demanding corporate and commercial applications. We track down a few examples of big Node.js successes, detailing just which features of this popular JavaScript-runtime environment managed to convince powerful enterprises to trust it and rely on it.

Node.js has become increasingly popular in recent years, with npm (a package manager for Node.js modules) sitting at 4 million users as of 2016 and turning over around a billion downloads a week. Node.js has been used in production by PayPal, Uber and Netflix in creating or scaling their web apps, with many start-ups in healthcare, travel and finance now relying on the technology, too. Even NASA started to use it “to build the present and future systems supporting spaceship operations and development.”

The world of large-scale enterprise is really starting to sit up and pay attention to the abilities of Node.js and beginning to adopt it in their huge, corporate projects. What this means is that the perceived risk of migrating their systems to a relatively new technology is outweighed by the potential profits that such a decision can bring. This balance between risk and profit, secure and known solutions, and diving into unknown, innovative ventures is often a key to success in the corporate world. Let’s take a look at how it all unfolded with Node.js and some of big fishes out there.

Walmart

Walmart is a huge corporation. The fact that they decided to rebuild their web app front-end and back-end code with Node.js, speaks volumes about the benefits of this technology for big business. Walmart’s site handles millions of requests a day and also has some quite sophisticated features on the client side. Walmart decided to rebuild its web platform API with Node.js in order to become a leader not only in physical retailing, but also in online retailing. With Node.js, content on Walmart’s webpage is constantly fresh, as the system takes advantage of asynchronous I/O and the event loop, that allows it to handle many concurrent connections to update the site in real time.

Walmart also created, and has been extensively using, the Hapi.js project. Hapi is an open source Node.js framework that enables developers to write reusable application logic instead of wasting time on building infrastructure. Walmart invested a lot into Hapi in order for it to be accessible for use in the open source community.

Yahoo

Yahoo is a web portal, a search engine, an email service provider and much more; a brand and a huge enterprise that is recognized globally. In its heyday, Yahoo was the most popular website in the US. Yahoo’s adventures with Node.js started in 2010. Their aim was to maintain the same code base on both the client and the server side and Yahoo’s programmers spent a whole year developing new features with Node.js. As a result, the company released a project that eliminated multi-language scenarios, which were causing troubles for developers. The project was named Cocktails and was a suite created for developers in order to help them create web apps that would look and feel the same as high-quality native apps. One of Cocktails’ modules, named Mojito, was relying on both JavaScript and Node.js to run a common codebase for both the client and server side. Though at Yahoo they admit they had fears over using Node.js, its growth seemed promising and they decided to give it a try (per: https://venturebeat.com/2012/01/24/node-at-google-mozilla-yahoo/).

IBM

IBM has also embraced Node.js as a technology, first implementing Node.js solutions in 2015. As Myles Borins from the company remembered, during one of NodeJS Interactive conferences, in October that year he was given a task of working on a smoke testing utility which automated running unit tests of various modules in the Node.js environment. This was aptly nicknamed The Canary in the Gold Mine project. The venture turned out to be very successful, as it managed to find all sorts of regressions across the ecosystem and in the Node.js core. Also at that time, IBM announced it was buying StrongLoop, together with its expertise on Node.js framework, with the aim of fortifying its own BlueMix cloud DevOps platform. StrongLoop offers a commercially supported version of Node.js, handy for enterprise applications.

cars.com

Cars.com is one of the largest digital automotive platforms, connecting consumers with local dealers and helping car shoppers and owners navigate every turn of car ownership. Prior to switching over to Node.js, Cars.com was searching for a solution that would help them save time, energy and money in updating the client and the server-sides of their webpage separately. They used to rely on Java for the server-side system and JavaScript for the front-end, however they were often finding what they needed to implement changes on both sides at the same time, which was a bit time-consuming and and inefficient, as a process.

Instead, after migration to Node.js, the corporation noticed various benefits, such as performance and speed gains. But most of all, it was the internal synergies that impressed the most. A few of their JavaScript developers have learned Node.js and now are working on it every day in order to keep both the client and the server side up to date and running. What’s more, they have managed to exit from the Java and CMS connection in the server-side, which had been posing them quite some troubles beforehand. Adopting a new technology, improving workflow, and scaling down the amount of manual synchronization has allowed cars.com to release up to a dozen small updates a day to its site, instead of releasing a new version of their page twice a month.

Other examples

The list of enterprises that switched to Node.js doesn’t end here. We can also name corporations such as SAP, Dynatrace, GoDaddy, Fidelity, SafetyCulture, Intel, Cisco Systems, Voxer and RedHat. All of them, the same as examples listed above, have grown fond of using Node.js because of its ability to handle both the server and the client side, as well as its scalability, performance and speed gains. Again, that risk of trusting a relatively new technology proved to be worth it for them.

Legacy systems still are ruling

Even though some corporations are turning to rebuilding their webpages with Node.js, the truth of the matter is that most enterprises have persistent legacy systems. They find it hard to move from old and sometimes problem-prone, but known systems to jump into deep water with a new technology. It’s that old case of better the devil you know. It is a pity, because, as these companies have proven, Node.js can bring a lot of value to enterprises - including really huge corporations with sophisticated apps.

If your corporation is thinking about building something new and wonderful, or upgrading your legacy systems, we at iRonin have what it takes to guide your web app into the future. Let us help you evaluate Node.js as one of a number of possible technologies to update your systems. Our Node.js developers have deep expertise and are available to assist in evaluation, design, development, and maintenance of your complex systems. Email us to find out more!