The software and web development industry is experiencing new twists and turns every year with the introduction of new trends, languages, frameworks, etc. With the advancement in technology, developers have an ample range of versatile languages to choose from for developing platforms with advanced functionality.
This is where Node.js and ASP.NET come into the picture as two remarkable server-side languages for building enterprise applications.
In this post, I will be discussing the ongoing debate of Node.js versus ASP.NET in the developer community. The goal is to find out which comes out on top in a detailed comparison of both languages.
What Is Node.js?
Node.js is also very apt in handling concurrent requests effectively, as the cluster module of Node.js helps in load balancing all the active CPU cores.
Companies using Node.js include Uber, Netflix, LinkedIn, Twitter, Trello, PayPal, NASA, eBay, Medium, GoDaddy, and WalMart.
With all this in mind, it’s now time to see some of the key features of Node.js.
Node.js operates on Single Threaded Event Loop Model architecture. The event loop mechanism makes the Node.js server more scalable by allowing it to perform all non-blocking operations smoothly. Unlike Apache HTTP servers, Node.js can handle multiple client requests.
By default, Node.js APIs are non-blocking (asynchronous) in nature. In simple terms, if a client requests a server, then a single thread handles the request. If there is no database interaction with the request, the request is processed, and the client receives the response.
Node.js has a notification mechanism called “Events” used to receive and track previous API requests from the server. The event-driven mechanism works similarly to the callback mechanism of asynchronous programming. Once the server is started by Node, it declares functions, initiates its variables, and waits for the occurrence of the event. The event module of Node.js has a class called “EventEmitter” that implements event-driven programming.
The asynchronous nature and single-thread architecture of Node.js make it highly scalable. When a request arrives, the single thread starts processing it, the response is sent back to the client, and the cycle continues. Node.js uses child processes to partition the applications horizontally, which helps the organizations customize the app versions according to client preferences.
What Is ASP.NET?
.NET was built on Common Language Runtime (CLR) and allows developers to use .NET languages like C#, C++, VB.NET, etc. for writing the code. Unlike Python, Java, or PHP, ASP.NET uses compiler-based technology. The compiler gathers all the instances of code and compiles them concurrently. This makes the ASP.NET Core faster and more performant than other frameworks.
So let’s take a look at some of the core features of ASP.NET, used by companies such as SpaceX, Alibaba Travels, ROBLOX, MasterCard, Slack, Cognizant.com, Queue-it, Motorola Solutions, and ViaVarejo.
ASP.NET apps can be easily deployed and run immediately on platforms like Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. With .NET, developers have the freedom of choosing their desired OS.
Comprehensive Development Environments
Developers can utilize an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) like Visual Studio for developing aesthetically amazing apps. IDEs provide a rich and dynamic environment for developers to build apps from scratch using drag-and-drop components.
.NET is known as the language-neutral framework. Meaning, developers can use various languages, like C#, for developing apps. They can also create dynamic applications like Starbucks, TrustPilot, Agoda, GoDaddy, etc. using those languages.
High Security and Performance
Developers are likely to agree that, for any software, performance is one of the crucial factors in app development. The ASP.NET Core and Kestrel Web Server have made the .NET framework one of the quickest, most responsive, and most lightweight frameworks available in the market. The new Kestrel Web Server provides asynchronous programming approaches that make the framework fast.
At the same time, Kestrel Web Server provides a unique identification of all the applications that are running on the ASP.NET framework, as .NET verifies the authenticity of apps before allowing them to run.
To learn more, consider reading “Beginning ASP.NET Security.”
Support HTML5 Form Types
HTML forms allow users to enter the values via various input elements like text boxes, buttons, radio buttons, check boxes, drop-down lists, and more. After providing the values in the various fields, users need to click the submit button to send the data.
ASP.NET supports HTML5 form types. After incorporating the HTML form, additional coding is required to get and display the data on the browser entered by the user.
Unified MVC and Web API Frameworks
Before the development of the ASP.NET Core, developers relied on Model-View-Controller (MVC) frameworks for building web applications—using HTML and Web API to develop RESTful API via XML and JASON. The development of ASP.NET Core has simplified development by combining the MVC and Web API. Now instead of HTML, MVC always returns JASON data.
There is a new element in the ASP.NET Core called Razor pages, which helps in simplifying web UI development. It is a page-based coding module that extends the MVC framework to allow the abridgement of the controller and model features of the page.
Before the .NET Core, if the developers had to provide dependency injection in the applications, then they had to rely on third-party frameworks like StructureMap, AutoFactor, etc. However, with the introduction of the ASP.NET Core, this dependency on third-party frameworks died down as the Core has an in-built dependency injection that helps improve the testability and extensibility of the web apps.
Action Filters and Web Sockets
One of the principal features of .NET is Action Filters. These filters help the developers to implement functionalities like caching, authorization, error handling, or any custom logic that can be applied to an action or a controller without modifying the action itself.
ASP.NET supports Web Sockets, which are used to create web-based client-server apps and provide to and fro communications with the browser. Web Sockets are useful in developing real-time communication applications like chatbots, gaming apps, social feeds, etc.
Asynchronous via Async/Await
With the implementation of Async in all the .NET frameworks and third-party libraries, ASP.NET has splendid support for asynchronous patterns. The extensive use of asynchronous programming patterns in the new MVC and Kestrel frameworks has made the .NET Core faster in performance.
Now it's time to move on to the next round of the Node.js versus ASP.NET battle. Let's see which server-side language is better performing based on pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of Node.js
- Developers don’t have to install external modules when using other apps.
- Developers can interact with other operating systems using a cross-platform library.
- Although it's single-threaded, it can handle multiple core servers instantly.
- It has the support of a vast active developer community.
- It has fewer abstractions and uses an event looping mechanism.
- There is no buffering when using the platform.
- It serves both client-side and server-side applications.
- The asynchronous nature of Node.js makes it challenging for developers to implement it.
- Its limited library support requires developers to integrate third-party libraries into their apps.
- Difficult code readability.
- It is difficult to fix bugs and maintain code.
- The architecture of the apps may get jumbled due to the presence of multiple microservices.
- Unstable APIs and callback issues.
Pros and Cons of ASP.NET
- Applications are secured by the built-in per-application arrangement and Windows verification.
- It has a rich toolkit.
- Its just-in-time compilation, caching administrations, local optimizations, and early authoritative provide super execution.
- It is backed by Microsoft and provides better security and safety.
- It is cost-effective, simple to maintain, and easy to update.
- Its drag-and-drop IDE is easy to use.
- It has generic error handling capabilities and uses multiple threads.
- Initial compilation is time-consuming.
- Upgradation of the older apps of the .NET framework is a very hectic process.
- It has few third-party libraries and has manual configurations.
- It is less portable compared to Node.js.
- No support for Java.
- The core of the ASP.NET is raw, and its documentation is not detailed.
Node.js Vs ASP.NET: A Detailed Comparison
To better understand this high-intensity Node.js versus ASP.NET battle, let’s compare these two frameworks based on the following parameters:
|Release Date and Community||Initial release in 2009 and has a large community on GitHub.||A stable version was made public in 2002. It has a strong community on Stack OverFlow and has the support of Microsoft.|
|Framework||Total.js, AdonisJS, VulcanJS, etc.||ASP.NET|
|Libraries||ConvNetJS, Limbdu.js, ml.js, Stdlib, etc.||Nswag, Unity.WebAPI, IdentityServer04AspNetIdentity|
|When to Use||To develop asynchronous and cross-platform apps.||To develop interactive and dynamic websites.|
|Performance||Handles multitask due to its high-speed Chrome V8 engine.||Handles high CPU-intensive work and is 15% faster than previous versions.|
|Development Tools||Text editor, IDE, WebStorm||NDepend, ELMAH, Mono Develop, ReSharper, etc.|
|Speed||Smooth handling of callbacks and faces less abstractions.||Conventions enable code enhancements.|
|Real-Time Usage||Large amounts of customer data can be easily maintained and controlled.||A large number of websites are developed using ASP.NET.|
|Availability||Wide range of small and reusable libraries.||The highly scalable framework increases development speed.|
|Reliability||Error handling is a huge challenge for developers.||Error handling is easy.|
|Portability||Highly portable on most platforms.||Partially portable.|
|Stability||Developers write most of the modules. If some modules have become outdated, it will be hard to update them, which affects project stability.||It has the backing of Microsoft and has high project stability.|
|Processing Model||Works on an asynchronous programming model and is single-threaded. It can handle multiple requests simultaneously.||Works on a synchronous model and is multi-threaded.|
|Platform Anatomy||It supports cross-platform development (i.e. Linux, Windows, and OS X).||Initially, it supported only the Windows system, but after .NET Core, it supports cross-platform development.|
|Hosting||Linux Web Server||AWS, Azure, Heroku, and Google Cloud Platform.|
|Concurrency||Uses a single CPU thread. For multiple threads, it depends on clustering.||Thread Pool helps in utilizing multi-core systems.|
|Memory Management||The memory limit is 512MB on a 32bit system and 1GB on 64GB system; expandable to 1GB and 1.7GB respectively.||The memory limit is 2GB on a 64bit system.|
So, Who Won the Battle?
The discussion of Node.js versus ASP.NET will be going on for years to come, as to which of the two is the best framework for custom software development or to build enterprise applications. From the parameters I have considered, I would say that .NET is best suited for large-sized applications, whereas for small and medium-sized apps and services, Node.js is the best choice.
It’s hard to tell which is better overall between the two as the advantages of both frameworks compensate for their limitations. Even though ASP.NET has high performance compared to Node.js, the light weight of Node.js gives .NET tough competition.
Ultimately, the framework selection should depend on your organization's requirements, keeping in mind both present and future aspects of the project.