The ubiquity of PHP has indeed helped it in attaining the position that it holds today. While this web technology allows you to get your web app up and running in no time, the huge chunks of code that need to be handled thereafter motivate you to look out for a different framework that’s a lot more easy and works well for building simple apps. Outshining all the renowned alternatives to PHP, Node.js has emerged as an excellent option for writing effective server side code. So, if you’re a PHP developer who’s looking forward to embrace Node.js as your primary server side language, this is a post which will offer you useful insights for that ‘big’ switch.

PHP and  Node.JS

Setting up Node.js is a complete breeze

To get started with app development using Node.js, you need to install it into your device. For a MacBook user, this is how the Node OSX install looks like:

On completion of successful installation, you can get on with running JavaScript code on your web server. You’ll also be able to view the Node ‘Hello World’ app which displaying Node’s basic code structure.

NPM(Node Package Manager)- An impressive add-on with Node installation

You can find NPM(Node Package Manager) with every install of Node. There are some excellent tools, apps, middleware and frameworks that enable you(the UI developers) to create great user experiences easily. If you’re already familiar with using Composer- a dependency manager for PHP, then using NPM wouldn’t be a problem for you. Well, talking about NPM, it uses a certain file called package.json for outlining metadata of the app along with the app’s software dependencies. This file can either be edited manually or the dependencies can be filled in as done in case of composer.json file.

In addition to above, you may also choose to install other packages via the command line as shown below:

On completion of successful installation, you can get on with running JavaScript code on your web server. You’ll also be able to view the Node ‘Hello World’ app which displaying Node’s basic code structure.

NPM(Node Package Manager)- An impressive add-on with Node installation

You can find NPM(Node Package Manager) with every install of Node. There are some excellent tools, apps, middleware and frameworks that enable you(the UI developers) to create great user experiences easily. If you’re already familiar with using Composer- a dependency manager for PHP, then using NPM wouldn’t be a problem for you. Well, talking about NPM, it uses a certain file called package.json for outlining metadata of the app along with the app’s software dependencies. This file can either be edited manually or the dependencies can be filled in as done in case of composer.json file.

In addition to above, you may also choose to install other packages via the command line as shown below:

NMP houses remarkable sever side apps

In addition to storing your web app, NPM also serves as a home to numerous server side apps that can introduce convenience into your app development career. You can either install the packages within local app directory or opt for installing them on your system, globally.

The installation of a package globally will have this structure:

Some key things that add up to the significance of using Node.js for building web apps

Here’s an elaboration of some hand-picked features of Node.js which have helped in building the right kind of apps conveniently:

  1. Nodemon

Unlike the typical method of hacking through code and modifying Apache config in PHP app development, Node.js works with an entirely different approach. It comes with Nodemon which can be easily installed using NPM globally and you just need to run the below command for starting your app:

The app would hence monitor any alterations that you make to the code, followed by restarting Node automatically.

  1. MySQL for Node

You might have definitely heard about Node.js getting paired with a particular NoSQL type database. MongoDB is one such database that comes with a commendable Mongoose middleware and introduces immense amount of convenience in model management within your web apps. Additionally, you can use some of the best MySQL packages which aid you in maintaining your data and MySQL schemes at one place.

  1. Express

As a fantastic middleware package, Express is regarded as an indispensable component of developing web apps using Node.js. It build a middleware package named as Connect that is capable of filling in any loopholes associated with serving pages and parsing the input. And that’s not all. Express also serves as an excellent framework for creating sustainable code for building fully-functional web apps in Node. For all you serious app developers out there, the Express team has introduced a brand new framework called KoaJS- worth checking out for sure.

  1. PassportJS

Authenticating the connectivity of third-party APIs(for eg: services like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) with Node.js web apps is no more a thing to worry with the PassportJS feature. It is basically a package that lets you authenticate your app’s collaboration with a third-party API, anywhere across the World Wide Web. Moreover, you can use this tool for authenticating your local login as well as managing the multiple app sessions.

5. Swig

As a PHP developer, Twig might have been your favorite template engine. Presented by SensioLabs, Twig is a popular component of the Symfony framework, making the process of collaborating front-end HTML simple and hassle-free. Now, with the inception of Node.js, Swig has come into recognition as one of the finest alternatives to Twig, making the task of porting existing projects to Node utmost convenient. The best thing about Swig is that it includes almost every part of Twig; eliminating the need for re-using view templates. With just a few minor alterations to template code, Swig is fully-compatible with Express.

Node.js has new code, meaning modern features

Unlike the outdated WordPress plugins available for the conventional PHP developers, Node.js comes with a wide collection of new plug-ins which have been designed using the know-how about the best architectural techniques. All these plugins enable you to add more advanced features into your Node.js web app, thereby impressing your client in one go.

Wrapping Up

The epic battle between PHP and Node.js has actually affected the mindsets of web app developers. Hope the above post would have helped you understand why migrating from PHP to Node.js is a wise decision for implementing web app development projects successfully.