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NodeJS or .NET: An EGO's Take on Two Best Backend Development Technologies of 2021

If you're considering NodeJS and .NET as the leading technology for your next project's backend, read this post before making the choice.

October 12, 2021
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You can find a lot of takes comparing .NET and NodeJS. However, they’re full of technical details that won’t allow you to have the picture necessary to make a decision.

Although our web app developers always say that every case is different, here’s our take on those technologies that give a sneak peek into our selection-making process.

But first, let’s make a short overview of both technologies.

What's .NET?

.NET 5 standard explained in a scheme
Source: https://devblogs.microsoft.com/dotnet/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2019/05/dotnet5_platform.png


.NET was first introduced as a proprietary framework built by Microsoft. Then, it was re-released as an open-source technology and got 2 branches: .NET Core for cross-platform development and the Windows-only .NET framework.

At some point, the .NET framework lost its popularity and Microsoft dropped supporting it. And .NET Core, a technology for web application programming, was rebranded into .NET. So now, if you see mentions of .NET Core, it's equal to .NET.

.NET allows building apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

The official IDE for .NET is Visual Studio.

Companies that successfully use it are Siemens, GoDaddy, UPS, Asgard Systems, Intel, Cisco, Intuit.

What's NodeJS?

NodeJS is a runtime environment allowing to build web apps. It's also open-source, but it's built on the V8 engine, Google's WebAssembly and JS engine compiled in C++.

It uses a non-blocking and event-driven I/O model tailored for use in data-intensive applications.

NodeJS allows building apps for macOS, Linux, Windows, Android, and others, so it’s a fully-fledged cross-platform application technology.

There's no official IDE for NodeJS, the most popular one is Visual Studio Code with NodeJS development plugins.

Companies that successfully use it are PayPal, LinkedIn, Uber, eBay, Netflix, Medium.

Can .NET and NodeJS be Compared Head to Head?

We believe these technologies are too different to figure out which one is ultimately better. You can find some features that will be of similar value — for instance, one can say that for the built-in libraries available for .NET there’s NPM support in NodeJS — but that doesn’t tell much as to which tool is better.  

The performance of the technologies depends on the type of project.

If we're talking about static page rendering, .NET has the in-built IIS server that uses kernel-mode caching. That makes it much more appealing than NodeJS.

In case of expected high loading, NodeJS would be selected more often by businesses. But with every new update, .NET becomes more and more attractive in this regard. With one of its latest updates, its gRPC performance has become higher than the one in Java, C++, and GO.

Both technologies offer asynchronous processing by handling each request in a different thread.

Both are popular enough for software and web development to have huge and strong communities. NodeJS community lives in GitHub, while .NET is more discussed in StackOverflow (which is built using .NET). You may find various numbers about the size of the community and their activities, but we believe it doesn't help in deciding which tool fits you best.

EGO's Take on .NET vs NodeJS

There’s a lot of cases when companies in need of professional web development services decide to switch from .NET to NodeJS to increase the performance of their software. And there's indeed a ton of arguments for this decision.

However, over the last few years, .NET has significantly advanced in terms of cross-platform support, tool usability, libraries, and third-party service support implemented through SDKs and libraries.

Moreover, recently Blazor was introduced, which allows writing web UIs using C# instead of JavaScript. It's unknown whether Blazor will get enough popularity to survive within the next few years, but it looks extremely promising in 2021.

Another advantage of .NET is an established infrastructure for app deployment and support represented through multiple Azure services. They are tailored very well for .NET and are easy to integrate into your project.

That makes .NET a remarkable choice for sophisticated projects. When the project gets an established business logic, supporting it on NodeJS/JavaScript/TypeScript becomes not as flexible and resourceful as with .NET.

For instance, our project called Peepsplan had sophisticated business logic both on the back end and front end. Backend development was smooth, but bugs on the front end were extremely hard to fix due to the language peculiarities (non-strict dynamic typing was a major part of the problem).

.NET-based projects also allow combined usage of different .NET languages (for instance, F#), which might be useful in specific cases. It works smoothly and allows practicing a functional approach to the code writing process (and JavaScript is a functional language).

Also, .NET allows writing apps and services for desktops and those apps no longer require installation of the .NET framework. Everything that is needed is now packed inside of your app.

And speaking of NodeJS, yes, it might be easier to assemble a team for a NodeJS project since many engineers work with JavaScript. At the same time, to make the code maintenance cost-optimal, you'll want to have high-skilled professionals on the team so that they could write working code and scalable code from the very start. Writing bad code is easy with NodeJS.

Bottom line

.NET and NodeJS are fiercely competing for today’s market of backend development tools. Although you’ll see that NodeJS is used more widely, with the recent Blazor for .NET release there is no clear winner among them on the aspects such as functionality, potential, or community support.

That is why it is more important to consider the factors such as your project peculiarities, team skillset, budget, and deadlines. A consultation with experts will be crucial if you’re building software for enterprises or have a project that should be ready for fast scaling. In this case, consider having a free consultation with our web software development company experts.

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