10 Node.js Best Practices: Enlightenment from the Node Gurus

10 Node.js Best Practices: Enlightenment from the Node Gurus is by guest author Azat Mardan. SitePoint guest posts aim to bring you engaging content from prominent writers and speakers of the Web community.

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In my previous article 10 Tips to Become a Better Node Developer in 2017, I introduced 10 Node.js tips, tricks and techniques you could apply to your code today. This post continues in that vein with a further 10 best practices to help you take your Node skills to the next level. This is what we’re going to cover:

  • Use npm scripts — Stop writing bash scripts when you can organize them better with npm scripts and Node. E.g., npm run build, start and test. npm scripts are like the single source of truth when Node developers look at a new project.
  • Use env vars — Utilize process.env.NODE_ENV by setting it to development, or production. Some frameworks will use this variable too, so play by the convention.
  • Understand the event loop — setImmediate() is not immediate while nextTick() is not next. Use setImmediate() or setTimeout() to offload CPU-intensive tasks to the next event loop cycle.
  • Use functional inheritance — Avoid getting into mindless debates and a brain-draining trap of debugging and understanding prototypal inheritance or classes by just using functional inheritance like some of the most prolific Node contributors do.
  • Name things appropriately — Give meaningful names which will serve as a documentation. Also, please no uppercase filenames, use a dash if needed. Uppercase in filenames not just look strange but can cause cross-platform issues.
  • Consider NOT Using JavaScript — ES6/7 is pathetic addition which was born out of 6 years of meetings when we already had a better JavaScript called CoffeeScript. Use it if you want ship code faster and stop wasting time debating var/const/let, semi-colons, class and other arguments.
  • Provide native code — When using transpilers, commit native JS code (result of the builds) so your projects can run without the builds
  • Use gzip — Duh! npm i compression -S and sane logging — not too much not to little depending on the environment. npm i morgan -S
  • Scale up — Start thinking about clustering and having stateless services from day one of your Node development. Use pm2 or strongloop’s cluster control
  • Cache requests — Get maximum juice out of your Node servers by hiding them behind a static file server such as nginx and/or request level cache like Varnish Cache and CDN caching.

So let’s bisect and take a look at each one of them individually. Shall we?

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