NodeJS vs Java – What’s the Difference Tutorial(Pros and Cons)

NodeJS vs Java – What’s the Difference (Pros and Cons). Software development is a rapidly growing field where many new technologies and frameworks are introduced day by day. The backend technologies aid with scalability, flexibility and sustainability of your company. This article will help you decide on the backend technology for your next web app development project. We will introduce Java and Node.js which are one of the top most used the tech stacks. Therefore it is vital to explore the features, pros and cons of both technologies to better understand how to use them.

What is Node.JS?

Node.js is not a programming language but a runtime allowing the execution of JavaScript, like a  Javascript based run time environment built on Chrome’s V8 engine. (This engine converts JavaScript into machine code).


NodeJS is server side runtime environment for the development of open source codes. It syncs programs and web loading for single thread processes.  Node.js is a popular choice of full stack developers as it supports both frontend and backend development. It is mostly used for implementing web applications, enterprise solutions, embedded systems, and data analytics.

Netflix, NASA. LinkedIn, Walmart, and PayPal are a few organizations that use Node.js for their platforms.

Features and use case of Node.JS

Node.js has a variety of use cases as it is designed to support an extensive range of development requirements:

  • The non blocking and event driven server implementation.
  • Batch processing scenarios.
  • Web servers, message servers and APIs (application programming interface).
  • Event Broadcasting applications such as chats, games and interactive themes.
  • Windows based server applications.
  • Microcontroller programming and embedded system programming.
  • Content Management Systems (CMS) for content publishing.
  • E-commerce and trade based real time monitoring dashboards.

Pros of Node.JS Server

  • Powerful tech stack
    • Since Node.js is based on JavaScript, it has access to the JavaScript tech stack and resources. Hence there are multiple frameworks and environments that can be used in development (example: MongoDB, Angular and Express.js).
  • Builds everything from scratch with fewer restrictions.
  • Can be used to develop both client and server side applications.
  • Flexibility in creating lightweight applications;
  • Easy to learn if you are comfortable with Javascript as Node.js has JavaScript based syntax.
  • Node package manager (npm) helps to install necessary packages easily.
  • Community driven development helps in continuous improvements of features.
  • The easy learning curve for those who are familiar with JavaScript.
  • Since there are various libraries and frameworks, developers can develop easily at a faster pace. Project compilation also consumes less time.
  • Improves productivity by offering modularity and code reusability. 
  • Rich Ecosystem: Node.js apps holds around 836,000 libraries and loads new libraries are released every week. Nodejs has advantage of loads of free tools.

Cons of Node.JS

  • No dedicated IDEs Unlike
    • Java developers, Node.js developers use text editors with additional plugins to write codes.
  • The Node.js / Javascript ecosystem is not as mature as the Java ecosystem. Thus there can be more issues and difficulties in development and reliability. 
  • Performance issues while executing heavy computational tasks.
  • The instability of Node.js API causes frequent changes in the code level.
  • No enough experienced developers for Node.js.
  • Callback hell
    • Asynchronous Programming Model is used in development with callbacks. Callbacks are used to capture the completed tasks. When the application/project grows, the call-back count also rises, making it difficult to handle them. Therefore developers can experience call-back losses, bugs, and many other runtime issues.

What is Java?

Next in this  guide NodeJS vs Java – What’s the Difference (Pros and Cons) is Java. It is the most popular, commonly used and inclusive object oriented programming language currently. Java the coding language has been continuously developed since 1991. Java is a fast, robust, reliable and secure programming language. Moreover, Java is a “write once, run forever” language. There is no need to install different software to compile and execute Java code. Java compiler compiles Java code to byte code. This byte code can be run on a Java virtual machine (JVM) without any other software tools.


Java has broad community support as it is easy to learn and known for its simplicity due to Java codes being reused, which leads to reduction of the development costs.

Over 10000 organizations including Uber, Google, Instagram, Spotify and Netflix use JAva in their tech stack due to its benefits in development.

Next in this article about NodeJS vs Java, we will look at Java use cases, features and Java pros and cons.

Features and use case for Java

Java is simply used in most software developments. It is quite difficult to pinpoint where and when to use Java, specifically due to the variety of features it offers.

  • Web based development.
  • Android development
  • Server applications in the commercial domain (trading, finance, etc.)
  • Implementation of software tools.
  • Embedded system programming.
  • High frequency trading spaces.
  • Scientific applications.
  • J2ME applications.
  • Java is used for test automation and development of Desktop GUI.
  • Big Data analytics .

Java Architecture

Pros of Java

  • Simple architecture
    • Java has a simple learning curve. It is easy to write, compile, debug and run Java projects. Furthermore, it is much easier to understand and work with than languages like C, C#, and C++.
  • Effective memory management
    • Java has an automatic memory allocation process. Garbage collection in Java automatically identifies memory that is no longer being used and recycles it accordingly. Therefore Java developers do not have to worry about memory management.
    • Java has two part in its memory; heap and stack. JVM allocates memory from either of these two when a variable is declared. It helps to reference and restore allocation easily.
  • Object-oriented
    • Java is an object oriented language. This behavior allows developers to write standard code bases as well as improves code reusability and modularity.
  • Platform-Independent
    • Java code runs on Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Therefore it can be run on any machine without installing any special software.
  • Multi-threading 
    • Java supports performing multiple tasks at the same time with concurrent programming
  • Secure
    • Java doesn’t have explicit pointers. Java programs run in a virtual machine sandbox. Furthermore, the byte code verifier checks for any security violations and also offers library-level security.
  • Automatic Storage Management.

Cons of Java

  • Performance
    • memory consumption of Java is considerably higher, and performance is also slower than other compiled languages such as C / C++.
  • Works better when the code is clean and written according to the standards with straightforward logic. The entire server might get locked up in case a deadlock occurs.
  • Configuring Java-related tools can be hectic as there are more dependencies to be installed.
  • Java codes are more complex and will be hard to read and understand
  • Poor look 
    • GUI applications written in native Java do not have a good look and feel compared to other native language based GUIs
  • Consumption of memory
    • Java consumes more memory when compared to other languages such as C++ and C.
  • Lack of backup facility
    • Java mainly focuses on garbage collection and efficient memory allocation. Therefore it does not focus on keeping backup. This is a major concern of Java users.

Differences between Node.JS vs Java

In this tutorial of NodeJS vs Java – What’s the Difference we have discussed the pros and cons of both Node.js and Java. Now let’s look at the key differences between these two.

  • Performance: Node.js is event driven architecture and with V8 Javascript engine it operates extremely fast in a short time.  Java delivers high performance results in the form of byte codes to the applications. Node.js offers better performance to the applications.
  • Application Type
    • Node.js is mainly used for highly scalable server side applications, while Java is used for many complex applications due to its organization and modularity 
    • Node.js is mostly used when real time data management is involved. On the other hand, Java is preferred when data management and object creation is necessary.
    • Java is well suited for CPU intensive tasks that require huge computational power, whereas Node.js is ideal for I/O bound operations like real time chat and media streaming.
  • Installation: To install Node.js you need the archive file on your system and with Java you need to set the JavaFX environment for JavaFX applications.
  • Database Support: Nodejs supports NoSQL and relational databases and Java supports MySQL, SQLite and PostgreSQL.
  • Frameworks
    • Node.js is rich with frameworks such as Hapi.js, Nest.js, Sails.js, partial.js, and Express.js, while Java has frameworks such as JSF, Spring, Hibernate, Struts, Vaadin, Java Messaging System(JMS), and JavaFX.
  • Multi-threading
    • Node.js does not support multithreading well, making it suitable for only single-threaded applications. In contrast, Java easily supports multithreading.

NodeJS vs Java – What’s the Difference (Pros and Cons) Conclusion

NodeJS and Java both have distinct features. Several popular apps have been developed using Java, while there are similarly popular apps developed using NodeJS. Java is a programming language, while Node.js is a JavaScript based framework. Java has a rich set of libraries and frameworks which can be specifically used in web development. Therefore it supports application development in multiple domains. On the other hand, Node.js is much preferred and suitable for JavaScript developers to implement server and client-side applications. Moreover, Node.js is preferred for I/O bound tasks as it is based on an event driven model.

Finally, the choice solely depends on the type of application, the design requirements, and the available resources.

Avatar for Shanika Wickramasinghe
Shanika Wickramasinghe

Senior Software Engineer at WSO2 which is the 6th largest Open Source Software Company in the World. My main skills are machine learning and software development. I have 5+ years of experience as a Software engineer.

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