According to the latest StackOverflow survey, astonishing 49,9% of the professional developers, who participated in the voting, named Node.js as the most commonly used technology. Angular took the 2nd place with 37,6%.
That made me realize that many people who are not familiar with the technology are not aware of how often they interact with it. I’ve started to dig deep into who and where uses Node.js in their product. The most famous examples were discussed on various other resources, but my hunger was not satisfied so I decided to gather as many useful samples as I was able to find. Which happened to be 27. Unfortunately, not every company likes to talk about its tech stack. Hence, you’re facing a list of 16 companies that use Node js. If you’d like to help me and suggest a project, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, let's get to the point, shall we?
Netflix - how Node.js reduced startup time
I believe this one does not require an introduction. Netflix has reached 130 million subscribers in June 2018 and requires an extremely scalable solution to handle all the requests and approx. 1 billion hours of weekly video data streaming.
If you’d like to learn more about how Netflix uses Node.js, here are a few places to look:
- Netflix’s own tech blog
- Netflix’s GitHub
- YouTube playlist with various Node-related conference talks
PayPal - better performance thanks to Node.js
You can read more about their initial decision here and even more about Node.js on their tech blog here. Also, PayPal’s GitHub might be a great place to look at how they leverage Node.js in their projects.
Many IT companies use the agile methodology to manage their products. A broad variety of tools was developed for that purpose and Trello is one of those most popular ones. Considering the fact that scalability is an important element for all of the companies that will be listed in the article, I’m going to stop mentioning that, let’s make it a default benefit companies go for when deciding to use Node.js.
When in one of the interviews, Trello’s founder Joel Spolsky was asked about the reasons behind using Node.js when building the backend of their service, he replied:
“We knew we wanted instant propagation of updates, which meant that we needed to be able to hold a lot of open connections, so an event-driven, non-blocking server seemed like a good choice.”
To read the full interview about their stack, here's the WebArchive link, as it’s no longer available on the internet:
Capital One is a bank holding company, founded in 1988 in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. Specializing in credit cards, auto loans, banking and savings account and having nearly 50 thousand employees on board, they once made a decision to shift to using open source technologies. That’s how Node.js found its way into Capital One tech stack, which previously was heavily covered by Java.
After Node.js was introduced to the team, they started prototyping and trying to find a way to implement and use benefits that were coming from using this new technology. One of their auto loan team developers, Marself Dedgjonaj, had this to say about the outcomes:
“We have seen with our proof of concept a tremendous amount of improvement on the response times: for our current APIs we have a steady response of 2 seconds and the Node.js API that we hosted was responding within less than 100 milliseconds. That’s a very promising statistic for us.”
More in-depth information can be found in one of Node.js Foundation case studies.
Back in 2016 Microsoft acquired LinkedIn. Mindblowing $26bln-worth transaction granted Microsoft access to the biggest business-oriented social media platform. As you can imagine, social media is virtually impossible without mobile use. According to Statista portal, LinkedIn had an average of 63m unique members using their mobile applications, which accounted for 59% of all unique members during the same 2016.
To perform at such a scale you need to have a great technological solution in place. Node.js is the one for LinkedIn. They’ve switched to it quite some time ago, in 2011, and had no regrets ever since. When it comes to benefits that came along with that decision, there are quite a few. In a VentureBeat’s interview with Kiran Prasad, LinkedIn’s mobile development lead at the time (now VP of Product) said that their mobile software stack is built solely with Node.js.
“We use a ton of technologies at LinkedIn, but for the mobile server piece, it’s entirely Node-based.
One reason was scale. The second is, if you look at Node, the thing it’s best at doing is talking to other services. The mobile app has to talk to our platform API and database. We’re not doing massive data analytics. Node showed us huge performance gains compared to what we were using before, which was Ruby on Rails.”
When it comes to Yahoo - it’s quite a story. They’ve started adopting it in less than a year since Node’s initial release in May of 2009. In 2016, Yahoo became part of Node.js Foundation. When they just started implementing Node.js within their services, they used it to perform simple tasks:
“Initially, we used it for performing simple backend tasks like file upload. Since then, Node.js has become one of the top programming languages for developing new front-end applications at Yahoo.”
Now, according to Yahoo’s blog, 75% of their web applications are powered by Node.js. Quite a percentage, isn’t it? You can find a more detailed overview here.
Another interesting example. Mozilla started using Node.js early on as well. Back in 2012, Mozilla’s Principal Engineer (now Chief Product Officer) Mark Mayo in one of the interviews talked about the reason behind their decision to go with Node.js:
“It’s a big deal when you’re going to expose a service to a browser that has half a billion installs. We concretely decided to do Node for two reasons: One was the memory footprint… Browser ID was designed out of the gate to support half a million users, that was going to be financially difficult [at the pre-Node memory footprint size].”
And the second reason was cryptography:
Lately extremely controversial, Uber was one of the first 3 companies that put Node.js into full production. They required an extremely fast and scalable cross platform technological solution that could handle an enormous amount of notifications and requests. Considering that matching riders and drivers is the foundation of Uber’s business, zero risks could be taken when it comes to building their matching system. And quite frankly, Node.js was exactly what they needed.
The second reason were quick iterations. To explain it, let me quote Uber’s Senior Staff Engineer - Matt Ranney:
“One of the things that make Node.js uniquely suited to running in production is that you can inspect and change a program without restarting it. So very few other languages offer that capability. Not a lot of people seem to know that ability exists, but indeed you can inspect and even change your program while it’s running without restarting it.”
If you’d like to read more about Node.js in Uber, please check the Node.js Foundations paper.
Groupon - benefits from switching to Node.js
Aaand time for the first multinational e-commerce product on our list. Groupon. Founded in 2008, Groupon quite quickly, around 2012, realized that Ruby on Rails, Java and PHP, which they used at the time, got terribly complicated to maintain. Even the simplest task would take months to implement. That was the moment when they started looking for a replacement.
Here's only a few benefits that Groupon has noticed after switching to Node:
- Approx. 50% reduce in page loading time
- Same amount of traffic, less hardware
- Independent changes deployment
And below you can find even more interesting sources dedicated to Node.js’ part in the life of Groupon:
GoDaddy - ten times less servers thanks to Node.js
Founded in 1997, GoDaddy has since grown to be the world’s largest domain registrar with 8 thousand employees. They also found themselves in a position where they host and manage more than 77mln domains.
According to the info that I’ve managed to find, the largest project, as of 2016, that GoDaddy migrated to Node.js was GoDaddy Website Builder platform. Initially, it was written using C# and SQL Server to later be changed to Node.js-based CassandraNoSQL. That allowed them to:
- use 10x fewer servers
- reduce Time TO First Byte (TTFB) from ~60ms to around ~12ms
When asked why they’ve moved to Node.js instead of using Apache, Antonio Silveira, GoDaddy VP Engineering, explained:
“When you have a few parallel projects — like we all have — you can host multiple sites in the same Apache server. Not really a big deal. Now, let's scale that a little more: let's say you have 100 sites with multiple domains each. Then things start to get a little more complicated for you to manage, and probably you will have to manage multiple servers as a single one may not handle all the traffic combined.”
If you’d like to learn more, I’ll redirect you to Antonio’s post on LinkedIn Pulse.
eBay - faster iterations with Node.js
Senthil Padmanabhan, eBay’s VP, said the transition wasn’t the easiest one:
Another Lead Developer, John Cline, who had been working on recommendations and the updated homepage, had this to say about moving to Node.js:
“The decision to migrate to JS and Node came for two reasons. One was to build off the great work PayPal has done with KrakenJS and switch to a modern platform that developers are excited to work for.”
“The second came out of some frustration with our front-end engineers. The existing platforms take a while to startup, and as anyone who’s developed web applications with Java and Eclipse knows that all sorts of issues come up. Moving to Node for our front end is a big time saver and helps us iterate much faster.”
$500bln worth of worldwide revenue, according to Statista, powers the world's largest company revenue-wise. Retail giant operates under 59 different names within 28 countries and, as you can imagine, serving approx. 270mln customers weekly is a hell of a mission.
Walmart discussed their transition to Node.js back in 2012, when during Node Summit, Walmart’s VP for Mobile Engineering, Ben Galbraith, and VP for Mobile Architecture, Dion Almaer, took the stage to talk about their decision to switch to Node.js in Walmart’s mobile applications.
If you'd like to find out how React Native can cut your development cost, feel free to check my article:
Alexander Grigoryan points out that their focus will most likely stay on their pilar technologies: React.js, Electrode, OpsOne and Node.js.
If you’d like to learn more, here are a few more resources you might want to check:
- Migrating Large Enterprise to NodeJS
- Eran Hammer's (Senior Architect) speech about usage of Node.js at Walmart
NASA - Node.js helps even in space
Whenever we think about space, most of us find it too difficult to comprehend. And bringing our species to space is definitely a hell of a task. The system behind it should grant as much security to people in the vast and unfriendly vacuum as it is possible. When during a regular spacewalk in 2013, Luca Parmitano’s, one of NASA astronauts, spacesuit started leaking water into his helmet, NASA started an investigation on what exactly happened. Turned out it was not a simple task either, due to the system’s architecture that was in place at the time.
According to Node.js Foundation case study, NASA decided to migrate to Node.js and here’s what it helped them to achieve:
“The system he is creating uses a microservices architecture with separate APIs and applications built in Node.js to move data related to the EVA spacesuits from three separate legacy databases to a cloud database. Now users can query that one database for everything, reducing the time to access a comprehensive set of data by about 300 percent.”
Here’s quite an informative keynote on how Citibank uses it for its mobile services:
If you’d like to read more in-depth explanations, you can find them on their blog. It’s in Russian, though. But maybe Google Translate can help? What an irony.
- Why Node.js as a foundation for frontend is amazing
- Reactive frontend. History about how we re-wrote everything again
You might ask. And that will be a valid question. So really, what does the companies interest in Node.js mean for anyone on the outside? Well, a few things. First of all, If the technology is being picked to maintain incredibly complex and heavy-loaded infrastructures, you have nothing worry about if you’re planning to build your smaller-scale startup. Second of all, if huge corporations support a technology, it means that the constant demand for development force will help said technology to not become irrelevant very soon. Third of all, mentioned before demand will motivate other developers to learn this technology and make it cheaper for you to employ your own developers. Or you can outsource this to us and we’ll take care of that for you.