Feb 1, 2024
min read

Programming Languages in Action: Node.js vs React

A pre-made action plan to master the full stack development from Uni seniors. Read it and follow the simple roadmap between two major tools to gain additional expertise

Node.js the same as React are adored and battle-tested tools in software development. Both root from JavaScript programming language. From this point of view, they are pretty similar. However, is it so in fact?

Although the difference between React and Node js has been discussed for some time yet, the debates are still vivid. Let’s once and for all draw a strict line between these two environments and spot the very differences between these two platforms.

Uni has widely relied on both React and Node.js in our award-winning projects. So we’ve prepared this material for you to choose one of them (or maybe both at once?) for your projects.

Why Is There Still the Question Of Node.js vs React.js?

If you open a search, there are tons of articles, stating the difference between Node js and React. Why so many?

Foremost, the selection of the appropriate technologies for a project is a crucial phase. No wonder, that it draws highlighted attention. In the constantly evolving world of web development, it’s even more true. Nevertheless, Node and React remain two cornerstones for web development.

Furthermore, the competition to find the top one tool is a little bit weird, since both tools are applied differently. Node.js works out a back-end, while React.js is a front-end library. In practice it means, we can use them both at once in one project.

So, Node and React are not interchangeable, however, they augment each other’s increments. Quite confusing, eh? Let’s spin a light on their use.

Node.js Main Features

The first thing to learn about Node.js is that it’s an open-source and JavaScript-based back-end environment. It’s not a programming language or a framework. Appeared in 2009, it was designed to write server code in JavaScript outside browsers, unlike it was done before.

As we said before, the Node.js platform is used commonly by developers for back-end: reaching and connecting databases, hosting APIs, etc. That’s why Node.js is a perfect choice as a platform to build chats, streaming services, and single-page apps.

When it comes to comparing Node js vs React, let’s find some robust criteria. Node.js has many invaluable features, however for the sake of time, let’s consider the major ones.


Node.js is powered mainly by Google's V8. Again, a JavaScript-based engine used in Chrome and Node.js among many others. The open-source technology means that it’s backed up by a developer community, offering a plethora of free, robust, and ready-to-use solutions.

However, the low cost is not the only factor. Open-source software is generally more tested (read as reliable), compatible, scalable, and flexible, so as solutions based on Node.js.

High Performance

The V8 engine is a high-performance engine itself. Moreover, Node.js is adaptable enough, as the server manages non-blocking operations, increasing the number of operations performed simultaneously.

Non-blocking calls do not require an answer from the server to complete the operations. It returns directly and asynchronously, allowing multiple operations at once, like opening docs, sending emails, etc.

Furthermore, it’s more convenient to use Node.js, as it’s based on JavaScript. It means you need only one language to build an app for the back-end and front-end, ensuring seamless transactions of the modules.

Sleek UX

The implementation of non-blocking calls resulted in enhanced performance. It also boosted user experience since coders don’t have to wait for data returned from an API. You just start another task, without waiting for the completion of the previous one.

Moreover, Node.js is simple to use, and it’s suitable for many purposes, starting from prototyping to back-end development (see the section on the difference between React and Node js.).


Node.js offers considerable customization while maintaining a balance between active CPU cores. The platform uses native features like worker_threads, child_process, and clusters to handle several requests at once.That’s why when it comes to developing scalable apps, Node.js shows no effect on the central processor performance even under high workloads.Besides, Node.js works on many OS, including Windows and Mac OS X, placing no boundaries for developers in this aspect.

React.js Main Features

React, unlike Node.js, is a JavaScript library originally developed by Facebook. However, it’s open-source too. In general, React is the backbone of building single-page responsive and scalable UI, web apps, and dynamic libraries.

React.js's central idea, for which it’s praised, is Virtual Document Object Model (DOM). It is like a tree, representing the website's structure. Every HTML doc is added to this tree as a node. As a result, the platform maintains the most recent versions with the least amount of DOM manipulation.

Node and React are among the top tools for web development. We’ve described why developers vote for Node.js, but why React is an invaluable tool?

Enhanced performance

A Virtual DOM enhances the performance a lot, being a junior variant of a real DOM. In React, DOM is a programming interface through which you manipulate nodes or elements from a page. It’s convenient. What is more convenient, indeed, is that React suggests corrections in case of discrepancies between the new and old changes.

This is the way Facebook users, for instance, update their feeds without having to reload the page. The virtual DOM supports the user interface while synchronizing with the real DOM. As a result, the users enjoy seamless operations with zero buffering.


Conventional JavaScript frameworks struggle to handle search engine optimization (SEO), since crawling can’t manage applications written in JavaScript.

In its turn, React.js solves the problem, building app server-side, where virtual DOM acts like a simple web page. It sends back the call to the browser and enables the data transition back and forth between a search engine and an app.

Easy Development

It’s better to say easy-to-learn and easy-to-fulfill front-end development in React. (However, still, the battle for accessible learning curve between Node vs React is won by Node.js.)

React uses modules for any web app, so the development is centered around the building a structure of these modules or better to say components. You can create the code and reuse it multiple times in other apps. Just like Lego blocks. Hence, the development process becomes predictable. Increased scalability also helps with large project development (despite they’re still a one-page app).

Declarative programming

React is declarative since it lets developers express their vision for the user interface without having to worry about the minor points of implementation.

When we code, we don't pay attention how to implement the results in React. We just specify the results wanted, and React does the rest in updating the DOM.

Components, along with visual DOM, one-way data flow, and JSX, enabling HTML-like code, make React a number one choice in front-end development.

When Better to Use Node.js

We covered Node.js's incredible features and capabilities in the sections above, proving it’s an unbeatable tool for web development. Despite the difference between React and Node js, we’ve proved that they’re good at complementing each other.

Let's examine some most winning applications and use scenarios that Node.js can handle.


API development is one of Node.js's main purposes. Through the frameworks like Express.js, the coders create high-performance, scalable APIs.


Developing network protocols made easy-peasy with Node.js built-in modules for crafting HTTP and network servers.

Internet of Things

Since Node.js is a runtime environment, JavaScript can run without restrictions. For instance, a facial recognition system application and so on.

Full-Stack Web Applications

Node.js is well-suited for real-time full-stack web apps since it has non-blocking calls and high-performance simultaneous connections.

When Better to Use React

Node and React are similar. However, React.js takes care of the front-end side of the development, creating reusable UI components for dynamic web applications. Here are some examples where React can give a hand in.

Dynamic Applications

React.js answers the most needs that occur in the process of developing with many variables, for instance, access permissions, cities, etc

Complex Architecture

In the traditional approach, with the rise of complexity the ability to control the components drops. React offers an alternative.

Complex and Interactive UI

Given that Facebook is the source of React, it’s no wonder that it’s used to create sophisticated and interactive user interfaces that don't require page reloads.

Streaming Platform

Netflix is a popular case of using React for architecture. Due to the declarative nature of React and the one-way data flow model, it’s possible to build high-performance and seamless web apps.

Wrapping Up

Node and React have never been competing frameworks, however, they’re often compared. Frankly speaking, both of them are not frameworks at all, since the first is a JavaScript environment beyond the browser, and the latter is a JavaScript library of front-end components.

Clearly, Node.js is a great choice when developing a server-side web application, like an online streaming platform. While React.js is the perfect way to create dynamic projects.

And, really, why to choose? You’re welcome to use both of them for the same project. The front-end can be created with React.js and the back-end with Node.js. T

Both of them are straightforward to work with, offering vast options with open-source components from an active community. Whichever you choose, it will depend on your demands and requirements.

If you feel uncertain about which solution and where to use in your project, we’re here to help. Feel free to contact our award -developers.

Want to know more about our star team and dream works? Go for the latest awards in web, mobile app, logo design, etc.


Which is better: Node.js or React.js?

The comparison reminds us of questions like what is better, a tablet or a PlayStation. The truth is Node and React are used for different purposes. Although they can complement each other, the main use cases are distinctive. Node is used to code the back-end, and React is a front-end library. That’s why they are often used together in one project.

Does React.js need Node.js?

The answer is strictly no. Neither of them needs the other directly. However, they can benefit from using in pairs, complementing each other.

Which is easier to learn, Node.js or JavaScript?

Since JavaScript is a programming language and Node.js is a non-browser environment to run the code in JavaScript, they can’t be compared. To use Node.js you need to learn Javascript.

Igor Marga
Tech Lead
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