Understanding the Powerful Pairing of Node.js and IBM i

person pulling up code on computer and phone

One of the most widely used programming languages worldwide is JavaScript. Today, it powers millions of websites and has drawn hordes of programmers and designers to create new web features. JavaScript is unquestionably one of the most significant programming languages to learn if you’re a beginner.

For the first 20 years of its existence, client-side scripting was the dominant use of JavaScript. Developers had to work in several languages and frameworks between the front-end and back-end components because JavaScript could only be utilized within the <script> tag. Later on, Node.js emerged. It is a run-time environment with all the components needed to run a JavaScript program.

Since Node.js is widely used for server-side programming, software developers use JavaScript for client-side and server-side codes without learning another language. Node.js, an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment, allows using JavaScript as a programming language to create scalable, quick network applications. 

Node.js utilizes the V8 Google Chrome’s JavaScript engine, making it quick and simple. Since Node is an open-source, multi-platform framework, it makes web development more effective and standardized. It enables programmers to utilize JavaScript for both the front and back end. Due to this, many developers and businesses favor Node.js when creating online apps, real-time systems, and network programs.

Understanding How Node.js Works

A Node application’s entire operation runs on a single process. As is frequently the case with conventional server-side programs, Node does not start a new thread for each request. This method avoids thread concurrency difficulties and the overhead multithreading causes, allowing a Node server to handle thousands of simultaneous connections.

Node.js operates asynchronously. It is event-driven. The conventional model of receive, process, transmit, wait, and receive used in other systems is not followed by code built for the Node environment. Instead, Node uses an event loop to handle tiny requests sequentially without waiting for responses, processing incoming requests as they accumulate in the event queue.

This represents a departure from standard models that operate many threads concurrently while processing larger, more complicated activities, with each thread waiting for its proper response before continuing.

Node.js has a significant advantage over existing models. In contrast to more established methods, Node does not block input/output (I/O) operations. This is mainly because Node functions don’t do I/O directly, reducing the likelihood of blocking. Node is a good choice for real-time applications with high concurrent workloads because blocking only happens when utilizing synchronous methods in the standard Node library, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

Additionally, Node includes the npm command-line interface (CLI). The npm package management system, in which the CLI is a component, has a large repository of JavaScript software and associated metadata. The CLI enables users to use their consoles to communicate with npm packages in the registry. The registry is said to be the world’s biggest single-language code repository.

Similar to JavaScript, Node is regarded as being reasonably simple to learn. It is extensively used and has a sizable, engaged user base. The real-time concurrency prevalent in many of today’s web applications and online services can also be handled by Node because it is asynchronous, event-driven, and non-blocking. Node is well-suited for real-time applications, such as chats, streaming services, internet of things (IoT) products, and single-page applications. Many large companies use Node, including Netflix, Nasa, and Paypal.

However, not every workload can be handled by Node. For instance, it might be unable to efficiently execute a web application that uses a lot of processor power and demands complex server-side calculations due to its single-threaded nature. As a result of the computational load, incoming requests can get blocked, and overall performance might suffer.

Meanwhile, you might be able to implement that load as background processes in another language if Node seems to fulfill your needs in all other regards and the computational load is not too great. Node.js can also be employed in a microservices design, which divides the application into smaller components.How to Start With Node.js?

To start with Node.js, you need to install it, which is pretty straightforward. After installation, you can immediately try it out for yourself.

There are different ways to install Node.js, depending on your operating system.

  1. Windows

Simply download this Windows Installer from the nodejs.org website.

  1. macOS using bash

To download the package using bash: curl “https://nodejs.org/dist/latest/node-${VERSION:-$(wget -qO- https://nodejs.org/dist/latest/ | sed -nE ‘s|.*>node-(.*)\.pkg</a>.*|\1|p’)}.pkg” > “$HOME/Downloads/node-latest.pkg” && sudo installer -store -pkg “$HOME/Downloads/node-latest.pkg” -target “/”

  1. macOS using HomeBrew

Type “brew update” in the Terminal app to launch it. This provides Homebrew with a list of the most recent Node versions. Please run brew install node. Homebrew needs to download and install a few items. That’s it.

  1. Linux

Install on Ubuntu 18.04+ using the following commands:

sudo apt update 

sudo apt install nodejs

What is NPM?

NPM is a repository of code for Node.js. It has more than 1 million packages and is still expanding, making it the world’s largest ecosystem of open-source libraries. Thousands of open-source developers contribute to NPM daily, which is free to use.

An out-of-the-box command-line tool is included with NPM. You may easily search for the required package on the NPM website and install it with a single command. Using this command-line tool, you may manage the versions of your packages, check their dependencies, and even create unique scripts for your projects. NPM is, without a doubt, the Node.js community’s favorite tool. Node.js draws a lot of developers in part because of its superior package support.

Take Node.js, and the APIs implemented as part of the base runtime are relatively simple—opening a file, writing to a file, buffer stream, or parsing a PDF—it would take a lot of work. The good thing is that some people or enterprises have created packages that do what you want. They take these codes, bundle them up into a package, and put them on a website called NPM. When you want to do something similar to specific processes, you can just download that code, read the documentation on how to call things, implement your logic, and hook your program to something someone has already done.

Installing NPM

Since NPM is frequently installed with Node.js, you can obtain both simultaneously when installing Node.js.

You can perform the following actions on your computer to install Node.js and NPM:

  1. Download the installer for your operating system from the Node.js website.
  2. Activate the installation. This will set up NPM and Node.js on your PC.
  3. Open a terminal or command prompt and type “node -v” to check the version of Node.js and “npm -v” to check the version of npm to ensure they have been installed properly.

Using the NPM install command in your terminal after installing Node.js and NPM, you can use npm to install packages for your Node.js applications.


Depending on your system’s settings, you may need to run the command with sudo or admin rights if you’re using a Unix-based system and have difficulties installing Node.js.

When installing the Node Package Manager (NPM), it is recommended to use version 18, as it adds functionality, works better, and has more options available. However, version 16 will still receive security updates. 

To download Node.js packages, you don’t need special authorization. All you need is a basic knowledge of JavaScript, which most developers have.

How do Node.js and IBM i Come Together?

Node.js and IBM complement each other well. While Node.js is a popular JavaScript-based runtime environment used to build fast and scalable network applications, IBM is an established technology giant that has been around for a long time. The IBM i platform is a powerful operating system that runs on IBM Power Systems. This platform is one of their key products. It is known for its dependability, security, and scalability and is frequently used in mission-critical applications in sectors including finance, healthcare, and government.

How do Node.js and IBM perform together?

The development of extensions that let Node.js applications access IBM DB2 for i objects and IBM i system resources and objects has led to the discovery that Node.js may be used to run on the IBM i platform. Developers can utilize the IBM i platform’s dependability and security to create quick, scalable, and highly available network applications.

Running Node.js on IBM i is not the only benefit. Numerous libraries and frameworks have been created to support it. A great example is the “Express.js” framework. It is a lightweight and adaptable Node.js web application framework that offers a rich range of functionality for web and mobile apps. It enables developers to utilize the scalability and performance of the IBM i platform while creating web apps fast and simply.

When Node.js’s quick and scalable network capabilities are combined with the dependability and security of the IBM i platform, a robust and adaptable solution for creating mission-critical applications is created. The addition of the ability to access IBM DB2 for i objects and IBM i system resources has made it possible for developers to create applications that fully utilize the advantages of both platforms.Key Points

Node.js is a popular runtime that may be used to create large-scale applications that must accommodate several concurrent requests. It is a fantastic option for real-time and data-streaming applications due to its single-threaded, non-blocking I/O.

To further strengthen it, Node.js has the largest open-source package repository in the world, NPM, which now has over a million products. It also has a massive community of active developers.

With Node.js, getting started is simple. All that’s left to do is think about how you’ll use and include Node.js in your stack now that we’ve gone through how to install and create a server in Node.js. Visit the official Node.js documentation at nodejs.dev to further your understanding.

Table of Contents