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Choosing a database for your Node.js app

Mar 14th, 2021
If you’re a Node.js developer building an application, you’ll have to choose a database and database library at some point in the process. When you consider the many database choices that are available, selecting a database is challenging. We will look at some important database characteristics, explore a couple of different types of databases, and finally learn how to connect a database to your Node.js app.

Working with Node.js

Node.js is a JavaScript-based runtime environment that allows developers to build server-side applications and APIs. The language is lightweight due to the fact that it is object-oriented and dynamically typed, allowing application developers to easily stack different layers together. With Node.js, you can perform file operations on the server, create dynamic page content, collect form data, modify your database, and much more. For example,
$ npm install serverless -g
const handlerFunction = (event, context, callback) => {
// handle business logic code here based on the kind of request
// handle callback here 
callback(error, result)
}
module.exports = handlerFunction; 
Due to this, Node.js is one of the most heavily used languages to build the microservices that back the static pages deployed in JAMstack-based web architectures.
Node.js provides several advantages to developers, such as the ability to handle multiple concurrent requests, an easy learning curve, and an active developer community. However, one of the prime advantages of using Node.js is that it supports full-stack JavaScript development. This means that Node.js allows frontend developers to use the same programming language (i.e JavaScript) as their backend language, bringing more apps to market faster.

Choosing the right database for your Node.js application

Node.js supports all kinds of databases (relational and non-relational), and when paired with the right database, Node.js can power a variety of different data use cases. Now, let's examine whether a relational or a NoSQL database will suit your application needs better.
A relational database is excellent at storing structured data with predefined relationships between them. Data in a relational database is organized into rows and columns, making it an excellent choice for transactional-oriented applications such as e-commerce. Relational databases can be easily scaled vertically by throwing more hardware resources at the problem, but horizontal scaling can become a challenge as data needs to be sharded across multiple machines, resulting in slower performance.
A NoSQL database, on the other hand, is optimized to deal with unstructured data. Instead of a tabular fixed schema consisting of rows and columns, data is stored using flexible objects such as JSON documents, key-value combinations, and wide columns. This flexibility makes NoSQL databases a good choice for applications that need horizontal scalability. Node.js has multiple libraries to read and manipulate JSON data within the application, making it easy for developers to interoperate between their databases and applications and push features out with high velocity.

How to connect your database to Node.js

Once your database has been selected, you need to connect it to your app. Typically, a database driver or Data API is used for this purpose and it is fed with details such as the access endpoint and credentials, for the application to connect. By using a JavaScript driver, you can seamlessly interact with your databases from within your Node.js application.
When it comes to package management for Node.js, npm is the answer. It offers a comprehensive set of Node.js libraries that you can use to build rich applications. For example, installing Fauna’s JavaScript driver with npm is as simple as executing a single line of code from your system terminal.
$ npm install --save faunadb

Spin up a database for free with Fauna

You need to choose the right database for your Node.js app to ensure that it functions seamlessly with the app. Looking for the right database provider to meet your needs?
Fauna is a flexible, developer-friendly, transactional database delivered as a secure and scalable cloud API with native GraphQL. Fauna delivers the capabilities of a NoSQL system without sacrificing the safety of a relational database. It caters to enterprise workloads by prioritizing data integrity and correctness without compromising scalability, flexibility, or performance. With Fauna, you can build your Node.js app without worrying about database provisioning, scaling, sharding, replication, and correctness.

If you enjoyed our blog, and want to work on systems and challenges related to globally distributed systems, serverless databases, GraphQL, and Jamstack, Fauna is hiring!

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