How to Develop Real-time Apps with Node.JS?

Updated 19 Feb 2024
Published 19 Oct 2022
Satyam Chaturvedi 2630 Views
develop realtime apps

Common real-time applications are live streaming apps, instant messaging apps, numerous other communication applications, and so on. Now the big question is, what framework or tools we must use to develop real-time apps? Also, how to develop real-time apps with Node.js?

Node JS has also encouraged enterprises to invest time and money in the development of real-time apps, which can receive frequent updates and meet the requirements of the users in real-time. 

Node.js is an open-source JRE (JavaScript runtime environment) that performs outside of a browser. It has established itself as one of the most efficient platforms for building real-time applications due to its asynchronous and event-driven nature. 

The following stats prove the worth of Node.js:

  • Renowned brands such as Netflix, Amazon, LinkedIn, eBay, PayPal, and Tumblr use Node.js.
  • PayPal has observed a massive decrease of 35% in average response time past the deployment of Node.js. 
  • Node.js improves app performance by 50%.
  • 43% of Node.js developers utilize it for enterprise app development.
  • Node.js decreases the app development cost by a whopping 58%.

What are Real-time applications?

Realtime Apps operate within an instant time frame; they sense, analyze, and act on the streaming data in real-time. This is contrary to the conventional database-centric applications, where data is stored in a database or cloud for future analysis and processing.

Realtime apps rely heavily on an EDA (event-driven architecture) to enable asynchronous processing of the streaming data.

These apps play important role in industries and business verticals, where meeting a specific timeline could mean life or death, such as capturing patients’ vital stats, locating a lost person at a public place, and determining and fixing a gas leakage at an oil refinery.

Key Benefits of Realtime Apps

Benefits of Realtime Apps development

Enhanced Situational Awareness – Such applications equip your business to comprehend any changes in the surroundings at any given moment.

Improved Decision-Making Abilities – These apps offer a plethora of business insights directly at your fingertips via real-time notifications, smart dashboards, human-machine cooperation, and many more.

Higher Operational Responsiveness – These apps perform real-time analysis of streaming data and enable users to quickly respond to mission-critical events as they occur.

High Scalability – Realtime apps reduce bandwidth utilization and allow seamless scalability without any limits.

Edge Processing at Low Latency – Realtime apps allow extremely low latency data analysis and ingestion, which allow users to avail complete benefits of edge computing.

Effortlessly Leverage Sensors and IoT Devices – Realtime apps create a perfect ecosystem for IoT devices and sensors, that are supposed to process huge amounts of streaming data to take immediate action.

Common Challenges while developing Real-time apps

Most organizations and developers get stuck at the initial stages while building real-time applications because they are unaware of the potential challenges they may encounter in the entire process.

Here we are listing the most common challenges you may face during Node.js real-time app development

Challenges in developing Real-time apps


It is the most common challenge for the app development team while building real-time web applications. These apps refresh the queries every few seconds, which requires an entire set of database queries. It can work for a few users but may collapse under thousands or millions of users.

Hence, it is important to have an adequate design of data flow, the right set of tools and frameworks, and precise integration points to meet scaling requirements.


While building real-time applications, you must consider and plan the security aspects of the entire workflow.

The real-time apps must be well integrated with the existing security layers and infrastructure to support control access to systems and data and Single Sign-on (SSO) based on the end-user’s role.

It must also support data encryption, data protection, data in motion, and intellectual property algorithms. 

Determining Data formats, Schemas, and Frameworks

Processing the data streaming is an important aspect of any real-time application. The massive amount of streaming data requires a large-scale repository, either cloud-based or on-premises.

Experts utilize the data to extract insights, comprehend trends, and build algorithms to improve operations and obtain desired business value. Hence it is important to have the right set of data formats, schemas, and frameworks in place.

Develop a realtime app with node.js

Use cases of Node.js real-time applications

Here we have compiled some common use cases of Node.js real-time app development.

Use cases of Node.js real-time applications

Realtime Messaging

It is the most common application area for Node.js. Real-time messaging requires seamless handling of messages as they arrive, instead of creating a batch and processing them in one go. You can utilize the library to improve real-time communication between servers and clients.

Node.js uses WebSockets to offer a full-duplex and two-way communication channel over a single TCP connection.

This makes it a preferred choice to develop collaborative editors, chat applications, and numerous other apps which keep users updated in real-time.

Realtime Notifications

It is another important use case for Node.js. It helps your application to remain updated with the current information without having any sort of lags or delays.

We have numerous libraries and frameworks such as Faye or, which make it very easy to implement real-time notifications using Node.js.

It also enables developers to integrate real-time features and capabilities without worrying about the underlying messaging and networking protocols and various other technical constraints.

Realtime Data Streaming

Node.js is undoubtedly a perfect choice for managing real-time data streaming. It allows you to develop applications that stream huge chunks of data from a single source to numerous destinations in real-time.

Node.js offers capable libraries such as Storm and, which makes it very easy to integrate real-time data streaming capabilities. 

Realtime tracking

Realtime tracking applications have been used abundantly and Node.js has become a de facto platform to develop such apps.

Node.js is to use a non-blocking I/O model, it is event-driven, which makes it the preferred choice for developing data-intensive apps, that can function on distributed networks and devices. Node.js could be used to build fleet management solutions, asset-tracking apps, and patient monitoring tools. 

IoT devices

IoT devices are getting highly popular with every passing day. Node.js has established itself as a perfect solution, which can leverage IoT devices and sensors to build real-time applications.

Node.js enables developers to craft scalable, reliable, and fast applications, which can send and receive data between a plethora of IoT devices and servers, without any lags and errors.

Multiple User Collaboration

In post covid era, multiple-user collaboration has become a new norm, where people can work together remotely.

Developers can leverage the single-threaded model of Node.js to ensure processing of data is carried out in a single thread. It allows multiple remote users to collaborate in real-time to work on a common application or module.

User Interactions

Every business requires a robust and reliable platform to manage its interactions with its consumers.

Node.js offers you the capability to design and deploy a platform where multiple users can interact with each other, and your business can get deep insights to understand their concerns and issues. 

Key Features of Real-time App of Node.js

The speed and capabilities of an application development framework are the determining factors for its popularity and success. You can leverage these features and capabilities to develop a real-time app with node.js.

key feature of real-time app of Node.js

Here we have listed some key features of Node.js real-time app development:


Realtime apps are only as good as their response time, as that is the bare minimum user expectation from such applications. Node.js allows applications to process huge amounts of data in no time and stream the requested information back to the users.

It doesn’t need an army of servers to process such requests. It also offers various load-balancing options, that can be integrated into the apps to manage high-volume traffic and millions of user requests simultaneously.

I/O bound tasks

Node.js uses less memory and it is more responsive while dealing with I/O-bound requests and tasks. In fact, various types of research have shown that Node.js code performs way better than Java or Python code.

Be it slow input/output functions, or file reading and writing, Node.js outclasses all its competitors when it comes to managing such operations.

Node.js is a perfect choice for apps developed around APIs, such as interactive websites and chat rooms, where users expect real-time data updates to always remain engaged with your site.

Code Reusability

Node.js comes with a plethora of plugins and libraries, which can help you perform a wide range of tasks and functions. It allows developers to reuse existing components to accelerate the app development instead of writing the code from the scratch.

Node.js offers NPM, a repository from where developers can avail numerous modules to develop their apps faster and easier than ever before.

Single Codebase

Node.js allows developers to write code for both frontend and backend using a single platform. This makes it easier for Node.js developers to leverage the single code base to deploy and execute the code faster.

Node.js also accelerates the data transmission between the client and server, as there is no need to convert the data. It also helps with faster data organization.

Decreased Response Time

Node.js uses a robust single-threaded event loop standard, which allows it to handle many simultaneous user requests without having to create more threads. Node.js allows developers to perform all this with fewer resources.

High Extensibility

Node.js is extensible, it remains open for new possibilities and improvement opportunities. It allows developers to use NoSQL queries at the backend to perform seamless transactions through databases.

Node.js allows developers to code without modulating the syntax differences, while it also enables them to execute queries without experiencing any sort of data conversion problems. Node.js also allows developers to create TCP and HTTP servers using the built-in APIs.

Data streaming

Node.js is perfect for developing data streaming apps due to its seamless capability to manage I/O requests.

If we talk about the conventional frameworks, they consider HTTP requests and server responses as data objects, whereas these are data streams. Node.js efficiently utilizes these data streams to perform data processing and other operations.

Data handling

Node.js leverages an event-driven data architecture. It allows you to listen and capture numerous events efficiently and flexibly.

It allows users to provide real-time updates and publish the latest information into the application database from their tablets and smartphones remotely, which makes Node.js a powerful option to work with data-sensitive applications.

It allows your system to either execute logic on user data immediately or follow a scheduled approach at regular intervals. This ensures negligible latency between events and corresponding system response.

SEO friendliness

Node.js is praised for its SEO friendliness. Modern search engines prefer content that is user-generated and frequently updated.

As most developers use dynamic languages such as JavaScript to create content for their websites, they can certainly expect better search engine rankings.

Node.js allows seamless integration with popular CMS (content management systems) such as WordPress or Drupal, which also enhances their content ranking on search engine result pages.

Event-Drive Programming

Node.js offers event-driven programming, that let it synchronize multiple events to make the coding simple and seamless. It also allows developers to use a call-back function (also known as an event handler) when an event takes place.

Node.js also uses asynchronous I/O or non-blocking I/O, which allows a single processor to handle multiple jobs concurrently. 

Proxy server

While building real-time applications, you may need a private space to store the data and monitor the user’s behavior.

However, it is slightly cumbersome to keep private information on your machine while working in collaboration with the development team.

Node.js offers a brilliant solution, called node-HTTP-proxy. It allows users to work with API servers while they hit an external domain name.

Hire Node.js Developers

Power of Node.js: Real-World Examples

Node.js has been used by renowned and largest enterprises across the world, due to the enormous advantages and business value it offers.

You will be amazed to know that almost 98% of fortune-500 companies utilize Node.js for their daily operations. Node.js is helping them in resolving complex business and technology problems.

Top Real-time applications

Here we have compiled a list of a few organizations, which have brought transformation into their workflows using Node.js.


It is undoubtedly the most popular online streaming service in the world. The fundamental of Netflix has been done using the Node.js framework. It used JavaScript on the frontend side, whereas Java has been used on the server side.

However, the most common challenge for the developers was to understand both languages adequately, as they have to code both components separately. Node.js helped Netflix to improve its performance, offer additional features and reduce any sort of application downtime. 


It is one of the largest payment systems globally. It allows users to make online transactions in over 100 different currencies worldwide.

PayPal replaced Java with Node.js to develop the client side of its web app. It experienced a tremendous change in its app performance, as it become almost two times faster.

PayPal application observed an almost 35% reduction in the average response time, which enabled it to serve the webpages to the customers 200ms faster.

Node.js also helped them process 2X the requests per second when compared with the existing Java-based application.


Uber is among the most popular transportation network companies in the world. It selected Node.js to develop a massive matching system to improve the ride search capabilities for the end users.

Uber invested heavily to improve its systems and infrastructure to offer a reliable and scalable system to its users.

Node.js helped Uber to process massive data chunks reliably and quickly, while it also enhanced its code deployment capabilities to meet the ever-changing technology requirements. With the help of the Node.js backend, Uber is capable of processing over 2 million remote procedures at any point in time.


We are pretty much sure that you have adequate awareness of the role of Node.js in the development of successful real-time applications. You must be itching to go on board to build your real-time app with Node.js, which can offer high performance with seamless scalability.

You can certainly hire some freelancing experts or a professional development company to develop your Node. js-based real-time apps.

However, it is also important to have a team of seasoned professionals on your side, who can transform your unique idea into a reality in almost no time. 

If you’re looking for a perfect Node.js development partner, then feel free to contact our consultants. We are a renowned and reliable Node.js real-time app development company with a decade-long industry experience.

Arka Softwares can certainly help you develop a successful Node. js-based real-time apps, which can transform your service offering.

FAQs- Realtime Apps with Nodejs

  • What are real-time apps?

    Realtime applications, or RTA, are apps that work within a given time frame that the end-user considers as current or immediate. The latency should be lower than a defined value, which is usually determined in seconds. The usage of real-time apps is part of real-time computing.

  • What are some general characteristics of a real-time application?

    Realtime applications usually have the following characteristics:
    1. Small footprint and lightweight
    2. Offers high performance
    3. A greater degree of determinism
    4. Higher level of security and safety
    5. Allows priority-based scheduling
    6. Maintains timing information

  • Is Node.js suitable for building scaled and capable real-time apps?

    Node.js is the most preferred solution for building real-time applications such as chat and gaming software. Node.js can seamlessly support applications that require an event-based server and a non-blocking-driven server to deliver real-time performance.

  • Is Node.js real-time data-intensive?

    Yes, Node.js is real-time and data intensive. It uses event-driven I/O and uses non-blocking to offer exceptional efficiency. It remains lightweight when it comes to memory usage for real-time and data-intensive applications that function in numerous distributed devices and environments or devices.

  • What are the key features of an RTOS (real-time operating system)?

    An RTOS (real-time operating system) offers two key features: determinism and predictability. Contrary to the regular operating system, in an RTOS, repeated functions and tasks are carried out within strict time limitations.

Satyam Chaturvedi

Satyam Chaturvedi is a Digital Marketing Manager at Arka Softwares, a leading app development company dealing in modern and futuristic solutions. He loves to spend his time studying the latest market insights.

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