A Step By Step Guide To Structure Your Node.Js App

Node.js is catching up at a faster pace with Java, Ruby, Python, and .Net as a preferred language for developing new web applications. The team of developers is all set to make its JavaScript runtime better, faster and more rock solid with each passing day. And how can one forget its user community, the one which is growing at a rapid clip. As the adoption continues to rise, more and more professionals will be seen jumping on the bandwagon, confronting similar problems and coding similar functionalities. Fortunately, this community, in particular, has come to the rescue with frameworks and design patterns that not only solve common problems, but also help in structuring applications.

Now frameworks in general feature MV patterns like MVC (model-view-controller), MVVM (model-view-viewmodel), MVP (model-view-presenter), or just MV. Moreover, they even tell you where the code for models, views, and controllers should be, where your routes should be and where you require to add your configurations. The only problem is many Node.Js developers or enthusiasts fail to understand how these design patterns or OOP (Object Oriented Programming) diagrams map to the lines or structure of the code in their application.

In the following post, I would like to mention certain key aspects to take into account while structuring your Node.js app.

First of all, when deciding on the directory structure of your app, one needs to consider the design pattern which one to choose. By doing this you will help with onboarding, finding the code and isolating issues more quickly and easily. If you ask me in person, I would recommend using an MVC pattern while architecting a Node.js app. This will help you to develop faster, provides flexibility to create multiple views for the same data, and allows asynchronous communication and isolation between MVC components, to name a few.

Next is about mapping ER diagrams to models. Using an ER diagram outlines various entities that will participate in our system and defines all interactions between them in such a way that:

  • Anything that is an abstract or physical “thing” becomes an entity in a model
  • A model maps to a table inside our database
  • An attribute or property of an entity translates to an attribute of a model, which is, in turn, a column inside a table

For example, if your entity is a user then the corresponding model would be a “User” with attributes such as first_name, last_name, and address inside the database as well as a corresponding table and columns.

Now as experienced professionals, we are always instructed to organize code into files and modules. This does not mean we should try to fit the entire app inside one single file. Dividing your code based on logic and functionality is the best approach. As it will not only save time determining which function to touch but also helps to decouple all of the components in the architecture, facilitating the replacement of discrete functionality without the need to modify any other lines of code.

Always remember, How you structure a web application is as important as selecting the right technology. I mean if the foundation isn’t strong enough, the application will eventually crash or refuse to scale, or in worse come worse circumstances it may fail to start at all. So, never rush without proper planning. Bad structure or architecture is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.