Difference Between Node.js and JavaScript

Updated on Oct 4, 2023

We know that Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment. However, let’s dive deeper into the difference between the two and draw a clear line. Yes, both use JavaScript as the programming language, but the most significant difference here is the ecosystem. JavaScript is used to program frontend applications that must be run in a browser.

However, since Node.js is a runtime environment in and of itself, its most significant advantage is that it can program both frontend and backend applications and run them by itself. That makes learning Node.js a lot easier because you have everything you need in one place to create an application that can not only be run in a browser but can be an autonomous application by itself. 

Because it is an environment in and unto itself, Node.js comes with its own unique functionalities that allow it to be self-sufficient. The most iconic difference is that Node.js has access to both the require() and import modules, while JavaScript, and therefore any app in a browser, has access only to import. Also, browsers do not update to the newest version of JavaScript immediately after it is out. It can take some time, which is not an issue with Node.js. Finally, Node.js can use APIs, which the browser can’t, and that is a considerable advantage that opens up so many possibilities.

As you can see, Node.js can do more than JavaScript alone can do. Of course, that doesn’t mean that coding in JavaScript is pointless, as it serves a wholly different purpose: it is specialized in browser-based frontend applications. Node.js, on the other hand, is for people who want to create applications that are not anchored to a browser.

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