Using Node.js to improve the performance of Mobile apps and Mobile web

Tom Croucher (Uber)
Mobile Performance Ballroom ABCD
This presentation will be streamed live.
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This talk will explore how Node.js can be used to improve the performance of mobile applications by providing two primary features:

  • Improved web service performance
  • Server-side content rendering

Increasingly mobile apps and sites rely on web services to provide rich data for the application. Typically a web service framework is used to provide this infrastructure. However because of the nature of mobile phone networks the latency and performance profiles is much different from that of a regular broadband user. On a 4G/3G connection it is not unusual to have round-trip time (RTT) vary from 20ms to 3000ms depending on signal strength. This can put a great deal of strain on a traditional approach to web services.

Node.js provides an event-driven server which doesn’t pay any more memory penalty for an extremely laggy connection than it does a fast one. This allows Node.js based web services to scale much more effectively and provide a much improved response time in the conditions required by mobile web services or web sites.

Many mobile apps also use web technologies via embedded webkit to allow for rapidly development. These as well as mobile web sites have a number of restrictions compared to their desktop equivalents. It has been well documented how the affects of differences in memory, and CPU performance affect commonly libraries such as jQuery and thus require special versions and optimizations of those libraries.

Node.js presents an opportunity through server-side JavaScript to render or run a progressive amount of the application on the server depending on the capabilities of the device. This allows each device to get the optimum experience based on it’s ability to support an AJAX applications which renders lightweight AJAX based updates; Or to get heavier pre-rendered pages which provide the same functionality without code duplication for the developer.

Photo of Tom Croucher

Tom Croucher


Tom Hughes-Croucher is the Principal at Jetpacks for Dinosaurs, a consultancy that helps to make their client’s web sites really fast. He provides technology leadership and expertise in high performance web sites and Node.js for the company.

Tom is the co-author of the O’Reilly book “Up and Running with Node.js”.

Tom has also worked at Joyent as the Chief Evangelist with the Node.js team. Before that he was the Lead Technology Evangelist for North America and a Senior Developer at Yahoo!.

Tom has contributed to a number of Web standards for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the British Standards Institute (BSI). He is worked with some of the world’s leading brands including Walmart, NASA, Yahoo!, Tesco, Three Telecom and the UK’s Channel 4 Television.


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