As applications have become more complex, Node.js developers have had to advance. It has become more vital to understand how the runtime works internally in order to avoid difficulties in production. The importance given to optimizing the application so that it only consumes the resources is very high in the market today, as consumers demand only for the best. Having this knowledge might save app owners a lot of money in the long run, and also enable them to have a greater footing in the market.
A process called memory allocation is usually responsible for all the memory related issues in the development process, and we will concentrate on this element in this article. We will be taking a look at it within the context of node.js and will take a technical look at how it works so that developers using the language can understand it.
When an application starts, it triggers the following chain of processes.
The memory heap is further divided into several spaces, but for the focus of the article, we will focus on the following main division.
While the new space's allocation is relatively better for app performance, the new space also has a size between 1 and 8MB, which is quite small. As a result, clearing the items as soon as feasible is a good idea in this area of the heap to free up memory for new objects and avoid them being allocated in the old place. The new space is further divided into the "from" space & "to" space. The division is made to better handle the operations of the garbage collector.
Behind the scenes, the garbage collector(GC) manages several threads, one of which is to flag memory blocks for freeing. This means that in any Node.js application, a thread is monitoring the old space for memory addresses that aren't reachable, indicating that they can be freed. This method is also known as mark-and-sweep. It works as follows
Rather than collecting from old space, V8 likes to allocate more heap memory. So, just because memory utilization never decreases in an app, it doesn't necessarily imply a memory leak. However It's more effective to allocate tiny short-lived objects regularly in Node.js (or especially V8) than to change huge long-lived ones. This is due to the inner workings of the garbage collector/GC, which was discussed in the previous section.
In most cases, it's more effective to monitor the Event Loop metric than tracing everything the garbage collector does. Clinic Doctor is a useful tool to accomplish something like this. It aids in the diagnosis of performance issues in your application and directs you to more specialized tools for further investigation. This tool may be used to evaluate symptoms such as poor CPU consumption, halting trash collection, frequent event loop delays, or a chaotic amount of active handles.
Another useful tool for keeping track of memory use is Memory Snapshot. All work on the main thread, however, stops when producing a snapshot. It might take a minute or more, depending on the contents of the heap. To produce a heap snapshot, you'll need around twice as much memory as the heap at the moment. As a result, there's a chance the procedure will fail due to an Out of Memory error (out-of-memory). There are many ways in which one can generate a memory snapshot.
The Clinic.js set of tools includes the Heap Profiler. Its goal is to use Flamegraphs to discover memory allocation by functions. The flamegraph is a graphical representation of memory allocation over time. A function's memory allocation is represented by each block. The bigger the block, the more memory it got.
As one can imagine, memory allocation is an important topic for any programming Language, and node.js is no different. It is important for programmers to understand at least the basics of memory allocation and keep that in mind to design high performing server side applications. It is also helpful to identify and debug issues in an app that has suspicious or high memory usage. If you have an app idea that is complicated and need an app developed in a way that contains no memory related bugs, it is better to approach a good node js development company. Companies like Nextbrain create high performing apps in node.js for its clients since they are well versed in this domain.