LearnSeven Awesome Things You Can Build with Node.js

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Andrew Chalkley
writes on November 12, 2014

Note: This post was edited on 10/8/20 to more accurately reflect Node.js’ possibilities in 2020! Thanks to Treehouse Instructor Reggie Williams for the updates.

Node.js is not just for making simple websites, but awesome, dynamic, real-time experiences. Here are some Node.js project ideas to spark your inspiration:

1. GIF Chat Room

Node.js is built for making chat applications. Here’s a novel twist. Chrome and Firefox have an API to access a computer’s camera. Images from the camera get processed around the submission of a chat message and a GIF is sent to the room.

Here’s of the sample of a GIF produced in the chat.

Visit meatspaces here and browse the source code here.

2. Build your Own Zoom

With the rise of working from home and modern Web APIs like WebRTC being supported by more and more browsers, Zoom & Google Hangout-like applications are going to get more common. Talky.io is one of those.

You (and a friend) can visit their website in a compatible browser and try it out for yourself!

Check out either a short or long tutorial to learn how to build your own.

3. Job Search App

Node’s capabilities to communicate with APIs make it ideal for building full stack applications. This tutorial uses the Adzuna jobs API, vanilla JS, and Node to create a job searching app and add custom features you’d like to see in your favorite app.

4. Covid-19 Tracker

Node.js is a powerful tool for writing server side JavaScript and allows you to interact with APIs and pass data to the front end. You can use Node.js in combination with React and chart.js to create a COVID tracking app. This example pulls data from the CDC so you can stay up to date with stats.

Try out the socket.computer here and take a look at the source code here.

5. Command Line Interface

Building things in Node.js doesn’t always have to be for recreation, there’s utility in it too. In this example you can build a command line interface that has CRUD capabilities.

6. Collaborative Drawing Tool

Treehouse students will learn how to build a simple drawing application in jQuery in the course jQuery Basics.

The functionality has been extended with Node.js so that multiple people can draw on the same canvas!

Why not send this link to a friend and draw with them!

7. RSS Reader

With Node.js you could build cross-platform applications to run on your desktop. Here’s an example of an app called Sputnik. It’s an RSS reader.

You can check out Sputnik here and node-webkit, the framework used to build this app, here.

You can check out more applications here.

Conclusion

Hopefully seeing these examples built with Node.js shows you exactly what it’s capable of.

4 Responses to “Seven Awesome Things You Can Build with Node.js”

  1. 张彦磊 on October 21, 2015 at 6:36 am said:

    looking forward to your course too!

  2. Good Article to Read.

  3. Cool post, Andrew. I’m looking forward to the node.js course.

  4. chris salvi on November 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm said:

    Andrew you should try to hack amiibos when they come out and find some cool ideas for Nintendo. Seems like you’re a dedicated fan judging by your wiiU purchase. Also post your FC I’d love to play you in smash or kart sometime! I live in PDX also and love this site. Has been the best investment of my life (way better ROI than college).

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