Building Real-time Applications with Node.js, React and
4 mins read

By: vishwesh

Building Real-time Applications with Node.js, React and

Real-time web applications are becoming increasingly popular, with businesses and developers leveraging them to enhance user engagement and experience. In this article, we'll explore how to build real-time applications using Node.js, React, and

What is Node.js?

Node.js is an open-source, server-side, JavaScript runtime environment that allows developers to run JavaScript code outside of a web browser. Node.js is built on the Google Chrome V8 JavaScript engine and offers an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model, making it highly scalable and efficient.

Node.js has become one of the most popular server-side platforms, with many companies using it to build high-performance applications such as web servers, real-time chat applications, and streaming services.

What is React?

React is a popular open-source JavaScript library for building user interfaces. Developed by Facebook, React has gained popularity among developers because of its simplicity, reusability, and performance.

React allows developers to create reusable UI components that can be composed together to build complex applications. It uses a virtual DOM (Document Object Model) to efficiently update the user interface and minimize the number of DOM manipulations.

What is is a JavaScript library that enables real-time, bidirectional communication between web clients and servers. It uses websockets to establish a persistent connection between the client and server, allowing data to be sent and received in real-time. is widely used for building real-time applications such as chat applications, multiplayer games, and collaboration tools.

Building a Real-time Application with Node.js, React, and

To demonstrate how to build a real-time application using Node.js, React, and, we'll build a simple chat application.


Before we begin, make sure you have the following installed:

  • Node.js and npm (Node Package Manager)
  • React

Step 1: Set up the Project

First, we'll create a new directory for our project and initialize it with npm:

mkdir chat-app
cd chat-app
npm init -y

Next, we'll install the necessary dependencies:

npm install express react react-dom

Step 2: Set up the Server

We'll use Express.js to create our server. Create a new file called server.js in the root of your project and add the following code:

const express = require('express');
const http = require('http');
const socketio = require('');

const app = express();
const server = http.createServer(app);
const io = socketio(server);

const PORT = process.env.PORT || 5000;

server.listen(PORT, () => {
  console.log(`Server running on port ${PORT}`);

io.on('connection', (socket) => {
  console.log('A user has connected');

  socket.on('disconnect', () => {
    console.log('A user has disconnected');

  socket.on('message', (message) => {
    io.emit('message', message);

Here, we're importing the necessary modules and creating a new Express app. We're then creating a new HTTP server and passing it to to handle real-time communication.

We're also listening for incoming socket connections and handling disconnect and message events. When a message event is received, we're emitting it to all connected sockets.

Step 3: Set up the Client

Next, we'll create a React component to handle the chat interface. Create a new file called Chat.js in a src directory and add the following code:

import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';
import io from '';

const socket = io('http://localhost:5000');

function Chat() {
  const [message, setMessage] = useState('');
  const [messages, setMessages] = useState([]);

  useEffect(() => {
    socket.on('message', (message) => {
      setMessages([...messages, message]);
  }, [messages]);

  const handleSubmit = (e) => {
    socket.emit('message', message);

  return (
      <h1>Real-time Chat</h1>
        {, i) => (
          <li key={i}>{message}</li>
      <form onSubmit={handleSubmit}>
          placeholder="Enter message"
          onChange={(e) => setMessage(}
        <button type="submit">Send</button>

export default Chat;

Here, we're importing the library and creating a new socket connection to our server.

We're also using React's state and effect hooks to manage the chat messages. When a new message is received from the server, we're adding it to the messages state.

When the user submits a message, we're emitting it to the server using the socket.emit method.

Step 4: Render the Chat Component

Finally, we'll render the Chat component in a new index.js file. Create a new file called index.js in the src directory and add the following code:

import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';
import Chat from './Chat';

ReactDOM.render(<Chat />, document.getElementById('root'));

Here, we're importing the Chat component and rendering it to the root element of the HTML document.

Step 5: Start the Application

To start the application, run the following command in your terminal:

npm start

This will start the development server and launch the chat application in your browser at http://localhost:3000.


In this article, we've explored how to build a real-time chat application using Node.js, React, and We've covered the basics of each technology and demonstrated how they can be used together to build real-time applications.

Real-time web applications are becoming increasingly important in today's digital landscape, and Node.js, React, and offer a powerful combination for building them. With the knowledge gained in this article, you can start building your own real-time applications today.

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