The popularity of Node.js not only rests upon the awesome capabilities of this versatile framework that can be utilized for both frontend and backend development but also because of the multitude of popular NodeJS frameworks that only helped in the evolution of the NodeJS ecosystem.
Now we need to ask whether using pure NodeJS or NodeJS frameworks will be ideal for a project. Well, though it also depends on your project, these NodeJS frameworks nevertheless deserve a detailed analysis of their core strengths and weaknesses.
Key Types Of NodeJS Frameworks
Any framework through some carefully crafted conventions helps to interpret the original code. The framework basically as a wrapper helps create more convenience and ease of development.
When it comes to the choice of NodeJS frameworks, there are four different types of choices.
- MVC frameworks based on the Model-View-Controller design pattern are great in terms of optimum flexibility and freedom.
- Full-stack MVC frameworks apart from offering Model-View-Controller design patterns also come packed with libraries, ready to use integrations, template engines, and several add-ons to streamline the tasks in a project.
- REST API frameworks help in the streamlined development of REST API servers and they are used combined with other frameworks.
- Apart from the above options we also have several middlewares, libraries, and particular solutions that to some extent hold capabilities as fully-fledged frameworks.
Top NodeJS Frameworks To Consider
Although there is a multitude of NodeJS frameworks that developers can choose for their projects, here we tried to restrict our focus to the 3 leading ones in the NodeJS ecosystem.
ExpressJS is basically a middleware that remains a key part of the MEAN full-stack technologies along with MongoDB for database, Angular for front-end, and Node.js for the runtime environment. So, when you hire Dedicated NodeJS Programmers, automatically you hire someone with expertise in ExpressJS.
As the middleware technology, ExpressJS is mainly used to bridge between the database and client app with a server. Express is widely popular as the unopinionated framework with a low and lightweight footprint and great flexibility. Being an unopinionated framework it offers maximum freedom to choose any design pattern and adopt any development practices.
Some of the key reasons to choose Express for middleware include the following.
- Express offers absolute freedom of choice for the design pattern, database, and development practices.
- ExpressJS comes with a very manageable and gentle learning curve for any new developer.
- ExpressJS is a truly high-performance framework and it doesn’t put any constraints on the original capabilities of NodeJS.
- Popular as a middleware technology in most projects including full-stack development projects, ExpressJS boasts of a large community of developers.
Typically in small projects where you don’t need large enterprise-grade features, it comes as an ideal framework option. For building a performance savvy solution farm scratch while not opting for monstrous capacity, ExpressJS perfectly fits in.
Meteor is a highly popular and distinct NodeJS framework that comes with high standardization demands. It offers a comprehensive package of tools complete with everything developers need to build mobile, server, web, or desktop applications. It is also used as a middleware to connect the Angular or React based frontend Node.js based backend.
Because of coming packed with all kinds of tools, it helps to streamline and automate a project for faster build. On the downside, being a highly opinionated MVC framework it doesn’t offer much freedom as it takes standard practices and development norms to the extreme level.
Some of the key features that made MeteorJS popular include the following.
- MeteorJS automatically facilitates two-way data synchronization between the server-side and client-side. This gives developers freedom from the efforts and tasks of setting up synchronization.
- MeteorJS comes as an all-in-one package that doesn’t require a lot of effort for integrating different technologies. It offers pretty much everything just out of the box.
- Developers prefer MeteorJS mainly because of its automating capabilities allowing them to utilize the same source code across multiple platforms.
- It is a highly automated framework to ensure fast-paced prototyping and is ideal for MVP (minimum viable product) projects.
If you need to build high-performance hybrid apps without compromising on user experience while ensuring optimum automation for faster development time, MeteorJS just fits in. But on the other hand, you may find scalability issues in the long run and there can be an unsatisfactory user experience just because it delivers a hybrid app with the same mold for every platform.
Sails.js is the NodeJS framework that comes somewhere in between Express and Meteor. It is flexible but a little more standardized than Express. It comes with some automating capabilities to boost development speed in comparison to ExpressJS.
It offers a traditional Model-View-Controller design pattern to help organize various aspects of the development process.
Sails.js by holding a middle ground between the two extremes such as automation and development freedom offers the most balanced development approach. As for the learning curve, a bit of expertise with Laravel or Ruby on Rails will be enough to master the skills. The framework Is highly productive and easy to adopt.
Some of the key reasons for the developers to prefer Sails.js include the following.
- It allows establishing real-time connectivity between the server-side and the client-side. The real-time capability of the Sails.js is powered by Socket.io, a real-time engine that comes bundled with the framework. It offers the most tried and tested event-based connection between the client-side and the server-side. This makes things easier for apps using features demanding real-time communication such as chat and streaming media.
- SalisJS also offers Object Rational Mapping or ORM for several databases. The framework also comes with a typical object-relational mapping (ORM) feature named Waterline that helps to handle variable database queries across multiple databases.
- When it comes to faster REST API development, the framework offers distinct advantages. SailsJS automatically produces REST APIs to help developers configure anything in their project. This ensures lightning-fast API configuration.
According to many developers, Sails stands as the ideal framework in the entire Node.js ecosystem. The SailsJS framework is great to carry out all kinds of tasks, particularly for building app features demanding real-time communication such as chat messaging, media streaming, collaborative tools, dynamic dashboards, etc.