5 Node.js Frameworks Comparison
Table of Contents
Discovering top Node.js frameworks and finding out how they can boost developer productivity and app performance
There are many trendy technologies in the world of web development. But if we’re talking about Node frameworks, don’t you wonder how the framework became so popular in the short term?
Is Node.js a Framework?
Node.js is an open-source run-time environment providing a set of tools and development structures to help developers work more efficiently. It’s created to operate servers on various operating systems and devices. It uses JS as its primary programming language, and it is preferred for designing web-enabled mobile apps. Thanks to its comprehensive collection of JS modules, Node.js brings the ease of creating fast and scalable network programs and cross-platform properties for writing codes outside the browser.
There are two types of languages. The programming language requires a compiler to compile the code, and the scripting language needs the interpreter to produce code in run time. Initially, JS was created to “alive pages” and interact with the user. However, with technical advancement, we got new terminology, Node.js. Based on the above definitions, Node.js can be neither a framework nor a language.
The interpreter executing the code is included in Node.js separately. Node.js uses the chrome v8 engine to run JS on a platform. The engine combines an interpreter and multiple tools allowing v8 to work on a server without a browser. Using Node.js, we can do many things (input/output, file processing) that aren’t possible with JS.
At last, Node.js is neither a framework nor a language. It’s an open-source development platform for producing JS code outside the browser.
Why Node.js Frameworks?
Node.js frameworks deliver easy scalability, excellent functionality, a low learning curve, full-stack JS benefits, a large active community, and a single codebase, increasing the overall performance.
Creating the entire app from scratch is a complex and time-consuming task. As developers, we need to build apps faster and more efficiently. So, the frameworks provide us with useful functions and tools to facilitate the work. Using frameworks, we benefit from a more straightforward API, a clean code, and the ability to structure our app correctly. With specific functions of Node.js frameworks, we can implement the right solutions.
Types of Node.js Frameworks
In web development, a significant number of frameworks may overwhelm you. For this reason, it’s easier to learn the types of Node.js frameworks, understand their philosophy, and move to the list of the best frameworks for Node.js you can use in web development.
- HTTP server frameworks are based on Express.js, assisting you in creating applications based on HTTP routes.
- MVC frameworks provide Model, View, and Controller architecture. MVC splits the functionality of the app into three parts. Models manage data logic and show the way the data is stored. Views control the way the information is presented to the user. Controllers manage request flows and handle information between the model and view. In turn, the controller gets the data from the model and transfers it into the view.
- Full-stack MVC frameworks use JS on the client and server sides. They incorporate many features, including WebSocket libraries, templating engines, and ORM programming technology.
- Rest API frameworks are used to drive a fast Node server or manage CRUD requests.
How to choose the best Node.js framework?
A similar question appears on various forums and social media, and the replies tend to be full of solid views. Some developers can even argue about this issue. However, if none of the responses still didn’t help you, we want to provide you with the below-mentioned points.
With so many frameworks to choose from, it’s easy to become lost. The answer won’t be relevant enough if comparing Node.js frameworks is just based on their architecture and features. It’s because it’s only a tiny fraction of the whole picture. As a result, it’s best to create a straightforward checklist to make a Node.js frameworks comparison by yourself using the items on the list. I can’t present an exhaustive checklist for you because it depends on different factors, including the requirements of all parties, including the project, team members, and developers. But, I have some suggestions that may help you decide what is critical when selecting an appropriate and best Node.js framework.
Choosing one Node.js framework matching your requirements and the needs of your web app is challenging. Different factors may influence your decision.
However, considering the criteria such as scalability, ecosystem, and functionality of a specific framework simplifies the task:
- Before making your choice, you should analyze if the framework doesn’t limit you in particular ways of implementing the project.
- You’ll benefit if the framework has an active community and provides educational materials.
- Functionality is a subjective factor that may vary for different projects.
Based on your project type and requirements, you can determine if there are functionalities ranging from support declared programming and cluster management to packaging support.
Let’s dive into critical points you should keep in mind when choosing the best Node.js framework:
- The goal and type of the project;
- The cost associated with the software development product;
- Performance requirements;
- Configuration options;
- Version updating.
In summary, web and mobile applications have become necessary in the modern tech market. Selecting the proper framework not only improves your software product’s overall performance but also helps minimize costs, time, and other critical resources. We’ve listed top Node.js frameworks such as Express.js, Nest.js, Next.js, Nuxt.js, and Fastify. If you’re interested in the topic and some questions arise, you can always contact us, and our experts will offer you the right solutions.
Top Node.js Frameworks You Should Know About
You can picture Node.js as external scaffolding with plenty of frameworks of Node.js extending its functionalities. They also help simplify app prototyping and its development.
Instead of reinventing the wheel over and over, we’ll review time-tested Node.js best frameworks used widely in web development. We’ll compare their functions, selling points, and companies using them in web development. Our list involves Express.js, Nest.js, Next.js, Nuxt.js, and Fastify.
Express.js: the most popular among others
Express.js tops the list of Node.js popular frameworks. Developers consider it to be a minimalist, flexible framework with an extensive set of functions to build web and mobile apps. The framework presents a layer of web apps’ key functions allowing you to work with Node.js functionality. Express.js development, allows using both relational (MySQL) and non-relational (MongoDB) databases. Additionally, you can use various modules for verifying and formatting data.
Its fast, simple, and robust coding architecture aligns well with Node.js technology. If you have basic competence in the Node.js environment, you’ll efficiently deal with Express.js. It has a more reliable app UI with better-organized client-to-server requests and transparent user interactions. Express.js powerful functions allow taking backend development to a new level. Tech giants such as Twitter, Uber, Accenture, BlaBlaCar, and Stack deploy apps using the framework.
With Express.js, you can easily reuse code for data processing, store user sessions, control cookie files, and manage payloads. Express.js is a clear favorite for dynamic content. It produces quick responses to the user requests like uploading text, audio/video content, and other content to the page.
It continues to gain more popularity among users. Each year, the number of websites built with the framework is increasing.
Its main benefits are:
- fast app development
- input-output requests
- open-source community
- ease of use and learning
- promising stable technology.
Nest.js: a framework for building streamlined and scalable backend apps
Nest.js has become the fastest-growing Node.js framework due to its incredible features. It’s an open-source and versatile framework helping to create demanding systems. Developers use Next.js to make efficient and scalable server-side apps written in TypeScript.
Nest.js architecture is based on several simple components like controllers, modules, and providers, helping efficiently to split apps into microservices. Moreover, Angular and RoR inspired its architecture. Nest.js uses TypeORM, a popular and promising ORM often used even without Nest.js. Being a mature ORM, it’s available for TypeScript. Using Nest.js development, you can write scalable applications. Also, it takes Node.js servers to a new level. Here, you can use several databases like MongoDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.
It has a good rating position on GitHub and encourages more developers to learn and test the framework. Nest.js is extensible, and it’s one of the benefits. It’s universal thanks to its fully-fledged ecosystem and can be used with other libraries.
We consider the framework is easy to master:
- It has a robust command-level interface making app development faster and simplified.
- Nest.js is an open-source framework under MIT license showing its reliability.
- It has well-written and maintained documentation, active codebase development, and control.
Adidas, Autodesk, Roche, Decathlon, Capgemini, and Societe Generale have already used the framework in their development.
Next.js: a framework for building superfast and user-friendly apps
Next.js is a promising developing Node.js framework that requires discussion. Next.js is a reasonable solution since you can test many benefits for clients and the development team. Improved development process, app performance, and SEO refer to the benefits you get. Using the framework, you can save costs and time and get faster and more indexable SEO-friendly apps.
Initially, Next.js positioned itself exclusively as a “backend for frontend” or “middle-end.” Though, the latest versions of the framework have functionality allowing to utilize Next.js as a full-fledged backend framework. In this way, the framework brings developers another direct benefit. One of the beneficial features it delivers is authentication. Automatic code splitting boosts the performance of the user’s browser and allows users to see page content faster.
The critical benefit not as much for the users as for the developers is hot module replacement. It helps developers see all changes in real-time. Unlike regular real-time updates, it reloads only the changed modules during development. Netflix, Uber, Starbucks, and Nike widely use the framework.
Another point to mention is that Next.js was built on top of React. Thanks to React, Next.js should have become an easy-to-use development framework. Next.js is smart enough to load only the JS and CSS needed for a specific page. It significantly decreases the loading time of the page. The users shouldn’t waste time waiting for JS and CSS downloading, which they don’t need.
Nuxt.js: a framework for building single-page and universal apps easily
Nuxt.js is getting more popular and progressive today. It was introduced before Next.js and is a worthy competitor for Next.js.
Nuxt.js is a high-level front-end framework built on top of Vue. It incorporates efficient features like rendering on the server-side, automatically made routes, improved SEO, and control of metatags and SEO. Nuxt.js has plenty of features to enhance developer productivity and user interaction.
The framework simplifies the creation of single-page or universal Vue.js applications. Using Nuxt.js, you can focus only on web app development. The framework is flexible, simplifying the developer’s work and allowing them to use the framework as the main project base.
Nuxt.js development helps to create universal applications without effort. Building universal apps is a tedious process. It usually requires a lot of configuration on the server and client sides. Nuxt.js solves this issue. This one of the top Node.js frameworks readily shares the code between server and client, and the user can focus more on app logic. Moreover, thanks to properties like is-server and is-client provided by Nuxt.js, the user can quickly and easily decide where to make rendering. A unique component no-SSR allows the user to prevent rendering on the server-side.
The framework provides a starter template with organized folders showing all the details of starting the project. The Nuxt.js community on GitHub can help you a lot. To get the maximum benefit of the framework, you can check all categories given by the community and choose the one matching your purpose.
Fastify: a framework with the least overhead costs
Fastify is a Node.js web framework focusing on delivering the best developer experience. The framework is highly performant, extensible, schema-based, developer-friendly, and TypeScript-ready. Fastify introduces itself as a fast, low-overhead Node.js framework with a robust plugin architecture. It’s inspired by Express and Hapi.
Though Fastify.js doesn’t provide all solutions for everything, it actively develops and improves its functions. It’s an analog to Express.js but with faster capacity and less overhead costs. The framework was initially designed as a general-purpose framework, but when it comes to fast HTTP APIs, Fastify.js is excellent. Compared to Express.js, Fastify.js works twice as fast. The speed difference comes from Fastify.js having a better user base and managing empty requests more efficiently than Express.js. Complete encapsulation for plugins, quick routing, faster rendering, cleaner syntax, faster performance, progressing language, and runtime are the core features of Fastify.js.
A little update! Due to the outstanding effort of the Fastify team and community, the 4th major version of Fastify is launched after two years. It has been updated to provide new developer-friendly features. Fastify’s most recent version is a huge hit, with over one million monthly downloads.
The new version prioritizes enhancing the developer experience, boosting main dependencies, stabilizing the API, and more. Fastify 4th comprises roughly 20 minor updates that have no significant impact on productivity or developer experience. It indicates the framework’s high level of stability.
Let’s take a quick look at the significant features of the new Fastify version:
- New error handling system
- Non-standard type of providers
- Rapid cold start
- Long-term maintenance
As you see, successful adoption and enhancement of Node.js frameworks allow users to cut expenses and increase developer productivity and app performance. Technologies are going to change, and new frameworks of Node.js will appear. Yet, a proper analysis of your business needs and resources will help you choose the appropriate Node.js framework for your project.
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