< Back to blog
PUBLISH DATE:
UPD:
Tetiana MatviiokTania MatviiokContent Manager

Meteor vs MEAN Stack vs MERN Stack: What Do You Choose?

Should you master four technologies or only one?

Meteor vs MEAN vs MERN

MEAN is one of the most popular tech stack solutions among the people who choose to develop web solutions with JavaScript. Some of these people decide to substitute Angular — one of the four MEAN technologies — with React — the younger and more developer-friendly competitor of Angular. They do not even realize that, with this decision to substitute, they become the adepts of the MERN tech stack.

In the meantime, there is Meteor — an Isomorphic JavaScript framework, which has quite an interesting story of rises and falls. Some even say that Meteor is dead already, but it is far from being true as we proved in our recent article about reasons to develop with Meteor web framework.

Essentially, both MEAN and MERN are the combinations of four technologies each, while Meteor is a single technology capable of doing all the job. So, what are the reasons to choose either Meteor, MEAN, or MERN? What are the benefits and risks? 

This is what we plan to answer in this article.

Meteor

Meteor framework is the one that turns the idea of Isomorphic JS into reality. Isomorphic JS, also known as Universal JS, presumes that both front-end (client side) and back-end (server side) are written with the help of JavaScript, which facilitates development, improves performance, and optimizes maintainability.

Meteor is open-source, full-stack, and real-time. It runs both in the browser and on the Meteor server. More than that, it can be linked with any relational or non-relational database.

In the simplest terms, Meteor is a collection of interrelated packages and libraries, which significantly facilitate development. Meteor by itself does the job of MEAN Stack, Socket.io, Grunt/Gulp, Cordova, Hot Code Push Reload, and more.

Meteor

MEAN

MEAN stack consists of MongoDB, Express, Angular, and Node. As I said, it is the most popular tech stack choice among the people who opt in favor of JavaScript development. By using MEAN, developers can write the entire application in JavaScript. It offers a lot of tools, packages, and plugins, which accelerate and facilitate web development. This is why MEAN is one of the fastest-growing open-source technologies.

MongoDB is a non-relational (NoSQL) database. Making use of JSON-like documents with optional schemas, MongoDB is cross-platform and document-oriented. It can run at a few servers simultaneously, which allows the system to balance the data flow and to ensure high and stable performance.

Express is a Node.js framework for web applications. It is very fast and minimalistic, which is why developers really enjoy using it. Express.js perfectly compliments the functionality of Node.js with a robust set of features and opportunities for customization.

Angular is a TypeScript-base JavaScript framework for cross-platform front-end development. While Angular allows for mobile development as well, most developers consider it as an option only for the web. Angular is performant and reliable, but cumbersome and difficult to learn. 

Node.js is MEAN stack backend. It is a JavaScript runtime environment used mainly for back-end development. Built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine, Node.js won the hearts of a wide developer community with its performance and speed. Node.js is basically what made JavaScript full-stack — this technology changed the course of the development of this language.

MEAN

MERN

MERN stack is pretty similar to MEAN. Basically, it is all the same but Angular is substituted with React.

So, MERN stack encloses MongoDB, Express, React, and Node. While you have got the idea of MongoDB, Express, and Node from the section above, let me briefly introduce you to React as well.

React is a JavaScript library for UI development. It is a number one by popularity JavaScript technology for front-end development. While it is younger than Angular (React was introduced in 2013, and the first version of Angular was introduced in 2010), React has quickly won the affection of developers worldwide.

MERN

MERN vs MEAN

Since the goal of this article is to compare Meteor vs MEAN stack vs MERN stack, let’s start with the latter two.


Both technology stacks are very flexible and easy to work with, with each of the four technologies in these tech stacks perfectly serving its purpose. MongoDB is the most popular, developer-friendly, and performant non-relational database. Node together with Express ensure the impressive performance of JS web applications on the server-side. Meanwhile, React and Angular in MERN and MEAN respectively complete the tech stacks with a powerful technology for front-end development.

Essentially, both tech stacks cover entire full-stack development cycles from back-end development to front-end development with the help of JavaScript. Both tech stacks are armed with robust sets of tools and features. Both are open-sourced, well-documented, and loved by developers from the entire world.

So, MEAN and MERN are pretty similar, and the question of which one to choose reduces down to which front-end technology you prefer, Angular or React


Now, let’s have a look at Meteor in contrast with MEAN and MERN.

Meteor vs MEAN stack/MERN stack

The essential difference between MERN/MEAN stack vs Meteor can be summarized as the following.

Meteor is a single framework — MEAN and MERN are four frameworks each.

This leads to a few more dissimilarities, namely differences in development convenience and simplicity, universality, flexibility, reactivity, and usability.

Development convenience and simplicity

Which is more difficult to learn: the history of one country or the histories of four countries? Obviously, the less you have to learn, the easier it is.

The same applies to programming: Meteor is easier to master than MEAN/MERN because it is a single technology, rather than a set of four technologies. More than that, MEAN includes Angular, which is notoriously difficult to master.

As for development convenience, Meteor also receives a point here only because a developer has to install and set up a single technology, not four of them.

Universality

As I mentioned before, Meteor.js uses Universal JavaScript. Thus, in Meteor, front-end and back-end are developed simultaneously, and data updates are automated and seamless, with no need to refresh the page.

Meanwhile, when you develop with MEAN or MERN, front-end and back-end are separated, with separate APIs. Although both client-side and server-side are written with the same language here, some inconveniences still persist.

JS developers have been dreaming about Isomorphic or Universal JavaScript for way too long for now to ignore the undoubtful advantages it offers.

Flexibility

The set of four technologies offers a great deal of flexibility. You can focus on one thing at a time, for instance, exclusively on front-end. So, you work exclusively with Angular/React without paying much attention to MongoDB. With full-stack Meteor development, you do not have that kind of flexibility — you have to think about everything simultaneously. It is not much of an obstacle, however, if you develop a small, reactive, real-time app.

Reactivity

Reactivity is the ability of the client to display changes in server data without reloading the page. If you have looked carefully through the infographics above, you would have noticed that Meteor does the job of Socket.io. This is exactly the technology that ensures such reactivity. At the same time, there is no such technology in MEAN/MERN stack. So, if you wanted to achieve reactivity with MEAN/MERN, you would have to install one additional JavaScript library.

Usability

MEAN and MERN can be used in the following circumstances:

  • If you develop only a web service/REST API, without any client functionality.

  • If your website does not have to be real-time but has to be very RAM/CPU-efficient

  • If you need to scale your app immensely to hundreds of thousands of users

Meteor can be used in the following circumstances:

  • If you develop a single page application (SPA)

  • If your website does have to be real-time

  • If you have to prototype and develop fast

  • If you plan to go mobile as well (Meteor allows for sharing the codebase between a web and mobile app)

Conclusion

Which tech stack to choose — is totally up to you. If you do not have a profound technical experience, I highly recommend that you consult with your development team as for which technologies would work best for you. In any case, should you need Meteor JS development or MEAN/MERN development — we are here to help. Let us know how we can be of help to you!

Do you need help with Meteor app development?

We have been watching this framework since it was introduced, and we kept watching it when everyone thought it was at a standstill. We believe that our experience can be of great use to you.