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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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!
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