Full Stack vs MEAN Stack: Differences From Different Perspectives


October 13, 2020


June 22nd, 2023

In today’s software development environment, a plethora of technologies, frameworks, languages, and tools are being used. This is where stack comes into the picture.

A stack is a combination of languages, frameworks, and technologies used in the creation of mobile app development and web development.

Generally, any software is divided into two parts – client-side and server-side, also known as front-end and back-end. The selection of the right tech stack has a great impact on the growth and success of the web application.

Here, we are talking about two popular stacks – MEAN stack and Full Stack. Let’s discuss Full stack vs MEAN stack in detail.

What Is MEAN Stack?

It is a set of JavaScript-based technologies/frameworks used in web application development. MEAN stands for MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js. MEAN Stack development is widely popular for building advanced and dynamic web apps.

Good Read: Future of Web Apps Brighten with MEAN Stack Development

What Is Full Stack?

Full stack is a term that is used to denote the capability of building both parts of the application – front-end and back-end. Full Stack is a broad term and doesn’t refer to a particular software/tool. Full Stack development is considered as an ability or skill to build full (client-side and server-side) web applications.

Good Read: A Complete Guide To Full-Stack Development


Full Stack Development vs MEAN Stack Development: How Are They Redefining Web App Development?

To understand these stacks in detail, we first need to understand how they relate to web development. As we have mentioned earlier, web development or any software development has two components – backend and frontend.

The frontend is the face of the application. It is used by end-users to interact with the website or app. It includes design, user experience (UX), user interfaces (UI), graphics, content, and components that are related to the look-and-feel of the website.

Backend is the backbone of the application. It’s a part that is not visible to end-users neither the processes. The backend is a logical part where data are stored, processed, manipulated, and sent to the frontend for presentation. All functionalities of the website are programmed in the backend. It mainly targets ‘response’ given to users that includes processed data or calculated results.

Both these parts require different technologies yet they complement each other. While frontend requires technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, backend focuses on database management and server-side programming.

This is where Full Stack and MEAN stack differs.

MEAN stack is one of the popular Full Stack frameworks consists of JavaScript-based technologies like MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and NodeJS. On the other hand, Full Stack means having a knowledge of developing both – frontend and backend parts of the website.

Full Stack is a broad concept and requires a set of languages, tools, and concepts to learn, unlike MEAN. In MEAN stack, you will require knowledge of 4 frameworks mentioned in this acronym (first letter of each). MEAN is Full Stack because it consists of:

MongoDB – a database

Express.js – Backend web application framework for Node.js

Angular – Frontend web framework

Node.js – Backend JavaScript runtime environment

This together makes MEAN a complete web development framework. MEAN has played a significant role in increasing the popularity of Full Stack. This is because, MEAN stack developers are capable of developing a whole web application that includes database management, frontend, and backend using JavaScript-based frameworks.

Good Read: MEAN Stack For Startups: What Does It MEAN For Startups?

Full Stack vs MEAN Stack Key Differences

  • From Technology Perspective:

Full Stack not only requires knowledge of several frontend and backend technologies but also mandates knowledge of deployment, optimization, web design, and automation. They are expected to work on a diverse range of tools and almost everything that requires building modern web apps.

Opposite to this, MEAN stack allows developers to leverage JavaScript-based frameworks (4 mentioned frameworks) to build complete web applications.

  • From A Developer Perspective:

Full Stack developers are high in demand due to its versatile role. Full Stack mainly refers to the skills of developers who can work on both, client-side and server-side. They are responsible for ensuring the smooth performance of the website continuously and also ensure continuous enhancement.

MEAN stack developers must be expert in JavaScript as MEAN is all about JavaScript for backend and frontend development.

  • Frontend And Backend Tools:

In MEAN, Angular is quite famous for building responsive, appealing, and user-friendly interfaces. Express.js is a Node.js web application framework and popular as a de facto standard server framework. MongoDB is a leading NoSQL database and widely used in modern applications. Node.js makes enterprise app development easier and faster and also good for high-traffic, real-time web applications.

Here, Full Stack developers have an extra advantage to choose from languages like PHP, C#, C++, Python, Java, or any other. Full Stack developers must know at least one backend and frontend framework to be able to develop modern web applications.

  • Responsibilities And Role:

MEAN stack developer is expected to have very good JavaScript knowledge. Full stack developers are responsible to handle the entire project from ideation to implementation. They must possess analytical as well as development skills to bring ideas to life from concept to development and deployment.

  • Frameworks:

Full Stack developers are quite fit for a diverse range of projects as they are capable to work on multiple frameworks and languages. Database knowledge is not restricted to MongoDB in the case of Full Stack.

MEAN stack developers can also use other JS-based client-side frameworks like React. This is why MERN came into existence. MERN consists of 4 technologies – MongoDB, Express, React, and Node.js. As MEAN stack developers are JS experts, they can quickly learn similar frameworks and tools.

Good Read: Full Stack Development – The Latest Techno Mantra Today

Full Stack vs MEAN Stack: A Quick Comparison

Full Stack MEAN Stack
Ability to develop full-fledged web applications Focused on 4 frameworks – MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, Node.js
Not restricted to JavaScript tools Focused on JS-based frameworks
Must be able to work on more than one client-side, server-side frameworks Proficient in these four frameworks
High in demand as they can deal with diverse tools/technologies Allows developers to leverage JavaScript for complete web application development
Requires proficiency in different programming languages Requires knowledge of frontend & backend development along with JavaScript expertise
Full Stack developers must possess analytical, architectural, and management skills due to their versatile role MEAN stack developers are one of the popular Full Stack developers for web development
Developers are getting paid higher than MEAN stack Comparatively lower paid than Full Stack developers

Full stack and MEAN stack developers have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see:

Why Full-Stack? Advantages of Hiring Full Stack Developers:

  • They can easily switch between different programming languages and frameworks
  • Knowledge of UI/UX and suitable architecture
  • Ability to turn ideas into reality from concept to actual implementation
  • Knowledge of various databases like MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle, SQL server
  • Can deal with server setups and deployments
  • API development and implementation
  • They can work upon a range of programming languages for frontend and backend such as Java, C#, .NET, Python, and JavaScript
  • They are quite faster to adopt new technologies or concepts
  • Familiar with modern architectural concepts like cloud, microservices, containerization, and orchestration
Disadvantages Of Hiring Full Stack Developers
  • They sometimes lack in-depth knowledge and that leads to delay and misperceptions
  • They are often overloaded with the tasks
  • Dependency on the Full Stack developer is higher and they are difficult to replace
  • It’s difficult to stay updated with every update of all frameworks/technologies

Now, let’s see the brighter side of the hiring MEAN Stack developers that are ultimately Full Stack developers.

Benefits Of Hiring MEAN Stack Developers:

  • Possess the experience of working on the database, frontend, and backend
  • Expertise in JavaScript-based technologies and complete web development
  • Able to manage every web development phase
  • Suitable for cutting-edge web application development
  • Able to develop individually and can handle a team of web developers
What Are The Disadvantages Of Hiring MEAN Stack Developers?

It is certainly a framework that is adopted by a number of leading organizations and utilizing benefits it has to offer but there are several disadvantages of the MEAN stack.

  • Lacks the ability to work on quite large-scale enterprises due to only JavaScript experience
  • Knowledge and scope are limited compared to full-stack development
  • Require more time to switch to different technologies/tools except for JavaScript
  • Developers must be able to have Node.js expertise to leverage its scalability and reliability
Which Is Better: MEAN Stack Or Full Stack?

Technically, this question simply does not make any sense as MEAN stack is a popular and widely-adopted Full Stack for web development.

As we have always suggested, choosing the technology and approaches depend on requirements along with factors like timeline, budget, and resources. Full Stack is increased in popularity due to its versatile role in this product-driven world. To make your customers happy, you need to develop faster and release faster. And to accomplish this, organizations need skills and responsibilities that save time and achieve goals using innovative and modern approaches. Definitely, Full Stack developers are the most sought-after skill in the upcoming years.

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