Developers have been a great fan of Node JS frameworks and often find it confusing to decide which one to choose from. These frameworks are key to faster and easier NodeJS application development. Before we plunge into the pool of NodeJS frameworks, let us quickly understand the basic concepts of NodeJS and its key features.
What Is Node Js?
NodeJS has the competence to create/open/read/write/delete/close files on the server, generate dynamic page content, collect form data, add/delete/modify data in the database. It is considered ideal for creating video streaming apps, chat apps, news feeds, web apps, games, single-page apps, etc. There are three kinds of Node JS frameworks – MVC, Full-Stack MVC, and REST API.
NodeJS has been one of the most popular technologies worldwide, thanks to the following salient features:
- Lightweight, scalable, and fast
- Event-driven model
- Good community support
- Wide variety of library support
- Reusable code and real-time applications
- Secure frontend and backend development
- Effective client apps request handling
- No buffering and easy to learn
- Consistent source code
- Enhanced productivity and lesser development time
A few of the organizations that have been extracting the best of Node JS are Uber, Trello, LinkedIn, PayPal, NASA, eBay, Medium, and many more.
Best Node JS Frameworks
- Express JS
- Meteor JS
- Feathers JS
- Nest JS
- Hapi JS
- Adonis JS
Let’s look at each of these Node Js Framework in detail.
Express JS is one of the most flexible and lightweight Node JS framework that offers a minimalistic approach. As an easily usable framework for your project, it can be leveraged for any kind of development work related to web-based, mobile-based, browser-based, enterprise-level applications. It offers developers the flexibility to try their own tactics since it is not created around certain specified components. There is seamless integration with third-party database technologies like MongoDB, MySQL, Sentry, Datadog, etc.
Express JS can be utilized for single-page, multi-page, and hybrid applications. It is an integral part of the MEAN software stack. It is ideal for creating simple apps that need to handle multiple requests concurrently. Express offers a lot of support for various plug-ins and extensions and hence is highly scalable for web and mobile apps. It offers the option to bring in error handling middleware. Web apps like Twitter, Accenture, Intuit, etc. have been made with the benefits of Express JS.
- Maximum testability and high performance
- Fast server-side programming packages, RESTful API creation, and setup
- Multiple HTTP helpers
- Rapid prototyping and low learning curve
- Fully customizable with massive community support
- Powerful routing system for route definition centered on URLs and HTTP methods
- Supports MVC architecture for upcoming centric apps
Koa is the next-gen, open-source, NodeJS web framework that has been assisting developers to create APIs with ease, handling the HTTP middleware with a stack-like method. Various forms of content representation can be managed and maintained through a common URL. It is ideal for huge projects and creating large apps. It has been created by Express JS creators with an objective to have a more compact and expressive version for creating web apps.
Koa is utilized for frontend, backend, and hybrid systems. It has an inbuilt blanket for errors that avoids website crashes, and its error handling processes are highly effective. It is best leveraged while creation of servers and routes, managing errors and responses. Organizations like BrainHub, Paralect, Bulb, etc. have been using Koa as their tech stack. Since it uses a modular approach for development, the foundation is quite strong and secure.
- Customizable, futuristic, and personalized
- Powerful error handling and high performance
- Smaller and modernized footprint
- Facilitates upstream and downstream control flow
- Component dependent blocks
- Lightweight, robust, and interoperable
- Avoids call back through ES6 generator
Since Meteor is simple to learn and does not follow any difficult rules, it is ideal for novices who want to build apps for different platforms. Companies like Accenture, Esri, Deloitte, Nordstrom, etc. have been using Meteor for their apps. Its instant update feature provides an immediate reflection of changes in the template. Meteor JS has a competent toolbox with integration tools that helps developers create modernized apps. It can be integrated well with Cordova to create mobile apps from a similar codebase as other routine web apps.
- Highly responsive
- Good community support
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Robust and transparent data synchronization
- Interoperable and rapid prototyping
- Offers real-time updates
- Complete app development in a single framework
- Reliable, performant, and scalable
- Focussed binary support
- Auto-correction and effective error detection
- Addition of real-time analysis capabilities
- Exceptionally fast
- Instant chat and messaging feature
- Event-driven framework
MEAN.io is a popular web development framework that comprises the complete MEAN stack and other development tools. It offers complete support for the MEAN stack wherein M stands for MongoDB, E for Express JS, A for Angular JS, and N for Node JS. This complete development stack is integrated in such a way that all components are built to be working in connection with each other. It also has complete support for other tools like Babel, GraphQL, etc.
- Full proof and reliable
- End-to-end framework
- Secure, robust, and scalable
- Best of four technologies – MEAN
- Added NodeJS framework on top of ExpressJS
- Complete support for other external tools
- Easy to learn and implement for novices
DerbyJS is a known NodeJS framework that helps developers write real-time and collaborative apps that execute in different browsers with NodeJS. It has a focus on giving unique edit facilities with a lot of stability. There are features that multiuser and have a time frame that must be self-regulated. There is data time synchronization between servers, databases, browsers through its rendering engine called Derby Racer. It is ideal for real-time chats and web app development.
It is a two-way directional script development and hence and operates seamlessly across server and client script components. Developers can write customized code as per their requirement and hence offers a great deal of flexibility to do so. Loading content can become quicker with DerbyJS and even the creation of customized websites can be easier and faster. There is stringent support for online and offline conflict resolution with the help of operational transformation technology.
- Seamless and real-time data synchronization between client and server
- Using ShareDB for online/offline conflict resolution
- Compatibility with most browsers and devices
- Functionalities must be appended through npm commands
- Multiple editing options for developers
- No time lag between sending and processing requests
- Builds collective and real-time, customized apps
LoopBack is an extensible Node JS and TypeScript framework for creating Microservices and APIs. As a popular framework, it offers great connectivity with most Node JS frameworks. Integration of this framework can be done with multiple API services. It is best fit to create REST APIs in the least time possible. It offers great flexibility when connecting to various devices, databases, and browsers. Organizations like IBM, AN10, GoDaddy, and many others have been using LoopBack as their Node JS framework.
LoopBack can be utilized as an external API service and manages API requests easily for building them. It has a simple command-line interface with which developers can create different models based on circuits. There is a good amount of compatibility with many REST services and databases like Oracle, MySQL, MongoDB, etc. Being a full-stack technology, it is ideal for the creation of server-side APIs and performs as a connecting link between the server and the client.
- Module and transparent coding style
- Comprehensive and extensible support for networked apps
- Good support for a wide variety of databases
- Fast creation of dynamic and comprehensive APIs
- Operates in the cloud and on-premises
- Enhanced association between services and datatypes
- Developer friendly with good documentation
It can seamlessly interact with any backend technology and frontend technology like Angular, Vue JS, React, etc. Creating prototypes and production-ready apps in minutes is its unique selling point. It is meant for building complicated applications. It is a perfect combination of tools and architecture meant for creating real-time web apps from the beginning and scalable REST APIs. There are multiple plug-in support options available that can easily bring in the authentication.
- Light-weighted, flexible, and reusable
- CLI support and default plug-ins for authorization
- Automated RESTful APIs
- Ability to write sophisticated and transparent code
- Easy integration with a client-side framework
- Minimalistic and authenticated
- Datastore agnostic
Nest offers functional reactive programming features that can simplify complicated graphical user interfaces. This framework is ideally used for building apps with lower maintenance. There is extensive support for scalable and effective app development. It is also perfect to write testable, scalable, and loosely packed apps. Because of its salient features, it is crafted as a developer’s delight. Structuring the code becomes much easier and more organized for the developers. It combines the features of functional, functional reactive, and object-oriented programming.
- Extensible, versatile, and progressive
- Simple learning curve
- Front end compatibility with technologies
- Wide variety of libraries that are easy to use
- Enhances backend productivity
- Clear and reusable code
- Usage of high-level constructs – filters, interceptors, etc.
Sails.js has a strong object-relational mapping (ORM), Waterline that offers a simplistic data access layer that functions perfectly, despite any database being referred. It has reusable security policies and is frontend agnostic. It is ideal to establish customizable chat applications, gaming apps, and social media apps. It is created on Express with MVC architecture relying on Ruby on Rails. It is easily compatible with any front-end tool – React, Angular, etc. Organizations like Brainhub, Redox Engine, etc. have been leveraging this technology.
- Auto-generation of REST APIs
- Multiple database connectivity with ORM
- Creation of frontend and backend Node JS applications
- Simple WebSocket integration
- Real-time functionality support
- Net WebSocket Protocol support
- Compatibility with most databases
Total, as a NodeJS backend framework, is recommended when flexibility and customization are needed. It is highly flexible and has different versions like CMS, Eshop, etc. It is ideal for eCommerce web development. Since it does not have many dependencies, it helps in the faster creation of web and mobile apps. It offers seamless integration with other frameworks like React JS, Angular JS, Ember JS, etc.
- Excellent support and documentation
- Cloud-based and online services
- No third-party dependencies
- Faster, real-time tracking
- Developer friendly, hassle-free, and robust
- Quick prototyping, inbuilt SMTP mailing features
- Support for different databases like PostgreSQL, MySQL, etc.
Hapi is derived from HTTP-API and is a popular open-source NodeJS framework used to create efficient web applications. It is mainly used to create API servers, HTTP-proxy apps, and websites. It is well known for its security features and reliability and hence known to create real-time social applications. Hapi can be leveraged to build robust and scalable apps that possess the least overhead and different functionalities.
It is considered one of the best for creating JSON API. Hapi has a configuration-based functionality and no external dependencies. There is an integrated architecture system with complete authentication and authorization API support in the Node framework. Main Stack, Beam, Commerce Tools, etc. use Hapi in their businesses. It has a plug-in-based modular architecture and hence speeds up the entire process of app development.
- Highly scalable for development
- Quicker and simpler debugging
- Easy compatibility with other databases
- Enriched network
- Simple, secure, and reliable
- Code reusability, input validation
- Error handling and logging
Adonis.js is a fully-featured, MVC, NodeJS web framework. It can operate on all operating systems and offer a secure system for creating server-side apps for fulfilling business needs. It has features like Laravel and hence developers who are known to Laravel can easily use this NodeJS framework. It can be used to create web apps and different APIs. It has a strong ORM that assists in making secure SQL queries.
Adonis does not need download or assembling of thousands of packages together and hence is quite fast and efficient. It is not a minimalistic framework but is a jam-packed one with many baseline features. Zelo, Nina, Dotgroup, etc. are some of the organizations making the most of Adonis. Its huge API collection, inbuilt support for mailing and authentication helps developers in creating the best of apps
- Strict focus on security
- Input validation
- Extensible application layout
- API dependent authentical protocol
- Powerful ORM for creating secure SQL queries
- Simple methods to send emails
- Supports No-SQL databases
Strapi has default plug-ins offers with every new project. There is an admin panel that is sophisticated, flexible, and efficient. With it, developers can consume the API with the help of REST or GraphQL. The whole codebase is there on GitHub and there is huge community support. The content management features can be extended with customized plug-ins, as needed.
- Secure, flexible, performance-driven
- Modernized admin panel
- Supports all frontend frameworks
- Works well with all major databases
- Strong CLI
- Creates self-hosted APIs
Keystone is an effective and flexible tool for dynamic NodeJS development. It can manage huge masses of content with ease and efficiency. It is a framework that is ideally used for managing static and dynamic projects that are content-heavy. It is considered a superpowered CMS for developers. It is open-source, lightweight, flexible, and full-stack. It is a framework built on modern-day technologies like MongoDB, Express.
KeystoneJS is most used in social media systems, eCommerce portals, content management systems, etc. It has a wide range of modules for the backend, web protocols, databases for object modeling. Sony, Macmillan, Vodafone are a few of the organizations that are using Keystone. It has an intuitive user interface with distributed modules. It is a real-time framework to manage and track updates, on a regular basis.
- Supports dynamic routing, form processing
- Native add-on to edit and store images
- Efficient location tracking
- Customizable to let developers select the needed features
- Attractive admin UI for easy data management
- Session management and powerful filters
What a wonderful spread of Node JS frameworks do we have! And the list seems to be increasing more and more, as technology keeps spreading its arms. Which one to choose from, has always been a tough call. It depends upon many parameters that are organization-specific, project-specific. Consulting an experienced IT partner for choosing the apt Node JS framework would surely benefit!