5 Popular Node.js Frameworks (And What They Do)

Posted by
David Appleyard in Development category

Node.js is a tool to help developers build apps outside the browser environment using JavaScript. It’s an emerging technology that bridges the gap between the server, and web or mobile apps.

It reduces the complexity of having to balance two programing languages for front-end and back-end work, can help make development quicker and is quickly gaining status as one of the premier options for developers.

Frameworks are built on top of Node.js to extend functionality, and push the capability of the language further. Using one of these as a starting point can save lots of time, and help you begin development fast. Today, we’re highlighting a few of the most popular frameworks (and what makes each unique).

1. Express

In terms of Node.js options, Express is one of the most mature, well-documented options. It’s stable, supports plenty of plugins and has a great routing API. The framework has a minimalist outline that allows the developer to take control of each project and how it will be organized. This provides great flexibility but can be a bit overwhelming to those who are new to Node.js.

Express also has the largest database of users and excellent documentation. So, you can find all the information you need about getting started with the framework.

What it does: Express allows developers to build a web application framework with a robust set of features specifically for single or multi-page web applications.

2. Meteor

Meteor is one of the most well-liked Node.js options. It boasts a supportive community on GitHub and great documentation that can help you learn to build real-time web and mobile apps with pure JavaScript. It works right “out of the box” and uses just one API on the client and server sides.

The biggest advantage to Meteor is that developers use the same code for apps across devices. This makes it a lot easier to push updates without app store approval or forcing users to download a new app each time. It’s also lightweight, rendering just 10 lines of code for what could otherwise take 1,000 thanks to an integrated JavaScript stack.

What it does: Meteor is a full-stack open source platform for building web, iOS and Android apps from the same code base.

3. Total.js

Total.js is an easy upgrade for fans of PHP’s Laravel, Python’s Django or ASP.NET MVC with a similar workflow for developers. The framework allows developers to use any database option, and includes Total Platform, which includes a collection of libraries and best practices to help jumpstart web application projects.

The framework is modern and modular, making it fairly easy to learn, and it does all the compressing for you, so additional tools aren’t needed to make the most of this framework and implementation.

What it does: Total.js is a server-side framework that that fosters super-fast development, low maintenance costs, is stable and scalable, and performs well in a variety of uses.

4. Sails

Sails is designed to close the gap between development and implementation, allowing development of practical, production-ready Node.js apps in just a few weeks. It is the most popular model-view controller framework for Node.js and emulates Ruby on Rails for ease of use.

Key elements include an app that’s written in 100 percent JavaScript, it works on any database, includes auto-generated rest APIs to jumpstart the app’s backend without writing code, is compatible with any device and comes with plenty of professional support to ensure that your project hits the ground running and keeps moving forward. Popular uses of Sails include real-time chat apps, dashboards and multi-player games.

What it does: Sails is a tool that’s best for large, enterprise scale apps, and is used by well-known companies such as Verizon, Microsoft and the Detroit Lions.

5. Hapi.js

Hapi.js is quickly emerging as one of the leaders in Node.js frameworks. It includes a robust plugin system and can handle a number of tasks, including input validation, error handing and implement caching.

Hapi.js sets itself apart by helping developers write reusable bits of application logic, rather than focusing on infrastructure. While this might sound simple, it can make a lot of difference in development to launch time. The framework is stable and reliable, updated frequently and is downloaded more than 200,000 times per month, so there’s a dedicated community of users to work with.

What it does: Hapi.js is a powerful framework for building APIs and other software applications. It has big-time enterprise clients such as Macy’s and Conde Nast.

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