However, with time, Node.js has shed the “web development” tag and has ventured into bigger things like API development and mobile app development.
But, even after all this time, a huge misconception remains about Node.js – that it is a framework.
The fact is, Node.js is a runtime environment based on Google Chrome’s V8 engine.
Node.js has risen to prominence with astonishing speed and the reason is that just like Angular filled the void of client-side scripting, Node filled the server-side void and even had features that could help glue both the client and server sides. Such is the Node.js craze, that we frequently see new frameworks built around it.
But with the advent of so many frameworks, developers are in a dilemma as to which one they should pick. This article aims to clear those doubts as we walk you through different Node.js frameworks, their features, use cases, and what companies have been using them and also why you should hire a Node.js development team.
But one doubt must be cleared before we dive into the frameworks.
Why should you opt for a Node.js framework?
They say if your app is not scalable, it’s not worth investing in.
So scalability is one of the primary things developers have in mind while building an app with Node.js. Node.js makes sure scalability does not turn out to be cumbersome for the developers.
The non-blocking I/O operations of Node.js ensure efficient performance.
Time is a major issue for businesses, more so if we are talking about startups. Since Node.js is lightweight, it significantly reduces the app development time. On top of that, the simple deployment makes sure the production team can receive and review it within a jiffy.
With such high-profit qualities, is it really a surprise that Node.js is literally ruling the world of web development in 2021?
Let us now move ahead and look at the top 11 Node.js frameworks in use.
The most popular of the Node.js frameworks, Express is a minimalist framework used to get quick builds without the hassle of legacy codes. Even the most popular web development stacks – MEAN and MERN – use Express as their standard backend go-to framework.
- It provides ample support for different plugins and extensions.
- Express has HTTP utility methods that help in the fast creation of robust APIs.
- Its simple code provides for easy scalability of web and mobile apps.
- Express gives you the option to introduce error-handling middleware.
- The framework allows for the creation of a REST API server.
- The fast development of single-page web applications and APIs
A newer venture by the Express team itself, Koa.js is a godsend when it comes to customizing apps and managing content on web applications. It takes a modular approach for building web apps and APIs, thus laying a much stronger foundation. A primary reason for its fast rise is the fact that it has no middleware attached to the core, but it uses a set of methods to create fast and reliable servers.
- It has an ES6 generator that can be used to avoid callback.
- Excellent error handling features also make Koa a top choice among its rivals.
- The lightweight structure of Koa leads to better app performance.
- Progressively streamlined middleware (functions that has access to both request and response) makes sure there is no chance of having messy code.
- Development of customizable web applications and APIs
One of the best Node.js frameworks, Meteor.js has been around for some time now and is being used by over a million developers as of 2021. It is a major help in building lightweight cross-platform apps at a quick pace and has been used for major open source projects like Reaction Commerce.
- It is compatible with iOS, Android, web, and desktop.
- It has a lightweight structure boosting performance
- App development with Meteor.js removes the hassle of having to update mobile applications continuously
- Meteor makes synchronous web requests with cross-platform support
- The framework allows for the usage of similar APIs on the client and server sides.
- Building robust cross-platform apps
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Socket.io is your go-to Node.js framework if you wish to build a real-time web application or want seamless bi-directional communication between server and clients. It is primarily built around the event-driven nature of Node.js and can also store each client’s data securely by broadcasting to multiple web sockets.
- Socket is an event-driven framework.
- It facilitates real-time communication.
- Socket is compatible with all browsers and devices
- It transports client data as real-time logs
- It helps with easy audio or video streaming
- Building chatbots
- Video or audio streaming features
Based primarily on angular.js architecture, Nest.js is a developer favorite when it comes to building robust and scalable server-side applications. And just like its ancestor, Nest.Js is a breeze to test and maintain. The primary reason for such impressive details is the fact that Nest.js works on the basic principles of object-oriented programming and functional programming, coupled with Typescript integration.
- Nest has a modular architecture for better flexibility
- The host of external libraries for better customization is another bonus.
- Availability of Nest CLI is a major USP of Nest.js. Nest CLI is a command-line tool that assists in the initialization, deployment, and maintenance of Nest.js applications.
- Nest’s built-in testing package makes the job easier
- It has various facilities to build microservices
- Building scalable server-side web apps
- HTTP based REST APIs
If you are familiar with Express.js, then Sails.js may be the next step forward for you. Sails.js has recently been garnering a lot of attention for helping developers create RESTful APIs without them writing any code. The code is auto-generated and developers may add whatever little code they need to, to customize it. However, the one roadblock is the fact that Sails.js has a steep learning curve. But once you’re set, there’s no limit to what you can achieve once you hire Node.js web developers.
- It is a Model-View-Controller(MVC) framework, which helps create scalable and extensible apps.
- Sails.js provides built-in support for WebSockets with the help of Socket.io.
- It supports various databases with the help of database ORM/ODM Waterline
- Sails has many unique security features like CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery) and compatibility with Lusca
- Code organization is good and makes for easy blueprint creation
- The framework assists in data validation
- Modular architecture with a plethora of plugins
- There is no dearth of documentation when it comes to Sails.js.
- MVC web app development
- RESTful API development
- Lithium Technologies
- Tutor Platform
- Redox Engine
Created by Walmart Labs, HAPI (HTTP API Server) is famous for the long list of integrations and plugins it brings to the table. It is also the automatic choice for building enterprise applications that require many checks and validations as Hapi.js automatically gives you good control over request handling.
- Hapi.js has a plugin-based modular architecture. For scaling your app, you can simply add the required plugins.
- It caches the API response which in turn boosts the app performance by a significant amount.
- Hapi speeds up the whole web development process with its abundant web server functionalities.
- The learning curve is not as steep owing to the rich API documentation present.
- Hapi has special integrations to aid in creating superior microservices.
- Probably the only con, but endpoints of REST APIs have to be created and tested manually in Hapi.js.
- Development of REST APIs
- Building scalable web applications.
- Beats Music
This full-stack Node.js framework is good for building server-side APIs and also provides the connecting link between client and server. But the USP of Loopback which its counterparts do not have is the fact that Loopback.js allows developers to design API models based on their database.
- Loopback provides support for a plethora of databases (PostgreSQL, Oracle, MySQL, and MongoDB).
- It runs perfectly on the cloud.
- Organized code structure and excellent documentation make it developer-friendly.
- It quickly connects browsers and devices to the data.
- Using the in-built CLI, you can scaffold your project and ramp up the development.
- Loopback.js also provides a built-in ORM which means the database can be queried directly from the client-side by using simple filters.
- Loopback bases its work on models and even communication between services created have to be done with the help of models. This makes it a messy option for a very long-term project which will have to be scaled repeatedly.
- API Development
A Laravel based framework, Adonis.js has one of the smoothest learning curves among all its contemporaries. It is an MVC framework and has an enviable collection of APIs which makes the developer’s job so much easier. It also has built-in support for mailing, authentication, and data validation. However, the one thing holding back Adonis.js is the dearth of major projects in it. Once a few big names start using it, Adonis will have more documentation, backers, and credibility.
- It has an organized folder structure, making it easier for team members to follow the workflow.
- Adonis has its very own validator which automatically vets all incoming user inputs.
- It has a robust ORM that provides support for MariaDB and MySQL databases.
- It has service providers which regulate the dependencies throughout the lifecycle.
- Adonis also has commendable security features which block attempts of CSRF (Cross-site Request Forgery)
- The whole manual testing process becomes a piece of cake as developers are given the option to write functional unit tests in Adonis.js.
- Server-side API Development
- Building scalable web apps.
Derby.js is an open-source, full-stack Node.js framework that is best used to create collective apps and APIs. It is compatible with most browsers and devices and provides for seamless data transfer between client and server. A major chink in Derby’s armor, however, is the fact that it has a tiny community, and finding solutions to any issue you are having may not be a very successful venture.
- Features and functionalities have to be added via npm commands.
- Provides flawless data synchronization between client and server in real-time.
- Derby gives the developer a lot of editing options.
- It allows the same code to be used on the client and server sides.
- Derby is a godsend when it comes to SEO. It presents the client-side view on the server-side as well, so there’s no time lag at all between request sending and processing.
- Derby provides the server with the power to automatically resolve conflicts.
- Building collective apps.
- Development of real-time custom apps
- Prototyping is quick in Total.js.
- It supports several databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB.
- Total makes good use of NoSQL databases to simplify the development of complex applications.
- The framework has inbuilt SMTP mailing features and image processing tools.
- Real-time responsive apps
- Mobile app development
Node.js is a runtime environment greatly suited for businesses. Not only does it guarantee easy scalability and quick deployment, but it also aims at the development of a minimum viable product (MVP).
All frameworks built with Node.js have these qualities and most of them have USPs of their own. These frameworks may be used for myriad purposes – web apps, mobile apps, chatbots, or even APIs and games.
If you are still in doubt about which of these frameworks would be the best fit for you, reach out to Radixweb, which has been a leading Node.js development company with satisfied clients for years now.
Drop us a call or an email for assistance in choosing a framework!