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What Are the Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019 and Why? Top 5

What Are the Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019 and Why? Top 5

by RADU SIMILEANU on Jan 31 2019

The future is now... That predicted future where Node.js dominates the landscape of the application and web development technologies. And so, the “tormenting” question that you're dealing with right now must be: “But what are the best Node.js frameworks in 2019?”

Followed closely by:

“And which one of them should I use? Which one of these web server frameworks best fits my own project requirements?”

And, as a Quora user pointed out:

“This is just like asking what clothes to wear out. It depends on where you're going right?”

To give you a hand, we've weighed the pros and cons, both the developers' and the end-users' reviews. We've compared their “stocks” of GitHub stars, and shortlisted the Node.js frameworks to... 5 frameworks holding a higher scope than the rest:

 

But First, What Is a Node.js Framework More Precisely?

First of all, yet without getting knee deep into technical jargon, let's briefly pass in review the main reasons why Node.js — a tool for developing server-side web apps quick and easy — has got so influential:

It enables developers to build fast and scalable server-side apps.

And it all comes down to these 2 key benefits.

All that talk about:

 

  • its innovative event-based I/O model
  • about it being conveniently lightweight
  • about single-threaded asynchronous programming

     

… can be reduced to these 2 “irresistible” advantages.

And by “fast” I don't refer to page loading times only, but to the fact that it speeds up the development process itself, as well:

With Node.js implementing the server side, developers don't need to “joggle with” 2 languages anymore. One for the back-end/server-side and one for the front-end/client-side.

Now, back to the initial question:

What is a Node.js framework?”

Take it as some sort of Node.js-based abstract design or “skeleton” that you can build your own custom code on.

An... empowering “skeleton” that comes packed with:

 

  • a set of tools
  • guidelines and best practices

     

… that help you/your development team quickly prototype and develop your project.

And, since its out-of-the-box features help you keep code consistency throughout the team, a Node.js framework will implicitly:

 

  1. boost your productivity
  2. enhance your app project's scalability

     

Does that answer your question?

 

1. Express.js

The 5 Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019: Express.js

It stands out as “the minimalist” framework in our list here:

A Node.js-based technology that takes on the role of a middleware between our servers and routes.

And its robust APIs is one of the main “culprits” for its increasing popularity — one of the best Node.js frameworks in 2019.

It practically enables app developers to set up routes to send/receive requests between the database (MongoDB) and the front-end (Angular).

Another one of its “selling points” is given by the heavy load of packages that you can just “inject” into the Express.js framework to extend its functionality.

 

Benefits:

 

  • low learning curve
  • short app development cycle time
  • ideally customizable
  • mostly browser-focused, meaning that templating and rendering comes as a default feature 
  • great 3rd party integration (Pug, EJS, Mustache and other template engines and modules available on NPM)

     

Drawbacks:

 

  • its code organization 
  • event-driven callbacks (a type of architecture that “tempts” you with unmatched flexibility at the price of... unwanted complexity as your app scales up)

     

2. Meteor JS

The 5 Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019: Meteor JS

The key advantage that propelled Meteor in the 5 best Node.js frameworks in 2019? Real-time updating.

And there's more! It's built to power really large projects (e.g. Reaction Commerce) and, if documentation is a particularly heavy-weighing criterion for you, this framework's backed by a large community.

One that has already put together rich and clear documentation to help you get your web app up and running in no time.

 

Benefits:

 

  • real-time testing tool and debugging
  • a wide range of libraries and packages to boost its core functionality with
  • seamless client-server communication

     

Drawbacks:

 

  • there's no native widget library
  • no MongoDB support
  • … PWA support
  • … or rendering on the server side, either

     

3. Sails.js, One of the Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019

The 5 Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019: Sails.js

The most... compatible Node.js framework in our list, we could say.

For Sails.js “gets along well” with:

 

  • almost all databases
  • most of the front-end technologies, as well (Angular, Android/Java, Backbone, React, iOS/Objective C)
  • the great majority of adapters: Mongo, MYSQL, Local Disk, Redis, PostgreSQL

     

And it's not at all “picky” when it comes to the types of controllers, models, views, adapters, and configuration files that the applications that it powers might include.

In short: it's a highly compatible framework with data-based APIs and service-oriented, scalable architecture. One that gives you a more... robust “skeleton” to start with, we might say.

 

Benefits:

 

  • it separates business logic from presentation logic
  • it can store data anywhere
  • it speeds up the Rest API building process
  • no additional routing
  • generates free JSON API
  • good Socket.io support

     

Drawbacks:

 

  • it's one of the... slow Node.js frameworks
  • time-consuming project development process
  • poor asset management

     

4. Koa.js

The 5 Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019: Koa.js

Developed by the same team that designed Express.js, Koa sets itself apart from the rest of the Node.js frameworks in our top here with some unique features:

 

  • it uses next-generation methods of ES6 that enables you to work without callbacks
  • … and grants you more control when it comes to error handling
  • there's no middleware, which means that the lines of code are more granular, the middlewares are more... component-based, more cascaded
  • … thus granting you with increased control over your configuration

     

Why has the Express.js team decided to build a new Node.js framework? What have been their major goals:

 

  • to build a smaller sized framework compared to Express.js
  • …. a more expressive one
  • to provide developers with a more robust “scaffolding” for building their web apps and APIs on

     

Benefits:

 

  • easier to control error handling
  • it's significantly lighter than other frameworks
  • modular structure
  • it gave up on callbacks and thus removed all the well-known asynchronous issues
  • support for Sync/await keywords
  • cascading middlewares

     

Drawbacks:

 

  • it's not compatible with express-style middleware, with Node.js middleware
  • there isn't a large community to rely on for support

     

5. LoopBack.js

The 5 Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019: LoopBack.js

One of the best Node.js frameworks in 2019 that “spoils” you with:

 

  • a dynamic API web browser 
  • easy-to-use CLI 

     

What makes it unique in our list here? The fact that it empowers developers to build their own models based on their own dynamic models or schemas.

To come up with their own server API, that would be further assigned to a new server. Pretty much like building an API that's proxy for... another API.

In addition to that, it supports a whole range of databases: PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB and REST services.

 

Benefits:

 

  • fast development cycle
  • modular and structured code
  • available add-on components for Oauth2, 3rd-party login, file management 
  • support for browser and native mobile SDKs: iOS, Android/Java, JavaScript browser
  • you can rapidly create dynamic end-to-end REST APIs 

     

Drawbacks:

 

  • monolithic, opinionated architecture
  • steep learning curve

     

Final Word 

As already mentioned, at the beginning of this post: a mere inventory of the best Node.js frameworks in 2019 is not the answer.

 

It's the best web server framework for your own project's requirements that you need.

 

What are your priorities when it comes to the benefits that you “reap” from using one Node.js framework over the other? Is it:

 

  • top speed?
  • fast development 
  • high maintainability
  • rich documentation and a thriving community backing it up?

     

Friendly advice: don't invest all your resources in learning one such Node.js framework since new, more tempting and feature-rich ones will emerge. Instead, learn the business in the front-end/back-end or the language itself (JavaScript) to future-proof your... investment.

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