Top 5 Node Js Frameworks For Web Apps

Demand for web apps has surged in 2022, as an increasing number of enterprises adopt them to provide a better user experience. In response to this growing need, developers constantly evaluate new frameworks that provide enhanced functionalities for developing online apps. According to the Node.js user survey study, four out of five full-stack engineers choose Node.js development frameworks.

These frameworks provide software engineers with unique toolkits for developing various use cases without wasting time or money on the web and mobile app development. However, when a technology is as successful as Node.js, it often has a vibrant developer community that is continually creating and proposing new frameworks.

As a result, selecting the appropriate framework may be challenging, especially when you have so many options to choose from. You can either take assistance from a Nodejs development company or do full-fledged research. Some results will allow for greater development flexibility, while others may encourage automation.

Well, to overall cut your efforts off, I’ve enlisted the top five most popular Node.js frameworks in this blog, according to developer popularity and usage. Additionally, the whens and whys to accomplish various tasks throughout web development are highlighted. 

Is Node.js considered a js framework?

There has long been controversy about whether Node.js is a framework. Generally, we do refer to it as one. However, Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment for server-side JavaScript code execution and portability. In layman’s terms, a runtime environment is a context in which a programme is executed. 

Frameworks, on the other hand, are used to create functions. Numerous developers have created Node.js frameworks such as Express.js, Meteor.js, and others to enable software engineers to create unique features for Node.js projects.

Types of Node Frameworks for web and mobile applications development 

While you may be eager to learn a new classic and straightforward framework, the sheer volume of available frameworks may overwhelm you. There are several classification schemes for frames, and some of them overlap. For instance, while I’ve included NestJS under REST API, you can also use it as a full-stack and MVC framework or simply to fire up a REST API server. 

HTTP server frameworks 

These frameworks are based on Express.js and assist you in developing applications that utilise HTTP verbs and routes. 

MVC frameworks

These frameworks support the MVC architectural style. MVC stands for Model, View, and Controller, a paradigm in software architecture that divides programme functionality into three distinct components. 

Models are used to manage data logic and to depict how data is stored. Controllers manage request flows and delegate information between the model and the view. Views are responsible for presenting information to the user. The controller will retrieve data from the model and transmit it to the view. 

MVC architecture is supported by Sails.js, Strapi, and AdonisJs. You can utilise it if you’re not interested in spending time arranging your applications. Additionally, the MVC design simplifies the understanding of your work by other engineers. 

Full-stack MVC frameworks 

Meteor and Feathers are two Node frameworks that provide full-stack development. They are both client- and server-side JavaScript applications. Additionally, this is referred to as an isomorphic code. 

These frameworks may include a variety of functionalities, such as templating engines, WebSocket libraries, and object-relational mapping (ORM) libraries. 

Rest API frameworks 

REST API frameworks include NestJS, Loopback, and Restify. They may be used to quickly start up a Node server or to simply handle CRUD queries.

Top Node js frameworks for your mobile/ web app development

1. Express.js

With 74.22 million monthly downloads on npm, Express.js is unquestionably the king of Node frameworks. It is widely regarded as the de facto Node.js web server framework. 

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Express, which was published in 2010, is a JavaScript application. Because of Ruby’s efficiency and maintainability, it is inspired by the Sinatra framework. Express is popular among developers because it is lightweight, quick, minimalist, and agnostic. It is optimised for the rapid app development process and deployment of web applications. 

The features and benefits of Express.js 

Express has tools (such as functions) that enable you to accelerate the process significantly by writing only a few lines of code. Express is a thin layer on top of Node, and due to Node’s asynchronous nature, we may concurrently process several requests. This implies that Express delivers a high-performance development environment with a short development cycle.

Express’s strong and durable routing system sends requests to particular endpoints, allowing you to write answers to them. 

Express does not provide a general method of arranging data. There are no hard and fast restrictions, which means you may organise your mobile apps any way you want and use whatever middleware you want. For instance, you may use any design pattern (MVC, MVP, MVVM, etc. ), but the most popular is the MVC pattern.

Integrating third-party services and middleware with Express is simple. Middleware can be used to parse requests, cookie headers, sessions, and security headers, as well as libraries. This enables the use of third-party libraries for authentication, database access, and session management, among other things. You can integrate with SQL or NoSQL databases with ease. 

To make HTML generation easier, the Express system supports over twenty template engines. Among the most popular are Pug, Mustache, and EJS.

Express has a huge community and does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. Additionally, its documentation is rather extensive. Additionally, Express has a minimal learning curve. It’s simple to pick up if you’re familiar with JavaScript. Indeed, the majority of frameworks are based on Express. 

Express is extremely simple to test because of its middleware and route-based architecture, which modularizes projects.

2. Koa.js

Koa.js is another node.js framework and is a contemporary replacement for Express. It is more supple, expressive, and strong. 

Koa, like Express, may be used to construct web services. Indeed, this framework was created by the Express team and is dubbed the “future of Express.” The team lowered the size of the Express middleware package, enhanced it with current JavaScript syntax, and provided developers greater freedom. 

Differences between Express.js and Koa.js

When we compare Koa to Express, we can see that Koa has omitted the majority of Express’s functionality. Koa is extremely agnostic, and it does not have routing, a templating engine, or JSONP by default. The primary goal of this is to accelerate Koa. It provides developers with greater freedom and reduces the complexity of developing code. 

Additionally, Koa offers greater customising choices. Thus, if a developer wants to work with middleware, they may either construct it from scratch or utilise the built-in middleware. 

Koa has a number of add-on modules, including a router, EJS templating, and a body-parser. 

Koa.js Features 

Koa focuses on the language’s current features, including generators, async functions, and the Node runtime. It eliminates callbacks through the use of Promise-based flows and async-await syntax, making the code more manageable, clearer, and understandable. 

Rather than using callbacks, Koa uses ES2015 generator syntax to construct middleware, which you can quit and then reenter using the yield keyword. 

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Koa makes use of a context object to combine request and response (req/res) objects. This enables developers to create APIs more effectively by utilising a variety of useful ways. 

Finally, Koa makes advantage of a cascading middleware architecture. Due to the use of asynchronous methods, the middleware will run in a cascading pattern until the last middleware is reached.

The benefits of utilising Koa.js

  • Koa is simple to learn if you are familiar with Express. 
  • It is only 600 lines of code in length. This enables developers to design more compact middleware. 
  • Koa outperforms Express in terms of processing more requests per second. 
  • With try/catch, Koa gives you greater flexibility over error handling, and it’s more modular. 
  • Due to the modular nature of Koa, refactoring bigger codebases is simplified. 
  • Koa provides a straightforward interface for constructing applications and APIs. 

3. Socket.io

Socket.io is mostly used to create real-time communication services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It establishes a two-way communication channel between the web client and the server.

To have a better understanding of this, we must first understand how clients and servers generally communicate over HTTP. The client submits a request, and the server answers. However, this is a one-way connection; the server is unable to initiate contact with the client. This is due to a variety of factors. Due to the statelessness of the HTTP protocol, it is difficult for the server to determine the IP addresses of all the different clients that are visiting.

In certain circumstances, the server must update the client in real-time. If we have a chat application, for example, the server should promptly broadcast fresh messages to all users. Instead of utilising HTTP, we must utilise WebSockets. WebSockets provide two-way communication between the frontend and backend in real-time.

Socket.io is composed of two components: a client-side library that runs in the browser and a server-side Node.js package. Both components have a virtually identical API due to the fact that we may run code in both the browser and the server. It adheres to Node’s EventEmitter paradigm.

Thus, for WebSockets to operate, the client establishes a permanent connection with the server, allowing both sides to send and receive messages.

Features of Socket.io

Socket.io connects Node apps to a dependable WebSocket connection. It enables real-time analytics in fewer lines of code and with increased performance.

If the server and client are unable to agree on a handshake, Socket.io reverts to lengthy polling and offers other protocols (WebSockets, Flash, XHR, and JSONP). It is compatible with a broad variety of browsers.

Additionally, Socket.io supports binary and multiplexing; we may communicate any blob data, such as photos, audio, or video, from either the client or server-side.

The framework supports auto-reconnection. If a client is unplugged, it will continue to retry until manually stopped.

Finally, Socket.io provides automated error detection and repair and establishes deep connections even when proxies and private firewalls are present.

The benefits of utilising Socket.io

  • Socket.io includes built-in support for middleware.
  • It’s simple to get started, and it enables rapid application development.
  • It enables a more basic configuration of audio and video streaming capabilities.
  • A sizable community

4. Fastify

Fastify is influenced by the Hapi and Express programming languages. It claims to be the quickest web framework available, and its benchmarks indicate that it is twice as fast as Express. Fastify lags behind Express solely when it comes to processing empty requests.

According to the 2020 State of JS report, Next and Express are tied for the most frequently used backend framework, followed by Fastify.

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This is because Fastify places a premium on eliminating performance overhead with a robust plugin architecture, while still focusing on the developer experience.

Features of Fastify

Fastify parses JSON instantly, renders it efficiently, and enables rapid routing. As a result, it is extremely performant, capable of serving up to 30,000 requests per second.

Due to its plugins, hooks, and decorators, it is extendable. It features a 200-plugin ecosystem.

Additionally, Fastify is compatible with Typescript, supports AWS Lambda, has a GraphQL adaptor, and includes a lightweight logger.

Finally, Fastify gently terminates an application. Before terminating the process, it stops accepting new connections and works to terminate all outstanding “keep-alive” connections.

The benefits of using Fastify

  • Production has no overhead.
  • Excellent experience as a developer
  • Automatic data validation and security
  • Simple to test
  • Versioning semantically, long-term support
  • Syntax for creating async code in controllers that is more readable

5. NestJS

NestJS is a progressive, adaptable, and extensible REST API framework for developing server-side applications that are efficient, dependable, and scalable.

Nest is written in contemporary JavaScript and is pre-configured to work with and support TypeScript. It incorporates concepts of OOP (object-oriented programming), FP (functional programming), and FRP (functional reactive programming) (functional reactive programming).

Internally, it is based on Express; however, it may alternatively be configured using Fastify.

Nest is Angular-inspired; it makes use of dependency injection, modularity, and decorators. You can create MVC (model-view-controller) applications, as well as REST and GraphQL APIs. Nest has an integrated wrapper for Apollo GraphQL.

Features of NestJS

Nest has a robust Command Line Interface (CLI) that increases developer productivity and simplifies the development process.

Additionally, it comes pre-configured with REST and GraphQL APIs, and you may use it to develop a full-stack application.

Nest has an out-of-the-box alternative for developing microservice-based applications. When you fire up a Nest server, it comes pre-configured with a minimal architecture built on a few key components (controllers, modules, and providers). This simplifies the process of dividing apps into microservices.

Finally, Nest has straightforward unit-testing apps. It includes specific environments for testing a variety of different types of applications.

The Benefits of Using NestJS

  • Nest is scalable because of JavaScript’s flexibility and TypeScript’s resilience.
  • Documentation that is comprehensive and well-maintained
  • It is actively developing and maintaining its codebase.
  • It is an open-source project (MIT license)
  • Code generation enables the development of apps to be completed more quickly.
  • Has a rapidly expanding community
  • Adheres to strong design standards and automates a large number of essential development tasks for developers

Final Words

We’ve covered a lot in this post, from Node to why we need frameworks, the many sorts of frameworks, and statistics. Following that, we discussed the five most often used frameworks: Express, Koa, Socket.io, Fastify, and Nest. This post aims to educate you about the differences between frameworks and assist you in selecting a Node framework that meets your unique needs.

How do you feel about these frameworks? Did I overlook your favourite? Kindly inform me in the comments section below.