Top 5 Node.js Frameworks to Increase Coding Productivity

Node.js is an open source, cross-platform JavaScript runtime engine to develop server-side applications. Node.js uses Google’s V8 engine to compile JavaScript code into native code.

Node.js is based on non-blocking, event-driven architecture to help developers create robust and distributed applications.

We have covered tons of useful tutorials covering Node.js. Click here to start learning in depth.

Why we need a framework

The framework is a platform for developing software applications. Frameworks provide the foundation on which software program can be built.

This gives freedom to developers to focus on business logic while the rest of the code is provided by the framework.

What is Node.js framework

The Node.js framework is a high-quality code that is shipped as a foundation code on which one can write the business logic of software application.

Node.js frameworks provide you the easy way to kickstart your project and avoid doing the same thing again and again.

For example: In every Node.js web application, we create a router that acts as API for the front end. Though the business logic differs in each router, the codebase to generate the router is almost the same. This is exactly where frameworks come in, they generate these codebases in a clean and well-optimized project structure.

Types of Node.js framework

We can categorize Node.js frameworks in three sections:

  1. Model view controller frameworks.
  2. Full stack frameworks.
  3. REST API frameworks.

The model view controller or MVC Node.js frameworks helps you to create Node.js codebase structure using the MVC design pattern. Frameworks such as Express.js, Sails.js, Hapi.js are MVC frameworks.

In the MVC framework, you have a choice to choose various options such as you can change view engine, templates etc. In full stack MVC frameworks, you get everything pre-generated such as Scaffolding, template engine, sockets and persistence libraries.

In REST API frameworks, you get to create REST API’s using the framework.

My Top 5 Handpicked Node.js Frameworks

I have tried and test tons of frameworks and even contributed to some. These are my handpicked Node.js frameworks based on my experience.

1: Express.js (Github stars 42,722)

Express is a fast and minimalist web framework. If you have worked with Node.js technology then you must have used or heard about this framework. This framework is very well maintained and used by the tons of companies in production environment hence it is battle tested.

You can start with express by installing it in your project using npm.

Here is the sample code for reference.

const express = require(‘express’); 
const app = express();
app.get(‘/’, function (req, res) {
res.send(‘Hello World’)
});
app.listen(3000);

We have already covered tons of tutorials on Express framework, click here to dig in!

2: Meteor.js (Github stars 40,842)

Meteor is a cross-platform full stack framework to build an application using JavaScript. By using Meteor you can build applications that run on the web as well as on mobile platforms.

Meteor is trusted and used by the various companies and popular projects such as reaction commerce are also developed using Meteor.js.

3: Koa.js (Github stars 25,239)

Koa meant to be the next generation framework built by the team behind express. Koa focuses on leveraging latest ECMA6 functions such as async/await and ditch the callback hell. Koa focuses on increasing error handling by ditching callback hells.

4: Sails.js (Github stars 20,309)

Sails.js is an MVC framework focusing on building production-ready web applications. Sails.js provides a wide range of database supports, auto-generated APIs, integrates with any front end framework and has inbuilt integration of web sockets.

Sails.js is my go-to framework when I am in need to ship production grade code in a strict and tight timeline.

Also, did you know I have written a book on Sails.js? If no, then please have a look here.

5: Loopback.js (Github stars 12,470)

Loopback is the Node.js framework to build the end to end production grade REST API’s. Loopback is maintained by IBM and being used in the fortune 500 companies such as Bank of America.

Loopback provides rich documentation for the developers to kick off the development.

While these are my top 5 Node.js frameworks picks, I am still tracking the progress of these frameworks and I think you should keep an eye too.

  • Hapi.js — It is a substitute of Express and developed by Walmart labs to handle their black Friday traffic.
  • Adoni.js — Adoni claims to be the Laravel of Node. (Laravel is a very popular PHP MVC framework).
  • Nest.js — Nest is typescript based Node.js framework to build solid type cast JavaScript application.

Conclusion

Node.js frameworks save tons of your time but which one to choose? It totally depends upon your need though. If you ask me, if I am in urgency and need a production grade code — Sails.js is my option. When I am working on custom-built solutions with Node, express is my choice. Let me know how you choose the frameworks.


Originally published at codeforgeek.com on March 12, 2019.