Why MEAN stack is a great technology choice for new startups?

Vidit Saxena
Jul 14, 2016 · 3 min read

Most non-technical founders are puzzled when presented with so many technology choices for developing their ideas.

Most pros will agree that the tech stack should be chosen based on the ever-changing dynamics of the product.

But the right tech stack could mean time and money, and if you are following a lean approach, then it will most likely not be an option.

We get a lot of requests from 9 to 5ers working on that dream on the side and almost all of them have no clue on what technology to use.

Almost all times, we propose a combination Mongodb, Nodejs, Expressjs, Angularjs because one can develop with speed thereby saving clients a lot of time and money and the final product is highly maintainable and scalable.

This stack provides developers — and by extension, their clients — many powerful tools and opportunities when it comes to developing web applications.

The stack is built up out of four JavaScript-based technologies used together to create web applications. They are as I mentioned above:

  • MongoDB: A schemaless NoSQL database system that uses binary JSON formatted data to make communication between server and client easier.
  • ExpressJS, a framework used to build single or multi-page web applications in Node.js (see below).
  • AngularJS, a Google-developed JavaScript framework that excels at rapid front end development.
  • Node.js, a server-side JavaScript execution environment built on Google Chrome’s V8 JavaScript runtime.

Unlike other stacks which use multiple programming languages, such as the old fashioned LAMP stack, the MEAN stack only uses one — JavaScript. This gives one programmer much more power over the whole workflow than in other systems.

Using the same programming language in both the front and back ends of the application has multiple benefits. For one thing, it makes data communication between server and client simpler and faster. It makes modifications to either end easier. It also promotes reusing code across the multiple technologies that in turn helps keep the application secure and stable.

Thanks to Node the stack is amazingly scalable, suitable for anything from single-page web applications through to larger, traffic-heavy ones. This makes it an ideal platform for a startup to build their applications on.

Traditional web-server techniques can quickly max out the amount of RAM available to them for handling requests — that is, people trying to use your web application. Each request generates a new thread which piles up: for start-ups who might not have the most ideal infrastructure in place to begin with, this is clearly problematic.

Using Node, however, allows the application to process many thousands of requests on a single thread without straining available RAM.

It’s easy to get a project started with the MEAN stack. There’s no need for a stand-alone server to run it: it can be deployed straight to any existing server. Modifications to the code can be made using any text editor, and a single operator with a good knowledge of JavaScript can keep an eye on the entire application from server side to client.

Not all is glory though, and there are a few pitfalls to the MEAN stack, but these are related to development. Using one language for the entire stack means the developer needs to know the language well. Node.js is amazingly flexible and powerful, but requires a lot of knowledge to get the most out of.

There’s a trade-off to the openness and flexibility of Express: having many options may allow you to do more things, but you must also make more choices, which can slow the process down.

What it means for the client, however, is that startups can have a platform on which to build their web applications that is powerful, flexible, and scalable.

It gives them something they can use when they’re still small, but which will also grow along with them to support more and more intensive applications without needing to change any of the fundamental work already done.

Hope it helps you make a decision on what route to take!

Vidit Saxena

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Always figuring things out at the intersection of Product Management, UX, Web Development and Startups. I write about it here and on viditsaxena.com