Developing Modern Web Applications with MEAN Stack

23-May-2016

A number of surveys have indicated a steady increase in the number of people accessing websites on their smartphones, tablets and phablets. Hence, it becomes essential for developers to adopt responsive web design to make the websites look good and accessible on both computers and mobile devices. Google further recommends web application developers and owners to adopt responsive web design to increase the search engine visibility and ranking of websites. Hence, most developers nowadays combine open web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript to make the websites more responsive and mobile-friendly.

As a client-side scripting language, JavaScript is currently being used by more than 90% of all websites. The web developers can take advantage of MEAN stack to write both front-end and back-end of the website in JavaScript. As a free and open source software stack, MEAN has four key components MangoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS and NodeJS. As each component of MEAN stack is open source and free, it becomes developers to create modern and dynamic modern web applications without increasing project overheads. There are also a number of reasons why many developers nowadays opt for MEAN stack.

Overview of Key Components of MEAN Stack

MangoDB

MangoDB is an open source, cross-platform and NoSQL database. It enables web application developers to save data in binary JSON format. Hence, the developers can easily replace the traditional table-based relational database structure with JSON-like documents. The dynamic schema associated with the JSON-like documents further make it easier for web application developers to transfer data between the client and server faster and more efficient.

ExpressJS

As a web application server framework, Express.js is designed with features to simplify development of various web applications. In addition to being written in JavaScript, Express.js is considered as the standard server framework for NodeJS. The web developers can avail a wide variety of plug-ins provided by Express.js to add functionality to the website without writing additional code. They can further use ExpressJS for building both single-page and multi-pages websites.

AngularJS

As a widely used JavaScript library, AngularJS allows web developers to HTML as a template language. The programmers can take advantage of the HTML compiler provided by AngularJS to use HTML similar to XML. They also have option to extend the existing tags and their attributes, in addition to creating custom tags. Also, they can use directives to structure the web pages according to available data. AngularJS further allows users to use directives to simplify development of large and complex websites.

NodeJS

NodeJS enables web developers to write server-side code in JavaScript. However, NodeJS, unlike other JavaScript tools, is a cross-platform runtime engine. Also, it relies on Google’s V8 JavaScript engine to interpret the code written in JavaScript. NodeJS further makes it easier for developers to scale the website by adding extra nodes to the project or additional resources to individual nodes. The runtime engine further allows users to take advantage of a number of widely used JavaScript development tools. For instance, the developers can use a robust package manager like npm to specify and install project dependencies in a more efficient way.

Advantages of Developing Web Applications with MEAN STACK

  • As noted earlier, MEAN stack enables developers to write both client-side and server-side code in a single programming language – JavaScript. Also, the developers can easily enhance the application’s functionality and performance by taking advantage of robust JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS and NodeJS.
  • AngularJS supports model-view-controller (MVC) design principle. Hence, it becomes easier for developers to keep the business logic and user interface of the website separate. The JavaScript library further allows programmers to organize the entire project through modules. The developers also have option to create custom modules, and effectuate testing by dividing the entire project into smaller modules or components.
  • The MVC pattern and smaller modules further make it easier for developers to maintain and update the website. AngularJS further helps programmers to keep the code base clean and organized by using HTML as a template language. They can accomplish various tasks by extending the existing HTML tags and creating custom tags. Hence, MEAN stack makes it easier for enterprises to manage and update their web applications without any hassle.
  • MangoDB enables programmers to save data in binary JSON format. The binary JSON format can boost data transfer between the client and server more efficiently than the table-based relational database structure. Hence, MEAN stack makes it easier for programmers to boost the performance and speed of the web application by reducing the server response time.
  • Each component of LAMP stack is open source. The developers can use LAMP stack without incurring any additional expenses and increasing project overheads. At the same time, they can easily make changes to each component of LAMP stack according to their specific needs by taking advantage of their openness.

On the whole, MEAN stack enables developers to create websites using open and open source web technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Also, the programmers have option to write both front-end and back-end of the web application in a single programming languages. Also, the developers can take advantage of robust JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS and NodeJS to write clean, structured and maintainable code.

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