To start with, you should agree that information technology is one of the most reforming and developing industries. 

One reason behind this is the increasing popularity of web applications. All businesses are turning towards web applications to improve their customers’ experiences.

But today we will talk about technologies (this is what we generally do). 

There are various technologies in the world for web development, some of which are trendy and some of which are not so trendy.  

Here we are pointing towards the NodeJS framework. Have you ever wondered how the framework became so prevalent in such a jiffy? 

Because the Node.js runtime lets developers build both front and backend applications by using only JavaScript, there is no more swapping between different languages for the backend and front end. 

Once seen as a knick-knack, a language for amateurs, has now revolutionized the web. 

The advantage of Node.js is that it is currently one of the most accelerated server-side web app platforms. With the Node.js framework, companies can proficiently develop scalable apps in a single language. It is an open-source framework with multi-platform features. 

In this blog, we will not point out the best Node.js framework but will provide you with information on Node.js’s popular frameworks and give you a comparison of the best Node.js frameworks so that you can choose for yourself. 

Let’s dive into it!

Is Node.js a Framework? What is a Node.js Framework?

nodejs framework

Node.js is an open-source environment that offers variety of tools and development structures to allow developers to work more adaptably. 

It is developed to operate servers on all OS and devices. It also uses JavaScript as its primary programming language, which explains the JS in Node, which is preferred the most in designing web-enabled mobile apps.  

Node.js offers the ease of creating secure and scalable network programs for writing code outside the browser. 

Still, many get mazed about whether Node.js is a framework or a language.

What do you think? 

If Node.js comes from JS, it might be the framework of JS. This is the rule we know with other languages and their frameworks.  

If it’s that simple, you might not have opened this blog for sure. 

There are two main types of languages: programming languages and scripting languages. A programming language needs a compiler to compile the code, whereas another needs an interpreter to produce code at run time. 

Moreover, JS was developed to create “alive pages” that collaborate with the user. But, with the technical advancement, we made a new jargon, Node.js. Based on this definition, Node.js cannot be a framework or a computer language. 

The interpreter implementing the code is integrated into Node.js separately. Node.js makes use of the Chrome V8 engine to run JavaScript on a platform. Using Node.js, we can do many things that aren’t possible with JS. 

Some facts about Node.js:

  • Popular companys like Netflix, eBay, PayPal, and LinkedIn use Node.js in their websites and application development project. 
  • More than 85% of developers use Node.js to build web applications.
  • Since Node.js uses JavaScript to build the backend, it gets easy for a javascript developer to create an entire product. 

Check out our blog to understand the uses cases of Node.js

Types of Node.js Frameworks

nodejs framework

You might now be eager to learn a new framework, but the exact number of frameworks might make you swamped. For this reason alone, it’s easy to learn the types of Node.js frameworks, and the types of Node.js frameworks are:

  • HTTP server framework
  • MVC frameworks
  • Full-stack MVC frameworks
  • Rest API frameworks

The HTTP server frameworks depend on Express.js, which helps in developing applications over HTTP prospects. 

The MVC frameworks come with a Model, View, and Controller architecture. It divides the functionality of the apps into three parts. Models store and manage the data, views manage the way the information is showcased to the user, and the controller’s request flows and controls information between the model and view. 

Full-stack MVC frameworks utilize JavaScript on both the client and server sides. They include many features such as WebSocket libraries, ORM programming technology, and templating engines.

Rest API frameworks utilize and operate a fast node server to manage the CRUD requests.  

nodejs framework

How To Choose The Best Node.js Framework?

This one question appears on many forums and social media sites, and all the replies seem to be full of solid opinions. You can even find developers arguing about this issue. However, if none of these responses helped you, this blog will do. We will provide you with some specific points that make things understandable. 

One good thing is to create a checklist for making a Node.js framework comparison yourself. Although choosing one Node.js framework for your requirements and as per the requirements of your web app is difficult because it gets influenced by various decisions. 

However, for comparing Node.js frameworks, you should keep in mind some criteria such as scalability, ecosystem, and functionality. This will simplify your task. 

The points you should dwell on while choosing the best Node.js framework are:

1. The cost linked with the software development product

2. The aim and type of project

3. Community

4. Scalability

5. Performance requirements

6. Configuration options

7. Updated versions

Top Node.js Framework

Before this, a fun fact-

According to a web survey report on Node.js, every 4 out of 5 back-end and full-stack programmers consider Node.js their first choice. 

So, here are the full details regarding the best Node.js framework for 2022 that will provide you with full support. 

We will mention the five most-liked frameworks and compare their features. 

The top Node.js frameworks that we are going to compare are:

  • Express.js
  • Koa.js
  • Socket.io
  • NestJS
  • Fastify

There is Hapi.js, an older framework with more npm downloads compared to Fastify. But, this is also a fact that Fastify is growing fast, and this is one reason we are featuring Fastify in this article. 

Express.js    

nodejs framework

Express.js, aka “Express,” is a well-known and popular tool for backend web development platforms.  

Express.js is considered the leading monarch of the Node framework, with 74.22 million monthly downloads on npm. It is regarded as a de jure web server framework for Node. 

It was launched in 2010 and is written in JavaScript. Do you know that Express.js is derived from the Sinatra framework due to Ruby’s efficiency and enhancements? 

Why are developers more inclined toward Express.js?

First, because it is light-in-weight, fast, minimalist, and unopinionated. The framework is designed to develop and run web applications swiftly. 

Advantages of Express.js

  • Express comes with a feature that speeds up the process by only entering a few lines of code. So Express provides high performance and a rapid development experience. 
  • It has a robust and resilient routing system that handles all requests through routes and so you can write responses to a specific endpoint. 
  • Express doesn’t have any strict rules, you can choose how to build your application. You are free to select any design pattern be it MVC, MVP, MVVM, etc.
  • This system supports 20-plus template engines to simplify the process of generating HTML. Some of the popular ones are EJS, Mustache, and Pug. 
  • Express has a big community and doesn’t seem like it will dissolve soon. Plus, it comes with detailed documentation and so comes with a flat learning curve. If you have an understanding of JavaScript you can easily pick it up. 
  • It also allows development with the integration of instant API. 

Disadvantages of Express.js

  • It still requires a lot of toils and labor-intensive tasks like establishing endpoints and middleware. 
  • Since it is unopinionated, you have to configure libraries and features by yourself. 
  • While writing the Express code, one can end in callback hell or a pyramid of doom.  

When to use it?

Express.js is flexible, you can develop any type of single-page, multi-page, or hybrid web and mobile application, from minute to complete production. 

Who are using Express.js?

The following companies use Express.js

  • Mulesoft
  • IBM
  • Yandex
  • Uber
  • Accenture

Koa.js

nodejs framework

It is the advanced version of Express. It is lighter, more significant, and more resilient compared to Express.js. One can use Koa.js to develop web services just like Express. Interestingly, this framework was designed by the team behind Express.js, and so is also referred to as the future of Express. 

In Koa.js, the Express.js team lessened the middleware bundle, improved the modern Javascript syntax, and gave more freedom to programmers. 

nodejs framework

Through the above table, it is clear that Koa has removed many features that were once found in Express. This is all done to make Koa more efficient and give developers more freedom and fewer intricacies while writing code. 

Koa aims more at modern features of the Javascript language like generators, node runtime, and async functions. 

Koa makes use of ES2015 generator syntax instead of callbacks to explain middleware, which you can use the “yield” keyword to exit and then re-enter. 

Koa also comes with more customization. So, if you want to work with middleware, you can either create it yourself or use the already in-built middleware. 

Advantages of Koa.js

  • It is easy to understand the Koa.js framework if you already know about Express.
  • It only has 600 lines of code that help developers to write thinner middleware.
  • Koa indeed is better than Express for handling more requests per second. 
  • It also controls error handling with try/catch, and it’s more segmental. 
  • Koa also provides a minimal interface for building apps and APIs. 

Disadvantages of Koa.js

  • Koa.js has a relatively small community
  • It is not rational with Express-style middleware
  • It does not come with in-built middleware and conventional middleware such as req, next, and res doesn’t work with Koa. 

When to use it?

Koa.js is best for building scalable HTTP APIs, lightweight web apps, and single-page web applications. 

Who are using Koa.js?

  • GAPO
  • Shimo Website
  • Paralect

NestJS

nodejs framework

Nest.JS is progressive and versatile, and includes a REST API framework for developing efficient, reliable, and scalable server-side applications. 

Nest.JS uses advanced JavaScript and is developed with and supports TypeScript. It integrates the elements of object-oriented programming and functional reactive programming. It is developed on Express internally, but it can also be configured with Fastify. 

The Nest.JS framework is inspired by Angular, and it uses the notions of dependency injection, decorators, and modularity. You can develop model view controller applications using GraphQL APIs. 

Nest offers options to develop microservice-based applications. 

Advantages of using Nest.js

  • It comes with detailed and well-managed documentation.
  • It is an open-source framework with an MIT license.
  • Its community is growing rapidly. 
  • The code generation help develop the applications faster. 
  • It follows strict design principles that can do a lot of development. 

Disadvantages of using Nest.js 

  • Steep learning curve
  • Have a small programmers community when compared with Express
  • It comes with angular concepts, so for those who don’t want to know angular, it will be hard to grasp. 

When to use it?

Nest is best for building large-scale, complex enterprise applications. 

Who are using NestJS?

  • Autodesk
  • Neoteric
  • Sanofi
  • Adidas 

Socket.io

nodejs framework

It is used for developing real-time chat applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It put in place bidirectional communication between the client side and the server side. 

Are you familiar with how clients and servers communicate over HTTP? When the client makes a request, the server responds to it. But the server cannot communicate with the client. Thus, instead of using HTTP connections, we have to use WebSockets, as they allow real-time, two-way communication between the front end and back end. 

Socket.io comes in two parts, a client-side library (runs on the browser) and a server-side node package. Both the components have identical APIs, so we can run code in both the browser and server. It tackles an “event emitter” model of the node. 

Socket.io offers a fail-safe WebSocket connection for Node use cases. It also offers real-time analytics in fewer line codes but with rapid support. 

Socket.io also incorporates binary and multiplexing support, so one can send any blob information from the client or server side. 

The framework also offers auto-reconnection support. If a client gets disconnected, it will keep retrying unless it is stopped manually. 

Advantages of using Socket.io

  • Socket.io comes with in-built support for adding middleware.
  • It has a large community.
  • It offers more straightforward methods for setting up audio and video functions. 
  • It is easy to get started with and one can develop applications. 

Disadvantages of using Socket.io

  • It uses callbacks
  • It doesn’t offer a message guarantee to approve that it receives the message, so you have to write custom logic in one application. 

When to use it?

Socket.io benefits video calling applications, multiplayer games, and social media sites. 

Who are using it?

  • Alibaba Travels
  • Trello
  • Barogo
  • Bepro
  • Plaid
  • Patreon

Fastify

nodejs framework

Fastify is derived from Hapi and Express. As the name implies, it avow to be the fastest framework around, and if you listen to them, it’s twice as fast as Express. The only place where Fastify falls behind Express is in managing empty requests. 

According to the JS survey, Nest and Express are considered the most used backend frameworks, followed by Fastify.  

Fastify automatically analyzes JSON with systematic rendering and offers quick routing. Thus, it is highly competent and can serve up to 30, 000 requests per second. In addition to this, it is highly extensible in regard to plugins, hooks, and decorators.  

Fastify can shut down an app gracefully. It does that by stopping to accept new connections and working to close all active connections before ending the process. 

Advantages of using Fastify

  • Can easily be tested
  • Comes with automatic security and data validation
  • No overhead in production
  • Comes with life-time support and semantic versioning
  • Has a cleaner syntax for writing async code in controllers. 

Disadvantages of using Fastify

  • It doesn’t have a significant visible community so if you are stuck with a bug, you have to fix it yourself. 
  • The fastify framework has a shared ownership principle so you can make a PR and contribute to the community. 

When to use it?

Fastify is used to create web applications, but it excels when you build JSON-based APIs. It performs well for both small and large projects. 

Who are using it?

  • Hotstar
  • Microsoft

How To Choose The Right Node.js Framework?

nodejs framework

We have covered quite a lot about the Node.js framework, about Node.js, and why we need these frameworks. 

Some of the popular frameworks that we went through were Express.js, Koa.js, Nest.js, Socket.io, and Fastify. 

We covered this topic in the blog to give you an idea of how these frameworks differ from each other and to help you choose a Node framework based on your project.

However, if you have decided on the framework you need and want to start with your project, Extern Labs can help you get started with your idea. The Node.js developer’s team at Extern Labs is quite proficient in developing high-quality software applications. 

Go through our portfolio to learn about our successful projects. 

OR,

You can simply contact us to clear your doubts about Node.js, its framework, and about hiring a Node.js developer.  

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