What is MEAN Stack? MEAN Stack Components and Benefits

Krunal Shah

Oct 28, 2020 | 8 min read

MEAN Stack

A tech stack is a set of programming languages and other software tools used to ease the process of software development. Because the IT ecosystem has been working on a large variety of applications for so many years now, they have identified certain combinations of technologies that one can use to ensure efficient development. MEAN stack is one such combination that web developers swear by. In this article, we take a detailed look at what is MEAN stack and how MEAN stack components and benefits facilitate faster, scalable, and profitable web application development.

What is the MEAN stack for web application development?

MEAN stack is an acronym for a technology stack that uses popular web application development tools and technologies namely MongoDB, Express.js, Angularjs (or Angular), and Node.js.

MongoDB
MongoDB is a popular database server that stores data structures in a binary JSON format. It’s categorized as a NoSQL database program that helps in working with large-scale data sets very efficiently.

Express.js
Express.js is a minimal open-source backend web application development framework. Its flexibility makes back end development much easier for developers..

AngularJS or Angular
Mainly used to build single-page web applications, AngularJS is a robust open-source front end framework based on javascript. Many developers also prefer to use Angular 2+ versions that are simply called Angular.

Node.js
Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform runtime JavaScript environment. It’s a great platform for developing high performing and scalable server-side applications.

This Means (pun intended) that if you hire MEAN stack developers, then you will essentially cut your team into half because you won't have to hire separate backend and frontend developers.

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MEAN stack components and their benefits for web application development

MEAN Stack Components

Let’s dig deeper into the components of the MEAN stack and see what each brings to the table.

1. MongoDB for database

A major benefit of MEAN stack is that it includes the most dynamic NoSQL database in the form of MongoDB.

Why choose MongoDB over MySQL

Although MySQL is the first choice for most developers, here’s why MEAN developers prefer MongoDB to MySQL:

MongoDB is more flexible in terms of schema design
MySQL would not allow you to make any changes without changing your schema design. This considerably slows down the development and deployment process and binds you in terms of flexibility.

Thus, flexibility in schema design tilts the scales in favor of MongoDB. It works perfectly fine even if you drop a few documents which do not have any relation with each other in MongoDB. This is the power of non-relational databases.

MongoDB facilitates more speed and better performance
MySQL works well with structured data sets that are small in size. However, if you have a large unstructured data set, then using MySQL would feel like trying to douse a fire using a garden hose. Too little too late.

The magic of MongoDB is in its ability to handle large unstructured data sets with lightning-fast speeds. Thus, MongoDB is an essential part of MEAN stack components and its benefits are unmatched for an efficient database.

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2. Express.js for Javascript applications development

Express.js for JavaScript applications development

The backend of any web application is where the real magic happens. If you have a complicated backend, then your application will be equally complicated. The use of Express.js for handling the backend is the major highlight of MEAN stack components and benefits.

Express.js is a flexible and efficient Node.js framework. If you are looking for a perfect balance between ease-of-use and a full feature set, then Express.js is your answer.

Express.js ensures a smooth data transfer to the end-user by managing the interactions between the frontend and the database.

Here are the main features and benefits of using Express.js for web app development.

  • It is a minimalist framework designed to handle the processes of your application without cluttering it.
  • Express.js is an excellent error handler which provides easy templates to speed up your development.
  • CommonJS in Express.js saves time by ensuring that you do not have to redefine a variable within a shared namespace.
  • It allows you to scale your application quickly as you can easily add nodes and extra resources per your requirements.
  • Powered by Google’s V8 engine, Express.js facilitates better performance without any lags or errors.
  • Express.js supports the caching feature. Hence, you don’t need to re-execute the codes often which in turn reduces the loading time of your web pages.

3. AngularJS for front end development

AngularJS for front end development

2010 was the year when AngularJS was launched. Since then, it has remained one of the most popular front-end JavaScript frameworks. After the launch of an enhanced version, Angular 2+ (simply called Angular) has become a fan favorite too.

So what does Angular bring to the table as a front-end framework? Let’s see how Angular plays its role in MEAN stack components and benefits:

  • The modular structure of Angular allows you to segregate the entire application into exclusive features. Thus, you can easily identify the reusable chunks of code and save tons of development time.
  • Angular facilitates lazy loading. This enables the browser to instantly show the data users have requested, without unnecessarily downloading the entire data first.
  • The component-based architecture of angular ensures that new developers don't find it hard to understand the application code.
  • CLI(command line interface) of Angular simplifies the app development process and enhances the code quality.
  • The dependency injection function in Angular boosts the application performance and speeds up the development process.
  • The Ivy renderer minimizes bundle size, making large scale apps much lighter.
  • Typescript allows the developers to spot and correct errors on the go.
  • Using the declarative view function, developers can save time as it automatically loads the components as per the layout.

MEAN vs MERN: Should you choose Angular over React?

MERN stack is another popular technology stack for web development. The only difference between MERN and MEAN stack is that the former uses Reactjs while the latter uses Angular for web development.
Here are the key differences between Angular and Reactjs for web application development.

  • Angular is a complete front-end framework while Reactjs is a library that needs third party support.
  • While Reactjs allows you more liberty to choose additional features, Angular has a limited set of optional features.
  • The learning curve is steeper for Angular as compared to Reactjs.
  • Building an application is faster with MERN stack but MEAN makes your web app scalable and high performant.

So the choice between Angular and Reactjs is rather dynamic. It depends upon your project and the kind of developers that you have.

Moreover, Reactjs is best for web applications that are dynamic in nature and require a quick response to data changes.

Angular, with its advanced features, is the ideal framework for enterprise-level applications.

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4. Node.js for back end development

Node.js for back end development

MEAN stack components and their benefits are ideal for efficient cloud-based applications with scalability needs. This is because it has Node.js as its back-end framework.

Node.js is an open-source JavaScript framework that uses asynchronous events to process multiple connections simultaneously. This feature of Node.js helps the framework to use a single thread architecture, providing a smooth user experience across multiple connections.

In addition to that, Node.js provides a host of other benefits.

  • It drastically shortens the time to market cycle.
  • With Node.js, you get immediate feedback from the production environment making deployment simple.
  • Node.js allows better scalability.
  • It eliminates the necessity to switch between backend and frontend.
  • Node.js is a well tested and mature tool with a huge developer support community.
  • MVP development is easy and quick with Node.js.
  • It doesn’t have a steep learning curve and hence anyone knowing JavaScript and object-oriented programming basics can master Node.js.

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Advantages of using MEAN stack for web application development

Consolidating the features of each of its components, MEAN is a holistic stack for web development. MEAN stack components and their benefits bring the following advantages for web app development:

Development with MEAN stack is economical

Mean stack developers can complete the project all by themselves and you do not need to hire separate developers for frontend and backend and database management. This reduces the headcount, in turn reducing the cost of building a web app. MEAN stack is a combination of open source technologies, which helps in keeping the costs to a minimum.

JavaScript facilitates a holistic and smooth development process

Mean stack uses JavaScript throughout the code. As the client and server-side language are the same in the MEAN stack, there are fewer hiccups in the process. Angular allows the developers to reuse the code making the process smoother.

Active community for long term support

JavaScript is one of the most common programming languages. Hence, it has an active developer community which provides solutions to day to day problems faced by JavaScript developers. If you are stuck up, then you can count on the JavaScript community to provide you quick a solution.

MEAN stack provides flexibility to switch between codes

MEAN stack allows the developers a high level of flexibility as it is easy to switch between codes. For instance, if you started coding in Node.js but found in the due course of time that AngularJS would have been a better option, then you can easily switch between the two languages without adding any complications to your project.

Easy testing

MEAN stack and its components have the benefit of allowing you to test an application on the cloud platform easily. It also allows you to add that extra bit of information as MongoDB is specifically designed for this purpose, providing full cluster support and automatic replication in the cloud.

MEAN stack helps speed up the development process

Due to the virtue of its non-blocking architecture, the MEAN stack is a speedy framework. Angular accords reusability of metastability and easy maintenance to MEAN stack.

The Bottom Line

MEAN stack components and its benefits have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Like any other tech stack, MEAN isn’t ideal for every kind of app out there. However, considering the use of Angular, it’s perfect for building enterprise-scale apps and single-page apps. Moreover, the flexibility to switch between client-side and server-side codes makes it an easy choice for cloud-based native apps too.

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