October 3, 2023

In the Limelight: Node.js Frameworks Making Waves in 2023

In today's Trend, we will explore the most in-demand frameworks based on Node.js, which are predominantly used in software development today.

Today, a vast array of diverse tools can be utilized for software development amidst the digital transformation of businesses. Most of them are intended to solve specific tasks that are unique to a company or a particular sector of its operation.

We've discussed frameworks exclusively designed for modern frontend development and relevant today in a previous article. In this article, however, we will focus on those that also use the JavaScript programming language but are intended for entirely different tasks. All of them are based on Node.js.

Node.js is a runtime environment enabling JavaScript execution without the use of a browser. It allows the programming language, traditionally meant for the client side of software (frontend), to be used for the server side of an application (backend). By the way, read more about frontend and backend in our trend, “Frontend and Backend Explained. The Heart and Soul of Modern Web Development”.

The most popular frameworks designed for Node.js are Express.js (with about 62 thousand stars on GitHub) and Meteor.js (with about 44 thousand stars). However, there are several other useful tools that are also actively used in various projects. Read about our experience working with different projects in the Case Studies section.


Solving business problems with Express.js | Source: VSCode

Express.js holds a leading position among all other frameworks created based on Node.js. It is so popular that it is considered a de facto industry standard, and some even mistakenly identify these two technologies. It has gained immense popularity due to the simplicity of writing code and its clear structure.

Express.js is optimal for implementing effective interaction between the client side of the application and the server. Thanks to its convenient architecture and set of features, it becomes an indispensable tool for modern server development. That’s why this framework is used by Twitter, Uber, IBM, and many other companies.

The framework is perfectly suited for developing web and mobile applications of any scale. Its capabilities, from reliable routing to efficient error handling, make it an excellent choice for both experienced teams and development newcomers. Its high popularity and community support also deserve a special mention.


Basic setup for Koa.js | Source: Loshith

Koa.js is another popular framework built on Node.js, designed for the utmost simplicity in creating web services. A distinctive feature of this tool is its ability to easily work with HTTP middleware through the stack method.

On one hand, Koa.js shares many similarities with Express.js, offering the same flexibility in software development. On the other hand, it feels even simpler and more unrestrictive, reducing the likelihood of errors and making this tool an extremely attractive alternative.

Koa.js becomes the ideal choice when performance in developing web applications is a priority. It is well-suited for large projects requiring the involvement of experienced teams. However, newcomers might find it challenging due to the community's low activity and the constant introduction of new features.


Using VSCode for advanced development on Meteor.js | Source: Meteor

Meteor.js is an open-source isomorphic web framework based on JavaScript. It automatically sends updated data to clients and can be used across a variety of platforms, including mobile apps for iOS and Android, as well as desktop solutions.

Meteor.js offers developers extensive libraries and testing tools, ensuring smooth information exchange between the client and the server. This makes it an excellent choice for applications with real-time data streaming. It also provides superior cross-platform support and rapid prototyping.

Meteor.js enables rapid application development, supporting the same code for web applications and mobile platforms. With it, you can easily perform updates without interrupting the user's workflow—it is chosen for applications that operate in real time, require quick deployment, and cross-platform functionality.


Debugging Nest.js via VSCode | Source: Tharindu Dilshan

Nest.js is a progressive framework based on Node.js, aiming to facilitate the development of dynamic and scalable enterprise applications. Offering absolute flexibility to developers, it features an extensive set of libraries to enhance the server-side performance and to develop layered solutions.

A distinctive feature of Nest.js is that it is built on TypeScript and maintains compatibility with JavaScript. Adhering to clean code architecture principles, the framework skillfully balances between the structurization and the complexity of large-scale applications. Additionally, Nest.js easily integrates with other platforms.

The advantage of Nest.js is its amalgamation of object-oriented approach with Functional Reactive Programming (FRP). This not only amplifies developers' productivity but also provides tools to work on complex interfaces, such as games or robotics.


Quick debugging Socket.io in VSCode | Source: DigitalOcean

Socket.io is an innovative framework in JavaScript and Node.js, targeted at developing high-performance applications operating in real-time. It enables the establishment of a reliable bidirectional connection between clients and servers, allowing for the creation of dynamic applications, such as messengers, where updates and messages are received instantly.

Features of Socket.io include support for binary data, multiplexing, and high reliability. The framework also offers mechanisms for automatic reconnection, error detection, and their correction. Its client and server sides possess similar APIs, simplifying development and deployment.

In the world of modern technologies, where real-time is becoming increasingly crucial, Socket.io finds its application in various domains: from chat applications to multiplayer games. This makes it an indispensable tool for companies striving for continuous interaction with clients.

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Nick Griс


Software Development

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