Top 8 best Node.js frameworks for your perfect project 2018

Anastasiia Vlasova
Marketing Manager
Dec 12, 2018 7 min read
Technology
Technology Dec 12, 2018 7 min read

Node.js was a true gain in the web development, as it became the first-ever environment where JavaScript code could be server-side executed. Its arrival enabled full-stack JavaScript development as a single language for both back-end and front-end web development impacting the process and the result. Node.js also offers other important advantages, such as easy learning curve and impressive scalability opportunities. Using the same language across the entire application ultimately means better compatibility, higher performance and an opportunity for a developers’ community to share reusable components and offer support.

In 2018, JavaScript was ranked as the most frequently used programming language globally, determining the development technology and application framework preferences. Consequently, Node.js is also getting its share of attention, and considerable effort is being made to enhance its functionality as a mobile and web application framework. No wonder that some industry giants like Uber or Netflix utilize Node.js as their development environment.

Javascript popularity - Top 7 Best Node.js frameworks for your project
Image credit: Stackoverflow

In order to make web and mobile application development even more streamlined, a variety of popular Node.js frameworks have been created. Let’s have a closer look at some those most commonly used in the web space.

Tools/Technologies used with Node.js

Image credit: Node.js

Express.js

Express.js - Top 7 Best Node.js frameworks for your project

Express.js is a fast and lightweight framework for Node.js that is applied for creating applications of various size and complexity with extensions that provide additional value-adding features. It is very often associated with the MEAN (MongoDB, Express, Angular, Node.js) stack used to build web applications. By supporting lots of HTTP utility methods, Express.js is also a distinguished environment for building REST APIs. Besides, it enables a painless transition for legacy websites to use Node.js as their middle layer and convert them into fast operating Express.js website without considerable changes in source code. Among others the framework offers:

  • Robust URL-based routing mechanism using the HTTP methods
  • Support of various plugins and extensions enhancing its default functionality
  • Easy database integration
  • Smooth learning curve for those already familiar with Node.js

Express.js, as part of the MEAN.io framework stack, is also the optimal choice for building enterprise-size applications using big data as well as applications using media streaming or real-time chatting to ensure speedy performance and critical scalability.

Koa

Koa - Top 7 Best Node.js frameworks for your project

Koa.js. is a server-side framework for building web applications which uses the so-called generators allowing to avoid callbacks and to handle errors much more efficiently. Being a relatively new application framework it is now rapidly developing. Below are some more features of Koa framework that the developers’ community appreciates:

  • Lightweight structure
  • High customization possibilities
  • Modular approach

Koa is a bit harder to learn as it has a number of own methods. However, developers having considerable experience with Koa, prefer it for the possibility to create custom web applications. Its flexible modular structure allows starting with an almost empty application where a skilled developer can add his own code. Recently, the team rolled out Koa2, a more stable version of the framework which is gaining more and more appreciation by the JavaScript developers.

Hapi.js

Hapi.js - Top 7 Best Node.js frameworks for your project

Hapi.js framework was first created and used for the development of the Walmart retail chain application. The idea behind it is building a framework capable of supporting a large team working on multiple tasks simultaneously. That is considered a main advantage of Hapi.js, and the developers’ community agrees on it is an excellent solution for a large, distributed team working on a comprehensive application. Today Hapi.js is among the tools used to develop the apps and websites of Yahoo web services provider and even the United Kingdom Government. Other advantages of Hapi.js include:

  • Profound support of plugins which helps the collaboration of different team members working on various components without affecting general performance
  • Support of reusable components

Express.js extensions

LoopBack

LoopBack - Top 7 Best Node.js frameworks for your project

LoopBack is an extensible, full-featured open source Node.js backend framework with an aim to connect applications to data using APIs. It is coming with a lot of built-in models and features make the development process faster and more comfortable. Its extensive out-of-the-box structure allows adding custom code in an easy and consistent manner. Among other impressive advantages there are:

  • It’s a redesigned framework also enabling software engineers to share the code and create services on a client’s side 
  • Intuitive CLI wizard
  • Built-in API documentation and SDK generation tool

Some claim that LoopBack is relatively complex to learn, even for developers already proficient in JavaScript. However, the advantages of LoopBack have been recognized by such companies as Symantec, a provider of security solutions, and the US Department of Energy.

Sails.js

Sails.js - Top 7 Best Node.js frameworks for your project

Sails.js is a real-time MVC framework based on Express and Socket.io. The Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern can be used to build applications of various sizes and data-driven APIs handling large amounts of data, like real-time chats, multiplayer games, dashboards, and other apps solutions heavily dependant on the real-time performance.

With Sails.js, you will get a complete application ready for production within a very short time. The key features of Sails.js that can influence the choice of the framework include:

  • Reach front-end best frameworks compatibility and consequently flexibility in choosing the right tools for web application development. With Sails.js, you can enable the front-end development with Angular, Backbone, iOS/ObjC, Windows Phone, etc.
  • Automatic generation of RESTful JSON models supporting both WebSockets and HTTP
  • Support of the common MVC architecture with other frameworks making the transition easier.
  • Compatibility with multiple databases, such as MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and Redis.

Apigee, an API management platform, JetBlue airline, and American Eagle, a retailing company, are built with the help of Sails.js.

Kraken.js

Kraken - Top 7 Best Node.js frameworks for your project

Kraken.js is a secure and scalable layer that extends Express.js by providing structure and control especially suited for larger projects. Created by the PayPal development team for needs, it was intended to organize the framework. If you need extra modifications or organization options for your Express.js application and this one is a perfect choice enabling transparent and manageable structure with separating models, templates and route controllers. The software development engineers point out that Kraken.js offers:

  • Multiple language support, a clear structure coupled with out-of-the-box functionality
  • Critical security due to pre-configured Lusca module
  • Code generator increasing the development speed and reducing human error.

Besides, this extension was a part of the development toolset of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a corporate division of Bank of America.

Meteor

Meteor - Top 7 Best Node.js frameworks for your project

Meteor is designed as a full-stack JavaScript platform for developing web and mobile apps and solutions. With an open source Meteor, one can achieve an excellent performance right out of the box. Meteor uses just one API both on the client and on the server side which ensures flawless operation. One can start development immediately with the Meteor’s package recommended stack or go for other required technologies. The main advantages of the Meteor framework are:

  • The same code supported across different devices for exclusive efficiency for mobile app development ensuring easy updates
  • A number of ready-made modules in the default package accelerating the development
  • Less JavaScript code required making applications lighter and improving the performance
  • Large community offering dozens of reusable packages and modules

Meteor’s ability to use running o the same code resolves the device compatibility issues easily so it’s a worthy choice for applications intended to ben various devices. As for the use cases, IKEA, a Swedish furniture manufacturer and Mazda Corporation, an automobile producer have chosen Meteor as the tool for developing their applications.

Electron.js

Also, as a separate framework, we could define Electron.js. It is  specifically suited for developing solid native desktop applications with JavaScript, and also web technologies like HTML, and CSS. With quite a number of this open source framework’s unique features, it still uses Chromium and Node.js which makes it easy to learn how it works and what API it utilizes.  So, building a desktop application is a matter of a few days. Among its key benefits of Electron.js are:

  • Compatibility with most platforms including Mac, Linux and Windows making it cost and effort-efficient as the development team does not need to code across operating systems and browsers.
  • Using  Chromium engine enables all the crucial features of Chrome and the ability to use developer tools, storage access, etc.
  • Due to a single-shared simplified library, it can be used without utilizing much of the computational power.
  • Large community and a variety ready-to-use packages allowing to focus on the core development process

How to choose the best popular Node.js framework for your needs

If you have opted for Node.js as the runtime environment for your web or mobile application you have a rich choice with a huge number of popular frameworks for Node.js development depending with your project volume and requirements starting from performance, scalability, and quality of documentation and up to built-in features, modules and compatibility with various development tools.

All in all, the best frameworks designed to work with Node.js are there to enable easy and quality development when building web and mobile apps with impeccable and smooth performance.

Authors: Taras Stetsiuk and Igor Rybas, Software Engineers at Relevant Software