Ihor
Feoktistov

Top 8 Flutter Advantages and Why You Should Try Flutter on Your Next Project

#Tech label

Wondering why should you bother trying Flutter on your next project and what your business gains with it? Regardless of whether you’re a CTO, a TechLead or occupy any other position that requires making effective tech decisions in your company, you’ll find this piece useful.

Particularly, I’ll help you get a clue of what Flutter is and why it’s the most effective cross-platform framework out there. You’ll learn about Flutter’s benefits compared to other cross-platform solutions available and the role of these advantages in both development and business processes.

Altogether, you’ll get a view of why Flutter can be a good solution to some frequently occurring issues in your business.

What Is Flutter?

Throughout my professional career in software development, I’ve witnessed the recurring difficulty of choosing between what instrument to use for mobile cross-platform development in a number of projects. All these projects were different, but almost all of them had one thing in common: the resulting app was required to work on as many devices as possible. And it was a real challenge.

In addition to working on mobile apps, I also had some experience in mobile game development. I remember seeing a well-established cross-platform game development for the first time, which was in 2016. That was when I thought, why don’t we have the same instrument, but for app development? imagining how cool and easy it would be to use one.

Well, now we have it. And I want to share the joy of working on Flutter with you, so that you make the most benefit of the innovation. In this article, I highlight my thoughts on what advantages of Flutter are going to make it dominate the cross-platform application development in the upcoming years.

Coming from a native Android development and having some GameDev expertise, I can say that Flutter is a cross-platform application development instrument I was looking for throughout all my career. It combines the ease of development with native performance while maintaining visual consistency across platforms. It’s just the best!

Flutter Advantages

You might assume that every cross-platform framework can perform some things and offers some features essential for the job, and you have a point. But! Flutter is a bit different from its competitors in some key aspects. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Flutter app development better than other frameworks.

1. Same UI and Business Logic in All Platforms

We, experts, know that basically any cross-platform framework provides a way to share codebase between the target platforms. But there are no such application frameworks that allow sharing both the UI code the UI itself besides Flutter.

To illustrate, here’s an example of how UI rendering looks like in most cross-platform frameworks:

This kind of a rendering process makes building an app that looks native on every platform simple. But the devil’s in the details. Relying on platform-specific components for rendering provokes a need for a property mapping layer for the platform widget and a framework widget data synchronization. That’s what requires mapping every animation into a platform-specific widget call. So much more complicated than it needs to be, right?

In contrast, Flutter doesn’t need any platform-specific UI components to render it’s UI. The only thing Flutter needs to show the application UI is a canvas to draw onto. And here’s how it looks like:

The Flutter’s way of rendering makes the framework really stand out from the crowd eliminating any worries about the UI consistency on different platforms.

In brief, sharing the UI and business logic, which is possible with Flutter, saves time, effort and the health of the developer while not affecting the performance of the end product.

2. Reduced Code Development Time

From my experience, building a usual mid-size Android app takes at least 40 seconds to get shipped onto the test device. And sometimes, it can take forever just to adjust a small visual aspect in the layout. Some of you might say, ‘Wait, but Android Studio has a layout preview for that.’ And it does. Yet, of course, there is a but: the feature is limited and doesn’t always work as expected, especially with custom views.

Flutter’s “hot reload” feature, in turn, allows seeing the applied changes almost instantly, without even losing the current application state. And this is exactly what makes Flutter app development several times faster due to the increased development speed.

Besides, the Flutter team has put lots of effort into providing a wide variety of ready-to-use widgets. Most of them are incredibly customizable, saving your time like no other framework before. In addition to numerous core layout widgets, Flutter provides a large set of Material and Cupertino widgets that perfectly mimic the behavior of each design language. Here’s how they work:

Flutter architecture scheme

Altogether, you skip several crazily time-consuming steps in app development when using Flutter, which makes the entire process faster, simpler and less worrisome.

3. Increased Time-to-Market Speed

This one is pretty straightforward. Flutter development framework functions quicker than its alternatives. In most cases, you can expect a Flutter app to require at least two times fewer man-hours compared to the same app developed separately for Android and iOS. The main reason is dead simple: you just don’t have to write any platform-specific code to achieve the desired visuals in your application. Any 2D-based UI can be implemented in Flutter without interacting with a native application counterpart.

Aside from that, Flutter provides a declarative API for building UI, which, in my experience, noticeably boosts the performance. This is most obvious when it comes to visual adjustments.

4. Similar to Native App Performance

Application performance is crucial for good UX. While it’s hard to tell the exact figures, it’s safe to say that Flutter application performance in most cases will be indistinguishable from the native app and even better in complex UI animation scenarios.

Why? Contrary to the approach of most cross-platform frameworks, Flutter doesn’t rely on any intermediate code representations or interpretation. Flutter application is built directly into the machine code, which eliminates any performance bugs of the interpretation process.

Eventually, you get your release application fully compiled ahead of time with Flutter.

5. Custom, Animated UI of Any Complexity Available

One of the biggest advantages of Flutter is the ability to customize anything you see on the screen, regardless of how complex it may be. While it’s usually possible to do a very custom UI on the native platforms as well, the amount of effort required differs by the order magnitude. Here’s an example of such simple yet custom UI:

However, Flutter makes the process more flexible and versatile without adding to the workload. Shared element transitions, shape/color/shadow manipulations, clipping, transformations – Flutter allows you to perform all of these effortlessly. Here are some more examples of how it works.

6. Own Rendering Engine

Flutter allows you to do so much stuff with your apps that aren’t available on other platforms. Obviously, it requires the framework to be pretty powerful. In fact, most of the points presented above wouldn’t be possible without a high-performance cross-platform rendering engine.

Flutter uses Skia for rendering itself onto a platform-provided canvas. Because of the engine, UI built in Flutter can be launched on virtually any platform. Putting it differently, you no longer have to adjust UI to transfer it to a platform, which simplifies the development process hugely.

7. Simple Platform-Specific Logic Implementation

Besides the UI, many real-life mobile applications rely on advanced OS-level features, such as fetching GPS coordinates, Bluetooth communication, gathering sensors data, permission handling, working with credentials, etc. Many of these are available when developing a Flutter application through a ready-to-use plugin supported by Google.

Of course, there can be cases of your application relying on an OS-level feature that is not yet available as a plugin. But the team has you covered here as well! Flutter provides an easy to use way of establishing the communication between platform-native code and Dart through platform channels. This way, you can implement anything that a native app can do on a Flutter app, with just a little extra effort on the native side. Here’s an example of how channels function:

8. The Potential Ability to Go Beyond Mobile

With Flutter, you can go far beyond Flutter app development on mobile. There’s also Flutter for Web and Flutter Desktop Embeddings now. For example, on this year’s I/O conference, Google has presented a technical preview of Flutter Web that makes it possible to run pure Flutter applications in a browser without modifying the source-code. Check the video from the conference:

This important event marks Flutter’s transition from a cross-platform mobile application framework to a full-blown cross-platform development tool.

Even though everything except the mobile part of the framework is not yet considered production-ready, an experienced Flutter developer can make a pure Flutter app run on any major platform today, including Android, iOS, Web browser, Windows, macOS, Linux, and even embedded devices. And the app will function properly with no changes to Dart code.

Is Flutter a Good Solution From the Business Perspective?

Yes, yes and yes.

There are some things that pose a drastic value for a business. These are the stability of a platform, its performance, a wide talent pool and the guarantee of successful further tech/product development and improvement. The reason is that issues and flaws in a platform or technology in any of the listed aspects provoke the occurrence of risks, along with direct and indirect financial losses for your company.

From this point of view, Flutter lowers risks for your business:

  • no problems with product development are likely to occur since Google is creating Fuchsia OS, which works with Flutter just fine
  • using Flutter won’t cause you trouble finding engineers because there are already so many fans among Android developers in the community (check feedback here and here)
  • ease of integration: the list of global companies using Flutter keeps extending with such representatives as Alibaba, Google Ads, AppTree, Reflectly, and My Leaf, which is the proof of Flutter’s uncompromised quality.

All these aspects make Flutter a solution for a business to prevent obstacles to seeking specialists, adjusting to new technologies and integrating the tool into the system. Compared to the alternative cross-platform approaches available, Flutter poses minimal risks to a business and therefore is worth to be the number one choice for your business.

So Why Try Flutter?

Let’s briefly go through the most outstanding advantages of the framework:

  • the app UI and logic don’t change depending on the platform
  • faster code development
  • increased time-to-market speed
  • close to native app performance
  • enormous UI customization potential
  • separate rendering engine
  • no reliance on platform-specific UI components
  • suitable for any target platform
  • minimizes the risks and losses for your business

Basically, Flutter is the quickest way to deliver a well-performing cross-platform mobile application. I can obviously tell that it’s just the matter of time when Flutter will officially become the ultimate cross-platform UI framework.

Ihor
Feoktistov

Top 7 JavaScript trends to watch and apply in 2019

#Tech label

Back in 2007, Jeff Atwood in the principle of least power said, ’Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript’. Stack Overflow Report claims JavaScript as one of the most popular languages for software development for many years and is not likely to lose its position any time soon.

Technology trends 2019

Why is it so popular? In the constantly evolving technology world, with all the hype around trending connectivity, AI, IoT, software development tools, and platforms are striving to make the development process more streamlined and business efficient. This is especially evident for progressive web development as the digital environment demands improved integrations, easy and user-friendly tools new frameworks so that any innovation can be at your fingertips. JavaScript family is the front runner in the area with new tools or integrations appearing quite often. JavaScript frameworks and libraries are trending among web and mobile app developers irrespectively of the size and needs of the company due to its sheer volume of tools making your code quality and clean.

So, let’s take a closer look at the top JavaScript trends to look forward in 2019 which development engineers can use to put together a great toolkit for creating robust, modern, smooth and secure web and mobile application.

You can see the stats on JavaScript frameworks usage for front-end and back-end:

Front-end frameworks 2019

1. Front-End Development Frameworks

Naturally, talking about JavaScript trends it’s worth starting with the heavyweights.

React JS, a JavaScript library specifically suited for creating user interfaces in large data-powered web applications allows updates and rendering of the components without additional reloading of the page. Basically, the main trailblazers of React JS earning its stars on GitHub are its ability to simplify the creation of interactive user interfaces and also its comfortable coexistence with other libraries or JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS. It’s not only maintained by Facebook but is also utilized by business giants like PayPal, Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, and BBC. So, its pretty obvious non-stop popularity and established position in the community is not likely to shift off the top rank in the coming year.

Another extremely powerful and popular JavaScript framework is Angular. Even the newbies’ front-end developers know about Angular, typically applied for the development of single-page web applications. Angular provides two-way data binding ensuring all aspects of the application enablement, from templating to dependency injection. Its opinionated structure ensures that all projects work similarly. Being built on top of TypeScript means it uses static typing and decorators as core features to make the composition of components manageable. The fact that it was initiated and is widely used by Google already sounds pretty loud.

The new versions and modifications come out pretty often; today Angular 7, an improved product is already in use. It is notified that the new distinguishing features of Angular 7 include automatic adding/removing the reflect metadata for improved app performance, integrated CLI documentation into the main Angular.io docs, the CLI Prompts capability helps users make decisions, support of content projection via slots with Angular Elements components, etc. But, as it turns out, some new appearing Javascript frameworks like Vue.js, released in 2014 are getting more hype and respectively getting more and more popular. Still, Angular is used by such resources as Forbes and Weather.com opt for Angular as their front-end development platform.

It’s been for a while now that we are seeing the vigorous rise in popularity of the open-source Vue.js, which already managed to earn the trust of Expedia and GitLab. It’s a JavaScript library specifically designed for building web interfaces. It’s lightweight and flexible enough to be utilized either as part of an existing application or as the main framework for a site. It is also attractive for both experienced programmers and beginners because of its intuitive component-based development model and allows adding components to a project structure (its components are well-combined with HTML, CSS and JS), relative simplicity and clarity which makes it easy to learn. Among the core features to expect from Vue in 2019 is its improved performance with Vue, js 2.x, native TypeScript support, SVG animations, proxy support, stable API, etc.

Up till recently when going for the JavaScript for front-end development there was a question of choice between Angular vs. React. With the launch of Vue.js, it’s worth to make a brief comparison of those three. Firstly, Angular is a stable complete and ready-to-use solution, while React and Vue.js are more flexible and when needed can accept third-party libraries. Angular as well as React contain the whole collection of built-in tools or boilerplates that demand from the software development engineer to get used to. Vue.js, on the other hand, is quite lightweight and pretty intuitive that is it delivers everything it is expected to offer. And also, as mentioned before, it is also easy to learn when compared to others, making it attractive for the developers. Typically, Angular is preferred by the development teams building complex and large applications, while React and Vue.js are chosen when flexibility is required for the smooth work.

JavaScript is evolving non-stop and the new leading front-end technologies are likely to appear but it looks that React and Vue.js will get more adopters with Angular still enjoying its popularity.

2. Back-End Development Frameworks

JavaScript tools and technologies offer a lot of additional capabilities not just for front-end development but also for back-end development as the constituent elements of the web development process. 

Node.js makes it to the top of the most popular back-end JavaScript technologies according to Stack Overflow Survey for a few years in a row. What is the reason for such popularity? Productive, fast and scalable, Node.js is leading the way with the JS server-side programming. It’s a runtime environment used in sync with other front-end frameworks making the development of the easily scalable web applications much smoother and painless. The software developers appreciate Node.js for its reaction to events allowing to create back-end applications, like social networks or blogs which are extremely popular now. Among its impressive beneficial features are its providing superior performance and speed especially for:

– Applications with real-time messaging and notifications

– Data-heavy and content-intense applications with much data to be processed

– eCommerce applications dependent on processing speed

Node.js offers the whole set of other benefits that can help launch business application faster and easier. It is considered a tool of choice by the startups when weighing on the technology stack as it is relatively uncomplicated to learn and simple to deploy paired with stable performance. Node.js keeps developing and its huge community makes sure that it remains the most reliable, efficient and secure back-end development tool in 2019. Node.js is utilized by such global companies like LinkedIn, Uber, and eBay making the most out of it for excellent user experience.

3. Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Framework

Mobile app development is integral if not the leading part of the modern development environment. Mobile apps are ruling the consumer’s world of the 21st century, so it’s only logical that JavaScript offers a variety of trending tools for impeccable application development.

If you chose to develop a native app, you will have to build two separate ones, Android and iOS applications. Or you can make use of React Native, a cross-platform JavaScript framework, another child of Facebook development team, and create a single application running on both mobile platforms. React Native is considered to be one of the fastest and most efficient environments for mobile app development which lets the software development engineers build apps using only JavaScript. Its code-sharing capabilities coupled with great performance, productivity, animations, and UX makes it one of the most renowned programming languages in the mobile programming world. Utilizing the same design as React it allows for composing a great mobile UI with declarative components. Among its most prominent business benefits there are:

  • Cost efficiency. Simply put, the development of a single application, instead of two presupposes one development team, that is twice fewer payments and other provisions. Next, native development means the employment of professionals with the knowledge of two programming languages, Java for Android and Swift/Objective-C for iOS. With React Native development, JavaScript knowledge is enough.
  • Eliminated time to the market. A single application development, testing and deployment are faster and less time- and effort- consuming than the development of two different applications. Besides, publishing updates for your apps are much faster over the air (OTA) updates than through the app store manually, which again saves a lot of developer’s time.
  • Community support and reusable components’ access. The React Native community counts for more than 30 thousand members with extensive support and numerous components that can be used in your next cutting-edge mobile application.
React Native - Top 7 JavaScript trends to watch and apply in 2018

The software engineers working on native mobile development note that React Native lacks the support of many APIs and third-party libraries making the integration more complicated, as well as lags behind in performance especially with complex tech-intensive elements of the apps. So, native development is more convenient for such purposes.

React Native in its turn will continue getting a lot of attention and will be a trending framework for iOS and Android application development due to its almost-native performance. React Native is still the preferred choice in the mobile app development applied in thousands of apps, from well-known Fortune 500 companies like Walmart, AirBnB, UberEATS, Tesla, Bloomberg, Instagram to new startups.

4. API Architecture

A number of software experts name GraphQL the replacement for the REST APIs for 2019. It has been one of the hottest web development trends recently with more and more JavaScript developers using it in their projects. GraphQL was released in 2015 for the purpose of creating a new approach to API due to data over/under-fetching, typical for REST and is becoming a standard for which data is queried, fetched and transformed between the frontend and backend. GraphQL is a query language that enables a software engineer to make specific requests from the server and simplifies packaging those requests, so there is no need to send additional queries to get all the needed resource properties. GraphQL is more lightweight than REST as it needs much less network load meaning an improved application performance.

Top 7 JavaScript trends to watch and apply in 2018

Among the unattractive sides of GraphQL is the need to learn, though not so difficult, but still a new language and a methodology of creating API architectures; and also the fact that it lacks versioning, so the developer has to watch for deprecated features to update the application.

5. Application Rendering Framework

Next.js will still be a trend next year due to its nature as a minimalist JavaScript-based framework rendering your app on the server side. The application content is generated by the server this way, so when downloading a page, it already contains all the required content. Next.js works out of the box enabling JavaScript to run on a server, on the desktop or mobile device without any complicated setup, with a minimum code and learning curve.

On the other hand, with server-side rendering for improved app performance, the data-heavy pages require more server resources, which should be carefully considered prior to the development start.

6. UI Development Environment

Storybook.js. Is a tool launched specifically for React applications for building components in isolation? Storybook allows creating UI components without interfering with the UI development. Its advantage is being very customizable to fit the team’s needs through add-ons, config, and the API. So, it eliminates development time especially for the applications with a single screen representing multiple actions. Faster and less effort-consuming UI development means that the application can be completed sooner and find its way to the market quicker.

Top 7 JavaScript trends to watch and apply in 2018

7. Testing Tools

Jest leads in the popularity among the frameworks for automated testing of applications built with JavaScript. It’s a complete and ready to set-up JavaScript testing solution working out of the box for any React project. Jest also runs its tests in parallel increasing the overall performance. Moreover, Jest is capable of collecting code coverage info from the whole project and the untested files, it is also optimized to react promptly without any additional setup or libraries.

JavaScript ecosystem is a huge set of integrated software frameworks, libraries, tools and packages with the ultimate goal of making the software development robust and efficient. For over 6 years JavaScript has topped the popularity list of the programming languages enabling dynamic and user-friendly websites and apps. Being uncomplicated to learn, robust and easily accessible, it continues to evolutionize, and soon we will witness even more new improvements in the JavaScript universe.

Relevant Software is here to help you figure out which technology stack fits your needs and how you can make the most out of software development.

Anastasiia
Vlasova

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

#Tech label

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
Daniil
Kopilevych

Why and when to use Node.js?

#Tech label

Putting together a technology stack for a project is a task in itself. Choosing the right languages, tools and platforms can determine a lot of aspects of the future app functioning – from the straightforwardness of development to the performance and efficiency. Thus, it is critical to make the right choice in the beginning.

If you have a web application project in mind, you are, most probably, evaluating the pros and cons of building your stack around JavaScript and the tools using it. Sooner or later, you will think of the backend development platform, and surely come across Node.js.

What is Node.js? What is Node.js good for? Why to use Node.js? We will try to answer these questions to help you decide whether this environment is suitable for your project.

Node.js in a few words

First, why did you ever think of Node.js? Most likely, because your development team said so. And why would your team recommend Node.js? Most likely, because they see the advantages of “JavaScript everywhere”. Yes, this is the most revolutionary thing about Node.js – it is the first-ever environment supporting JavaScript both client-side and server-side.

What does it mean from the practical point of view? The possibility to use JavaScript for writing both the frontend and the backend lies at the core of multiple Node.js advantages:

  • Easy learning curve. Knowing JavaScript gives a developer a good start with Node.js. Of course, you need to know the backend development principles, however, the knowledge of the programming language will simplify things a lot.
  • Large community. Node.js, being an open-source project, encourages support and contribution aimed at the improvement and adoption of the platform. This is the mission of its Foundation intended for continuous development and enhancement of Node.js. Therefore, you can be sure that, on one hand, Node.js is always getting better and, on the other hand, there is already a lot of reusable resources.
  • Robustness. Using Node.js allows organizing full stack JavaScript development ensuring the speed and performance of the application.
  • Scalability. This is a true jewel of the Node.js development environment, as it allows building applications that can easily grow with your business. Node.js works great in systems using the microservices architecture or containerization where the scalability and flexibility can be achieved quickly and easily.
  • Great ecosystem. Browse npm (Node.js package manager) for 650,000 free code packages that you can reuse with Node.js.

These are just a few of the advantages of Node.js as a development environment. You can read more about the strong sides of Node.js in our blog.

Besides, the popularity of Node.js has prompted the creation of a whole line of Node.js frameworks intended to simplify web development using this environment.

At the same time, while we have mentioned the great things that Node.js brings to web development, for fairness sake, we should also touch upon the Node.js disadvantages, as nothing is perfect.

  • Single-threaded processes. By its nature, Node.js can process only one command at a time. However, the blocking of other processes is avoided by the implementation of the asynchronous mechanism allowing to perform several simple tasks simultaneously. However, a complex calculation requiring a lot of processing resources may block the flow and cause delays.
  • Poor quality of open-source tools. Yes, we mentioned npm as the advantage of Node.js, however, it has its flip side, too. While the number of modules and packages available in the registry is great and there is definitely a lot to choose from, some packages can be either low-quality or poorly documented. This has nothing to do with the quality of the core Node.js code, while the contributed tools can sometimes be substandard.

What is Node.js used for?

Since we have outlined the advantages and disadvantages of Node.js, let’s see how they translate into the practical aspects. We will try to determine when to use Node.js in web development in order to achieve the best application performance.

  • Real-time applications. As we have found that Node.js can ensure great speed and performance, one of the textbook Node.js use cases is real-time messaging, or chatting. The environment can support intense traffic of multiple short messages, or chatrooms when messages are displayed to many users at the same time.
  • Collaborative tools. This Node.js use case example is also related to its ability to process real-time flows. You should have heard of Trello, a project management application that is rather popular with software development companies. Well, Trello was developed on the basis of Node.js and benefited from its event-driven, non-blocking model. Node.js is great for applications requiring immediate updates, such as various collaboration tools and online documentation suites.
  • Data streaming applications. The term “streaming” means exactly that – sending large amounts of data in smaller packages instead of a single batch. This ability is especially critical for audio or video streaming applications. Node.js is perfectly suited for this task with built-in modules supporting data streaming and allowing to create both readable and writable data streams. If we add that Netflix, a global media service provider, uses Node.js, you may get the idea of how powerful this environment is.
  • Applications relying on scalability. The superb scalability supported by Node.js answers the “why Node.js” question for apps required to withstand high peak loads. This is the reason why Uber chose Node.js to develop its app. The global taxi network is always growing and expanding its presence; at the same time, the nature of the taxi business causes high demand peaks during holidays. Node.js handles these challenges quite well.

Visit our blog for the detailed research on the companies that have chosen Node.js as the platform to develop their applications.

When is Node.js not a good idea?

While there are quite a number of use cases that Node.js fits perfectly, there are situations when you should look for other platforms, as Node.js will not provide the best performance.

  • Applications with heavy computing server-side. Since Node.js uses only one CPU core, heavy computations on the server will block all other requests. In this case, the event-driven non-blocking I/O model which is the strongest side of Node.js will become useless, and the application performance will suffer.
  • CRUD applications. In this case, using Node.js does not automatically mean poor performance. However, if you are building a simple CRUD app with data coming directly from the server and no API is needed, Node.js may be excessive, as its powerful features will be simply wasted.
  • Server-side web applications with relational databases. The reason for Node.js poor performance in this case is that its relational database tools are not as advanced as those created for other platforms. However, the recent news suggests that the latest version of Sequelize ORM may fill this gap and create the possibilities of using Node.js with relational databases.

Other considerations to remember when choosing Node.js

As you see, there are quite a lot of cases where the use of Node.js is going to add to your application performance and reliability. At the same time, when musing about why we use Node.js in web development, we should also mention other aspects that belong to the organizational rather than technical matters.

Of course, when selecting the technology stack for your project you should also think of engaging experienced professionals who know the tools and platforms that you choose and can use them to the maximum benefit of your app. If you already have a Node.js pro on board, you are all set. However, if the technology is right for your idea but you still need to find the people to work with it, we have some good news for you.

The Stack Overflow developer survey of 2018 showed that almost half of the respondents named Node.js the framework they use in their work.

Image credit: StackOverflow

For startups, this means that there are quite a lot of Node.js professionals on the market, and it is not going to be a problem to find one for your team.

Besides, there is also another point that you should factor in while selecting the technologies and looking for developers to invite to your team – the rates of Node.js pros. There are several hiring models that you can use to put together your team.

If you want to hire Node.js developers full-time, take into account that the average salary of such a professional is going to be about $95,000 in the US. At the same time, you can choose to engage freelance Node.js developers, thus saving the costs of their vacations, sick leaves, office administration, and employee benefits. In this case, a US-based Node.js freelancer will charge about $81-100 on the average. However, a more cost-effective solution may be outsourcing your development to Eastern Europe which has proved to provide the same high quality at somewhat lower rates. If we are talking about Node.js professionals, in Eastern Europe their average hourly rates are $61-80.

Summing up

As you see, Node.js is a powerful development framework showing excellent performance in many cases. The list of Node.js application examples is quite long, and your project may very well benefit from using this technology.

Moreover, the vast Node.js community is constantly working on making the platform better, and it may happen that even the cases where Node.js is not the best choice will become a thing of the past. If you want to follow the latest news from the JavaScript universe and, particularly, about the evolution of Node.js and other useful tools, subscribe to our blog.

If you are planning a web application project and think that, maybe, Node.js is just the right thing for it, contact us for a professional analysis and consultation. We will suggest the technology that will showcase your idea and ensure the most optimal performance.

Daniil
Kopilevych

How to Choose a Technology Stack for Your Web Application

#Tech label

One of the most important steps in building a successful web application is choosing the right technology, and as a CTO, that choice is up to you. Web application development requires a server (to run on), database (to store data in), programming language (to code functionality), and HTML+CSS to look good for the user. These are layers that form a technology stack for web development.

In this article, you will find information about what is a web app technology stack, some of the popular tools and basic criteria that can help you make the final decision.

Technology stack: Definition & Popular Technology

A technology stack is any combination of components that satisfy all layers of a web or mobile application and directly affect how your application will work. It has a simple anatomy, consisting of two major layers: server-side (backend; the website’s functionality, processes) and the client-side (frontend; the presentation, what the user sees).

Frontend frameworks and libraries:

  • Bootstrap – The framework to opt for when you are rooting for a ‘mobile first’ application (see, p. Product specifications). It is customizable and saves time on development since it is easy to use and offers helpful components.
  • Angular – An all-rounder JS-based framework; good for projects where easy code integration and rapid webapp development are essential. With the new Angular 5, it is easy to reduce runtime thanks to the built-in code optimizer. Best for developing single-page web applications and cross-platform mobile apps, as well as landing pages and common websites. Used by: Google, PayPal, Upwork.
  • Vue.js – A JavaScript framework that easily integrates with JS libraries. It is a good choice for dynamic, large-scale and single-page projects. Used by: Alibaba, WizzAir, Grammarly.
  • React – A JS library for creating user interfaces (UI). It has an active community and numerous ready-made components, which save time on development. It is great for creating any kind of web applications or platforms that require a very responsive UI. Used by: Facebook, Reddit, Netflix.
  • JQuery – A JS library used for code optimization, e.g., using one line of code instead of a dozen to describe a method.

Programming Languages:

  • PHP – A programming language designed specifically for web development and creating dynamic web pages. It is one of the most popular languages, although it is reported to have many vulnerabilities. Despite that, you can cut on expenses, since PHP-based apps are easy to code.
  • JavaScript (JS) – It is a versatile, convenient and effective high-level programming language that can be used both for the client- and server-side code. JS is great for creating dynamic, modern-looking websites.
  • Java – One of the most popular languages in the world. Java is used both for mobile development and fast, complex websites. It is well-documented and offers many libraries. Popular frameworks: Hibernate, Dropwizard, Grails, Spring, Apache Wicket.
  • C# – It is a versatile, cross-platform technology that is gaining back its popularity among developers. It can process heavy data flow and allows you to create any kind of application.

Backend frameworks:

  • Ruby on Rails – It is easy to learn and use, scalable and fast. RoR uses DRY (“don’t repeat yourself”) design pattern and MVC concept (“model-view-controller”). It is great for any kind of application from basic web pages to high-traffic web portals but requires more server capacity. It is also considered to be a popular tech stack for startups. Used by: Airbnb, Basecamp, Shopify, Twitch, Zendesk.
  • Django – It is a fast, clean, secure and scalable framework for rapid development. It is well documented and comes with its own lightweight server. Django is great for high-loaded websites, but also for medium-sized projects and startups. Used by: Discus, Mozilla, National Geographic, Instagram.
  • .NET – Allows developing any type of web app fast and scale it. Easy to add live communication features and APIs. It is extensively documented and has an active community. Used by: Xbox.com, Microsoft, Stack Overflow.
  • Node.js – Allows optimizing code on high-performance, complex and data-intensive real-time apps. It is fast, simple and expressive. It is most suitable for apps that involve real-time streaming and chatting, collaboration tools and more.
  • Express.js – A minimalist, resource-efficient and flexible framework that uses templates and requires the least effort. It is better for simple web and mobile services, and APIs.
  • Flask – A well-documented framework with an active community. It is a great option if you need to build a service on a resource-constrained system. Good for serious websites and RESTful APIs.

Databases

  • MongoDB – A NoSQL, document-based database for storing large volumes of unstructured data. It can be used in a cloud-based environment.
  • PostgreSQL – An object-relational database with NoSQL features, used for enormous volumes of data (up to 32 TB per table). It supports custom data types and has multi-version control.
  • MySql – One of the most widely used relational databases, that is highly scalable, easy to set up, cloud-ready and platform independent. It is less flexible than some other databases. Also, can be substituted with MariaDB.

A web app also needs a caching system, and the most popular at the moment are Redis and Memcached.

Criteria to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Stack

#1. Product specifications

Desktop vs. Mobile adaptation

Not doing a mobile version in today’s world is not an option, the question is whether it comes first or later. According to Hootsuite 2018 report, mobile phones are responsible for 52% of web traffic.

Mobile later means that mobile user experience will not be as good as on the desktop or laptop version, but you also don’t need to worry if the web application development technologies you choose can create responsive design. Mobile first calls for an optimized app that is SEO-friendly and responsive to any screen resolution and functionality. Mobile only applications, as opposed to mobile first, are more expensive to make and you need to choose between native and hybrid development. Projects like that usually have a simple CMS website for marketing the app.

Project size and complexity

All projects can be divided into three categories, depending on the project’s complexity and functionality goals. E.g., are you trying to solve a unique problem or make a better solution to what has already been done?

Small projects – simple applications within a strict deadline and budget. Online stores and landing pages do not require much. A CMS framework, such as WordPress, is enough.

Mid-range projects – large eCommerce stores, government, financial, and enterprise projects usually require a framework and a combination of programming languages. You should also think about cross-platform integrations.

Complex projects – these have more functions, more languages, and more technologies. Social media, big eCommerce marketplace, and cloud applications require more layers.

Application Capacity

If you are developing an audio/video streaming or file sharing web application, you need a framework or programming language that supports processing heavy loads. If it is also an app that requires low latency and high responsiveness, like social media, you need technology that can ensure that.

#2. Product goals

Scalability – an important feature directly tied to your goals. Can the technology you choose handle exponential user growth rate and the addition of new functions? You can scale vertically by adding more powerful hardware, and horizontally – by distributing the web app across more servers and databases. How easy the process will depend on the web framework you choose. E.g., Django, ASP.NET, Ruby on Rails.

Maintainability. An app is easy to maintain, in the long run, if it has a good architecture from the start and has optimized code. Any unresolved issues will reappear later and cause problems. A way around it is adding a testing framework to your stack, such as Selenium, Jasmine, Karma or Protractor.

Security. The Internet is not a safe place and you should think of your own security as much as the safety of your users’ data. In reality, no technology is 100% secure, but some provide better support than others against common web attacks. E.g., Django, Laravel, RoR, Flask.

#3. Resources

Availability of staff. One of the pitfalls of using the newest technology, even if it seems right for your project, is that there may not be enough developers in your area. Moreover, if a bigger company is hiring the specialists you need, they will cost more. Of course, if you believe that a certain technology is best for your project, outsourcing that piece of work can save you a lot of money.

Budget. There are many open-source and free technologies that will give you high-quality results. What’s best about open-source technology is that it usually has a large pool of contributors constantly updating it and fixing bugs. Another advantage of open-source technology is that you don’t need to renew the license to maintain and update the app, thus saving money for marketing and higher wages.

#4. Project roadmap

Some ideas are truly revolutionary, but you are not the only one thinking of improving something. Developing and releasing them in a short time frame is the only way you can get ahead of your competitors. There are techniques that will save you the time to market (TTM).

Using frameworks, such as Ruby on Rails or Express, allows you to reduce TTM since they give you access to libraries that help with the development process. Third-party solutions help add functionality, that you don’t have to write from scratch. Choosing a popular technology also saves time on finding developers with appropriate expertise. Last but not least, well documented technology, such as PHP, means there will be less issues when developing certain functionality.

Popular technology stacks

There is a great advantage to using a popular web stack. They have a solid core and can be easily customized to the project’s needs. Some of the most popular ready-made technology stack examples are LEAN (Linux-Apache-MySql-PHP), MEAN (MongoDB-Express.js-Angular-Node.js) and .NET.

  LAMP MEAN .NET
Operating system multi-platform (see alternatives) cross-platform cross-platform
Server Apache Node.js, Express.js IIS
Data storage MySql / MariaDB MongoDB SQL Server
Programming language(s) PHP, Perl, Python Angular framework C#
Pros
  • flexible
  • customizable
  • cost-effective
  • fast to develop
  • easy to find staff
  • modern look
  • can service big audiences
  • Scalable
  • many features
  • choice of libraries is up to the developer
  • uses over 60 tools to facilitate the development
  • Angular and React templates
  • less time for development
  • portability and security
  • choose other languages
Type of app Scalable, dynamic and secure Single-page applications, dynamic and common websites, landing pages Small-scale to enterprise level, transaction systems
Used by Zend, Oracle Google, Samsung, IBM Microsoft, Stack Overflow, Starbucks, Stack Exchange

LAMP alternatives:

  • WAMP: Windows, Apache, MySql, PHP
  • WISA: Windows, IIS, SQL, ASP.NET
  • LAPP: Linux, Apache, PostgreSql, PHP
  • MAMP: Mac OS X, Apache, MySql, PHP
  • XAMPP: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, Apache, MySql, PHP, Perl

MEAN alternative:

  • MEEN: MongoDB, Express.js, Ember.js, Node.js

Technology stacks used in successful projects

Trello tech stack

Trello – a web-based PM tool which uses the concept of boards and cards to represent the project and tasks.

Trello tech stack
Trello tech stack

Instagram tech stack

Instagram – social media mobile platform for sharing photo and video content.

Instagram tech stack
Instagram tech stack

Reddit tech stack

Reddit – a social network for posting news and creating discussion boards.

Reddit tech stack
Reddit tech stack

Uber tech stack

Uber – a mobile application that connects riders to drivers; used for ride-sharing and food delivery.

Uber tech stack
Uber tech stack

Slack tech stack

Slack – a live chat collaboration tool for mobile and desktop.

Slack tech stack
Slack tech stack

Conclusions

The long-term success of your project heavily relies on the web application stack you choose. There are many great web application technologies out there, but it is impossible to say which one is the best without inspecting your project need. You can opt for the ready-made options (LEAN, MEAN, .NET) or compile your own stack, so long as the technology inside it fits your goals.

Daniil
Kopilevych

Top 6 reasons to use Angular 5 framework for your project

#Tech label

Angular 5 is finally out.

Angular 5 - Top 6 reasons to use Angular 5 framework for your project
Image credit: Toptal

The team took their time to release it, as it was initially announced for September 2017, then postponed to October, and finally, the latest version of the Angular framework was released on November 1, 2017.

Let’s see what the new version of this popular front-end development framework has to offer and whether businesses should consider it in their selection of tools for building web applications.

What is Angular?

Angular is a JavaScript-based platform for developing web applications. Angular was created and is still maintained by Google, and, obviously, many Google services, such as Google Adwords and Adsense, use Angular to develop and support their user interfaces.

In 2018, Angular has been rated as the most popular front-end development framework again according to the results of the StackOverflow Survey results.
The attention to Angular is rather intense, and the arrival of the new version was long awaited.

Image credit: Stackoverflow

Angular 5 is generally considered to be “faster, lighter and easy to use” as compared to the previous versions of the same framework. Generally, Angular is rather sizeable when put next to other web development frameworks, which makes it suitable for building large, enterprise-sized applications with lots of complex components.

Angular 5 is supposed to be more lightweight while keeping the advantages of its predecessor. However, this is not the only benefit of the new version, others being quite attractive and worth closer attention.

Main advantages of Angular 5 framework

The international community of Angular developers had already appreciated the improvements that they found in the new version of their preferred framework. Many of the improvements are aimed at streamlining the development, obtaining a better-quality code and reducing the number of errors.

Another aspect that is worth mentioning is the increased support of third-party component integration and the availability of a great number of modules in the initial Angular 5 package.

Build optimizer

Angular 5 has the build optimizer function enabled by default. The build optimizer removes the code that is unnecessary at runtime, thus making the bundles smaller. Less code means that the application runs faster.

Build optimization is achieved by removing the so-called Angular decorators that are used only by the compiler and have no effect at runtime. Thus, to increase the app speed and performance, the decorators are not included, therefore, the final JavaScript bundles are smaller and easier to manage.

Note that the build optimizer is available only in the Angular command line interface.

TypeScript and Improved Compilation

Although Angular belongs to JavaScript frameworks, its language is, in fact, TypeScript. It is an extension, or superset, of JavaScript. The code written in TypeScript compiles easily to standard JavaScript.

The advantage of TypeScript is in its typed nature. In JavaScript, any errors made during code creation may be discovered only at runtime, as they may be easily overlooked while writing the code. TypeScript, on the other hand, detects errors as you type, thus allowing to correct them immediately.

Since TypeScript is not the pure JavaScript most developers are used to, it takes some learning and preparation to start writing code in TypeScript. That makes the learning curve of Angular somewhat steep; however, once you learn TypeScript, you are going to love it for its effectiveness.

The compiler of Angular 5 comes with TypeScript 2.3 which makes rebuilding and compilation much faster than in the previous versions. In addition, the compiler now supports incremental compilation.

Material Design components available for server-side rendering

One of the important improvements of Angular 5 is the compatibility of Material Design components with server-side rendering. In Angular, the application pages are generated on the server and returned upon requests from the browser.

With the current updates, the framework can now render components created in Material Design on the server side. Material Design is a unique design language developed by Google with the aim of creating a universal platform for highly-technological interface design.

Google Material Design in Angular - Top 6 reasons to use Angular 5 framework for your project

Angular 5 has managed to join server-side rendering with the possibility of Material Design components integration.
Please note that, although the Angular team has announced this feature, as it requires certain fine-tuning. Follow the news from the Angular developers to learn when this feature is available for use.

Progressive Web Application creation simplified

Progressive Web Applications have been “the thing” in the web development community lately. PWAs are, in fact, web applications that appear to the user like native mobile applications. The main difference between Progressive Web Apps and native apps is that the former are created to be run in a browser, while the latter are designed to work on a particular device.

To run a native application, you always need to download it to your device first. At the same time, PWA will run in a browser page without any downloading.
PWAs are as popular as they are for their flexible compatibility with various devices, responsiveness, and, what’s especially crucial for app development companies, no need to publish in app stores. App stores can be rather bureaucratic sometimes which may delay the app release.

You can find quite a lot of truly amazing PWAs already available. Check, for example, the Financial Times app that looks like a news site but behaves like a native application.

Financial Time PWA - Top 6 reasons to use Angular 5 framework for your project

One of the Angular 5 features is enhanced possibilities of PWA creation. With Angular 5, developers have received a tool for easier creation of web applications offering native experience.

Modular development structure

Another significant advantage of Angular 5 is the inclusion of most of the required modules in the out-of-the-box configuration.
For example, you have the 
BrowserModule, HttpModule, FormsModule, and many more.

Also, you can write your own modules if you do not find the one you need in the standard Angular 5 package. Angular modules can be used in multiple web applications or exported to other modules to perform its services.

Besides, the Angular community has accumulated a wealth of reusable components that can be used in building web applications. The ready-made components are easily integratable into other Angular projects which makes development easier and quicker.

Another point worth taking note is that Angular 5 supports more manipulations with Document Object Model (DOM) within the context of server-side rendering.
Thus, Angular can now integrate more third-party components that were not built for server-side rendering.

Use of Webpack

Although Angular has been using Webpack in previous versions, too, it is worth mentioning as one of the features that make Angular convenient and effective.

Webpack is a module bundler that joins the assets that belong together and should be returned together by the server in a single JavaScript file. Webpack is a great bundling tool for large, complex applications using assets of various types. Since Angular is very well suited for creating complex web apps with lots of highly-technological components, using Webpack can considerably optimize its performance.

Why use Angular 5?

These are just the main features of the new version of Angular. Although we outlined only the highlights of the new release, we recommend looking closely at Angular in its entirety if you are selecting a reliable platform for front-end development.

Angular is the most optimal choice for projects creating feature-rich single-page web applications. Its out-of-the-box functionality is in many cases sufficient to cover the needs of front-end development, even for fairly sophisticated cases. Angular 5 is a large step forward, as it was created with the focus on making Angular development more consistent and efficient.

The list of Angular application examples is impressive. In addition to various Google services, we can find such brands as McDonald’s, MasterCard and Citibank Customer Service that use different versions of Angular for their front-end.

Moreover, if we browse the list of the best-known brands that use Angular, we can see two projects that have already switched to Angular 5 – Teradata, a database service provider, and Ngx-restangular, a service for web applications receiving data from REST APIs.

Angular 5 - Teradata and Ngx - Top 6 reasons to use Angular 5 framework for your project

As you can see, if you opt for Angular as a tool for your project, you are going to be in a very good company. Besides, over the years of use, Angular has gathered quite a large developer community where you can find anything from peer support to a vast variety of ready-made components that you can use in building your user interfaces.

Besides, if you choose Angular as the platform for your web app development, you will have little problem putting together the developers’ team for your project. The popularity of this framework encourages many front-end developers to learn its specifics and become professionals with this tool.

On a final note, your business can benefit from using Angular 5 as a part of your development toolset. Even though it requires some “getting used to,” the result is totally worth it.
Angular is a perfect choice for building high-performance, robust, easily scalable web applications of enterprise size.

Daniil
Kopilevych

Angular vs. React vs. Vue.js – choosing a JavaScript framework for your project

#Tech label

Putting together a technology stack for a startup or a new product development can become a “project within a project,” as there are too many factors to consider and too many options to choose from. With wisely chosen tools, your development will run like clockwork, while a poor choice of technology will only multiply the problems.

Choosing the front-end development framework is a challenging task. If you try to figure out the pros and cons of the available frameworks, you are sure to come across tons of reasoning for each of them and may be back to square one.

Maybe, Angular? It is the oldest one – it should be the most comprehensive.

Or, should we choose React? Many people love React, and all of them cannot be wrong.

What about Vue.js? It is new, so it should be better than the other ones.

Let’s look under the hood of each of the three major front-end development frameworks to see what makes them stand out and in which cases they perform best. We hope to throw some light at the matter of selecting the most suitable one and to answer the central question: Which framework should I choose – Angular, React or Vue.js and why?”

Angular, React, Vue.js – then and now

As was mentioned already, Angular is the oldest of the three and has seen quite a number of transformations.
It is a fully-featured framework for front-end web development. It first came to be under the name of AngularJS and was later renamed to just Angular with numbered versions. Oh, by the way – it was created and is still being developed by Google if this can persuade you.

React positions itself as a library rather than a framework. Its only purpose is building user interfaces, however; it does it brilliantly.
React is a brainchild of Facebook and Instagram, which, quite naturally, use it in their UI’s.

Vue.js cannot boast such magnificent ancestry. In fact, it is a one-man project built by Evan You, a former Google developer who was determined to create something as good as Angular but more lightweight.
And he seems to have succeeded in this, as, although only four years old, Vue.js is often the framework of choice both for startup projects and large established brands.

JavaScript framework comparison

Angular, React, and Vue.js are all JavaScript-based frameworks used to build the front-end part of web applications. Despite the similar purpose, they have certain differences that may influence your choice of tools for your project.
Let’s look at the most significant 
features of Angular, React and Vue.js to see for which projects they are the most suitable.

Getting started

While choosing the development framework that would be the most optimal for your project, a good practice will be consulting your developers. Their knowledge and experience of a specific technology may be an argument for or against a particular option.

However, the starting point is the same for all three frameworks – they are all based on JavaScript, so that is the basic language requirement for front-end development. By the way, theoretically, you can write your front-end in any language, however, browsers accept only JavaScript. Thus, to eliminate unnecessary conversions, it is better to choose a JavaScript-based framework for front-end development.

That is where the similarity ends, as all three frameworks are different already at the level of the language syntax which has its impact on the learning curve.

Angular uses TypeScript, a superset of JavaScript that is considered a separate programming language. TypeScript has a lot of significant advantages, such as autocompletion and navigation, as well as advanced refactoring possibilities. Those make TypeScript a primary choice for large-scale projects; however, if you do not know it, you cannot jump right in. It takes some serious learning to start coding in TypeScript.

React, in its turn, is much easier to grasp than Angular. Although JavaScript-based, too, it also uses an own syntax, JSX, however, nowhere as steep to learn as TypeScript.

Compared to Angular and React, learning Vue.js is a breeze. Vue.js works with a template-based syntax that is clear and valid HTML.
Thus, any code created in Vue.js can be inserted into an HTML file without any conversions.

Speaking of learning, Angular and Vue.js are famous for their excellent documentation, while React lags behind.

Framework size

In the context of development frameworks, size matters, because it is directly related to the application performance. Both the framework and the app itself need to be downloaded before the application becomes functional.

In this respect, Angular is the heaviest of all with 143k. It is followed by React with 43k while Vue.js is the most lightweight – its size is only 23k. Therefore, if your application is not too large and contains no sophisticated components, the recommended way is to choose a smaller framework.

Performance

In Web applications, performance is directly related to the Document Object Model, or DOM, which represents the web page both in the browser and in the code. Through DOM, web pages can be manipulated in case of any updates.

Angular uses the regular DOM with the entire web page re-rendered even if only a single item is changed. That is its Achilles’ heel, as regular DOM significantly affects the performance, especially in single-page applications.

Here both React and Vue.js leave Angular behind, as both of them use virtual DOM. It is a copy of the actual DOM where changes are made without affecting the DOM proper. The updated virtual DOM is compared to a snapshot of the regular DOM, and then only the modified components are re-rendered. This approach significantly speeds up the application performance.

Scalability

With respect to front-end development, scalability mostly refers to the ability to consistently maintain an expanding functionality. Applications are supposed to grow in size and complexity, and the development platform should be able to support such growth.

The developers’ community is almost unanimous in saying that both Angular and React prove to be up to the task when it concerns building scalable applications. Angular provides scalability with its modular development structure, while React uses a component-based approach with equally superb results.

In the matters of scalability, Vue.js is losing spectacularly, as it uses template-based syntax. In a large application, templates become increasingly more difficult to reuse, as compared to JavaScript components.

Developers’ community

The 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey named React the most loved framework among the developers. Being a creation of the Facebook team, it enjoys unparalleled popularity and support. React community now exceeds thirty thousand members, all of them contributing their knowledge and expertise to its development.

Angular is traditionally appreciated for its advantages and can boast quite considerable community support. Although, the statistics by bestof.js shows that the initial version of Angular – AngularJS, or Angular 1 – still has much more followers than its later versions.

React vs Angular vs Vue.js - choosing a javascript framework for your project - Blog Relevant Software
Image credit: BestofJs

The same statistics prove that, despite its advantages, Vue.js is still far from being very popular among the developers.

The community size is not about prestige – its effect is much more practical.

The more people cooperate on the framework functionality, the better it gets and, what’s even more important, the greater its library collection becomes.
With React, you are sure to find reusable components of all sorts that have been contributed by peer developers.

Therefore, if community support and the availability of ready-made components is critical for you, React may be your best shot.

Developers availability

If you already have a front-end developer, your choice is much easier. If your developer is an Angular developer – well, you are going to have an Angular project, simple as that.

At the same time, team selection is one of the important matters to consider while planning the project. Of course, with the wide popularity of Angular and React, you are much better off finding reputed professionals for either of these technologies than if you opted for Vue.js.
Vue.js developers seem to be few and far between; however, with its easy learning curve, a skilled front-end developer will have little trouble learning Vue.js quickly.

Depending on your situation, you can either hire in-house or remote Angular, React or Vue.js developers by hunting them through local job portals or freelance platforms (for example, Upwork).

Or, you can even hire an entire remote product development team through agencies that specialize in full-cycle product development outsourcing and/or extending your existing team with additional developers in particular technology stack (such as Clutch).
Your choice of team will depend on many factors – your location, project budget, NDA requirements, and so on.

Of course, there is also a matter of salaries. In this category, Angular developers may be a bit more expensive than those working with React or Vue.js, due to the requirements of TypeScript knowledge. The 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey rated TypeScript skills somewhat higher than plain JavaScript.

React vs Angular vs Vue.js - choosing a javascript framework for your project - Blog Relevant Software
Image credit: Stackoverflow

Acceptance and adoption by global brands

No matter how good a framework is, its reputation and popularity still play a key role in its acceptance. Besides, when you build an application on a popular and widely-used platform, its further maintenance and support are going to be much easier.

Let’s look at the brands that have adopted each of the frameworks for their front-end. You will be impressed by the names you see in each group:

Angular React Vue.js
Google (of course!) Facebook (you bet!) Xiaomi
PayPal Reddit Alibaba
Upwork Airbnb WizzAir
Sony Dropbox Grammarly
Mastercard Netflix Euronews

There is also an interesting observation that should be considered if you are planning to outsource software development. As we said already, Vue.js is more popular in Asia, mostly, in China. This trend has its flip side – being less known in the US, Vue.js may be rejected by the US-based customers who would prefer Angular or React for their projects. As you can see, Angular and React have some true global heavyweights among their users, and that gives them an additional “pro” argument. However, Vue.js, despite its geographic popularity being shifted to the Asian countries, is also winning the users’ trust – look at WizzAir and Grammarly that made it their framework of choice.

Summary

As you can see, all three frameworks have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice of the right tool for your project is unique in all cases and highly depends on the particular solution requirements.
We summarized the pros and cons of each framework so that you can get a general idea:

  Angular React Vue.js
Size 143k 43k 23k
Performance medium high high
Scalability high high low
Learning curve steep medium easy
Developers’ availability high high low
Developers community large very large small
Acceptance and trust high high cautious

How to choose the right Javascript framework for your project?

We still should answer the big question – when to choose each of the three frameworks? How to leverage their advantages to the maximum?
On the basis of the main advantages and disadvantages of each of the three frameworks, we worked out the following criteria that can help you choose the most optimal platform for your project:

Choose Angular when:

  • You are about to develop a very large and complex project
  • You need easy and reliable scalability
  • You have Angular developers on your team
  • You can afford some time for learning TypeScript before the project starts

Choose React when:

  • Your project can accept reusable components
  • Your project’s front-end is not too complex
  • The performance and scalability are critical
  • You have tight deadlines

Choose Vue.js when:

  • Your project scope is on the small side
  • You need high performance
  • You have no skilled front-end developers but have team members with JavaScript knowledge
  • You do not have much time to learn a new technology

Of course, Angular, React, and Vue.js are by no means the only front-end development frameworks on the market. There are many exciting tools suited for projects of various size and complexity. With the right approach and a bit of common sense, it should not be too difficult to gather the technology stack capable of delivering a great software solution.

In addition to front-end development frameworks, there are lots of other JavaScript-based tools on the market.

Learn about the current JavaScript trends and recommendations on putting together complete JavaScript development toolkits.

Daniil
Kopilevych

7 Advantages of Node.js for Startups

#Tech label

It has never been easier to bring your idea to life and launch a startup. Thanks to emerging technologies, Internet revolution and crowdfunding, thousands of people bring their innovations to the market. And, today it seems to be really easy. But, it isn’t.

Startupers-newcomers are often full of excitement and enthusiasm, however, they face real-world risks and uncertainties. There really is a dark side of the moon. We call it…

The right choice

Selection of the right programming platform for the next startup can have a crucial impact on the new product’s success, along with availability of the working capital, proper marketing strategy, and the growth plan.

Actually, the right technology stack should be the first big decision, based on multiple factors like scalability, learning curve, speed of development, community, and many others.

Being you a first-time startuper, or a co-founder of an organization that launched numerous successful projects, remember: things that cannot be avoided should be adopted.

JavaScript is reasonably accepted as the world’s most popular programming language. This is English among other programming languages. And, what is more, JavaScript will never totally go away.

Why Node.js?

“The most exciting single piece of software in the current JavaScript universe”, Ryan Dahl, software engineer and inventor of Node.js

Node.js is a cross-platform runtime environment, built on V8, high-performance open-source JavaScript engine. To ensure outstanding performance, Node.js applies event-driven, non-blocking I/O paradigm. In the past years, it gained a lot of popularity in various development circles.

Node.js really shines in building fast, scalable network applications, offers benefits in performance, faster development, and other perks. Today’s requirements for processing and consuming real-time information are paramount, and Node.js is exceptionally fast for multi-user real-time data situations. No surprise, that a lot of startups lean toward it.

Node.js is best suitable for:

  • Real-time web applications
  • Streaming applications
  • Messaging apps
  • Chat programs
  • Social media apps
  • Virtual emulators
  • Multiplayer games
  • Collaboration tools
  • API

Node.js as a platform of choice for startups provides the following benefits:

1. Easy to learn

Node.js has no steep learning curve. Coding in Node.js is relatively easy to grasp, once you have mastered JavaScript and Object Oriented Programming basics. It’s enough to start.

The hardest things are to have the client-server model clear in your mind, and catching up with the Node’s asynchronous flow.
There are plenty of interactive courses, tutorials and examples on github, which can make your learning a really pleasant experience.  

2. Keeping things simple

Before the product launch startupers wear many hats and  face many challenges. No surprise, they want to keep their lives as simple as they can be. Thus, as they step into the Node.js, they really enjoy easy sharing one language both on server and client sides, and no necessity to switch between back-end and front-end.

This means, that applications written in Node.js require fewer files and less code compared to those with different languages for front-end and back-end. You can also reuse and share the code between the front-end and back-end parts of your application, which speed up the development process. One code, one deployment, everything in one place.

These considerable benefits are especially valuable at the initial stage of your startup product development, as you can have a team of full-stack developers for both sides, and cut costs on man/hour.

3. Faster time-to-market

Time is priceless for startupers. First months they have to work relentlessly to iterate fast, test, deploy and deliver as quickly as possible, while having at the same time shoelace budgets and lean teams. Node.js is particularly helpful in making the time-to-market cycle shorter.

The first thing is that the technology is lightweight and can massively reduce the application development time while achieving the same functionality. With Node, you can get from idea to product in a snap. Secondly, dead simple deployments help you get immediate feedback from the production environment.

4. Scalability

Scalability is baked into the core of Node.js. It is one of Node’s basic benefits for startups who are planning to grow with the course of time. App-based startups choose it to develop lightweight and fast systems with good real-time response that can be scaled up later, as well as to easily add more modules to the existing ones. You never know how high will you go.

Node’s scalability is achieved by the load balancing and the capability to handle a huge number of concurrent connections. Moreover, Node’s apps support both vertical and horizontal scaling.

Node.js is well-suited for microservices architecture, which is really beneficial for the projects that will scale and grow in the future. Also, it is possible to create a separate microservice for any functionality, and then scale it separately from all other parts.

5. Battle-tested old hand

If you are concerned with the relative novelty of Node.js, don’t worry. In the past few years the number of companies using Node.js for their products has increased dramatically, and the giants like PayPal, Netflix and eBay have joined the hype.

Surely, Node.js is a mature and well-tested tool, and it is not going to be neglected or abandoned any time soon.

6. MVP development

Short budgets and strict timeframes mean that it’s worth quickly validating the marketability of the product’s idea with the least efforts, investments and resources, and ensure the product is well received before paying out more money on development. You better get ready before you take off.

Node.js enables to quickly develop an MVP (minimum viable product)  – a piece of software with just enough features (or a single killer feature) so that the product can go to the market and satisfy the first customers. MVP is a rudimentary stage on the way to a full-fledged application.

7. Community

An active community means a lot of support and feedback. Again, thriving Node.js community can help you avoid reinventing a bicycle – they have produced multiple tools and decent instruments that accelerate the development speed.

NPM (a node package manager), Node’s package ecosystem, is the largest and the fastest growing software registry in the world. It provides numerous libraries and reusable templates you can incorporate into your code to have more value with less efforts and time. And, there is a module for pretty much anything you can imagine in the NPM ecosystem.

Moreover, in the vast community there are a lot of developers and product owners who can help you with the most of your questions.

Polishing off

Node.js seems to be the most obvious choice for startupers, and more and more companies are giving it a try.
Read the 
checklist of Node.s greatest features below before you put off on your successful journey with Node.js:

  • Efficient performance
  • Easier development process
  • Reusable code
  • Ability to handle multiple requests
  • Ability to scale smoothly
  • Prompt code execution
  • Asynchronous and event-driven
  • Supported by leading companies
  • Top-notch prototyping capabilities
  • Vast talent pool
Tags: Node.js
Ihor
Feoktistov

Big companies that use Node.js and why they do that

#Tech label

Since the initial release of Node.js in 2009, this environment has definitely carved its niche in the enterprises. Business giants are using it for their websites and applications, and prove that the hype about Node.js is not a fluke. And, more and more companies are joining the league on their ways to top-notch products. Node.js is definitely winning a marathon now.

Let’s get to the list of the big players who use Node.js for their products. But, before we ring the curtain up, let us first look at the biggest strengths of Node.js.

Is it really a game changer?

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment, written in JavaScript, the most popular programming language in the world. It is created for building fast and scalable network applications. Node.js has been a real blessing for giants like Uber and Netflix, since its launch, thanks to the numerous benefits it provides:

  • Extremely comfortable to work with
  • High scalability
  • Executing the code on the server side (on their computers or straight in a browser)
  • Quicker development cycles
  • Lightning fast speed of processing
  • Thriving open-source community

If you are going to launch a new product, here is a list of 7 benefits Node.js provides for startups.

Alright, let’s now get to the list of the biggest companies that used Node.js in production and see what the reason was behind choosing it.

Famous apps built with Node.js you surely know and use:

1. PayPal

PayPal is one of the world’s largest and the most trusted services for paying, sending money and accepting payments. The platform allows its users to interact with each other virtually, without involving debit or credit card disclosure. For November 2017, PayPal has over 200 million active accounts.

Interestingly, Node.js was not the go-to technology for Paypal from the very start. According to @paypaleng, their initial concern was the segmented teams: those who code separately for a browser (using HTML, CSS and JavaScript), and those who code for server applications (using Java). Thus, the boundary between the browser and the server was the primary blocker.

The solution was to use JavaScript for writing both browser and server applications, and, therefore, uniting their engineering specialties into one team.

“Like many others, we slipped Node.js in the door as a prototyping platform. Also like many others, it proved extremely proficient and we decided to give it a go on production,”
said
Jeff Harrel, Senior Director of Payments Products and Engineering at PayPal.

Benefits of Node.js for PayPal:

  • Node.js app for PayPal was built 2 times faster with fewer people working on it, as compared to the previous Java based app
  • Doubled request per second
  • 35% decrease in the average response time for the same page
  • 33% fewer lines of code
  • 40% fewer files

2. Uber

Uber is a global transportation company, headquartered in San Francisco, CA. The company is doubling in size every 6 months, operates in 6 continents, 68 countries, 633 cities worldwide. Since its launch in 2012, Uber has become one of the most recognized alternatives to a traditional taxi. Therefore, Uber needs a platform that will keep running no matter what.

Their app connects driver-partners and riders, thus, it has to process enormous amount of information at a fast-growing scale. Uber chose Node.js to build its massive matching system due to its ability to keep up with the pace of Uber’s huge business needs and enhanced data processing capabilities.

“Node.js is particularly well-suited to writing systems that have all their state in memory,” said Kris Kowal, Software Engineer at Uber. “They do not have to externalize the concerns of a distributed system. As a consequence, the systems can be more available, and they can respond more quickly to requests by eliminating the reading/writing and the serialization of state into a database.”

Benefits of Node.js for Uber:

  • Quick and reliable processing of extreme amount of data
  • Elimination of errors without the need to restart
  • Quick deployment of the new code
  • Strong open source community that constantly develops new solutions

3. LinkedIn

Despite the fact that many consider LinkedIn as old-fashioned and outdated, it is still the most popular business-oriented social network and a convenient tool for successful employment. LinkedIn has 467 million users from over 200 countries. In 2016 Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26 billion.

LinkedIn decided to replace their synchronous Ruby on Rails mobile app, in which clients used to make several calls for a single page, with an asynchronous evented system. Therefore, they made up their mind on Node.js due to its scalability and performance efficiency. And, Node.js satisfied their expectations.

Image source: LinkedIn

“Writing code in Node.js also encourages you to think in certain ways. Node provides an evented system with a single process which executes multiple requests. It has no concept of thread-locals forcing you to make your code stateless and modular. Although Node has added support for domains; it is mostly untested for high qps services.” said Deepank Gupta, Senior Software Engineer at LinkedIn.

Benefits of Node.js for LinkedIn:

  • 10x reduction in the number of machines for service hosting
  • Servers cut from 30 to 3
  • Doubled traffic capacity
  • Much better performance and lowered memory overhead
  • New mobile app is up to 20x faster in some scenarios
  • Front-end and back-end mobile teams combined into a single unit
  • Enough headroom remains to handle 10x current levels of resource utilization

4. Ebay

eBay is one of the world’s largest marketplaces, offering consumer-to-consumer and business-to consumer internet sales services. It has 183 million active users, and operates in 37 countries.

The main problems the giant faced were scalability and huge traffic. eBay engineers considered different solutions to tackle these technical challenges, and, after tough internal debates, finally chose Node.js.

“We had two primary requirements for the project. First was to make the application as real time as possible–i.e., maintain live connections with the server. Second was to orchestrate a huge number of eBay-specific services that display information on the page–i.e., handle I/O-bound operations. Now we had our Node.js web service running in various stable environments. This whole deployment setup was quicker and simpler than we had expected.” said Senthil Padmanabhan, Principal Web Engineer at eBay.

Image source: Ebay

Benefits of Node.js for eBay:

  • Speed and simplicity
  • Seamless and easy deployment
  • Single threading
  • Meeting the main requirement: “Automate the process, build once, and deploy everywhere”

5. Netflix

Netflix is the world’s biggest provider of streaming media and video-on-demand, including movies and television series. The service is available in more than 190 countries. In 2013, Netflix expanded into film and television production and online distribution, as well as production of their own original programming. In the third quarter of 2017, Netflix had over 109 million streaming subscribers worldwide.

Netflix had a stable and full-featured application, and they wanted to make it modular and lightweight, reduce complexities, and power user interfaces specifically, while at the same time leverage their existing infrastructure. That is why they decided to shift the whole user interface to Node.js. Node.js runtime has proved to be so efficient, so the Netflix team is even moving data access layers to it.

“Node was a really attractive option for us, because it aligned well with the skills of the UI engineers,” said Kim Trott, Director of User Interface Engineering at Netflix.

Image source: Netflix

Benefits of Node.js for Netflix:

  • Startup time of the new application reduced by 70%
  • Streamlined development
  • Cut build times
  • Increased level of customization for each user

Set your product up for the future with Node.js

If you are tempted by these amazing success stories, it’s high time for you to adopt Node.js for your next product.
Among the reasons that will convince you further are:

  • High performance and scalability
  • Versatility
  • Fast development process
  • Proxy server ability
  • Efficient use of the code
  • Removed need for different languages
  • Non-blocking I/O paradigm
  • Unified database queries (JSON format)
  • Smooth implementation of changes
  • Incredible speed of processing
  • Data streaming (HTTP requests and responses as a single event)
  • Fast and easy testing of new features
  • Possibilty to build front-end and back-end of an app
  • The app and the server are always connected
  • The app can handle increasing number of connections
  • Possibilities of giant open-source community and NPM repository (over 60.000 modules)