Introducing the MEAN Stack

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During the recent few years, everybody in the web community speaks about the MEAN stack. What are they discussing?

The Disruption

Technology disruption has already disrupted. Everything has changed with the pace of digital revolution, from our everyday lives to the way how we work and code. The fast-moving and diverse environment of web development is no exception.

During the recent few years, everybody in the web community speaks about the MEAN stack. What are they discussing?

Technology stacks provide complete platforms to run applications, and they have the power enough to process complex instructions. Generally, they consist of the following components: operating system, runtime environments, database, web server, and web application framework.

What is MEAN Stack?

MEAN stack is a full-stack JavaScript framework for developing dynamic websites and applications. MEAN stack derives its name from its components: M stands for MongoDB, E – Express.js, A – AngularJS, and N – Node.js.

MEAN stack is completely JavaScript-powered: one and the same programming language (JavaScript) is being used at every level of application, thus, it allows unique server-side and client-side execution environments.

To learn more about the MEAN stack architecture, read Scott Davis’ Introduction.

What do you MEAN?

Due to its performance, simplicity, and flexibility, the MEAN stack is perfect for building all kinds of applications, from dynamic single-page apps to large-scale complex enterprise solutions.

The most common uses of MEAN stack:

  • Social media apps
  • Multimedia streaming apps
  • Chat and forum apps
  • Business and enterprise apps
  • Big Data apps
  • Apps with multi-user interaction
  • Apps with user connectivity
  • All types of mobile apps

MEAN stack is currently in high demand within both startups and established companies. Some of the giants who’ve successfully leveraged MEAN stack for their products are Netflix, Google, PayPal, Uber, LinkedIn, New York Times, Walmart, and many more.

MEANingful Benefits

Let’s look through the main advantages of MEAN stack, which make it rule the market of JavaScript frameworks:

  • Single Language Development
    • This benefit is the main one and the most obvious as JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. By going MEAN your complete code (client side and server side) is written in JavaScript.
  • Employability
    • Today it’s definitely not a problem to employ an engineer highly skilled in JavaScript-based technologies.
  • Cost-Effectiveness
    • It is generally more cost effective to use the same programming language on both front-end and back-end.
  • Time-Saving
    • When the timelines of your project are limited, you can leverage the infinite set of ready to use module libraries for Node.js on the contrary to writing the modules by yourself.
  • JSON
    • Both AngularJS and Node.js offer JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), and MongoDB saves documents in JSON format. The same format of data everywhere eliminates the need for reformatting and rewriting. JSON also enables easy work with the APIs.
  • High Flexibility
    • MongoDB offers a flexible JSON document structure for all the data representation, which is invaluable for complex large-scale projects. As well, MongoDB offers automatic replication and full cluster support.
  • Lightning Fast Speed
    • MEAN stack is superfast thanks to the non-blocking architecture of Node.js.
  • Cloud Compatible
    • If you need to implement cloud functionalities into your app, MongoDB helps to decrease the cost of disk space.
  • Open-Source
    • All technologies, libraries and public repositories are open-source, free and available for use. Also, new versions are coming out all the time and the stack gets updated often. It helps reduce the cost of development and speed up time-to-market.
  • Active Community
    • JavaScript is definitely the most popular programming language in the world, and, it has thriving and the most active developers’ communities. Moreover, within communities, developers share code and valuable insights with each other.

Turn off the LAMP

MEAN and LAMP stacks are going up against each other for some time now, but MEAN seems to be winning the contest.

LAMP was one of the first open-source web-technology stacks that gained wide popularity among developers. LAMP stack combines Linux operating system, Apache web-server, MySQL database, and PHP programming language. Still, the LAMP components were not initially designed to work together.

In the past few years LAMP was one the most widely-used web-technology stacks, but MEAN stack allows developers to jump off the established LAMP environment.

Summing Up

MEAN stack continues to gain amazing popularity due to its high performance, fewer overheads and easiness to combine around. The technologies perfectly integrate with each other and are invaluable in developing ambitious and competitive web apps. Another advantages are that MEAN stack is relatively easy to learn, is being constantly improved, and it heavily supported by a thriving community.

Had some projects on MEAN? Leave your comments to let us know what you think about it. Share the article to your colleagues if you find it useful.

Vasyl Varkholyak, CTO at LaSoft