This article explores the MEAN stack’s components and use cases, highlighting why it’s an intelligent choice for your full-stack applications.
Is the MEAN Stack Right for You?
MongoDB is a popular NoSQL database that stores data as binary JSON (BSON) documents. Its extensive flexibility and scalability make it well-suited for applications that store large and complex data. It’s also cross-platform, allowing you to use a single language across the entire stack.
Express.js is a flexible, lightweight framework for the backend development of Node.js applications. It acts as middleware to ensure smooth interaction between the client and the database. It also offers robust routing capabilities and a default error handler.
Advantages of the MEAN Stack
The MEAN stack makes it easy to build full-stack, real-time web applications. Let’s go over some of its most compelling benefits.
MEAN’s primary advantage is that it lets you build full-stack applications using a single language, allowing you to reuse code and keep it structurally and syntactically consistent. Reusability can significantly accelerate the development process so you can focus on more complex tasks.
MEAN is also exceptionally scalable, making it a popular choice for building large-scale web applications. The asynchronous architecture of Node.js enables easy horizontal scaling, and MongoDB supports sharding. You can distribute your data storage across numerous servers and add more servers to your clusters as demand increases.
Community and Ecosystem
As an open-source tech stack, MEAN has a thriving developer community contributing to its ongoing development and maintenance. This culture of collaboration also gives it a well-rounded support system and a low barrier to entry, with many learning resources to help you get started.
In addition, MEAN has a wealth of libraries, frameworks, and other tools within the Node.js package manager (npm). This rich ecosystem enables you to integrate features easily into your application without building them from scratch.
MEAN Stack Limitations
While MEAN does offer several advantages, it may not always be the right choice for certain applications. There are a few drawbacks to keep in mind.
Limited Support for Relational Databases
Relational or SQL databases store data in tables using a rigid schema to ensure data integrity and structure. However, MongoDB is a NoSQL database that stores data in the more flexible BSON format.
Developers wishing to use relational databases with the MEAN stack must integrate additional tools. However, it makes the application more complex, which can detract from its maintainability. Therefore, MEAN may not be ideal for applications that require highly structured data with optimal integrity.
Steep Learning Curve
Despite their supportive communities and resources, Angular and MongoDB can be difficult for new developers to learn.
Angular is a complex and verbose framework with advanced features that require significant time and effort to comprehend. Developers may also need to contend with its continuous evolution and regular updates while they navigate the framework.
Meanwhile, developers with more experience using traditional SQL databases may find it challenging to adapt to MongoDB’s flexibility. Because MongoDB doesn’t require a strict schema, developers may need to learn new techniques and syntax for optimizing indexes and managing transactions.
Use Cases for the MEAN Stack
Despite these minor weaknesses, the MEAN stack is ideal for developing a wide range of applications.
MEAN is great for building single-page applications (SPAs), such as ecommerce applications, content management systems (CMSs), and social networking applications.
SPAs must supply dynamic and (often) personalized updates without requiring end users to reload the page. Angular simplifies this dynamic view creation through its component-based architecture, templating, and two-way data binding. You can customize your UI to your users’ preferences and update it in real time based on their interactions with the page.
Furthermore, you can combine Angular with Express.js to enhance the user experience. While Angular dynamically renders the UI, Express.js provides the routing and middleware to handle client requests and communicate with the database or external services.
Real-Time Web Applications
The MEAN stack is also ideal for building real-time web applications, such as gaming sites, chat applications, and collaboration tools. Node.js supports real-time data processing through its asynchronous I/O model. It also provides web sockets to enable seamless data transfer between the client and server without needing multiple HTTP requests.
This persistent connection enables applications to deliver live messages and updates. When a user sends a message in a chat application, and the server immediately broadcasts it to the intended recipient, they experience the all-but-invisible benefit of the persistent connection.
MEAN is also well-equipped to handle the demands of data-intensive processes that drive applications like ecommerce platforms and finance software.
Node.js is an excellent option for processing and managing large amounts of data without impacting performance. Meanwhile, MongoDB is exceptional at handling large and complex data sets. It can also make read-and-write operations to the database, which are crucial functions for applications that must store, update, and retrieve data quickly.
The MEAN stack is a powerful solution for building robust full-stack applications. It allows you to use a single language to develop the frontend with Angular and the backend using Node.js. MongoDB helps you handle complex data, and Node.js establishes an asynchronous runtime environment for enhanced performance and responsiveness.
From SPAs to chat applications to e-commerce platforms, MEAN lets you build highly responsive and flexible applications that can scale to meet traffic and data demands. It also has a large community of active users and numerous libraries and tools to help you get started.
With Kinsta, you can easily deploy MEAN stack applications, providing a Platform as a Service to ship your application without needing to manage infrastructure. You can deploy changes to your application at every push to your Git repository.
Furthermore, includes developer tools like custom deployment from a Dockerfile and staging environments to help you perform advanced tasks and ensure that your application always works as expected. Try out the MEAN stack, then deploy your applications with Kinsta.