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Tamara Martinez
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Node.js Popular Frameworks


In a previous article, we talked about combining Node.js with Flutter. In that article, we described it as “an asynchronous event-driven JavaScript runtime.” Further, we established that, contrary to popular belief, Node.js it’s not a framework. Instead, it’s a runtime environment. These are platforms to execute commands; they process code to achieve results. Yet, Node.js has many frameworks to work with. While no one is better, the choice may depend on the process or the final result. So, let’s review some of the most popular Node.js frameworks!

What is Node.js?

Node.js is a server-side JavaScript environment that uses an asynchronous event-driven model. This makes it ideal for building real-time applications. For instance, chatbots, online games, and live video streaming services. Also, Node.js is lightweight and efficient, making it perfect for resource-intensive applications. The software platform builds scalable network applications. Node.js applications use JavaScript and can run on various platforms. This includes Windows, Linux, and MacOS X.

Benefits of Node.js include it being open-source, cross-platform, single-threaded, fast, and scalable. Also, it can help improve dev productivity and satisfaction. And last but not least, it has an easy learning curve and a large community. There are a few key things to keep in mind when working with Node.js. One is its Asynchronous Programming. This is the key to efficient Node.js development, meaning you should design your code to work in an asynchronous manner to take advantage of its event-driven model. The second one is that Nodejs is Single-Threaded. Because of this single-threaded characteristic, you must be careful about blocking the event loop. Blocking event loops can lead to poor performance and degraded User Experience.

What is NPM?

NPM is Node.js’ standard package manager. Not only it’s an online repository for publishing open-source Node.js models. Also, it’s a command-line utility that interacts with the repository. NPM is vital for package installation and version and dependency management. Every day, more Node.js apps and libraries are published on npm. According to Node.js' official site, there were over 350k packages in NPM as Jan 2017. This made it the most extensive language code repository worldwide!

When to use Node.js?

Node.js is a versatile platform used for a variety of purposes. Yet, it is particularly well suited for building real-time applications. Also, it's perfect for resource-intensive applications and applications that need high performance. If you need to develop an application that fits into one of these categories, Node.js is an excellent choice.

Node.js on Real-Time Apps

Node.js can ensure great speed and performance. That's why one of its primary uses is real-time messaging or chatting. It can support heavy message or chatroom traffic. Also, it works perfectly when many users receive messages simultaneously.

Node.js on Resource-Intensive Apps

As we established, Node.js is fast, powerful, and thus capable of handling large data flows. That's what makes it perfect for IoT development projects. Moreover, you can integrate Node.js with IoT protocols (e.g., MQTT and WebSocket integrations). Big brands, including Microsoft, already use Node.js for their IoT purposes.

Another perk of Node.js is its easy integration with C++ to achieve top-notch products. For instance, Node.js provides options for integrating C or C++ native libraries. This feature receives the name Native Addon. Among other benefits, this allows writing Node.js modules in native C or C++. Also, it lets you code interfaces between JavaScript and C++.

5 Top Frameworks for Node.js

Now that we’ve seen Node.js’ definition and benefits, let's check its popular frameworks. You’ll see that different frameworks can help you with specific aspects of your project.

1. Nest.js for Node.js

Nest.JS is the perfect example of a backend productivity booster. It's a progressive Node.js framework for building dynamic and scalable enterprise-grade applications. Also, it follows an MVC Architecture Pattern, making it easy to structure your code. Furthermore, it offers complete flexibility with its extensive libraries. 

Because it's written with Typescript, it aims for clean-code architecture. Yet, Nest.JS also maintains the code complexity of large-scale applications. It also has great integrations with Node.js frameworks like Express.JS, which we'll see below.  The framework combines object-oriented and functional reacting programming. Thus, it boosts developers' productivity while improving application performance.

2. Adonis.js for Node.js

Adonis.JS allows you to create scalable and reliable applications. It makes use of the Model View Controller Architecture pattern. Also, it offers a wide range of features. To name a few, there is an ORM, templating engine, authentication, and authorization.

The framework is one of the most popular among the Node.js family because it's attractive and straightforward. Its primary use is for developing effective web apps from scratch. With Adonis.JS, devs can write stable server-side programs. Further, it provides a uniform ecosystem and allows easy work on existing projects.

3. Express.js for Node.js

Express.JS enables you to create dynamic and interactive web applications. It uses many features that are not available in plain Node.js. These features encompass template engines, databases, and different request methods handling. Besides being one of this list's most flexible and lightweight frameworks, it has a very minimalistic approach. 

Its uses include web-based, mobile-based, browser-based, and enterprise-level applications. Furthermore, it is ideal for simple apps that handle many requests concurrently. Its use of template engines creates views that are both consistent and user-friendly. As a result, it's relevant for tech stacks such as the MERN Stack. Also, Express.JS offers integration with third-party database platforms. To name a few, there are MongoDB, MySQL, Sentry, and Datadog.

4. Koa.js for Node.js

Koa.JS comes from the same creators of Express. JS. Among its main uses, it assists devs in easily creating APIs. To do so, it handles the HTTP middleware with a stack-like method. Within its structure, it's an object containing an array of middleware functions. These functions get composed and executed in a stacked manner upon request. As a result, it's easier to build fast and scalable applications with JavaScript. 

The framework can be used for front-end, back-end, and hybrid systems. You can take advantage of it when creating servers and routes. Also, it'll help you manage errors and responses. Its modular development approach gives Koa.JS a strong and secure foundation.

A thing to notice about Koa.JS is its use of generators. These functions can pause and resume, making your code more readable and easy to debug. Thanks to this, Koa.JS can help you create powerful and easy-to-maintain applications. Moreover, this improves operability and robustness, making middleware writing much more enjoyable.

5. Socket.IO for Node.js

Socket.IO is a popular JavaScript library for real-time web applications. Its specialty is enabling real-time, bi-directional communication between web clients and servers. Among its uses, there are chat applications, collaborative editing, and gaming. With this library, you can develop applications with requirements for WebSocket development. For Socket.IO to function properly, the client and the server must integrate its packages. Its multiplexing and reconnection are ideal for products like video conferencing apps. In fact, apps like WhatsApp continuously run for live updates. These apps also refresh the background process for updates or messages.

Socket.IO permits sharing data in many forms. Further, it's compatible with many languages, such as Swift, Python, .NET, and Java. The library offers seamless and bidirectional communication for every platform. Its ability to enable bi-directional communication makes it practical to create interactive apps. 

Top 3 Best Tools for Node.js

1. Nodemon for Node.js

Nodemon restarts your Node.js application when it detects a change in your code. Not only is it useful for development. Also, it saves you from having to restart your server every time you change manually. According to its website, it’s used on about 3 million projects. Moreover, running it on any executable, such as Python or Ruby, is easy.

2. ngrok for Node.js

This tool is a programmable network edge. It enables the tunneling of local traffic to the internet. Besides adding connectivity and security, ngrok allows adding SSO, mTLS, and automated certs. All this without the need for code changes. Its usefulness lies in testing your applications on devices that are not on the same network. Furthermore, its scalability helps apps to achieve dynamism and load balancing.

3. forever for Node.js

This npm module ensures Node.js scripts continuously run in the background on the server. forever is quite a helpful resource for the production environment. That's because it helps to manage the Node.js applications and processes. As a result, this CLI tool ensures that your application will be available, even when crashing.


As you can see, Node.js has plenty of uses. Also, it has plenty of frameworks available for different specific needs. And further, there are plenty of tools and resources and large communities to help you. We hope we’ve helped you find the right one!