What is MEAN Stack? Alternatives to MEAN

What is MEAN stack?

MEAN is a full stack JavaScript based software bundle used to develop SPA and dynamic web apps using only JavaScript technologies like MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, node.js

MEAN stack is a open source JavaScript based software stack used to develop dynamic web applications and websites. The name MEAN  itself is an acronym for MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS and Node.js.

MEAN is full stack JavaScript because every component of MEAN stack is compatible with codes written in JavaScript. With MEAN stack, applications are created that can have same language at both server and client side thus It is in a single language that is JavaScript. MEAN makes the code isomorphic.


The components that forms MEAN stack are :

  •  MongoDB : MongoDB is a open source, cross platform,  NoSQL database management system. MongoDB is a document-oriented database. It uses JSON like document with schema. MongoDB queries can include user defined JavaScript function. For MEAN stack ,it is a back-end component. MongoDB is written in c++, JavaScript, Go and Python.

  •  Express.js : Express.js is a minimalist, lightweight framework for Node.js to build web application and APIs, it provides a robust set of features for web apps and mobile applicatons. It is a back-end component of the MEAN stack. Express.js is written completely in JavaScript.

  •  AngularJS : AngularJS is a structural framework for dynamic web apps developed by Google. AngularJS can be used to build SPA(Single Page Applications).  It allows the user to extend HTML's syntax to express it's app's components clearly. Data binding and dependency injections reduces much of the code. It is front-end part of MEAN stack. AngularJS is written completely in JavaScript.

  •  Node.js : Node.js is a runtime for JavaScript to execute JavaScript code outside of a browser. It allows to script for server side with command line tools to produce dynamic web pages and helps to build web apps with high scalability. Node.js is basically written in c, c++ and JavaScript.

MEAN stack Architecture:

The components of MEAN stack are work in the following manner:

 At front-end AngularJS interacts with user accept requests and shows responses/results back to the end user, whereas client-server requests and responses are handled by Node.js it also performs parsing, on the other hand Express.js interacts with database and store/retrieve data as per requirement.
MongoDB is a database which stores data in form of documents that can be easily retrieved.


Compared to MEAN ( MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, Node.js )
There are some alternatives to MEAN stack as follows:

  • 1.MERN : MERN ( MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, Node.js ) is an alternative which replace AngularJS of MEAN with React.js at front-end.

  • 2.MEVN : MEVN ( MongoDB, Express.js, Vue.js, Node.js ) replace AngularJS of MEAN and have front-end with Vue.js.

  • 3.MEN : MEN ( MongoDB, Express.js, Node.js ) is having plain JavaScript at front-end without any framework.

  • 4.MEEN : MEEN ( MongoDB, Express.js, Ember.js, Node.js )  substituted with Ember.js instead of AngularJS as in MEAN.

These alternatives are purely based on which front-end framework is used by developer.
One can choose any as per the interest or requirement but for large web applications AngularJS with routers is  prominent among React.js and Vue.js  whereas Vue.js is lightest and easy to learn (general convention). On the other hand React.js is more popular JS framework.

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