What is MEAN Stack?

February 18,2021 - 12 min read
What is MEAN Stack?

In the world of technology, a stack is a pile of any type of objects. When we talk about a particular stack used in the process of development, it is a collection of frameworks, tools and languages that are used in coordination with each other. The technologies used are not randomly put but carefully assembled in order to create a single web application. Some popular technological stacks are LAMP which is an abbreviation of Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, another one is MERN that stands for MongoDB, Express, React, Nodejs. You can learn more about MERN stack, its components and its working in this blog. There are a lot of other stacks that are popularly used in developing different types of applications.

While there are a lot of technological stacks available, it’s important to choose the most appropriate stack for your application that would deliver optimum speed and high performance. When you make the right decision, it gets easier for developers to code and the process of documentation also becomes flexible and uncomplicated. This blog is dedicated to the components and working of the MEAN Stack. Let’s get started!

The MEAN Stack

MEAN Stack actually refers to a collection of JavaScript-based technologies that are used to develop web applications. Therefore, the client side and the server side are primarily based on JavaScript. MEAN is an acronym for MongoDB, Express, Angular and Nodejs. It is a user friendly full-stack development toolkit that is ideal for developing fast, robust and dynamic websites as well as web applications. It is absolutely free and open-source and hence it is easier and more approachable for developers to make use of this quick and organized method for creating rapid prototypes for web-based applications. In this blog, we are going to talk in detail about all the four different technologies that form the MEAN Stack.

Constituents of MEAN Stack

As mentioned above, MEAN Stack consists of MongoDB, Express, Angular and Nodejs. In this stack, MongoDB is a schema less NoSQL database system, Express is a framework used to build web applications in Node, AngularJS is also a JavaScript framework developed by Google and Node.js is a server-side JavaScript execution environment.

A developer working with MEAN Stack works heavily with JavaScript based tools, he basically programmes in MongoDB, Express JS, AngularJS and NodeJS. Therefore, MEAN stack developers work on backend as well as front-end of any application. However, all these technologies are JavaScript based and anyone working on a MEAN Stack is expected to have an in-depth knowledge of JavaScript. Apart from JavaScript, a developer should also have complete information about each of the components. Let’s discuss all of them in detail

  1. MongoDB

    MongoDB is basically a document- oriented NoSQL database written in C++ and is used in the MEAN stack to store and manipulate the application’s data. It is an open- source, cross-platform database that stores data in the key-value pair, using binary data type like JSON. A MongoDB document is very similar to that of an object in OOPS.

    MongoDB is an important part of MEAN stack; however, it’s used separately to develop applications too. Mongo DB is an ideal database system in a case where you need to manage large sized tables with millions of entries. Moreover, MongoDB is easy to use, for example, you do not need to update the entire table to include a field. If you want to learn more about MongoDB and why you should learn it, you can refer to this blog about MongoDB.

  2. Express.JS

    Express is basically a ‘web framework for Node JS.’ It is a mature, flexible and a lightweight server framework that is designed to build single, multi-page, and hybrid web applications using the Pug engine that provides support for templates. It provides support for a debugging mechanism, template engines and handed HTTP request along with a bunch of other features that aid developers in making efficient applications. Express is fast, unopinionated and minimalistic and is probably the best framework for Nodejs. If you wish to learn more about Express.JS, you might consider going through this blog.

  3. Angular JS

    Angular JS is a JavaScript framework created and maintained by Google. It is an open- source framework which mainly introduces the MVC (Model View Controller) architecture in browser-based applications. The MVC architecture makes the process of developing and testing an application much easier and more efficient.

    With AngularJS, one can use HTML as the template language and hence, HTML's syntax can define the components of the application. There are a couple of useful features that Angular supports, for example, dependency injection, data binding etc that helps eliminate excessive and lengthy code. Applications created with the help of Angular are smarter and support personalisation.

  4. Node JS

    Node.js is a JavaScript execution environment for server side. It is used to create web servers as well as web applications. It makes use of a non-blocking and event-driven Input/ Output model. Node.js is a lightweight and an efficient execution environment that is perfect for data-intensive and real-time applications that run across distributed devices. You might want to refer to this blog in order to get more knowledge on Node JS.

Now that we have discussed all the major constituents of MEAN stack, it’s time to proceed to the next segment where we would understand the MEAN stack in much more detail. We would look at the architecture and working the of MEAN stack.

Functioning of MEAN Stack

In order to understand the functioning of MEAN stack, we need to first understand the role of each component in the stack as well as its architecture. Let’s get started with the primary function of all constituents of Mean Stack.

In MEAN Stack, MongoDB is the database that is used to store and retrieve applications’ data. The work of Angular JS is to accept requests and display results for the end user and NodeJS, on the other hand, handles client and server requests. Express JS make requests to Database and then returns a response.

The above paragraph depicts the utility of each component of the MEAN stack. It’s time we look at the entire architecture and working of the MEAN stack.

In the entire process, in the first step, the client makes a request that is processed by the AngularJS after which it moves to NodeJS that will parse the request. Express JS will then make calls to MongoDB to retrieve or insert data. MongoDB is the database which will retrieve the requested data and then return request to Express JS and then Nodejs will return that request to the client or the end user. Angular JS is used to display the result fetched from MongoDB at the client side.

This was the entire functioning of the MEAN stack and how each of the components coordinate with each other in order to make an entire application work. In the next segment we would look at the advantages and disadvantages of the MEAN stack that would help you understand the concept better.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Every technology has pros and cons and so does MEAN stack. In this segment we are going to discuss both the aspects of this technology, Let’s get started with the advantages and some of the most prominent reasons for using MEAN Stack while developing an application.

First of all, the main reason behind using MEAN stack is that it is used to create robust and maintainable solutions. Also, it is open source and hence it can be easily used by programmers for the rapid development of applications.

Another advantage of MEAN stack is JavaScript. As mentioned above, MEAN uniformly uses JavaScript throughout the stack. It is easy for developers to make use of MEAN stack to develop applications as the code is isomorphic.

MEAN stack uses very low memory footprint or overhead. It also avoids unnecessary groundwork and keeps the application organized.

We discussed some of the advantages of MEAN stack and probable reasons behind its popularity. It’s time we discuss the disadvantages of MEAN stack.

Disadvantages of Mean Stack

MongoDB is a part of MEAN stack, while this database is perfect for small or mid-sized application, it is not the best choice for large-scale applications.

Another disadvantage of using MEAN stack is that there is no specific JavaScript coding guideline in general. Also, if you have developed an application using MEAN stack, it's difficult to go back to another approach, there is also a poor isolation of server from business logic.

With this we have come to an end of the pros and cons of MEAN stack, we hope this helps you understand the concept better and make an intelligent decision the next time you are developing an application.

If you are excited about entering the world of technology as a MEAN stack developer, we would like to enlist some of the most common skills you would need to acquire. In the next segment, we also briefly touch upon the remuneration and future of a MEAN Stack developer.

MEAN Stack Developer

A MEAN stack developer is expected to work on both Front-end as well as the Back-end. For front- end, the developer should have a knowledge of both HTML & CSS along with a good understanding of programming templates and architecture design.

Along with front- end, a MEAN stack developer should also know about the entire process of web development, continuous integration, different cloud technologies, SDLC and should have some experience in developing applications in an Agile environment.

Apart from all this, a good foundational knowledge of Mongo, Express, Angular and Node JS is imperative.

If you have all these skills, you are all set to become a MEAN stack developer. When it comes to salary, a MEAN stack developer can earn approximately 90 thousand dollars per year.

We hope you have now got a brief idea of MEAN stack and the expected skillset and remuneration of a MEAN stack developer. Also, if you are interested in learning the basics of web development, we suggest you take a professional web development course.

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