What to choose - MEAN Stack vs MERN Stack_1920x700

What to Choose: MEAN Stack vs. MERN Stack


Published on: 08 Dec 2020

By Vinod Subbaiah

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Choosing a comprehensive technology stack for your mobile or web application development project can sometimes lead to deciding between MEAN stack and MERN stack.

These are two of the most popular technology stacks that can ensure an agile, robust, and efficient implementation for your software product.

But, what is a Technology Stack, and why it’s important to have a robust one?

A technology stack is a set of programming languages, frameworks, and technologies. If in the past, there were separate developers for CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, now full stack developers cover everything from Frontend, Back-end, and Database to User Interface with a combination of software products and tools that work well together.

Working with a technology stack secures an integrated and continuous development process, bringing flexibility and balance to the project.

The same principles apply to both MEAN and MERN stacks. Let’s look at what they entail, so you can choose the one that better applies to your project.

What is MEAN stack?

MEAN is a full-stack JavaScript framework that is used for developing complex websites and web applications. MEAN stands for MongoDB, Express, Angular, and Node.js – the four technologies it comprises. It provides efficient tools that speed up and simplify the development of mobile and web application development, making it a preferred choice for companies that look for a technology stack that offers multiple plugins and reduces time spent on system administration.

What is MERN stack?

MERN is also an open-source technology stack that combines JavaScript-based frameworks, like MongoDB, Express, React, and Node.js. It provides an end-to-end web development framework that allows software engineers to build web and mobile applications smoothly.

MEAN stack vs. MERN stack: similarities and differences

MEAN stack and MERN stack are very similar and have in common three out of four components.

MongoDB. It is a NoSQL document database that stores data in JSON format. It allows multi-cloud data distribution; it’s secure and simplifies data visualization, manipulation, and sharing.

Express. It is an open-source back-end web application framework that runs on Node.js. Express is used to build web applications quickly, and it is known to be minimal, efficient, and flexible, enabling the development of a powerful set of features.

Node.js is a JavaScript open-source runtime environment that enables you to run the code outside the browser. With an asynchronous event-driven nature, Node.js can manage multiple connections simultaneously with a single server, which makes it perform very well.

The significant difference between MEAN and MERN emerges from the frontend technology these stacks use. MEAN stack uses Angular, a comprehensive platform, while MERN stack uses React, which you can combine with other libraries.

Angular is an open-source web application framework based on TypeScript, developed by Google. It allows you to run the code in the user’s browser and to create UI components easily.

React is an open-source JavaScript library. It has been built by Facebook. It is used for creating the user interface of single-page applications or mobile apps.

Both components come with a set of functionalities that can be very useful for your project. By exploring the benefits of MEAN and MERN stacks, you can better understand which one can help you build your software application more efficiently and productively.

MEAN stack benefits

MEAN stack uses the Angular framework as its frontend technology and is usually recommended for more complex, enterprise-level applications. Some of the main characteristics and benefits of MEAN stack development are:

  • It covers the full web development cycle, from front end to back end development, using JavaScript. It is an exhaustive framework that allows you to build a software product from top to bottom.
  • The framework supports the Model View Controller (MVC), which enables a faster development process.
  • The Angular framework uses and updates the real Document Object Model (DOM), an application programming interface for HTML and XML documents.
  • It has a pre-built set of testing tools; it doesn’t require any bundling with other technologies.
  • It’s an open-source stack, which means it is free, making it cost-efficient, and at the same time is backed by a big community that can offer you support and guidance.
  • Angular allows you to reuse components, helping speed-up the development and launch of software products.
  • MEAN stack is more organized and meticulous, which serves you well if the nature of your project requires more structure and less spontaneity.
  • It’s cost-efficient because it is based on JavaScript, which means you’ll require only JavaScript developers without needing to cover any other programming languages or skills.

MERN stack benefits

Compared to the MEAN stack, MERN uses React – a library and not a framework, making it less rigid and accelerating the software application’s coding. Some of the main characteristics and benefits of the MERN stack are:

  • It covers the complete software development cycle: frontend development to back-end development.
  • React uses and updates the virtual DOM, which ensures better-performing applications.
  • The learning curve with MERN stack is more even and gradual, so less experienced developers can quickly learn and become well-versed.
  • Just like MEAN, it carries pre-built testing tools and supports the Model View Controller.
  • MEAN stack is open-source, which puts less pressure on the project’s budget.
  • It has a strong community that backs it. In fact, a recent study by StackOverflow indicates that React is more popular than Angular, being used by 36.8% of developers, compared to 26.5% (Angular fans).
  • With React, the code can run on the client’s browser and on the server, which means you can create app pages on the server.
  • Developers that work with MEAN stack require knowledge in both JavaScript and JSON.

MEAN stack and MERN stack share many characteristics that make it hard to choose, mostly when the main difference lies in two technology components that cover the software’s user interface. They are both robust, reliable, and dynamic frameworks. Guided by your development needs, your team’s skills, and your project’s complexity, deciding between MERN stack vs. MEAN stack should be a straightforward process.

Vinod Subbaiah