What is a Framework?
A framework is a platform for developing software applications. It provides a foundation on which software developers can build programs for a specific platform. For example, a framework may include predefined classes and functions that can be used to process input, manage hardware devices, and interact with system software. This helps in streamlining the development process since programmers don’t need to rewrite the code each time they develop a new application.
Here we bring you 5 important frameworks for backend web development.
Express.js is a web application framework for Node.js. It provides various features that make web application development fast and easy which otherwise takes more time using only Node.js.
Express.js is based on the Node.js middleware module called connect which in turn uses the HTTP module. So, any middleware which is based on connect will also work with Express.js.
Following are the features of Express.js:
- It makes Node.js web application development fast and easy.
- It is easy to configure and customize.
- It allows you to define routes of your application based on HTTP methods and URLs.
- It includes various middleware modules which you can use to perform additional tasks on request and response.
- Express.js is easy to integrate with different template engines like Jade, Vash, EJS, etc.
- It allows you to define an error handling middleware.
- Using Express.js it is easy to serve static files and resources of your application.
- It allows you to create a REST API server.
- Express.js is easy to connect with databases such as MongoDB, Redis, MySQL.
Following are the features of Meteor.js:
- Full Stack Solution: Meteor offers a full-stack solution for developing and deploying web applications. Meteor comes bundled with several built-in features, such as reactive templates, automatic CSS and JS minification on the production server, and hot code reload. Its cloud platform, Galaxy, is quite powerful for deploying, scaling, and monitoring client applications. It also offers useful client-side technologies, including templates, helpers, and events.
- Front-End Solution: Meteor offers Blaze.js, a front-end development framework. Though it is not an advanced framework, it offers some good features. But, Meteor also integrates with popular modern front-end frameworks like Backbone.js in order to yield better results. Meteor offers isomorphic APIs that communicate between the front-end and back-end. This allows developers to handle client-server management and server-session management with ease. Data communication between client and server happens automatically without having to write any boilerplate code.
- Live Reload: Another prominent feature of Meteor.js is its integrated live-browser reloading. Whenever there are any development changes to make on the front-end, it automatically reloads the live web page. Live reloading also allows refreshing only the required DOM elements on the web page without making an entire page reload in spite of any dependent changes to data on the back-end or front-end.
- Custom Package Manager: One can use npm modules (98,000+ modules) with Meteor but it has also got its own custom Package Manager which features the necessary npm functionalities and some additional functionalities. Meteor’s official repository of Meteor packages named atmosphere.js features more than 2,600 smart packages.
Following are the features of Next:
- Hot Code Reloading: Next.js reloads the page when it detects any change saved to disk.
- Automatic Routing: Any URL is mapped to the filesystem, to files put in the pages folder, and you don’t need any configuration (you have customization options of course).
- Single File Components: Using styled-jsx, completely integrated as built by the same team, it’s trivial to add styles scoped to the component.
- Server Rendering: You can render React components on the server-side, before sending the HTML to the client.
- Prefetching: The Link component, used to link together different pages, supports a prefetch prop that automatically prefetches page resources (including code missing due to code splitting) in the background.
- Static Exports: Using the next export command, Next.js allows you to export a fully static site from your app.
- TypeScript Support: Next.js is written in TypeScript and as such comes with excellent TypeScript support.
Koa is a new web framework designed by the team behind Express, which aims to be a smaller, more expressive, and more robust foundation for web applications and APIs. Through leveraging generators Koa allows you to ditch callbacks and greatly increase error handling.
Koa does not bundle any middleware within the core and provides an elegant suite of methods that make writing servers fast and enjoyable.
A Koa application is an object containing an array of middleware functions that are composed and executed in a stack-like manner upon request. Koa is similar to many other middleware systems that you may have encountered such as Ruby’s Rack, Connect, and so on – however, a key design decision was made to provide high-level “sugar” at the otherwise low-level middleware layer. This improves interoperability, robustness, and makes writing middleware much more enjoyable.
This includes methods for common tasks like content negotiation, cache freshness, proxy support, and redirection among others. Despite supplying a reasonably large number of helpful methods Koa maintains a small footprint, as no middleware is bundled.
Following are the features of Koa:
- Generator support from the ground up Using generators (a bleeding edge feature, even for Node.js) would clean up your code from the mess caused by all those callbacks, making your code more manageable.
- The development team has a proven track record
- Koa is developed by the team behind a widely used node.js framework (express.js).
- Extremely lightweight
- Koa is very lightweight with just 550 lines of code.
- sync/await keywords are supported and have transcended beyond generator functions
- Generators functions are of course a huge plus, but at the time Koa team has transcended generations functions and shifted towards async/await style programming. It has made the Koa best framework available in the market.
Sails.js (or Sails) is a model-view-controller (MVC) web application framework developed atop the Node.js environment released as free and open-source software under the MIT license. It is designed to make it easy to build custom, enterprise-grade Node.js web applications, and APIs. Emulating the MVC architecture of other frameworks, like Ruby on Rails, offers a similar pattern and familiarity, reducing the cognitive burden when switching between other frameworks/languages.
Following are the features of Sails:
- Any database: Sails bundles a powerful ORM, Waterline, which provides a simple data access layer that just works, no matter what database you’re using. In addition to a plethora of community projects, officially supported adapters exist for MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Redis, and local disk.
- Powerful associations: Sails offers a new take on the familiar relational model, aimed at making data modeling more practical. You can do all the same things you might be used to (one-to-many, many-to-many), but you can also assign multiple named associations per model (for instance, a cake might have two collections of people: “havers” and “eaters”). Better yet, you can assign different models to different databases, and your associations/joins will still work – even across NoSQL and relational boundaries. Sails has no problem implicitly/automatically joining a MySQL table with a Mongo collection and vice versa.
- Auto-generate REST APIs: Sails comes with blueprints that help jumpstart your app’s backend without writing any code. Just run sails generate API dentist and you’ll get an API that lets you search, paginate, sort, filter, create, destroy, update, and associate dentists. Since these blueprint actions are built on the same underlying technology as Sails, they also work with Websockets and any supported database out of the box.
- Support WebSockets with no additional code: In the past, adding a real-time/”comet” feature meant maintaining two separate code bases. But since the request interpreter in Sails translates incoming socket messages for you, they’re automatically compatible with every route in your Sails app, as well as any existing Express routes/middleware. Normalization of parameters, the session, and the streaming interface are all taken care of. In other words, the code you write works with WebSockets and HTTP, without any extra work.
- Declarative, reusable security policies: Sails provide basic security and role-based access control by default in the form of policies – simple, reusable middleware functions that run before your controllers and actions. Writing policies encourage encapsulation, which dramatically simplifies your business logic and reduces the total amount of code you need to write. Policies are interchangeable with Express/Connect middleware, which means you can plug in popular npm modules like Passport. Finally, like most things in Sails, your policies work for both WebSockets and HTTP automatically.
- Front-End agnostic: While the promise of “one language/framework to rule them all” is certainly enticing, it isn’t always realistic. Sails is compatible with any front-end strategy; whether it’s Angular, Backbone, iOS/ObjC, Android/Java, Windows Phone, or something else that hasn’t been invented yet. Plus, it’s easy to serve up the same API to be consumed by another web service or community of developers.
- Flexible asset pipeline: Sails ships with Grunt- which means your entire front-end asset workflow is completely customizable and comes with support for all the great Grunt modules which are already out there. That includes support for LESS, SASS, Stylus, CoffeeScript, JST, Jade, Handlebars, Dust, and many more. When you’re ready to go into production, your assets are minified and gzipped automatically. You can even compile your static assets and push them out to a CDN like CloudFront to make your app load even faster.