Meteor Vs MEAN Stack

Posted on Apr 03, 2017

Meteor Vs MEAN Stack

Nowadays, there are many javascript frameworks which can be used for web development but for the concern of this post I will be comparing between Meteor and MEAN Stack, both of which have gained a lot of hype in the recent past. But, there are confusions to prefer which one over the other. In this blog I will clear those confusions. I will first introduce you to Meteor and MEAN Stack and then mention the differences between them so one can choose according to his/her requirement.

 

MEAN Stack

MEAN stack is a combination of technologies like MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js and Node.js so basically MEAN stack is not a framework , it’s only an acronym for the technologies described above. MongoDB is a NoSQL database, Express.js is a web application framework that runs on Node.js, Angular.js is a JavaScript MVC framework and Node.js is an execution environment.

MEAN Stack = MongoDB + Express.js + Angular.js + Node.js

Meteor

Meteor is a type of full stack realtime JavaScript framework for web development. It’s free and open-source and a tidy package that makes web development easy. Only around since 2011 the package is developed by the Meteor Development Group.

Meteor = MEAN Stack + Socket.io + Grunt/Gulp + Cordava + Hot Code Push Reload + More

Key Differences

  • One key difference is simplicity. Meteor has a strong focus on ease of use and one could quite possibly learn the basics in a couple of hours. MEAN on the other hand requires multiple parts of which you will need to get used to – Angular.js is notoriously tricky.
  • In MEAN stack one has to not only install all the technologies (MongoDB + Express.js + Angular.js + Node.js) separately but also do all the wiring up so MEAN stack is not seamless in nature. On the other hand a person only needs to install Meteor. In Meteor, client and server communicate data updates seamlessly and automatically without having to write any data sync code.
  • MEAN stack adds to the separation between the server and clients due to different API being used whereas Meteor uses Isomorphic API (the same methods work on client and server) and it makes easier to develop an entire full stack app and to have a better understanding of the code base. It also involves making fronted and backend simultaneously.
  • In MEAN stack you make REST requests for a table/collections in which you are essentially saying return me the results of this query. While Meteor subscribes to the result of a query so that any newly created or modified documents that are matched will be automatically sent to the clients over fast websockets connections.
  • If your app is more API driven with very less real time then MEAN stack is a good choice. MEAN stack is also flexible since the developer has to put all the pieces together so he can decide which technology to use. On the other hand, Meteor is good for small real time, reactive application and fast creation of apps because of its high simplicity.
  • In MEAN stack one can use NoSQL as well SQL databases and in Meteor one is restricted to use only NoSQL for now but Meteor is working on extending the support for other databases but that is not on high priority.
  • There is a concept of reactivity in Meteor which states that whenever there is a change in data source the clients connected to the Meteor server gets updated automatically without refresh. This is not the case in MEAN stack. Here one has to use Socket.io in addition to achieve that kind of functionality.
  • Meteor can be used to create hybrid mobile applications for Android as well as iOS with the same codebase as compared to MEAN stack.

Which one to use and when ?

MEAN Stack can be used :
  • If you’re only building a web service/REST API and don’t need any client functionality.
  • If you really don’t need your web app to be real-time. There is a RAM and CPU cost for providing real-time data sync between the server and subscribed clients
  • If you’re building a website rather than a web application, and it’s more important to deliver the first page extremely fast, rather than be able to prototype or develop very fast
  • If you already need to scale your app to millions of users right now – With Meteor 1.3, two new developments will help in this area:
  1. The Galaxy scalable hosting platform
  2. Meteor’s Livedata system now supports tunable queries to help scale large apps.
Meteor can be used :
  • If you need your web app to be real time because of Meteor’s inbuilt reactivity and usage websockets.
  • If you need to build a web application instead of a website because it’s best for making single page applications.
  • If you need to convert your applications into iOS and Android apps you can do so by using Meteor – utilizing the same code base of meteor app.
  • If you need very fast development of your applications then Meteor should be your choice.