It’s a common question whether to use Express JS vs Node JS when building an app. Both tools have their own set of advantages, but which one should you choose, especially as Node vs Express are very close in terms of syntax and use? This article answers your questions by placing both side-by-side.
What is NodeJS – Quick Overview
Use Cases of NodeJS
This section analyses some various types of apps that can be built using this framework. When hiring, a NodeJS developers resume should have instances of contributing to the development of some of these applications.
Serverside rendering for SPA
Data Streaming Apps
NodeJS allows developers to take advantage of HTTP requests to stream data from the client to the server and vice versa, without having to buffer the information in the memory beforehand, making it a perfect fit for media streaming platforms.
Data-Intensive Real-Time Apps
NodeJS is also a great tool for building apps that transmit large volumes of data simultaneously between multiple users in real-time, such as online multiplayer games or stock market trackers. Its non-blocking I/O model ensures that these apps are lightweight and efficient.
On-demand services like Uber are great examples of what NodeJS is best at: rapidly changing data and thousands of concurrent connections all happening at once.
Popular Apps Using NodeJS
Many big companies use NodeJS in building their applications. Some of them are explored below. The range of such companies cuts across various industries including payments, B2B, social networking, entertainment, and so on. If big tech companies can trust NodeJS for building their flagship apps, then one can tell that it performs just well.
Obviously, one of the most popular payment systems in the world uses NodeJS in its development process. PayPal began using NodeJS back in 2012.
The business-oriented social network LinkedIn has also been using NodeJS since 2011 when they first introduced a mobile version of their website.
The well-known domain registration company uses Node extensively as part of its back-end services, including its hosting system that manages millions of domains across its global network.
Netflix is one of the world’s leading Internet television networks, with millions of users in over 190 countries. It uses NodeJS for its streaming services, which provide high scalability and performance in real-time.
What is Express JS – Quick Overview
ExpressJS is a web application framework for NodeJS. That’s what mainly makes the difference between Express JS and Node JS. The former provides various features that make web application development fast and easy, which otherwise takes more time using only the latter. It provides a robust set of features for web and mobile applications.
Use Cases of Express JS
ExpressJS is a great solution for small to medium-sized applications because it is lightweight and very easy to implement. The framework also provides a wide range of use cases such as:
ExpressJS has been built to support the building of REST APIs, which are one of the most common ways for servers to exchange data with clients.
Express can also be used to serve static files and has been used in production environments to handle hundreds of thousands of concurrent connections (see: Paypal and Uber).
ExpressJS can be used to build real-time services such as chat applications. It supports WebSockets, which allow you to stream data from your server to your client in real-time using persistent connections.
Popular Apps Using Express JS
Express JS is well-embraced in the development space for building various types of apps. We explore some of them below.
The Accuweather API offers a weather forecast as well as current conditions, severe weather warnings, long-range forecasts, and historical data.
Yummly is a recipe-sharing website. Yummly’s mission is to help people all over the world find, discover, and share food that they love. It’s one of the first websites to use Express JS.
MySpace is a social networking service offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music, and videos. It’s another example of a website using the ExpressJS web framework.
Accenture is a multinational professional services company that provides a range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital technology, and operations. Accenture’s website uses server-side rendering with Express.
Express JS vs NodeJS – Pros and Cons
Pros of Express JS
- Is easy to use and offers a robust set of features.
- Has powerful routing APIs.
- Has an extendable and customizable architecture.
- Provides various HTTP utility methods and middleware.
- Can be easily integrated with databases like MongoDB, Redis, etc.
Cons of Express JS
- Uses middleware functions extensively which can sometimes lead to a messy codebase.
- Does not have an inbuilt ORM system or any other way to interact with databases.
Pros of NodeJS
Node.js advantages are numerous and beneficial to all kinds of apps whether you are building a payment system or a video streaming app. Some benefits are identified below. NodeJS:
- Has unmatchable speed due to its non-blocking architecture and event loop feature.
- It is highly scalable despite its single-threadedness.
Cons of NodeJS
- Uses asynchronous programming model, which can be confusing for beginner developers. However, once mastered, this model helps to improve app performance and responsiveness.
- Lacks support for some databases, like relational ones. In any case, developers can solve this challenge using frameworks such as Express.js.
Express vs Node: Performance Comparison
Express is a minimal and flexible NodeJS framework that provides a robust set of features for web applications like routing, sessions, caching, etc. Comparing Node JS vs Node JS Express, the latter manages all the clutter that comes with setting up a server and gives you a simple interface to build your routes and then use them for handling requests made by the users.
Node.JS uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model which makes it lightweight and efficient for the server environment that has to handle multiple concurrent connections with low latency. Using NodeJS will allow you to create such an application because it has high performance and speed.
NodeJS vs Express JS: Scalability Comparison
Express is primarily a routing and middleware framework that is used to develop web applications, APIs, and mobile applications. Express can be installed as a dependency by using NPM, which makes it easy to use with NodeJS and also extends the base Node capabilities for the development of an application or service. Express vs Node JS when working together are a super combination.
Node.JS’s asynchronous, non-blocking I/O operations allow it to give high throughput and scalability to your application. Node.JS does not create multiple threads for each new connection, but instead manages all connections within that single thread by pushing them into an event loop queue. The thread then handles all those events one by one from the queue.
NodeJS vs Express JS: Testing Comparison
Comparing NodeJS vs Express JS, one of the main advantages of using the latter is its ease of testing; it gives you all the tools necessary to easily test your application’s functionality. You can use any testing suite (or framework) like Mocha, Chai, Jasmine, etc. to test the functionality. You can also use Mock objects to simulate external dependencies while testing your code so that you don’t need to spend time writing or maintaining test data or a separate set up just for testing purposes.
NodeJS makes some big assumptions about how you’ll be structuring your application, meaning you don’t have to worry about setting up a directory structure for your app. This can make writing tests for NodeJS applications much easier, but it also means you could potentially see a lot more issues with how your code is structured if you don’t test it properly.
When to Choose Node JS?
Because of the difference between Node JS and Express JS, it matters which one you choose for your next project. Node.JS enables you to develop web apps that function on a wide range of devices, from desktops to smartphones. You can hire remote developers experienced in Node JS and can help you create highly productive and scalable applications. However, you must be able to ask the right Node.js interview questions to uncover their skills.
Node JS development services make it possible for you to reuse the same code for the server as well as the client-side of your app. In addition, the interactive interface of Node JS enables seamless integration with other third-party tools and libraries such as Mongo DB, Angular, React, and so on. If you want a cost-effective development solution, Node JS development is perfect for optimizing expenses due to its open-source nature.
When to Choose Express JS?
ExpressJS is also very minimalist in its approach, allowing you to add specific functionality through middleware. Thus, it is perfect for building an MVP or any lightweight application for an early startup looking to achieve market fit. In addition, one of the main reasons to use ExpressJS is that it’s unopinionated. This means that there is no right or wrong way to do things. You are free to structure your application or website as you like.
This can be both a bad thing and a good thing. The bad thing is that some developers may struggle with structuring their applications because they don’t know where to start. The good thing is that you have complete control over your app and can tailor it exactly how you want it.
Express JS vs Node JS: ProCoders Advice Why it’s Time to Migrate?
The difference between Node and Express is not so clear-cut. However, when you look at how much easier it is to develop new features and how much faster it is to build a project from scratch with Node JS, it seems crazy to use anything else. In fact, Express JS is a framework for Node JS. So, either way, you are still working with the latter, which has established itself as an efficient cross-platform development framework.
Remember that you can hire Node.js developers with ProCoders. At ProCoders, we have worked extensively with Node JS to build various projects for our clients. One of our notable projects is the Quartz Network app, which serves as a B2B platform for professionals. It was an ambitious project, as the app needed to have a library of educational courses, online conference spaces, people matching, etc. The skills we applied included coding, database management, and cloud development.
However, our experts were able to develop the application in no time, regardless of Node JS vs Express JS. We are located in Ukraine, a budget-friendly location for finding developers. Besides pricing though, Ukraine is prestigious because the ecosystem supports developers and the cost of living is affordable.
In any case, we helped the Quartz Network team save costs. You can compare our prices against typical Node.js developers salaries. In the end, the whole process was seamless; since we had experts on the ground already, we matched them to the project and they got started within one week.
Yes, it works. It uses the power of Node to be lightweight and fast. Express is like a set of tools that you can plug into Node to open up the way you write code. It provides additional web application features that can be used to enhance Node.js functionality without ruining the experience of developing with the latter.
If you are currently using ExpressJS in your project, you can migrate to NodeJS with minimal effort. They both share similar idioms and paradigms, so you will feel right at home with NodeJS. The first step is to identify the areas of your code that use Express.js specific functionality. These are mostly middleware, route handlers, and error handlers. For each of them, you will need to find a replacement from the Node.js core libraries or an npm package.
The Node JS and Express JS difference does not stop both from being great choices for those who want to add full-stack capabilities to their website and they’re both backward-compatible with front-end code. In other words, one language can be used alongside the other in order to build a fully-featured site.
NodeJS is the broader option and is suitable for most kinds of applications. On the other hand Express.JS is suitable for product owners, CEOs, and CTOs, looking to build an MVP to test product-market fit. We have covered many aspects of Express JS and Node JS, but the latter is obviously the most powerful of the two. To build a fully-featured app, our ProCoders team is at hand to give you the best experience.