To better understand MEAN and MERN, their differences, usefulness, and possible advantages, you first need to gain clarity of what technology stacking means. So, let’s get cracking…

Technology Stack

The combination of programming languages, frameworks, and tools that developers use to build a web, or a mobile application is called a technology stack. The layering of these elements is why it’s called a stack. The two major components of any application are the “Client side” and “Server side”.

The Client side primarily constitutes of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The user interacts with the website, web application or the mobile app on the client-side. The most preferred framework for CSS is bootstrap as it provides several components used to create interactive websites. Angular.js and React.js are two significant front-end JavaScript frameworks.

The Server-side, often referred as the back-end, consists of the server, programming language, framework and database. In today’s development market there are several technology stacks such as MEAN, MERN, FLUTTER, LAMP and more. Each technology stack is built to serve various purposes.

Among all stacks the most popular technology stacks are the MEAN stack and the MERN stack. Now that you know what technology stacking means, it’s time to dive further into the individual components of MEAN and MERN stack. So what do these fancy terms “MEAN” and “MERN” stand for?

MEAN Stacking

MEAN stack is a collection of JavaScript technologies that can assist in building complex websites or web apps. MEAN is an abbreviation that stands for
M – MongoDB
E – Express.js
A – Angular.js
N – Node.js

MEAN stack is a framework that provides the most popular plugins and reduces the time on system administration. All components of the MEAN stack use the same language in both client-side and server-side application development. If you want to speed up the process of web and mobile app development, MEAN stack is an appropriate choice.

MERN Stacking

MERN stack, like MEAN stack, is also an abbreviation of technologies that stands for
M – MongoDB
E – Express.js
R – React.js
N – Node.js

MERN stack makes use of libraries, databases, and frameworks for developing web apps. MERN stack uses REACT for front-end development and ensures a smooth development process and is becoming increasingly popular in the development market.

MEAN vs MERN Stack

The reason you are reading this article is to learn the differences between the two stacks of technology based on JavaScript. But before we get to the differences, let’s first talk about the similarities between MEAN stack and MERN stack.

MEAN Stack and MERN Stack – Similarities

MongoDB is an open-source database solution that is used to spin up a server to store data of applications like Json files. MongoDB is an alternative to other database solutions like MySQL the main difference is that MongoDB is a NoSQL database which means it does not work with relations or with records or tables. Mongo DB is document oriented and therefore works with documents and collections which allows greater performance than the traditional RDBMS (Relational Database Management System).

Express.js is a layered backend framework that runs on top of Node.js. Express.js takes care of a website’s backend functionality and structure. It makes server-side development quick and efficient. Express.js is also known for its flexibility, scalability, and simplicity.

Node.js is an open-source cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment which allows JavaScript code execution outside the browser. It is built using Google Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine and is designed to optimize the throughput of web applications.

Both the MEAN stack and MERN stack are flexible and easy to implement. Both stacks are built using the MVC or Model-View-Controller architectural pattern. Now let’s get to the core differences between MEAN and MERN stacks.

MEAN Stack and MERN Stack – Differences

Since the MEAN stack uses Angular.js, the language is TypeScript. MERN stack, on the other hand, uses JavaScript or JSX. 

Angular.js is a frontend framework that runs code on the browser which is often used to build single-page applications. Since MEAN stack uses Angular.js the flow of data is bi-directional. It also has a higher learning curve with the need to familiarize all the concepts of Angular like data binding, routing, bootstrap and more.

React.js, used in MERN stack, is an open-source JavaScript library that is used to render user interface components for a smooth user experience on web applications. It is used to write powerful client-side (which means browser side) applications fully driven by JavaScript. The idea here is that we can build mobile app-like experiences where everything updates and happens instantly without a new page being rendered and returned by the server each time as we run all the logic that updates the UI on the client-side (this process is also called as “hot reloading”). 

Both MEAN and MERN stacks stand well in terms of popularity. However, as far as productivity is concerned MEAN outperforms MERN as it uses Angular which is a complete framework whereas REACT is only a JavaScript library. What it means in your production environment is that you will need external third-party plugins to work alongside REACT. What you also need to know is that Angular consistently outperforms REACT and its third-party plugin implementations.

In terms of scalability, Angular provides a native CLI or Command Line Interface that enables the user to easily upgrade from one version to another. This feature is absent in REACT and the external third-party packages greatly challenge the process.

When you consider the learning curve, both MEAN and MERN stacks use MongoDB, Expres.js and Node.js. The only differentiator being Angular and React. Which brings us to state the obvious that React, which is purely based on JavaScript, is much simpler and more suitable for beginners to learn than Angular which has an additional dependency called TypeScript.

Don’t miss this blog Full-Stack vs MEAN Stack vs MERN Stack

MEAN or MERN Stack Which Is The Best?

Several organizations like NASA, Google, Accenture, Raindrop and Fiverr use MEAN in their tech stacks. Whereas Facebook, Netflix, UberEATS, Instagram and Walmart use MERN stack. What this tell us is that both MEAN and MERN are stable, reliable, and scalable. The primary and the most obvious difference is that the MEAN stack uses Angular and MERN stack uses React.

The choice about which stack you want to use only depends on the front-end framework or library you want to use and therefore the MEAN stack is best if you prefer to work with Angular and MERN stack is best if you prefer to work with React.

Having said that it all comes down to personal preferences, MEAN is good for large scale applications and MERN is good for faster development of smaller applications.

You can build any kind of web app with any of these technologies there is no best or worst options. Not to deny the fact that there are some strong opinions in the community; some people love Angular while others prefer React. In the end it really just comes down to which front-end technology you want to use.

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