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Best NodeJS frameworks for seamless backend development

This publish was initially written by Tooba Jamal on the Ably blog

NodeJS is a JavaScript runtime surroundings for operating JavaScript functions exterior the browser surroundings. It’s asynchronous and event-driven, which means it would not block the occasion loop – making NodeJS extremely appropriate for the event of server-side internet functions.

With round 50,000 open supply packages accessible via npm (Node Package deal Supervisor), NodeJS facilitates the seamless backend extension. The GitHub repository has 99k stars and 27.5k forks demonstrating an lively group. Moreover, there are 468,194 questions tagged ‘node.js’ on Stackoverflow, whereas an lively Discord group contains 13,714 members.

Attributable to its recognition, there are actually a whole bunch of NodeJS frameworks however some outperform others with regards to their efficiency, group assist, and ease of use. On this article, we’ll discover the highest NodeJS frameworks together with people who allow you so as to add realtime options to Node functions. We may also have a look at some ideas that will help you select the most effective framework in your app.

What are NodeJS frameworks?

NodeJS frameworks are a set of libraries, templates, and instruments constructed on high of the Node surroundings. These frameworks supply a fundamental construction for functions together with routes, middleware, and templates that streamline the event course of. As mentioned above, a big variety of NodeJS frameworks can be found, every with its personal distinctive options, strengths, and weaknesses.

Realtime frameworks in NodeJS simplify the event of a vital side of contemporary internet growth, encompassing realtime options resembling chat, notifications, knowledge streaming, and extra. Amongst the quite a few realtime NodeJS frameworks accessible, there are a couple of notable ones together with Socket.IO, Feathers.js, Meteor.js, and Sails, which we are going to discover on this article.

Why use NodeJS frameworks?

NodeJS frameworks present syntactic sugar (simpler syntax), simplifying the event course of with added performance.

To grasp the syntactic sugar, take a look on the code snippet under that showcases the airing of a <h2> tag on the house route utilizing NodeJS and Specific framework respectively. Notice that in NodeJS, we create an ‘http’ server, use ‘setHeader’ to manually set the response content material sort and write all of the required HTML tags to have the ability to show the <h2> tag. Alternatively, in Specific, we solely must create an Specific software and ship the <h2> tag as a response on the house route:

const server = http.createServer((req, res) => {
    res.setHeader('Content material-Sort', 'textual content/html');
    res.write('<head><title>Finest NodeJS Frameworks</title><head>');
    res.write('<physique><h2>Whats up from the Ably Weblog</h2></physique>');

// Specific
const specific = require('specific');
const app = specific();

app.get('/', (req, res) => {
    res.ship('<h2>Whats up from the Ably Weblog</h2>');
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7 Finest NodeJS Frameworks

Normal objective NodeJS frameworks

1. Specific

Express is the most well-liked and minimalistic internet framework for NodeJS. Specific is designed to simplify the backend software growth with a sturdy set of options together with routing, middleware, error dealing with, and templating.

Key options:

  • Minimal and straightforward to make use of: Specific makes the event course of simple and quick with its set of core options. Constructed on high of JavaScript, it is easy to be taught, and consists of a number of NodeJS options as features like routing and middleware.
  • Middleware integration: Specific permits builders to incorporate vital functionalities with the assistance of middleware of their initiatives.
  • MVC structure: Specific has MVC structure which permits dividing a bigger advanced software into smaller elements making it simpler to grasp and navigate.

Group stats:
The official Express GitHub repository has 62.1k stars and 11.7k forks. The Specific mailing checklist has over 5000 discussions which can be utilized as a difficulty library once you encounter a bug whereas creating an Specific software.

Use instances and functions:
Constructing APIs, backend cell and internet servers, realtime functions, are use instances for Specific. Corporations utilizing Specific embrace:

  • X (Twitter): Twitter makes use of Specific to construct its API.
  • Accenture: Accenture makes use of Specific to construct its API and share knowledge amongst stakeholders.
  • Trustpilot: Trustpilot makes use of Specific to construct its software and API.

2. Fastify

Fastify is a light-weight internet framework for NodeJS constructed on high of Specific. It emphasizes low overhead and responsive consumer expertise.

Key options:

  • Light-weight: Fastify is a lightweight framework which ensures higher performance with low overhead.
  • Schema based mostly: Fastify recommends utilizing JSON schema for the validation and serialization of routes.
  • Straightforward to make use of: Fastify has a simple API which makes it simple to be taught and use for production-ready initiatives.

Group stats:
Fastify has a group of 28.8k stars and a pair of.2k forks on GitHub.

Use instances and functions:
Fastify can be utilized to construct quick and scalable server-side functions. Corporations utilizing Fastify embrace:

  • Compressor: Compressor makes use of Fastify for the event of quick functions.
  • Joggr: Joggr makes use of Fastify for a quick and low-overhead responsive software.

Is Fastify higher than Specific?

There may be an ongoing dialogue amongst builders relating to whether or not Fastify is best than Specific. Each Fastify and Specific are NodeJS frameworks with comparable functionalities. Nonetheless, Fastify performs faster than Specific, whereas Specific gives extra strong routing and is most well-liked by most builders. The selection of a framework will depend on your necessities. You possibly can take a look at this dialogue on Reddit the place builders share their viewpoints on this dilemma. We’ll discuss issues whereas selecting a NodeJS framework later within the article.

3. NestJS

NestJS is a progressive framework for NodeJS for constructing server-side functions with JavaScript and TypeScript. NestJS follows a modular structure enabling builders to create advanced functions by organizing parts into separate, unbiased modules, guaranteeing maintainability and reusability throughout varied elements of the appliance.

Key options:

  • Modular structure: NestJS gives a modular structure which permits isolating elements and layers of an software for elevated maintainability and scalability.
  • TypeScript assist: NestJS helps TypeScript whereas permitting builders to code in JavaScript.
  • CLI software: The Nest CLI permits simpler setup and growth of functions via easy instructions.

Group stats:
NestJS has a big group with 60.5k stars and seven.2k forks on GitHub. 12,033 are tagged ‘nestjs’ on StackOverflow and an lively discord group of 43,436 can be there to assist fellow builders.

Use instances and functions:
Like different NodeJS frameworks, NestJS can be utilized to develop server-side functions. Corporations utilizing NestJS embrace Adidas and graph knowledge platform, Neo4j.

Realtime NodeJS frameworks

Realtime frameworks present options and features to allow simplified growth of realtime functions. Realtime functions require realtime move of knowledge, like with instantaneous messaging or for knowledge analytics dashboards.

Listed below are a few of the greatest realtime NodeJS frameworks to think about.

4. Socket.IO

Socket.IO is a NodeJS framework constructed on high of WebSockets that permits realtime client-server communication. Socket.IO is event-driven and appropriate with older browsers and environments.

Key options:

  • Automated reconnection: Socket.IO mechanically reconnects if a connection between the shopper and server is interrupted.
  • Previous browser assist: Socket.IO gives a fallback HTTP long-polling mechanism permitting it to work on older browsers as effectively.
  • Packet buffering: Within the occasion of a disconnection, Socket.IO buffers packets that are despatched to the shopper upon reconnection, guaranteeing that no knowledge is misplaced.

Group stats:
Socket.IO has a group with 59.2k stars and 10.2k forks on GitHub.

Use instances and functions:
Chat functions, realtime multiplayer video games, social media apps, and realtime dashboards are a few of the use instances of Socket.IO. Corporations utilizing Socket.IO embrace:

  • Slack: Slack makes use of Socket.IO to allow realtime communication between customers.
  • Twitter: Twitter makes use of Socket.IO to allow realtime updates to consumer feeds, notifications, and search outcomes.

Read more about Socket.IO and when to use it.

5. Feathers.js

Feathers.js is an online framework constructed on high of Specific which gives a easy technique to develop a scalable and dependable software. Feathers.js helps many databases and works with any frontend know-how together with iOS, Android, and React Native.

Key options:

  • Microservices structure: Feathers.js gives a microservices structure which permits dividing an software into smaller unbiased companies that may be deployed individually.
  • Realtime Help: Feathers.js makes use of Socket.IO enabling the event of realtime functions.

Group stats:
Feathers.js has a small however lively group with 14.8k stars and 761 forks on GitHub.

Use instances and functions:
Feathers.js can be utilized for constructing realtime functions and APIs. Chatbot Plus makes use of Feather.js for the mixing of realtime options of their software.

6. Meteor.js

Meteor.js is a fullstack NodeJS framework constructed particularly for JavaScript which permits simple growth of realtime options with its simple API.

Key options:

  • Distant Process Name (RPC) system: Meteor.js permits simple frontend and backend integration with its RPC API strategies.
  • Constructed-in accounts: Prepared to make use of login and account package deal not requiring builders to construct their very own authentication system.
  • Pub/Sub methodology: Straightforward growth of realtime options utilizing publications and subscriptions.

Group stats:
The Meteor.js GitHub repository has an lively group with 43.8k stars and 5.4k forks.

Use instances and functions:
Meteor.js permits constructing functions for browsers, internet, and software servers together with realtime options resembling chat and knowledge updates. Corporations utilizing Meteor.js embrace:

  • Azumuta: Azumuta software is developed utilizing Meteor.js together with different applied sciences.
  • Forage: The Forage web site is developed utilizing Meteor.js.

7. Sails:

Sails is a realtime MVC framework for NodeJS constructed on high of Specific. Sails has a versatile routing system and comes with built-in realtime communication assist.

Key options:

  • ORM (Object Relational Mapping): Sails gives a easy knowledge entry layer permitting knowledge entry from any database.
  • Auto-generate REST APIs: Sails gives blueprints for REST APIs which could be generated utilizing a easy sails generate api dentist command.
  • WebSockets assist with no further code: Sails permits realtime characteristic growth utilizing WebSockets with out having to put in writing further code.

Group stats:
Sails GitHub repository has an lively group with 22.78k stars and 2k forks. Additionally they have a YouTube channel with a library of helpful tutorial movies.

Use instances and functions:
Sails is appropriate for constructing realtime chat functions, APIs, fullstack cell or internet functions. Sails is a comparatively new framework with restricted data on what corporations are utilizing it. Nonetheless, in accordance with some on-line sources the next corporations use Sails:

  • Anybot: A platform to create customized AI bots.
  • The Canero Group: An actual property brokerage and growth firm.

How to decide on the Finest NodeJS framework

Selecting the most effective NodeJS framework will depend on the challenge wants and scope, and firm necessities. A couple of issues you can also make whereas shortlisting the NodeJS frameworks are:

Mission necessities

Perceive your challenge necessities such because the realtime options, scalability, and complexity. For instance, you may think about using Specific for backend server with Socket.IO to allow realtime communication. This mixture will let you develop a sturdy and scalable software nevertheless, some builders may discover it troublesome and like utilizing one framework that enables creating each an API and realtime options like Sails, Meteor.js, or Feathers.js. Purposes that solely want a backend server with out realtime functionalities could be in-built different frameworks like Specific or Fastify.

Group assist and documentation

A framework that has an lively group may help you in some ways. An lively group signifies a well-maintained and constantly improved framework. Group can grow to be your assist for those who encounter points whereas creating your software asking them for examined ideas and methods. An lively and huge group additionally means you’ll find a bigger variety of assets, tutorials, and guides for a framework as in comparison with others. For instance, Specific and NestJS have bigger lively communities in comparison with Meteor.js with solely 280 discord members and a deactivated Slack channel.

Widespread limitations

Every framework comes with its personal limitations. It is important to think about these limitations and tradeoffs you may need to make whereas contemplating completely different frameworks. For instance, Socket.IO gives a fallback mechanism for environments the place WebSockets will not be supported whereas Sails solely comes with the choice of WebSockets for realtime options.


All through this text, we explored a few of the broadly used NodeJS frameworks together with Specific, NestJS, Fastify, Socket.IO, Feathers.js, Meteor.js, and Sails together with their key options and the businesses which are leveraging their capabilities. We additionally mentioned tradeoffs that you simply may need to make whereas selecting frameworks and the tricks to decide the most effective framework in your wants.

We might love to listen to about your experiences and see the progressive initiatives you’re constructing utilizing NodeJS – share your initiatives with us on X (Twitter) or Reddit.

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