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Getting MEAN in your Tech stacks!

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Recently, I got the opportunity to meet a Product Manager at an early-stage start-up. As we got talking, he started telling me about how he was at a critical decision-making point for his company. He and his team were going nuts, spending sleepless nights, trying to figure out which Technology Stack his enterprise web application should be built on - LAMP, MEAN or MERN, for a seamless on- time development effort.

  • Should they use Python or Java as the programming language?

  • What would be the right choice for the web framework: Node.js or Flask?

  • What will be the perfect front-end option: React, Angular or Vue.JS?

  • What about the database: MySQL, or MongoDB?

  • Should they self-host the app or go with Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud?

“LAMP”, an abbreviation for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, has always been one of the most popular back-end stacks. PHP is used as the scripting language, MySQL as the database, Apache as the web server, and Linux as the server's operating system.

Another stack "MERN" is also gaining popularity. (MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, and Node.js).

But nowadays, “MEAN”, which stands for MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js, has become one of the more popular choices for tech stack for MVPs.

This  PM’s startup also chose MEAN tech stack for building their application. Here's what he had to say about why this was the best choice: 

  1. MEAN stack impacts the enterprise web development in many ways -

The term “MEAN Stack” is a set of collected JavaScript-based technologies used to develop complex websites and web apps (progressive or responsive). In simple words, MEAN, is explained as a full-stack JavaScript framework — which

  • Simplifies and accelerates web & application development.

  • Covers the full web development cycle from front end development (client side) to back end development (server side) using JavaScript.

  • Helps to resist unnecessary grunt work, thus keeping the web application development much organized.

  • Is a combination of four great technologies, i.e., MongoDB, Express.JS, Angular.JS, and Node.JS.

  • Comes with a pre-built extensive suite of testing tools.

  • Is an Open source framework and backed by good community support.

2 - Key technologies associated within the MEAN stack come with significant characteristics/features:

MEAN stands for:

- MongoDB - Uses a database engine that has Document Oriented Storage − Data is stored in the form of JSON style documents. Indexing can be done on any attribute. Replication and high availability.

- Express.js - Runs over Node.js and is the back-end framework that is used for developing web applications. Easy to configure and customize. Allows you to define routes of your application based on HTTP methods and URLs.

- AngularJS - Acts as the front-end framework that helps in making the applications dynamic. Facilitates faster and easier two-way data binding which doesn't require a developer to intervene at all. Improved server performance. Faster application prototyping.

- Node.js - Acts as the runtime on which the back-end runs. Offers an easy scalability. Easy to Learn.

Being a merger of four great technologies, MEAN is extremely versatile, and a stack of choice for most startups.

3 - Using MEAN stack for enterprise web development serves key benefits:

Quick - As a startup, the primary goal of the PM was to launch the MVP as quickly as possible. MEAN stack has language/framework/CMS tool that helps put together a working prototype in the shortest possible time.  

Security - Since his business was in the fintech space that required security from the onset, he opted for JavaScript right from the beginning.

Scalable - The app required real-time functionality, such as a chatbot or live chat, hence a tech stack that is good at concurrency and scalability, Node.js was his ideal choice.

Availability of developers - MEAN tech stack has a dynamic developer community, is based on commonly used programming languages, hence it was easy for him to find right developers to build the application. 

Reasonable maintenance costs -Being based on open source technologies, maintenance and upgradation costs are cheaper, and the stack can be updated and changed without any restrictions.

Easy integration of new features - He had to make sure the technology stack allows third-party integrations, to integrate the features he needed into his web or mobile application without reinventing the wheel. 

Easy testing - He needed to make informed decisions based on how easy it would be to run tests on the chosen platform. No software product is developed perfectly the very first time. 

Quick Bug Fixing - MEAN tech stack allowed him to fix bugs or tweak features easily without eating up a lot of time.

These were some of the key reasons why the PM decided to go ahead with the MEAN tech stack.

The forty minutes I spent with this PM was an eye opener for me. I realized the importance of choosing the right Tech stack, why get MEAN in your stack, and why it is so crucial to make a well thought out and informed decision to fulfill the vision for the product.

After all, just like building blocks in 'Jenga' ; your tech stack is a critical balancing act that has the capacity to make you stand tall or make you come crumbling down!!

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