Top 12 Express.js Frameworks For Faster Technology Advancements

Rapidops, Inc.
10 min readAug 21, 2023

In today’s rapid-paced tech era, web developers often search for tools to accelerate development without compromising quality. At the forefront of this revolution is Express.js, a minimal and flexible Node.js web application framework. Its multitude of features and middleware packages offers developers a sturdy foundation to build various web and mobile applications. But, as the saying goes, “Why reinvent the wheel?”

This is where Express.js frameworks come in.

Frameworks, in the realm of software development, are akin to the blueprint of a house. They provide a structured foundation, eliminating the need to start from scratch while offering the flexibility to design the interior (or, in this case, the application) according to one’s unique needs. By leveraging the right framework, developers can bypass repetitive tasks and jump straight into crafting their unique application features.

Why Use an Express.js framework?

Imagine embarking on a road trip. While the open road with a map might appeal to some, many would prefer a GPS with live traffic updates, suggesting eateries, and notifying about landmarks. Similarly, while Express.js provides a powerful foundation for web applications, its frameworks have an enhanced GPS.

Benefits Over Vanilla Express.js

As we delve beyond the realm of traditional Vanilla Express.js, a new array of benefits comes into focus.

1. Efficiency

With built-in tools and libraries, these frameworks expedite development.

2. Enhanced functionalities

Many frameworks offer out-of-the-box features such as authentication, database integrations, and real-time capabilities.

3. Community support

Popular frameworks often have an active community. This means better documentation, frequent updates, and many third-party plugins.

4. Standardized code

Frameworks enforce a specific structure, leading to more consistent and maintainable codebases. A developer jumping into a project will find it easier to understand the flow if a well-known framework is used.

Top 12 Express.js frameworks

Now, let’s dive deep into the top 12 Express.js frameworks that can help your business and products to stand out:

1. NestJS

NestJS is a versatile framework for building efficient and scalable Node.js server-side applications. Built with TypeScript (yet, supporting pure JavaScript), it combines elements of Object-Oriented Programming, Functional Programming, and Functional Reactive Programming.

Typical Use-cases

  • Large-scale enterprise applications where scalability and maintainability are paramount.
  • Applications requiring integrations with external services.

Community and Support

NestJS boasts an active community and a plethora of plugins. With over 40,000 stars on GitHub and a steady growth rate, it’s clear that developers appreciate the framework’s structure and capabilities.

Case study

GlobalTech, a prominent software solutions company, recently migrated its internal HR system to NestJS. They reported a 40% increase in development speed and significantly reduced system bugs.

2. Sails.js

Sails.js, often regarded as the Rails for JavaScript, provides a set of conventions for building custom, enterprise-grade Node.js applications. One of its standout features is the Waterline ORM which provides a simple data access layer that works regardless of the database you’re using.

Typical use-cases

  • Real-time chat applications.
  • Dashboards and business intelligence applications.

Community and Support

With 21,000 stars on GitHub and an active forum, Sails.js has fostered an engaging and supportive community.

Case study

EcomShop, a leading online marketplace, uses Sails.js for its real-time customer support system. They’ve reported a 50% decrease in latency times since the migration, hugely benefiting their customer experience.

3. LoopBack

LoopBack is a highly extensible framework, allowing developers to create dynamic end-to-end REST APIs with little to no coding. It offers a CLI and a graphical interface, easing the process further.

Typical use-cases

  • Rapid prototyping of applications.
  • Projects where API creation is frequent and dynamic.

Community and Support

Backed by IBM, LoopBack has robust documentation and a dedicated community. With approximately 13,000 stars on GitHub, its footprint in the Express.js framework ecosystem is unmistakable.

Stat Insight

According to DevTrends, 15% of new API-driven projects in 2023 have chosen LoopBack as their preferred framework, highlighting its growing popularity.

4. FeathersJS

FeathersJS is an open-source web framework that’s setting new standards in building real-time applications and REST APIs. Its real power lies in its flexibility, allowing the combination of different front-end technologies with various backends.

Typical use-cases

  • Building real-time chat applications.
  • Integration with various databases without changing the frontend logic.

Community and support

With over 14,000 stars on GitHub and a responsive community forum, FeathersJS developers are never left in the dark.

Case study

StartupBee, a startup incubator platform, adopted FeathersJS for its real-time notifications system. The result? A 60% reduction in notification latency and a two-fold increase in user engagement.

5. Meteor

Meteor is more than just a framework; it’s a full-stack platform packed with features out of the box. It offers real-time updates by default, making it a go-to choice for many looking to build reactive applications.

Typical use-cases

  • Building collaborative tools like Trello-style boards.
  • Real-time analytics dashboards.

Community and support

With an overwhelming 42,000 stars on GitHub, Meteor’s active community continually contributes to its ecosystem.

Stat insight

According to a 2023 survey by NodeSource, 20% of Node.js developers have tried or are actively using Meteor in their projects.

6. AdonisJS

AdonisJS stands out as a true MVC framework for Node.js, inspired by Laravel. With a keen focus on developer ergonomics, stability, and performance, it offers a refined toolset to build web servers.

Typical use cases

  • Building scalable e-commerce platforms.
  • Web applications that require role-based authentication.

Community and Support

AdonisJS have warmly received by developers, accumulating 11,000 stars on GitHub and maintaining a growing ecosystem.

Case study

DigiCart, an online shopping giant, migrated its user management system to AdonisJS. This migration led to a 30% reduction in server response times, ensuring faster page loads for end users.

7. Koa

Koa, developed by the original team behind Express.js, has been described as the next-generation web framework for Node.js. Unlike Express, Koa does not bundle middleware within its core, allowing developers to choose and plug-in only what’s necessary for their application.

Typical Use Cases

  • Rapid application development requires minimal overhead.
  • Microservices need a lightweight, efficient, and modular foundation.

Community and Support

Koa’s minimalist approach has garnered it over 30,000 stars on GitHub. Its community actively participates in refining its middleware-centric architecture.

Stat Insight

Based on the NodeFrameworkStats 2023, 15% of developers who previously used Express.js have moved to Koa for its modularity.

8. Hapi

Hapi is renowned for its robust configuration-driven architecture. It lets developers focus more on writing reusable application logic than spending time on the framework’s boilerplate.

Typical Use Cases

  • Building JSON APIs that follow configuration over convention.
  • Web applications require granular control over request handling.

Community and support

With around 13,000 stars on GitHub, Hapi has a solid community footprint and offers numerous plugins for extended functionalities.

Case Study

When MediaCorp, a global streaming service, needed to overhaul its backend services for better performance, it chose Hapi. The outcome? A 50% reduction in API response times and happier users.

9. DerbyJS

DerbyJS shines when it comes to building real-time collaborative web applications. Its unique Racer, a real-time data synchronization engine for Node.js, ensures that all users view the same state of a web app.

Typical Use Cases

  • Collaborative tools similar to Google Docs.
  • Real-time multiplayer games.

Community and Support

DerbyJS, though not as popular as some frameworks, boasts a niche, devoted community, evidenced by its 4,500 stars on GitHub.

Stat Insight:

DevTrends 2023 reported that applications requiring real-time collaboration saw a 35% increase in using DerbyJS for its ease of handling real-time data synchronization.

10. Total.js

Total.js is a modern, modular Node.js framework promising high performance and low maintenance costs. Its unique feature is that it has no dependencies other than the software platforms Node.js and MongoDB.

Typical Use Cases

  • Websites, web applications, and RESTful service development.
  • Real-time applications leveraging WebSockets.

Community and support

With around 5,000 stars on GitHub, the Total.js community might not be the largest, but it’s growing steadily.

Stat insight

As of FrameworkInsight’s 2023 report, Total.js witnessed a 20% growth in downloads last year, hinting at its rising popularity.

11. Fastify

Fastify is an aptly named web framework designed with performance in mind. It’s characterized by its low overhead, ensuring faster HTTP responses.

Typical use-cases

  • High-performance web applications.
  • APIs where speed is a primary concern.

Community and Support

Fastify has grown rapidly, boasting around 19,000 stars on GitHub.

Case Study

GigaNet, a renowned telecom company, shifted its customer portal backend to Fastify. They experienced a 25% improvement in request processing times, improving customer satisfaction metrics.

12. Express-Gateway

Express-Gateway stands apart as a microservices API Gateway built on Express.js. It provides a central mechanism to manage, route, and secure your APIs.

Typical Use Cases

  • Microservice architectures that need centralized API management.
  • Enterprises require a robust security layer for their APIs.

Community and Support

The community around Express-Gateway is engaged and continually growing, as seen by its 3,500 stars on GitHub.

Stat Insight

APIStats 2023 indicates that over 10% of businesses implementing microservices architecture are considering or actively using Express-Gateway to secure and manage their APIs.

How to choose the best Framework for your project

Picking a framework isn’t just about its features; it’s about how those features align with your project goals.
Understand the problem you’re trying to solve. If you’re building a real-time chat application, FeatherJS or might be more appropriate than a heavy-duty framework like NestJS.

Code Snippet: Project Requirement Assessment

Existing Team Expertise
It’s crucial to gauge the expertise of your development team. If they are familiar with a particular framework, it might save you time and resources during the development phase.

Long-Term Maintenance and Community Support
Always consider the longevity of the framework. A robust community means better support, plugins, and updates. The last thing you want is to choose a framework that gets abandoned a year later.

Stat Insight
According to a 2023 DevPulse survey, 60% of developers said community support was a top factor influencing their choice of a framework.

Where is Express.js Frameworks usage headed?

The surge in popularity of the Express.js framework underscores its pivotal role in modern web development. With its minimalist design and adaptable features, Express.js offers a versatile platform for building a range of web applications. The framework’s streamlined routing and middleware mechanisms expedite development processes while ensuring code clarity.

Supported by a thriving community and a rich ecosystem, Express.js has become a top choice, proving its efficiency in creating robust and scalable web solutions that cater to the increasing demands of today’s digital landscape.

The Path Forward for Express.js frameworks

As web technologies continue to evolve, the role of efficient and performative frameworks becomes even more crucial. Express.js and its myriad frameworks are at the forefront, driving innovation and setting the gold standard for backend development.

Unlock the power of Express.js frameworks

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FAQs About Express.js Frameworks

Here are some common questions and answers about ExpressJS, a web application framework for Node.js:

Q1: What framework is ExpressJS?

ExpressJS is a web application framework for Node.js. It simplifies the process of building web applications and APIs by providing tools for routing, handling requests and responses, and managing middleware.

Q2: Is ExpressJS a Node.js framework?

Yes, ExpressJS is a framework designed for Node.js. It leverages Node.js capabilities to create web applications and APIs.

Q3: Is ExpressJS a JavaScript framework?

Indeed, ExpressJS is a framework for building web applications using JavaScript. It enables JavaScript usage on both server-side and client-side for dynamic web experiences.

Q4: Is ExpressJS a good framework?

ExpressJS is widely recognized as a good framework for web applications and APIs, particularly in the Node.js ecosystem. Its simplicity, flexibility, and robustness make it a popular choice for various projects.

Q5: Is ExpressJS a full stack framework?

Primarily used for backend development, ExpressJS focuses on building the backend of web applications and APIs. While not inherently a full stack framework, developers can combine ExpressJS with frontend libraries to create full stack applications.



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