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ExpressJS vs Meteor: What are the differences?

What is ExpressJS? Sinatra inspired web development framework for node.js -- insanely fast, flexible, and simple. Express is a minimal and flexible node.js web application framework, providing a robust set of features for building single and multi-page, and hybrid web applications.

What is Meteor? An ultra-simple, database-everywhere, data-on-the-wire, pure-Javascript web framework. A Meteor application is a mix of JavaScript that runs inside a client web browser, JavaScript that runs on the Meteor server inside a Node.js container, and all the supporting HTML fragments, CSS rules, and static assets.

ExpressJS and Meteor are primarily classified as "Microframeworks (Backend)" and "Frameworks (Full Stack)" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by ExpressJS are:

  • Robust routing
  • HTTP helpers (redirection, caching, etc)
  • View system supporting 14+ template engines

On the other hand, Meteor provides the following key features:

  • Pure JavaScript
  • Live page updates
  • Clean, powerful data synchronization

"Simple", "Node.js" and "Javascript" are the key factors why developers consider ExpressJS; whereas "Real-time", "Full stack, one language" and "Best app dev platform available today" are the primary reasons why Meteor is favored.

ExpressJS and Meteor are both open source tools. It seems that ExpressJS with 44.3K GitHub stars and 7.45K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Meteor with 41.1K GitHub stars and 5.03K GitHub forks.

PedidosYa, Coderus, and WebbyLab are some of the popular companies that use ExpressJS, whereas Meteor is used by Meteor, Glympse, and Enfluence.io. ExpressJS has a broader approval, being mentioned in 843 company stacks & 759 developers stacks; compared to Meteor, which is listed in 195 company stacks and 152 developer stacks.

What is ExpressJS?

Express is a minimal and flexible node.js web application framework, providing a robust set of features for building single and multi-page, and hybrid web applications.

What is Meteor?

A Meteor application is a mix of JavaScript that runs inside a client web browser, JavaScript that runs on the Meteor server inside a Node.js container, and all the supporting HTML fragments, CSS rules, and static assets.
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What are some alternatives to ExpressJS and Meteor?
Koa
Koa aims to be a smaller, more expressive, and more robust foundation for web applications and APIs. Through leveraging generators Koa allows you to ditch callbacks and greatly increase error-handling. Koa does not bundle any middleware.
React
Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.
Flask
Flask is intended for getting started very quickly and was developed with best intentions in mind.
Django
Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.
Go
Go is expressive, concise, clean, and efficient. Its concurrency mechanisms make it easy to write programs that get the most out of multicore and networked machines, while its novel type system enables flexible and modular program construction. Go compiles quickly to machine code yet has the convenience of garbage collection and the power of run-time reflection. It's a fast, statically typed, compiled language that feels like a dynamically typed, interpreted language.
See all alternatives
Decisions about ExpressJS and Meteor
Antonio Kobashikawa
Antonio Kobashikawa
Web developer | Blogger | Freelancer at Rulo Kobashikawa | 4 upvotes 45.8K views
Koa
Koa
ES6
ES6
JavaScript
JavaScript
Ionic
Ionic
Vue.js
Vue.js
MongoDB
MongoDB
ExpressJS
ExpressJS
Node.js
Node.js

We are using Node.js and ExpressJS to build a REST services that is middleware of a legacy system. MongoDB as database. Vue.js helps us to make rapid UI to test use cases. Frontend is build for mobile with Ionic . We like using JavaScript and ES6 .

I think next step could be to use Koa but I am not sure.

See more
GitHub
GitHub
nginx
nginx
ESLint
ESLint
AVA
AVA
Semantic UI React
Semantic UI React
Redux
Redux
React
React
PostgreSQL
PostgreSQL
ExpressJS
ExpressJS
Node.js
Node.js
FeathersJS
FeathersJS
Heroku
Heroku
Amazon EC2
Amazon EC2
Kubernetes
Kubernetes
Jenkins
Jenkins
Docker Compose
Docker Compose
Docker
Docker
#Frontend
#Stack
#Backend
#Containers
#Containerized

Recently I have been working on an open source stack to help people consolidate their personal health data in a single database so that AI and analytics apps can be run against it to find personalized treatments. We chose to go with a #containerized approach leveraging Docker #containers with a local development environment setup with Docker Compose and nginx for container routing. For the production environment we chose to pull code from GitHub and build/push images using Jenkins and using Kubernetes to deploy to Amazon EC2.

We also implemented a dashboard app to handle user authentication/authorization, as well as a custom SSO server that runs on Heroku which allows experts to easily visit more than one instance without having to login repeatedly. The #Backend was implemented using my favorite #Stack which consists of FeathersJS on top of Node.js and ExpressJS with PostgreSQL as the main database. The #Frontend was implemented using React, Redux.js, Semantic UI React and the FeathersJS client. Though testing was light on this project, we chose to use AVA as well as ESLint to keep the codebase clean and consistent.

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Node.js
Node.js
Meteor
Meteor

Mixmax was originally built using Meteor as a single monolithic app. As more users began to onboard, we started noticing scaling issues, and so we broke out our first microservice: our Compose service, for writing emails and Sequences, was born as a Node.js service. Soon after that, we broke out all recipient searching and storage functionality to another Node.js microservice, our Contacts service. This practice of breaking out microservices in order to help our system more appropriately scale, by being more explicit about each microservice鈥檚 responsibilities, continued as we broke out numerous more microservices.

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AWS Elastic Beanstalk
AWS Elastic Beanstalk
AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
nginx
nginx
Go
Go
Amazon EC2
Amazon EC2
Node.js
Node.js
Meteor
Meteor
Mixmax
Mixmax

As Mixmax began to scale super quickly, with more and more customers joining the platform, we started to see that the Meteor app was still having a lot of trouble scaling due to how it tried to provide its reactivity layer. To be honest, this led to a brutal summer of playing Galaxy container whack-a-mole as containers would saturate their CPU and become unresponsive. I鈥檒l never forget hacking away at building a new microservice to relieve the load on the system so that we鈥檇 stop getting paged every 30-40 minutes. Luckily, we鈥檝e never had to do that again! After stabilizing the system, we had to build out two more microservices to provide the necessary reactivity and authentication layers as we rebuilt our Meteor app from the ground up in Node.js. This also had the added benefit of being able to deploy the entire application in the same AWS VPCs. Thankfully, AWS had also released their ALB product so that we didn鈥檛 have to build and maintain our own websocket layer in Amazon EC2. All of our microservices, except for one special Go one, are now in Node with an nginx frontend on each instance, all behind AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) or ALBs running in AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

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Paul Whittemore
Paul Whittemore
Developer and Owner at Appurist Software | 15 upvotes 81.3K views
Fastly
Fastly
Electron
Electron
vuex
vuex
Vue.js
Vue.js
Quasar Framework
Quasar Framework
Vuetify
Vuetify
Node.js
Node.js
ExpressJS
ExpressJS
Fastify
Fastify

I'm building most projects using: Server: either Fastify (all projects going forward) or ExpressJS on Node.js (existing, previously) on the server side, and Client app: either Vuetify (currently) or Quasar Framework (going forward) on Vue.js with vuex on Electron for the UI to deliver both web-based and desktop applications for multiple platforms.

The direct support for Android and iOS in Quasar Framework will make it my go-to client UI platform for any new client-side or web work. On the server, I'll probably use Fastly for all my server work, unless I get into Go more in the future.

Update: The mobile support in Quasar is not a sufficiently compelling reason to move me from Vuetify. I have decided to stick with Vuetify for a UI for Vue, as it is richer in components and enables a really great-looking professional result. For mobile platforms, I will just use Cordova to wrap the Vue+Vuetify app for mobile, and Electron to wrap it for desktop platforms.

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Praveen Mooli
Praveen Mooli
Technical Leader at Taylor and Francis | 11 upvotes 158.6K views
MongoDB Atlas
MongoDB Atlas
Amazon S3
Amazon S3
Amazon DynamoDB
Amazon DynamoDB
Amazon RDS
Amazon RDS
Serverless
Serverless
Docker
Docker
Terraform
Terraform
Travis CI
Travis CI
GitHub
GitHub
RxJS
RxJS
Angular 2
Angular 2
AWS Lambda
AWS Lambda
Amazon SQS
Amazon SQS
Amazon SNS
Amazon SNS
Amazon Kinesis Firehose
Amazon Kinesis Firehose
Amazon Kinesis
Amazon Kinesis
Flask
Flask
Python
Python
ExpressJS
ExpressJS
Node.js
Node.js
Spring Boot
Spring Boot
Java
Java
#Data
#Devops
#Webapps
#Eventsourcingframework
#Microservices
#Backend

We are in the process of building a modern content platform to deliver our content through various channels. We decided to go with Microservices architecture as we wanted scale. Microservice architecture style is an approach to developing an application as a suite of small independently deployable services built around specific business capabilities. You can gain modularity, extensive parallelism and cost-effective scaling by deploying services across many distributed servers. Microservices modularity facilitates independent updates/deployments, and helps to avoid single point of failure, which can help prevent large-scale outages. We also decided to use Event Driven Architecture pattern which is a popular distributed asynchronous architecture pattern used to produce highly scalable applications. The event-driven architecture is made up of highly decoupled, single-purpose event processing components that asynchronously receive and process events.

To build our #Backend capabilities we decided to use the following: 1. #Microservices - Java with Spring Boot , Node.js with ExpressJS and Python with Flask 2. #Eventsourcingframework - Amazon Kinesis , Amazon Kinesis Firehose , Amazon SNS , Amazon SQS, AWS Lambda 3. #Data - Amazon RDS , Amazon DynamoDB , Amazon S3 , MongoDB Atlas

To build #Webapps we decided to use Angular 2 with RxJS

#Devops - GitHub , Travis CI , Terraform , Docker , Serverless

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Samuel Olugbemi
Samuel Olugbemi
Software Engineer at Payzone UK | 6 upvotes 12.7K views
atPayzone UKPayzone UK
ExpressJS
ExpressJS
LoopBack
LoopBack

I use LoopBack because it is: * It is truly and Unbelievably Extensible * it is default integrated with OpenAPI (Swagger) Spec Driven REST API * I write lesser codes, because most of the user stories have been covered using the code generation * It's documentation is more compact and well detailed than ExpressJS * It is very easy to learn, hence you can build a basic Rest API App in minutes * It has built in NPM packages required to build my Rest API which saves me time on installation and configuration * The Datasource/Service/Controller concept is just Brilliant (that's mostly all you need to get your app speaking with an External API services) * The support for SOAP and Rest API services is amazing!

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Interest over time
Reviews of ExpressJS and Meteor
Avatar of MichelFloyd
Founder at cloak.ly
Review ofMeteorMeteor

I discovered Meteor thanks to my daughter who used it for a project at MIT. I was amazed at how much she had built in such a short time. I had also been trying to figure out how to build a browser-based crypto app so I jumped into Meteor and had an MVP for cloak.ly in a few short months starting from nothing. Learning Meteor really alters what you perceive as easy and difficult in full-stack development. It has an amazing ability to simplify your thinking and your code. Community support in terms of packages is outstanding as well which saves tremendous time. The quality of the software is outstanding with very few regressions cropping up during their frequent releases.

Being at the bleeding edge of the js community does have its downsides however. While early Meteor (with Blaze/handlebars templates) was exceedingly simple, Meteor have had to introduce support for both angular and react. In combination with the move to ECMAscript this has resulted in a lot of work for developers to just keep up with the evolution of the platform. Someone who was an expert 6 months ago might quickly find themselves being a newb again. If you're someone who doesn't like change you may want to stick to jQuery.

Living in the bay area I have the luxury of being able to attend Meteor events frequently. Having met many members of the MDG team, I have tremendous confidence in the future of the platform. This is a very solid group with a rare combination of broad vision and excellent execution.

Review ofMeteorMeteor

Meteor is my favorite framework. It makes everything fun. Syncing data across devices is really easy and you don't have to mess around with sockets at all. You can insert data into the database on the client. There's tons of security options. There's over 3000 packages on the packaging system. Instant iOS and Android apps. Amazing, reactive routing. Free hosting. Easy deployment with Meteor Up. What's not to like?

Review ofMeteorMeteor

Meteor is so powerful and flexible. I love it. In the near future, it will be the top-used framework.

Review ofMeteorMeteor

We have gone "all in" on Meteor and I recommend you do to.

How developers use ExpressJS and Meteor
Avatar of Cloudcraft
Cloudcraft uses ExpressJSExpressJS

Express.js is the workhorse of the Cloudcraft.co backend. It's not the most exciting part of a stack, but it works, is very well documented, and you can find a plugin for almost everything you could possibly want. We also carefully evaluated Koa.js, but decided not to go down this route: fewer plugins, less documentation & answers online. I'm also not personally convinced by the generators yield syntax at all. ES7 async functions looks like a much better bet, and with Promises and Babel I can have that already today.

Avatar of Volkan 脰z莽elik
Volkan 脰z莽elik uses ExpressJSExpressJS

I use express.js for nightly.zerotoherojs.com and dojo.zerotoherojs.com web apps.

Express is well-known, lightweight, works out-of-the-box, has great middleware support and has minimal learning curve.

It is the best framework to start developing a general Node.js web app.

Avatar of Kent Steiner
Kent Steiner uses ExpressJSExpressJS

I'm fluent in ExpressJS, but over the past two years I have moved to HapiJS. Similar results, but I find Hapi to be more full-featured towards my app, api and service needs. I can operate confidently in both.

Avatar of cloak.ly
cloak.ly uses MeteorMeteor

Without Meteor cloak.ly could not have been built as quickly by such a small team. Meteor was instrumental to getting an MVP up quickly and dealing with the complexities of browser-based encryption.

Avatar of Promethean TV
Promethean TV uses ExpressJSExpressJS

PrometheanTV utilizes the ExpressJS web application framework to deploy various web applications and services including the Broadcast Center Tool, our video embed service, and our REST API.

Avatar of Merge In
Merge In uses ExpressJSExpressJS

We rely on ExpressJS to serve our content simply, easily, and effectively, without the bloat-ware. Big thanks to StrongLoop for supporting this package.

Avatar of ShareThis
ShareThis uses MeteorMeteor

Built on Node.js, Meteor's real time reactivity and its wide package ecosystem allows us to quickly prototype and build apps in a lean way

Avatar of Giftstarter
Giftstarter uses MeteorMeteor

We would like to make magic with Meteor for the future of GiftStarter.

Avatar of Hooked
Hooked uses MeteorMeteor

Hooked is built with Meteor as the primary application framework.

Avatar of IVS
IVS uses MeteorMeteor

Typical buzz tech. Nothing practical in here.

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