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ExpressJS vs Next.js: What are the differences?

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; Next.js: *A small framework for server-rendered universal JavaScript apps *. Next.js is a minimalistic framework for server-rendered React applications.

ExpressJS and Next.js 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, Next.js provides the following key features:

  • Zero setup. Use the filesystem as an API
  • Only JavaScript. Everything is a function
  • Automatic server rendering and code splitting

"Simple" is the primary reason why developers consider ExpressJS over the competitors, whereas "Automatic server rendering and code splitting" was stated as the key factor in picking Next.js.

ExpressJS and Next.js are both open source tools. ExpressJS with 44.3K GitHub stars and 7.45K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Next.js with 38.2K GitHub stars and 4.6K GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, ExpressJS has a broader approval, being mentioned in 843 company stacks & 759 developers stacks; compared to Next.js, which is listed in 79 company stacks and 66 developer stacks.

Decisions about ExpressJS and Next.js
Lucas Litton
Founder & CEO at Macombey · | 13 upvotes · 428.6K views

Next.js is probably the most enjoyable React framework our team could have picked. The development is an extremely smooth process, the file structure is beautiful and organized, and the speed is no joke. Our work with Next.js comes out much faster than if it was built on pure React or frameworks alike. We were previously developing all of our projects in Meteor before making the switch. We left Meteor due to the slow compiler and website speed. We deploy all of our Next.js projects on Vercel.

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Hey guys,

My backend set up is Prisma / GraphQL-Yoga at the moment, and I love it. It's so intuitive to learn and is really neat on the frontend too, however, there were a few gotchas when I was learning! Especially around understanding how it all pieces together (the stack). There isn't a great deal of information out there on exactly how to put into production my set up, which is a backend set up on a Digital Ocean droplet with Prisma/GraphQL Yoga in a Docker Container using Next & Apollo Client on the frontend somewhere else. It's such a niche subject, so I bet only a few hundred people have got a website with this stack in production. Anyway, I wrote a blog post to help those who might need help understanding it. Here it is, hope it helps!

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Pros of ExpressJS
Pros of Next.js
  • 378
  • 333
  • 242
  • 192
    High performance
  • 150
    Robust routing
  • 71
  • 70
    Open source
  • 57
    Great community
  • 37
    Hybrid web applications
  • 13
    Well documented
  • 9
    Sinatra inspired
  • 9
    Rapid development
  • 7
    Isomorphic js.. superfast and easy
  • 5
    Socket connection
  • 5
    Light weight
  • 4
  • 4
    Resource available for learning
  • 3
    Event loop
  • 3
  • 2
    Data stream
  • 46
    Automatic server rendering and code splitting
  • 39
    Built with React
  • 33
    Easy setup
  • 24
    Universal JavaScript
  • 23
  • 22
    Zero setup
  • 19
    Static site generator
  • 12
    Incremental static regeneration
  • 12
    Simple deployment
  • 11
    Just JavaScript
  • 10
    Filesystem as an API
  • 10
    Frictionless development
  • 8
    Has many examples and integrations
  • 8
    Well Documented
  • 8
    Everything is a function
  • 8
  • 7
    Isomorphic React applications
  • 3
    File based routing + hooks built in
  • 2

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Cons of ExpressJS
Cons of Next.js
  • 27
    Not python
  • 17
  • 14
    No multithreading
  • 9
  • 5
    Not fast
  • 2
    Easily Insecure for Novices
  • 8
    Structure is weak compared to Angular(2+)

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- No public GitHub repository available -

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 Next.js?

Next.js is a minimalistic framework for server-rendered React applications.

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What companies use ExpressJS?
What companies use Next.js?
See which teams inside your own company are using ExpressJS or Next.js.
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What tools integrate with Next.js?

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Blog Posts

Jun 19 2015 at 6:37AM

What are some alternatives to ExpressJS and Next.js?
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.
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 is intended for getting started very quickly and was developed with best intentions in mind.
Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.
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