The complete guide to Node.js frameworks

A quick tour of the best MVC frameworks, REST API frameworks, full-stack frameworks, and other handy libraries for Node.js

The complete guide to Node.js frameworks

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime, built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine, that’s suitable for implementing both desktop and server apps. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient compared to threaded servers, such as Apache, IIS, and your typical Java server.

While you can implement a web server or app entirely in plain Node.js code, a framework can greatly reduce the amount of code you need to write. In this guide, we survey the gamut of frameworks available to the Node.js developer.

We start with minimalist Sinatra-like frameworks such as Express, move to more opinionated Rails-like frameworks such as Sails.js, then on to full-stack frameworks with scaffolding and persistence libraries such as Meteor. Finally, we cover REST API frameworks such as LoopBack, and a few “other” libraries for purposes that fall outside our main categories (like ORM, IoT, and static site generation).

Note that the classifications are not well separated. There are several frameworks that could be considered to belong to multiple categories.

Note there are more Node.js MVC projects than I have listed here. In some cases I eliminated projects that are no longer active. In others, I eliminated frameworks that never attracted significant developer interest despite continuous activity. My goal is not to tell you about every possible project, but rather to help you to identify projects that might be worth your evaluation time.

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