Pros and Cons of Full Stack JavaScript Development

Web development projects usually require making numerous tech decisions and the most crucial of them are: what technologies to use for the frontend (i.e. client-side) and backend (i.e. server-side) development. And the question is not that easy as it may seem. The list of possible options becomes longer as the new technologies emerge. And if you don’t keep track of the news and updates, it may be quite challenging to make the right choice.

In this article, we will discuss JavaScript full stack development, the option that has many advantages and that is rapidly growing in popularity nowadays. But let’s start from the very basics and talk about full stack development in general at first.

What is full-stack development?

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A technology stack is, basically, all elements which are required to build a software product. These may be programming languages, libraries, frameworks, databases, servers etc.

As mentioned, the development of any website comprises two building blocks: frontend and backend. A frontend is everything that happens in a web browser, i.e. everything that a user may see and interact with, as well as the logic behind it. For example, if you enter any website, you may see web pages which usually contain written content, images, animations, videos etc. This is the frontend. At the same time, the backend deals with the server-related issues. As a user, you do not see or directly interact with this part, but it’s essential since this is where data is stored and retrieved from.

If we combine the frontend and backend development, we’ll receive full-stack development, that is building a website from the beginning to the end. So what is a full stack JavaScript approach? Steaming from everything we have talked about so far, it’s not hard to guess that the full stack JavaScript development is the development of a website using JavaScript programming language for both–frontend and backend.

You may wonder: how is it even possible? Let’s explore this together.

JavaScript for both ends of development

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JavaScript is best known as a client-side programming language since it is one of three main technologies (along with HTML and CSS) for the web development. Launched in 1995, it’s now used by 95% of all websites.

Such global JavaScript expansion may be explained by the numerous benefits this language has. For example, it’s fast, simple and allows for the creation of interactive elements of web pages such as notifications, pop ups, online forms etc. On the top of that, it’s universal programming language as it’s supported by all existing web browsers, meaning that all web browsers can understand and interpret JavaScript code.

For quite a long time, programmers had to use another language for the server-side scripting. However, such situation changed in 2011 when Node.js was introduced. Simply put, Node.js is a JavaScript environment that enables execution of a JavaScript code outside a web browser and this allows developers to create dynamic web page content on the backend, i.e. before such page is sent to a browser.

So, the “birth” of Node.js is a major event that made a full JavaScript development possible.

Full stack JavaScript development with MEAN

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MEAN is a software bundle for web development. The word “MEAN” stands for:

  • MongoDB
  • Express.js
  • Angular
  • Node.js

All of the above are the technologies needed for building websites or web applications using only JavaScript. We’ve already talked about Node.js, so let’s proceed to other components of the stack.

Angular is a JavaScript framework that is used to build the frontend side of websites and applications. Its main distinctive feature is that web applications which are based on Angular don’t have many full page reloads. This means that a web page won’t be refreshed when you, for example, submit an online form or click on some buttons. Hence, Angular allows for the better user experience as a website needs less bandwidth and the overall performance is improved.

Express.js is a web application framework for Node.js written in JavaScript. Basically, it’s a set of functions, methods and utilities that allows for the quick creation of API. Here’s how it works: Angular sends requests to a server -> Express.js processes these requests and performs necessary functions on a server to receive relevant data -> Express.js sends this data to a browser.

MongoDB is a NoSQL database program that uses a JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format. This, basically, means that the objects stored in a database are identical to the objects a client JavaScript sees.

Alternatives to MEAN stack

It’s worth mentioning that although MEAN is the most popular, it’s not the only option. There are also such JavaScript stacks for web development as:

  • MEEN: MongoDB, Express.js, Ember.js, Node.js
  • MERN: MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, Node.js
  • MEVN: MongoDB, Express.js, Vue.js, Node.js

So a JavaScript full-stack development allows for some variations and it’s up to you and your development team to choose between MEAN stack and any other alternative to it.

Pros of full-stack JavaScript development

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Better cooperation among team members

It’s not a secret that effective communication is essential for the success of any project and web development is not an exception. Using only JavaScript for building the entire website makes it possible for all software engineers to find common language because developers who code the frontend part have no problem understanding the backend part and vice versa. As a result, they work faster and more productively. And this is a huge benefit because the less time is spent to create a product, the lower the development costs are.

Open-source

All the technologies needed for a full stack JavaScript development are open-source, meaning that they can be used by anyone for free. Due to this, a development team has an opportunity to take advantage of the large pool of use cases that already exist. In addition, an open source makes a full stack JavaScript development a cost-effective option as you don’t have to buy any technologies to build a website.

High performance

Node.js is a technology that ensures the fast code execution since it supports non-blocking programming and allows for the creation of fully asynchronous applications. Simply put, this means that multiple independent processes can run simultaneously. Consequently, web applications built with full stack JavaScript perform better and faster that results in the improved user experience.

Finding a programmer is not a problem

Today, a JavaScript community is large and active, so it’ll be easy for you to find a professional software engineer if any issues arise.

Proven technology

Whom can you trust in the tech world? Such giants as Airbnb, Netflix, eBay and Google will unlikely choose the technology that performs poorly. All of these companies adopted a full stack JS framework for the web development. So, if you still doubt about opting for this approach, learn their success stories. We believe they speak for themselves.

Cons of full-stack JavaScript development

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Not a good fit for heavy calculations

Node.js is a great environment for building complex web applications. Yet, a full stack JavaScript is not the best choice if you want to create a heavy-computing app. This is because complicated calculations may block the incoming requests and, as a result, a web application will perform less efficiently. But if you don’t plan to build such kind of app, you can disregard this downside.

Relatively new

As the fullstack JavaScript development became possible not so long ago, this approach is relatively new. And for this reason, it may feel daunting for many companies to adopt it for their web development projects. However, this is a common situation for the early stage of the existence of any technology. As we mentioned earlier, many large and successful tech companies have already applied a full-stack JavaScript, so there is nothing to afraid of.

Conclusion

A full stack JavaScript is a great choice if you need to develop a high-performing and dynamic web application. Besides it’s a cost-effective option as all the technologies are open-source, this framework allows for the more productive work of a development team and improved performance of a final product. There are also few disadvantages of full stack JavaScript approach but they are really minor and you can disregard them in most cases.

Want to develop a web application using a full stack JavaScript approach? Our experienced developers are ready to help!

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