Is MEAN right for you? Learn why this end-to-end stack of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS and Node.js is gaining popularity for modern web app development.

  • Create scalable applications that are optimized for cloud deployment
  • Streamline development by using a single language across the entire application
  • Simplify deployment with a built-in web server
  • Manage large amounts of data with the flexibility of MongoDB

When building an application from scratch, employing a consistent, standardized software stack is vital. Creating your back end with a set of tools designed to work together reduces development time and streamlines resources.

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However, the stack field is getting crowded. From LAMP to Ruby on Rails, there are a number of options. Each stack has its benefits and downsides and is geared for different projects. There’s no one-size-fits-all stack for development.

A relatively new stack, MEAN stands for MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS and Node.js. MEAN is an end-to-end JavaScript stack largely used for cloud-ready applications. Understanding why you might use it, identifying examples of when to employ it and diving deeper into the individual components can help you maximize the value of MEAN for software development.

If you want to see how easy it is to develop and deploy an application to the cloud using a MEAN stack, IBM offers a simple tutorial for creating a modern application in a MEAN stack.

Why use MEAN?

MEAN is an open source web stack that is mainly used to create cloud-hosted applications. MEAN stack applications are flexible, scalable and extensible, making them the perfect candidate for cloud hosting. The stack includes its own web server so it can be deployed easily, and the database can be scaled on demand to accommodate temporary usage spikes. A MEAN application enters the world optimized to take advantage of all the cost savings and performance improvements of the cloud.

JavaScript has long been a popular language for front-end web development — it’s flexible, dynamic and easy to use. But it has been an option only for back-end and database development for a few years, allowing developers to create applications using end-to-end JavaScript. Because every part of MEAN uses the same language, you can streamline your development teams. MEAN removes the need to hire different specialists to develop each part of an application. Instead, you can use a single pool of JavaScript developers to work adaptively, where and when needed. Standardizing on JavaScript also provides an opportunity to reuse code across the entire application, reducing unnecessary reinvention. 

When should you use MEAN?

While the MEAN stack isn’t perfect for every application, there are many uses where it excels. It’s a strong choice for developing cloud-native applications because of its scalability and its ability to manage concurrent users. The AngularJS front-end framework also makes it ideal for developing single-page applications (SPAs) that serve all information and functionality on a single page. Here are a few examples for using MEAN:

●            Calendars

●            Expense tracking

●            News aggregation sites


●            Mapping and location finding