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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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What's the Node framework landscape like?

I feel like it's been a few years since I've paid attention to this area.

Which frameworks are you working with, what is the most popular "stable/boring" framework, and what's new and interesting?

Top comments (42)

gypsydave5 profile image
David Wickes

What's the Node framework landscape like?


vinceramces profile image
Vince Ramces Oliveros

SkullJS - A comprehensive pain in the arse javascript framework that does nothing but give you bigger node modules.
LavaJS - A library which burdens your workflow and makes you quit the web development.

SkyJS - Another brick-end framework that does literally do nothing but add to your dependency. It makes you a cool DEV.

Please make this at the top of the comment section so that people are aware of the JavaScript ecosystem. 😂😂

somedood profile image
Basti Ortiz

I can already tell that this will be the top comment of the week... 😆

ryansmith profile image
Ryan Smith • Edited

I recently researched Node frameworks for a project and there are a ton of options to choose from.

  • Express - Still the most widely used by a large margin. It is a barebones framework, so much of the setup for routes/views is done manually. To extend Express, you would use Express middlewares to take action on the incoming requests or outgoing response.
  • Koa - The successor to Express from the same initial development team, but has not gained as much traction as Express.
  • Sails - A framework that is based on Express, but provides some MVC conventions and ways to generate routes.
  • Hapi - This one has been rising in popularity. It provides more features out of the box than Express and there are plugins to extend it. It differs from Express because these plugins run together with Hapi to provide that functionality, as opposed to middleware that operates on requests and responses.
  • Adonis - This is more of a full-featured framework that was inspired by Laravel. It has been gaining popularity and looks pretty slick.

Those were the top 5 I considered, but there is also Meteor, Fastify, Nest, Keystone, Hasura, Vulcan, Hammer.js, Prisma, LoopBack, and others.

When in doubt, follow the saying of "Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM" but replace that with "Express". It gets the job done and has the community support to back it up. A lot of the newer frameworks look very cool and include more features to provide a better developer experience, but it can be hard to choose and hard to predict long-term support for them.

leob profile image
leob • Edited

AdonisJS is interesting and appeals to folks who've used Rails or Laravel (which would include myself).

The only thing that looks a bit weird is their homegrown custom "import syntax" (using a "use" keyword that seems to be taken literally from Laravel), instead of 'require' or standard ES6 'import'. But maybe (probably) their documentation explains the rationale behind that choice.

shimjudavid profile image
Shimju David

I heard the 'use' syntax is going to be replaced with ES6 'import' in the next version of AdonisJS v5

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leob profile image

Interesting! I don't know what the original reasoning was behind "use", but I assume it had some advanced capabilities which are now covered by standard "import" so that they don't need their homegrown syntax anymore ('import' is now supported natively by the newest node.js versions).

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guledali profile image

V5 is being rewritten in TypeScript

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leob profile image

That's also good news, I'm definitely starting to see the advantages of TS.

shadid12 profile image
Shadid Haque

Hmm I think sails is not relevant anymore :(

leob profile image

Right, that should definitely be AdonisJS now, Sails is probably a thing of the past

guledali profile image

The idea of sails.js was promising I think the biggest problem with sails.js was that it came out when node was still infant.

nikolasburk profile image
Nikolas Burk

I work at Prisma and we're currently working on a modern Node.js backend framework that'll make it easy to spin up an entire backend. A few core characteristics of the framework are:

  • Declarative and type safe
  • Minimum boilerplate
  • Extensible via plugins (e.g. for auth, logging, ...)
  • Database included
  • Code-first GraphQL
  • Zero-config and awesome developer experience

You can check out the framework on GitHub or watch this short demo video! The temporary name for the framework is graphql-santa 🎅

The stack is based on the following tools:

  • Database: PostgreSQL (alternatively you can use MySQL or SQLite)
  • Data access (ORM) & Database migrations: Prisma 2
  • Code-first GraphQL schema construction: GraphQL Nexus
  • GraphQL server: Apollo Server

To get started and set up your first project, you can simply run:

npx graphql-santa
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

We're very eager on getting feedback for this framework, I'd love to hear some opinions and thoughts on this approach!

nikolasburk profile image
Nikolas Burk

If you're looking for a fullstack framework, also definitely check out the Hammerframework.

It's built by GitHub's co-founder Tom Preston-Werner and has similar design as goals graphql-santa, but also includes the frontend. This is the stack they're using:

  • Babel
  • React
  • GraphQL
  • Prisma Photon
  • JSX
  • Styled Components
  • React Router
  • Apollo
  • Prisma Lift
  • Storybook
albertgao profile image
AlbertGao • Edited

I am using Prisma v2 + Nexus + Nexus-Prisma for a month, and have a very pleasant experience with it. DX is top-notch and every flow is connected together.

For example,

First, Prisma2 schema gives you a nice abstraction over the DB, so later on you can migrate your data source easily. And its GraphQL-like syntax means you can pick it up in notime.

Then you play with your database schema, adding this, changing that, with prisma2 dev running, every change will be temp saved and you can review them in the Studio GUI, and after you feel good about it, you use prisma2 lift save and up the changes to the database.

Then go to your GraphQL schema, expose the fields to the schema, wow, just type, t.yourModel.blahblah, all properties from the DB are there with auto-completion.

later on, in the resolver, with normal CRUD, a beautiful t.crud.createOneUser or t.curd.upsertOneUser are there, makes it super easer to up and running, no boilerplate, and you can add control at every step because it is basically just giving you the conveniences without taking the control out of you.

With Typescript, you don't even need to look at the doc as everything is just there in the type information, and the API is intuitive, so I don't think you need to learn, after using it for a few times, you can infer the API by yourself, and found that it is just there... even you forget, with a single dot or hover your mouse over, auto-completion will tell you everything.

If you use REST but GraphQL, you can still benefit from every advantage that I just mentioned.

And then you can see, that it pretty much creates a productive closure for back-end development, and you go through the flow with confidence as everything is backed by typing if you are using Typescript.

Looking forward for graphql-santa for how much further it could take us.

I am always searching for a less-code but without sacrificing control solution to my back-end. And I am glad that I found the Prisma2 stack.

francocorreasosa profile image
Franco Correa • Edited

I stopped asking this question so frequently and jumped into building apps to try things (frameworks/languages) out.

I'm currently testing to make a GraphQL app with graphql-yoga and express along with objection as an ORM and knex to run migrations. I'm liking it so far, if you want to take a look:

shubhamsinha profile image
Shubham Sinha

Objection js has a plugin objection-graphql. Have you tried that ? And since you we're sure about using graphql and TS did you consider Typegraphql+Typeorm / Nest js + Typeorm ?

francocorreasosa profile image
Franco Correa

I considered using that plugin, but wanted to learn how it works manually first. Probably would use some of that for a production app.

gerreth profile image
Gerret Halberstadt

I'd like to add another Express. Together with Apollo Server, TypeORM and TypeGraphQL I have the right amount of batteries without too much boilerplate. I use this combination at work and for a very recent side project and I got even happier with it over time.

igeligel profile image
Kevin Peters

At work:

Our own server framework which is based on express. Frontend are mostly react Client side rendered.


Express + next.js in combination with typeorm and postgresql. I call it the boring stack for me but it is really efficient to work with it. Ahh yeah typescript 👍👍👍

itmayziii profile image
Tommy May III

Personally I’m using express and apollo-server for almost all my Node projects. Frameworks seem to come and go in the Node community so I try to stay away from most. Express has been around for awhile so it has my trust and Apollo-server let’s me build GraphQL APIs without being opinionated.

leob profile image
leob • Edited

FeathersJS deserves a mention. Interesting concept based on "hooks" and "services" which promotes functional/FP and thinking in "services" and pipelines. But having read the other comment it seems good old Express still rules and is the 'safe choice'.

cjbrooks12 profile image
Casey Brooks

It seems to me like the crowd that made a lot of buzz surrounding Express a few years ago have since moved to backends written in Go. I don't have any data to back this up, and I'm also not a JS guy, so this could be way off, but it seems like it's pretty common for me to find JS-heavy frontends coupled to Go backends these days, instead of Node backends.

waqaradil profile image
waqaradil • Edited

Hey pals, beside node's powerful capabilities, frameworks add more power to existing features.
There are alot of framework available but i would recommend Adonis on the top of others.
I have created a repository structure that is useful for creating APIs as well as admin panel fully compatible with mysql and mongodb.
It has ready made CRUD operations.
Here is the link.

ngprnk profile image
Nischal Gautam

NestJs is the definitely more mature and more fun to work it, worth checking it out.

mateiadrielrafael profile image
Matei Adriel

And koas typescript support is much better than what express has

cktang88 profile image
Kwuang Tang

Express, Gatsby, and Next.js are all pretty popular, and all used for different reasons.

shubhamsinha profile image
Shubham Sinha

Rails like: Nest Js, Foal TS, Adonis
Popular: Express, Fastify
Micro: Polka, Koa

ORM: Objection Js, Sequelize, Typeorm

Other Mentions: Typegraphql

mikedown profile image
Hamza Elmiqdam

This will help ;)

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11 Tips That Make You a Better Typescript Programmer


1 Think in {Set}

Type is an everyday concept to programmers, but it’s surprisingly difficult to define it succinctly. I find it helpful to use Set as a conceptual model instead.

#2 Understand declared type and narrowed type

One extremely powerful typescript feature is automatic type narrowing based on control flow. This means a variable has two types associated with it at any specific point of code location: a declaration type and a narrowed type.

#3 Use discriminated union instead of optional fields


Read the whole post now!