MERN Stack vs MEAN Stack: Which Tech Stack Should You Use?

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Rafael Timbó
Rafael Timbó
Chief Technology Officer

Table of Contents

Learn about the key differences between a MEAN stack and MERN stack, how they benefit development teams, and how to choose between the two.
Published on
February 1, 2024
Updated on
April 11, 2024

When businesses want to increase the productivity and efficiency of their tech teams, they often utilize technology stacks for the best results. Tech stacks are combinations of tools, programming languages, libraries, and frameworks that developers use throughout an application’s development up to software deployment. Two of the most common tech stacks are MEAN and MERN stacks. 

MERN and MEAN stacks are full stack development solutions companies use for web applications, but developers also adapt them for mobile applications. MEAN and MERN have similar integrated technologies but different strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the specifics of a project, the difference between MEAN vs. MERN stack may significantly optimize development.

This article will compare the MERN stack vs. the MEAN stack, giving businesses better insights into which tech stack best fits their development. It will also consider how developers use both stacks for web development and explore the pros and cons of each.

What Is MEAN Stack?

A MEAN stack is an open-source JavaScript stack that includes the technologies MongoDB, Express.js, Angular or Angular.js, and Node.js, which makes the acronym MEAN. The MEAN stack allows developers to create web applications easily and handle JSON data. 

MEAN Web Development

Developers utilize the MEAN technologies as a full-stack framework to create dynamic and interactive web applications. Express.js runs on Node.js to handle server-side operations, while the NoSQL database MongoDB manages data storage. Angular covers any front-end needs of the project. 

The MEAN stack offers excellent structure and scalability for large and complex web development projects.

What Is MERN Stack?

A MERN stack is also a JavaScript stack, consisting of MongoDB, Express.js, React or React.js, and Node.js, which make up the letters for MERN. Because all MERN stack technologies run on a unified JavaScript-based architecture, it is an excellent choice for full-stack development. Developers often utilize the MERN stack to develop modern web apps efficiently.

MERN Web Development

MERN web developers follow a structure similar to MEAN web development when building web apps. They utilize MongoDB to store data such as profiles, comments, and content. MongoDB also stores JSON documents, which serve for communication throughout the stack. 

Express.js and Node.js cover the server-side needs of the applications, while developers use React for the front end. MERN web development is an excellent choice for small-scale applications. Coding is mainly in JavaScript, which makes it easy for developers to create apps quickly and efficiently.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Stack

Whether businesses choose a MERN stack vs. a MEAN stack depends on their needs and preferences. That’s why they should first try to understand the similarities and differences between the two stacks to make the best decision. 

Both of these tech stacks use three common server-side technologies, which are:

  • MongoDB: MongoDB specializes in NoSQL database management and is popular for its flexibility and scalability. It works on the back end, handling large amounts of data and storing it in a relational database. 
  • Express.js: Express.js is a back-end framework for Node.js, designed for building web applications and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). It handles HTTP requests and middleware, facilitating the rapid development of server-side logic and APIs.
  • Node.js: Node.js is an open-source JavaScript runtime environment that works cross-platform development. It enables developers to use JavaScript for server-side scripting to produce dynamic web page content.

The key differences between the two are the front-end frameworks and libraries available to each tech stack, which are: 

  • Angular: Angular is a framework that allows developers to build web apps through HTML and TypeScript. It uses a model-view-controller (MVC) framework, which offers two-way data binding, modular development, and other robust features. Angular is a key technology in the MEAN stack.
  • React: This is a client-side JavaScript library. It focuses on User Interface (UI) components. React offers flexibility through one-way data binding, facilitating dynamic, high-performance user interfaces. React is a technology bundled into the MERN stack.

MEAN and MERN stacks present different advantages for businesses depending on the team’s skill sets and the project’s specific requirements, including using Angular vs. React. Companies building large-scale, complex applications may find the MEAN stack advantageous because of Angular’s structured framework. Angular’s use of TypeScript also offers more safety and scalability for large applications. 

MERN’s incorporation of the React library is easier for developers to master, often leading to faster development. MERN development updates faster and has enhanced performance compared to the MEAN stack due to React’s virtual Document Object Model (DOM). React’s popularity also gives rise to a large and active community, providing a vast ecosystem of tools, resources, and solutions to developer issues.

Pros and Cons of MEAN Stack

As mentioned, MEAN stack development presents advantages for businesses with projects for large applications or web apps that will scale. Angular sets the MEAN stack apart but also comes with drawbacks.

Advantages of MEAN Stack

  • Two-way data binding: The inclusion of Angular in the MEAN stack allows for two-way data binding. Two-way data binding automatically syncs data between the back-end logic and the UI. Developers don’t need to write additional logic as changes reflect on both sides instantly. Two-way data binding is particularly beneficial for large, complex web applications requiring constant updates and data adjustments.
  • Opinionated structure: Angular’s opinionated structure, consisting of specific design patterns that make up a code base, is beneficial for large teams and projects. The premade code enforces design patterns and practices, resulting in enhanced collaboration. The consistency afforded by the opinionated structure also leads to more scalable and maintainable applications.
  • TypeScript: The TypeScript language in Angular allows for several advantages compared to the MERN stack’s unified JavaScript language. Because of its static typing, TypeScript allows for easier debugging and more reliable code overall. TypeScript also provides features like advanced autocompletion and refactoring, which improves development. It facilitates more structured and scalable web app architecture due to its advanced design patterns and object-oriented programming.

Disadvantages of MEAN Stack

  • Steep learning curve: Developers unfamiliar with Angular may find it challenging to master quickly. Unlike MERN stack development’s unified JavaScript language, Angular requires the acquisition of TypeScript as well as other features like dependency injection and Reactive Extensions for JavaScript (RxJS). 
  • UI rendering: Using Angular for UI rendering puts MEAN stack development at a disadvantage compared to MERN stack development. Angular’s two-way data binding can have difficulty rendering UI in rapidly changing or complex UIs, while React’s virtual DOM brings about much more rapid and efficient updates.
  • Flexibility: MEAN stack development offers less flexibility than MERN stack development, mainly due to Angular being an opinionated structure. While beneficial in some areas, the opinionated structure enforces specific ways developers must organize and structure web apps, restricting creative freedom. 

Pros and Cons of MERN Stack

Businesses with small-scale projects that require flexible and creative UI development may want to consider MERN as their tech stack. But like MEAN stack development, MERN has positives and negatives that everyone should consider before its application. 

Advantages of MERN Stack

  • Full-stack JavaScript development: MERN stack development uses JavaScript on both the client and server sides. This optimizes software development workflows as coding coordinates through a single programming language. Using JavaScript across all technologies simplifies learning, enhances collaboration, and leads to faster development.
  • Component-based architecture: React drives the MERN stack’s component-based architecture, which assists developers with reusable components. Components encapsulate functionalities that developers maintain and test independently of others. This allows for faster development, better organization, and easier collaboration.  
  • Community and ecosystem: MERN stack development boasts a large and active community and ecosystem, primarily through the library React. This robust community and ecosystem give developers access to an abundance of resources such as tutorials, forums, documentation, and solutions that help speed up development. React is a popular library among developers, and its community continues to evolve. 

Disadvantages of MERN Stack

  • Small scale: While MERN stack development can be an excellent choice for smaller projects, it lacks some of the structure and architecture that MEAN development offers for building large-scale, complex applications. While React allows creativity and flexibility and focuses on UI, it may lead to maintainability issues as the project expands.
  • Complexity: Unlike Angular, React is not a full framework. Instead, it is a library that depends on other third-party tools and libraries to increase its functionality. This leads to an architecture that increases complexity as it scales, compared to Angular’s structured framework. 
  • Security: While MEAN stack development isn’t immune to cyber security risks, its use of TypeScript offers more built-in protections against common web vulnerabilities. React’s use of the JavaScript programming language opens it up to more runtime errors and bugs.

Hire a MERN Stack Developer or MEAN Stack Developer With Revelo

Choosing a MEAN stack vs. a MERN stack mostly comes down to determining the needs of your project. However, finding a developer for your chosen stack that best suits your project and tech team may be more challenging and require a lot of company resources. 

To find MEAN or MERN stack developers that fit your custom software development needs quickly and at a fraction of the price, consider partnering with Revelo. We are a talent platform that matches businesses with pre-vetted, highly-skilled talent to help them scale successfully. 

Revelo also provides support through the negotiations and engagement with the candidates. Our assistance with contracts, payments, benefits, taxes, and local compliance ensures convenience and peace of mind for both the business and the talent. 

Whether you need MEAN stack vs. MERN stack developers, Revelo has you covered. Hire your talent today and start working on your next project quickly and confidently. 

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