Most popular 2018 Node.js frameworks

Original author: Sagar Arora
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Today we publish a translation of the material, the author of which wants to talk about the most popular frameworks for Node.js. This list includes Sails.js, Hapi.js, NestJS, LoopBack, Derby.js,, and Total.js.


Sails.js can be considered the most popular real-time application development framework based on the MVC design pattern. It was released in 2012 under the MIT license. This is a free open-source JavaScript project suitable for developing cross-platform web applications. It was created primarily for the development of business applications and applications that implement some special functionality. Here are some important facts about this framework:

  • It is usually used to implement data-driven APIs. This approach is used to create applications such as real-time chats, various control panels, games.
  • It is well compatible with a variety of environments and technologies for developing application interfaces. For example, it can be used to develop applications designed for the Android and iOS platforms; Angular and React libraries are well combined with it. This suggests that a developer who chooses Sails.js will be able to integrate it into almost any application development process.
  • It supports Grunt modules such as LESS, SASS, Stylus, CoffeeScript, Pug (formerly Jade) and Dust. As a result, Sails.js is ideal for developing browser applications.
  • It integrates the ORM-library waterline.js, thanks to which it supports universal tools for working with various types of databases, protocols, third-party APIs. This facilitates interaction with various storage systems.
  • In it, to manage HTTP requests, the capabilities of the Express.js library are used.
  • This framework is widely used in website development. For example, on its basis, created the site of Verizon. Another example of its use is the site of the Detroit Lions football team.


Hapi.js is an open-source lightweight and high-performance framework designed for developing web applications. It was created by the Walmart Labs team under the leadership of Eran Hammer. When designing the framework, the need to ensure the efficiency of web projects during the sale, which Walmart arranges on a black Friday, was taken into account. In the US, during the days of this sale, e-commerce systems are under tremendous pressure.

Initially, Hapi used the Express framework, but it turned out that it was accompanied by too many restrictions, because of which the project based on it did not meet the requirements for it. As a result, the Walmart team created Hapi as a standalone framework. Here are its main features:

  • Hapi.js allows you to create static websites, it has built-in support for databases such as MySQL, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL.
  • This server framework fits well with any library for developing interfaces, such as React, Angular and Vue.js.
  • A project based on Hapi.js can be implemented as an API server, a server supporting a website or an HTTP proxy.
  • It can be used to develop RESTful and real-time web applications, as well as to create services.
  • It is very popular and is used in large projects. In particular, we are talking about the sites of Disney, Concrete, PayPal, Walmart and many others.


NestJS is a server application development framework that can be considered a novice in the tool lists for Node.js. It is considered the starting point for a journey into the world of modern web application design concepts, such as microservice architectures, Event Sourcing, and Domain Driven Design. This framework was created taking into account the support of server scripts and the possibility of creating server applications with its help.

A very interesting feature of NestJS is support for TypeScript - a subset of JavaScript. Among the main features of this framework are the following:

  • The modular structure, the use of which simplifies the division of the project into separate blocks. It facilitates the use of external libraries in projects.
  • NestJS contains an embedded DI container.
  • It supports the modular organization of projects that are built in accordance with the ownership of each logical part of the project (module) of a particular subject area.
  • Using NestJS simplifies testing with support for features such as DI containers and modules.
  • The framework allows you to create extensible software solutions, between components of which there is no strong connection.


LoopBack is a powerful framework containing built-in tools for working with APIs, which makes it easy to connect projects based on it to a variety of server resources. This framework was developed by the same team that is working on Express.js. It is worth noting that LoopBack supports a good set of DBMS from various manufacturers.

Due to its powerful capabilities, this framework was chosen by the DA-14 team as the basis for the Cosmunity project (social application). LoopBack is used by the well-known domain registrar and hosting provider GoDaddy, it is used by the developer of computer security systems Symantec. Note some features of LoopBack:

  • The framework supports the ability to parse data model definitions, simplifies the design of new RESTful-APIs, which helps developers install pre-defined roles at user and application levels.
  • Through the use of NPM features, it allows you to create dynamic APIs.
  • Using dynamic APIs, the performance of dynamic server applications can be significantly improved.
  • The framework offers many additional components for managing files, for organizing user logins to the system through third-party projects, for using OAuth2, storage providers, and so on.
  • LoopBack applications can be deployed both on traditional servers and in cloud environments.
  • Together with this framework, you can use various application interface development tools, for example, Angular and SDK for Android and iOS.
  • LoopBack has command line tools for creating a REST-API using the API exploration tool; it supports models based on specific data schemas.
  • It allows you to quickly connect applications running on mobile devices and browsers to data sources and services.
  • It simplifies setting up user authentication and authentication.


Derby.js can be described as a fullstack framework based on the MVC pattern and widely used in developing modern web applications. With it, you can develop both server and client applications. It is mainly used to create mobile applications and real-time web applications.

Initially, Derby.js supported only a limited number of standard Node.js modules. But now its capabilities can easily be expanded by third-party modules, which contributes to the design and development of high-quality projects. Here are some salient features of this framework:

  • Thanks to Racer, the data synchronization subsystem built into Derby.js, the developer can take advantage of the parallel processing and synchronization of data between the browser part of the application, its server part and the database. The same goes for client and server synchronization in a more general sense.
  • The framework allows you to organize your code as components using HTML templates, which are convenient to use when designing applications.
  • He has an active developer community around him, which means he can get an answer to a complex question about Derby.js, which is not disclosed in the documentation and in existing publications.
  • Thanks to the support of server rendering, this framework allows you to create high-performance web projects whose pages are loaded into users' browsers very quickly and are well indexed by search engines. is another fullstack framework - free, open source and powerful, which is used to develop dynamic websites and web applications. It includes all four components of the MEAN stack — MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js. In addition to these components, it also includes other important tools for web development, such as Babel and GraphQL. In fact, we are talking about the fact that this framework is a complete set of tools for web development. Here are some notable features of

  • With it, you can develop applications of any size and any complexity. Due to the fact that it includes all the components of the MEAN stack, it is very effective and popular.
  • There are many websites and web applications created on the basis of
  • It includes almost everything that is needed in order to start developing a web project.


Total.js is a server based framework based on the MVC template. It is very well suited for developing web applications. If we talk about the use of this framework in conjunction with other technologies, we can note its flexibility and good compatibility with most of the existing database management systems. Among them - MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL and others.

Total.js is also compatible with interface development tools such as React, Ember, and Angular. Here are some features of this framework that are worth paying attention to:

  • It allows you to create server and client applications without using dependencies.
  • The framework is economical, does not require high computational power and large amounts of memory, it shows itself well on ARM devices.
  • Supports work with events (we are talking about WebSocket technology and the events sent by the server).
  • Supports sending emails using SMTP, localization tools, streaming media data, data visualization tools, themes.
  • Suitable for rapid development of projects, very stable and high-performance, requiring, in comparison with other comparable frameworks, less resources.
  • It supports various routing schemes (classical, dynamic, based on regular expressions), and, in addition, allows the developer to create their own routes for processing dynamic data, files or WebSocket events.


In this article we covered several popular Node.js frameworks. When choosing a framework for a specific project, consider the following factors:

  • The quality of the documentation.
  • Community.
  • The status of the project on GitHub, the speed of error correction.
  • A set of tasks for which the framework is usually used.
  • Solution flexibility.
  • The complexity of the system.
  • Compatibility of the framework with other tools you plan to use.

Dear readers! What kind of Node.js framework do you use and why did you choose them?

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