MERN Stack for Web Application Development? Here’s How It Works

MERN Stack

by | 17-05-2022

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We usually focus on software creation when we hear about renowned development companies. What ends up happening is that we gloss over the efforts many software development companies make on web application development. The new wave of shifting from a pure website to a web application format is helping developers. Can MERN stack be a viable way to get there? Let’s find out.

What is a Web Application?

A web app is essentially a mobile application but on a desktop. Like iOS and Android, web apps get built on web technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3. These technologies store and manipulate data (CRUD) when needed.  Web apps use the resources of a computer and a browser to perform tasks over the internet. However, stating such a simpler version of what web apps do might be a disservice to the technology.

Web Application Development Process

You might see various ways developers go about making web apps. The most traditional route is to utilize backend languages such as Python or Ruby for web app functionality control, HTML5 and CSS3 for frontend, and GitHub or Jenkins for DevOps. 

The other way is to use a builder as a shortcut. Web app builders such as Budibase, Adalo, DrapCode, and Shopify are some of the familiar names in the industry. These builders are perfect for someone who wants to learn to code but isn’t that efficient in the craft. Or if someone is not familiar with coding at all. No one says that you need to build web apps only if you know how to code. 

Here’s how to build a web app:

  1. Have your idea validated by market research. Are people searching for the solution to a problem you think you have solved? 
  2. What is the functionality of your app?
  3. How will your web app look to the end-user (designing phase)?

What is a Web Application

The defining functionality part is the most crucial part of web application development. Many developers get carried away in this phase. Remember your app does not need to be a single stop-shop for everyone. Keep in mind the goal you sought out. Stick to it!

Also, during the design phase, developers spend quite a bit of time on wireframing and sketching. Once done with it (and it will not take some days only, mind you), you will go ahead with the user POV. Questions such as how to sign-up, change the password or cancel the subscription, etc., get resolved here. 

Web app testing is also a critical aspect of the Software Development Life Cycle. Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers use different tools and approaches to test and verify the functionalities of the app. This step ensures the smooth running of the application, verifying the desired output.

What is MERN Stack?

And now to the grand finale: MERN stack. MERN is an abbreviation for the following terms:

1) MongoDB

It is a document-based open-source database with top-quality scalability and flexibility features.

2) Express.js

Express.js is a minimalist framework for Node.js.

3) React Native

React Native is a JavaScript frontend library leveraged for user interface development.

4) Node.js

It brings JavaScript to the server using Chrome’s V8 JavaScript Engine.

Before moving ahead, you need to understand all four MongoDB, Express, React, and Native technologies necessary for web app development. You should also have npm installed on your system; npm stands for Node Package Manager. 

Remember that the MERN stack is identical to the traditional MEAN stack, except that MEAN uses Angular to bring the front-end web app development. MERN, on the other hand, uses React.

You Might be Interested in Reading

Comparison of PERN and MERN Web Development Stacks

Web App Development using MERN

If not, install Node.js on your system before anything else. After that, a developer will have to add the Bootstrap framework to the project. Use the import “bootstrap/dist/css/bootstrap.min.css”; command to ensure that the Bootstrap file is imported into the App.js.

Web App Development using MERN

Add React Router package: react-router-dom: afterward, and rearrange it by adding folders inside the root. You should also take care of the routing configuration in App.js. Build your own JSX code and see the magic unfold. 

To run your MERN web application, you need to bundle the React front-end and Node backend. You can use Webpack for this, as it is the most popular choice. Be sure to test the functionality of the app before formally launching it. 

MERN Stack Advantages

Full-Stack Development: The MERN stack encompasses all the components needed for full-stack development, including MongoDB for the database, Express.js for the backend framework, React for the frontend, and Node.js for the runtime environment. This allows developers to work seamlessly across the entire application stack.

JavaScript-Based: MERN stack development leverages JavaScript as the primary programming language for both the frontend and backend, providing developers with a unified language and reducing the learning curve. JavaScript’s widespread adoption and extensive ecosystem also offer a wealth of libraries, frameworks, and resources for building robust web applications.

React for Dynamic UI: With React as the frontend library, MERN stack development enables the creation of highly interactive and responsive user interfaces. React’s component-based architecture, virtual DOM, and rich ecosystem of libraries and tools contribute to a smooth development experience and efficient UI rendering.

Scalability and Flexibility: MongoDB, a NoSQL database, offers scalability and flexibility, making it well-suited for handling large amounts of data and accommodating evolving business needs. Combined with the Node.js runtime, which is known for its scalability and event-driven architecture, MERN stack development allows for the creation of scalable and high-performance applications.

Community and Support: The MERN stack has a vibrant and active developer community. This means access to a wealth of resources, tutorials, and open-source projects, making it easier to find solutions to common problems and stay updated with the latest developments. The active community also fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing among developers.

MERN Stack Disadvantages

Steeper Learning Curve: MERN stack development requires proficiency in multiple technologies, including MongoDB, Express.js, React, and Node.js. Mastering all these technologies can be challenging and time-consuming, especially for developers who are new to the stack.

Scalability Concerns: The MERN stack may face scalability issues when handling large-scale applications or heavy traffic. Node.js, while known for its scalability, may encounter performance limitations in certain scenarios, requiring additional optimization techniques or the use of other technologies.

Lack of Opinionated Structure: Unlike some other frameworks, the MERN stack does not impose a strict structure or conventions, which can lead to inconsistency in code organization and project architecture. Developers need to establish their own best practices and maintain code consistency throughout the project.

Limited Server-Side Rendering (SSR) Support: React, the front-end library in the MERN stack, has limited built-in support for server-side rendering (SSR), which can impact initial page load times and SEO optimization. Implementing SSR in a MERN stack application may require additional configuration and setup.

Complex Deployment and Hosting: Deploying and hosting a MERN stack application can be more complex compared to traditional LAMP stack applications. It often requires familiarity with cloud platforms, server configurations, and deployment tools to ensure smooth and efficient deployment.

Web App Development – In a Nutshell

Software development companies can leverage the MERN stack to make their browser apps. If the app demands, use CRUD operations for each React component. This blog explained the process of creating web applications using MERN stack, highlighting its pros and cons.

FAQ’s

Is MERN stack used for web development?

A combination of four technologies, the MERN stack is used for building dynamic websites and web applications.

Is MERN Stack in demand?

Skilled MERN stack developers are in high demand and are highly paid depending on their skill level.

How hard is MERN?

MERN stack encompasses four varying technologies, and mastering all of them is a big challenge.

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Muhammad Mustafa is a software developer at Ropstam having rich experience of more than 5 years. With a background in software development, Mustafa combines his knowledge of various technology stacks with a passion for DevOps and software quality assurance. Besides coding and writing, he loves cricket and traveling.

Muhammad Mustafa

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