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Is MEAN the New LAMP?

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Over the years, the LAMP stack has gained popularity because of its open-source nature and its ease of development, and was considered by many to be the ultimate web development stack. The LAMP Web development platform uses Linux as its operating system, Apache for the Web server, MySQL as the database management system, and PHP as the scripting language. The name LAMP, coined as far back as 1998, stuck, and today, the products making up the LAMP stack are included by default for all major Linux distributions, helping people build powerful web applications.

But these days, MEAN stack is making all the right noises. This begets the question, why MEAN, and why now?

The Rise of the MEAN Stack

Though popular and useful LAMP stack is, modern technology always requires more from the everyday developer. As cloud technology started becoming commonplace, and other revolutionary changes loomed in the horizon, developers started looking at consolidating technologies and leveraging the power of JavaScript-centered technologies. As a result, the MEAN stack was born.

The MEAN stack is a combination of the following -

  • MongoDB: A document-oriented database which allows the users to store database records in the BJSON (Binary JavaScript Object Notation) format
  • Express: A lightweight framework, Express makes it significantly easier to build simple HTTP servers and web apps
  • AngularJS: Developed by some pretty smart people at Google, AngularJS can solve quite a few development issues while creating maintainable, reusable, and infinitely testable JS powered client side applications
  • Node.JS: Faster and much more scalable than other related technologies, Node is used to write server-side application with JavaScript

In the past few years, JavaScript has taken many a great strides to become a mainstream scripting language, allowing web pages to become more dynamic and responsive by running on the client side (browser). Since a developer can easily create applications only by knowing how to code in JS, the MEAN stack allows for easier integration, and faster development times.

From a developer's point of view, they can solely get by with their knowledge of JavaScript, without having to learn different languages such as Python or PHP, a pre-requisite for developing with the LAMP stack. Debugging also becomes much easier, as there is better coherence between objects stored within a database, and those running on the client-side, say, for example, a browser.

Compared to the advancements offered by MEAN, the LAMP stack has some major disadvantages such as -

  • There is a general perception that application built using LAMP stack tends to perform slower, and is less flexible
  • Linux, being an open source system, is not as well as supported as Solaris, Unix, or Windows servers
  • Apache is harder to configure and use
  • MySQL, although stable and easy to use, still can't compare to web servers running JS
  • PHP is optimized for CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete operations). Although this works well for most systems, the performance is slower than most common enterprise standards such as Java EE and C#, especially slow for applications which require non-CRUD functionality

Advantages of Using the MEAN Stack

More and more developers are being swayed by the advantages offered by the MEAN stack over LAMP stack, as it allows them the flexibility to choose and work with the deployment platform, and leverage the enhanced data retrieval speed. Some of the common advantages of MEAN stack development include -

  • Developers can easily code world-class web apps only with the knowledge of JavaScript, which further allows for shortened development times. JavaScript is also the most popular programming language on earth, which certainly helps the cause
  • Single page applications such as AngularJS are considerably faster than traditional client-server applications
  • The MEAN stack receives considerable support from community and industry leaders. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, the two largest cloud providers, provide extensive support for Node.JS, and Google prominently supports AngularJS
  • Big players such as Walmart, PayPal, etc. have adopted the MEAN stack for developing their backend, and many other big players have followed the suit
  • All components of the stack are under heavy development and receive new updates on a regular basis. Any issues, if there, are fixed regularly, while new features are introduced continuously
  • MongoDB looks forward and is built from the ground-up to support cloud infrastructure. It supports automatic sharding and full cluster support - a developers dream

To MEAN, or Not To MEAN

One size does not fit many. This age-old adage still stands true when it comes to selecting a development stack which could work for you. The MEAN stack definitely offers a lot to a forward-looking web development organization, but still there are critics who think that MongoDB may work out well for small to mid-sized apps, but not for large-scale applications. On the other hand, supporters of the MEAN stack vehemently display how MEAN stack has been deployed by large organizations without any worry.

At the end of the day, the choice of using either LAMP or MEAN should lie with the developer, since organization and project development priorities always differ. Cloud-first web applications will always embrace JavaScript as their one true god, but other, non-cloud applications can always be more stable by developing with LAMP.

Power the Future with End-to-end MEAN Development Solutions from Outsource2india

With 17 years of extensive experience in software development, we have always embraced state-of-the-art technology when it comes to powering the next generation of web applications. Our open source solutions can suit a variety of business requirements, and our developers offer you a full-stack JavaScript solution for faster, more stable, and high-quality web applications through our MEAN development services as well as our LAMP development services.

Contact us now and partner with knowledgeable MEAN experts to build your next web application!

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