MEAN is an open-source web stack. It is often used to develop scalable, flexible, and extensible applications suitable for cloud deployment. Since every technology in MEAN uses the same programming language, developers can reuse code across technologies.
If you’re a student or a developer who’s new to MEAN, here’s a quick guide on how to become a MEAN Stack developer.
But first, let’s get to know about who they are and what they do.
What does MEAN Stack developer do?
Through MEAN’s four core languages, MEAN stack developers must be able to create various websites like news aggregation sites. They also need to create web applications such as calendars, mapping, and location finding.
What is the difference between a MEAN Stack developer and Full-Stack developer?
MEAN Stack developers are full stack developers that only focus on using MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js. They only know certain parts of web development.
Related Article: Front-end and Back-end Developers: A Quick Comparison
What companies use MEAN Stack?
Numerous startups and large firms use MEAN for their web development.
Huge tech companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Netflix, PayPal, and Uber use MEAN for their business.
Now we know what a MEAN stack developer is and its difference from a full stack developer. Let’s now move on to the technologies and concepts that an expert in MEAN should know.
Learn the Four Major Technologies
Let’s go through each of them in details.
MongoDB is widely used because of its features. These include the document-oriented database, auto-sharding, and index on attributes. MongoDB also has fast in-place updates, high availability, rich queries, replication, and professional support.
Mastering MongoDB allows MEAN stack developers to create various functions. For instance, user data management, mobile and social infrastructure, and content management and delivery.
Express.js (or Express) is known as the back-end of MEAN. It is a fast and minimalist web application framework for Node.js. With its full feature set, it enables MEAN stack developers to build a web server easily.
Express handles the interactions between the front-end and database. It manages the cookies, handling routes, especially forming responses. Since it was designed for Node.js, it’s also often referred to as the standard server framework.
Angular didn’t automatically become the MEAN Stack’s front-end framework just because it runs on the same language. It’s an ideal and convenient front-end because of the following capabilities:
- Its ability to develop functions on desktop and mobile at the same time
- It's a high-performing framework
Overall, the framework is great for developing web apps with the best user experience. It’s best used when developing video streaming apps, travel apps, and user-generated content portals.
Node.js is one of the frameworks that’s built for performance, and that’s because of these two things:
- Asynchronous-driven architecture - this means that it can manage multiple requests. If a request can’t be processed, it puts the request on hold and moves on to the next. So, it doesn’t hole up the whole queue.
Overall, Node.js provides a more efficient connection for running a server.
Related Article: 6 Tips to Learn Programming Faster
Understand MEAN Stack development
Now the ultimate question that every starting programmer seeks to answer,
How does the MEAN Stack work?
Here’s a simple summary:
- After Angular processes the user’s request, it enters Node.js. This is the server-side language. It is the technology that handles the client and server requests.
- Then, the request enters Express.js. This makes a request to access the database.
- After the request has been accepted, the MongoDB database stores the data and sends a response back to Express.js.
- Then Express.js sends that response back to Node.js. This forwards the response to Angular.
- Angular then displays the result to the end-user.
To summarise its flow:
Angular > Node.js > Express.js > MongoDB > Express.js > Node.js > Angular
Know other technologies used in MEAN Stack development
HTML & CSS
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are two of the core technologies in building web pages. HTML is used to create the page’s content structure, while CSS is used to create the page’s layout or visuals such as the font and colours.
Continuous Integration makes preparing a software release easier. This development practice requires MEAN developers to integrate code into a central repository several times in a day.
Once a code is logged in, it’s verified by an automated build. This allows the MEAN stack developers to see code issues early on.
The most popular Continuous Integration (CI) tool is Jenkins. To learn how to use it, one must have prior knowledge on Java, Nginx web server, and Ubuntu.
As a result, MERN stack developers gained popularity.
But what is a MERN Stack developer and how does it differ from a MEAN Stack developer?
They basically function like a MEAN Stack developer except that they use React.js for the UI.
Although not necessary, learning both Angular and React for this stack can make you a more flexible and competitive stack developer.
The Best MEAN Stack Developer Courses to Take
Here are some of the best courses that you can take online to give you a further understanding of MEAN Stack and to better prepare you as a developer.
Become a MEAN Stack Developer (Udemy)
Course length: Less than 8 hours
Number of lectures: 83
This is a Udemy course by Bluelime Learning Solutions. It includes an introduction to the MEAN Stack, how to install Node.js and MongoDB, basic MongoDB CRUD operations, an introduction to Git, and a guide on creating a MEAN Stack application.
The course teaches the fundamentals of MEAN, which is great for beginners. It also provides a step-by-step guide and hands-on experience of building full-stack applications using MEAN. Upon completing the course, you shall be equipped with the basics of creating a MEAN Stack application.
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Course length: Less than 14 hours
Number of lectures: 306
This course is great for beginners. It is also great even for current developers who want to learn MEAN development from scratch and to tackle advanced topics about the tech stack.
Course length: Less than 10 hours
If you’re already familiar with the basics of web development, this course can give you a deeper understanding of MEAN. You can learn from the course’s learn-by-doing approach.
In this course, developers can learn how to build REST APIs using Node.js and Express.js. You can also learn how to create single-page applications using Angular and develop mobile apps using the Ionic framework.
Learning all of these fundamentals will help prepare programming students and even current developers learn how to create various applications using the MEAN Stack.
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