What Technologies Should Express JS Developers Be Skilled at (Express MEAN Stack)?
Express.js: A Closer Look
Express.js, a backend technology for the MEAN Mongo Express Angular Node stack, is a Node.js framework that started really small. It was created in 2010 by just one developer, TJ Holowaychuk, and in 2014, it was sold to Node.js development startup StrongLoop, which was in turn acquired by IBM in 2015. In the process, Express.js grew from being a virtually unknown framework to being the most popular Node.js framework at present, with 32, 952 stars on Github as of writing, far more than any other Node.js framework. Now in its 4th version known as Express 4, it is now the de facto framework for Node.js: developing with Node.js typically implies developing with Node.js and Express.js.
Installing Express.js is easy. Note that, since it’s a Node.js framework, it requires that Node.js be installed on your system first. Once this is done, simply type in the following on your command line:
$ npm install -g express
This will perform a global installation of express on your system. Now, to create Express app, simply type in the following commands:
$ express first-app
$ cd first-app
$ npm install
The above commands create an application named first-app and install all express dependencies in its parent directory. Finally, to run the app, simply type in:
$ node app
After running, the command line should look something like this:
$ cd first-app && npm install npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/express/3.0.0rc2 npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/jade ... email@example.com ./node_modules/jade ├── firstname.lastname@example.org └── email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org ./node_modules/express ├── email@example.com ├── firstname.lastname@example.org ├── email@example.com ├── firstname.lastname@example.org ├── email@example.com ├── firstname.lastname@example.org ├── email@example.com ├── firstname.lastname@example.org ├── email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) └── email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
$ node app Express server listening on port 3000
Express.js uses port 3000 by default, so you can access the app by typing http://localhost:3000 on your browser. Now, your system is ready for building web applications with Node JS and Express 4.0!
Benefits of Express web application development
Using Express.js on top of the base Node.js installation offers a lot of advantages, including:
- Easier and quicker backend development – Being a framework for Node.js, Express.js provides a lot of functions to perform the most common Node.js tasks, turning functionalities that typically take several minutes to code easily programmable in seconds with Express web application development.
- Efficient route management – route management enables the application to handle different URL requests from the client side. Whereas Node.js has a rudimentary route handling system, Express.js route management is much more advanced, allowing you to handle complex and dynamic URLs.
- Use of template engine – Express.js allows developers to use template engines, which enable the creation of dynamic HTML files by using static templates whose variables are replaced with values from the server at runtime.
- Use of middleware – Express.js uses entities called middleware to arrange its order function calls. Middleware functions are basically chunks of code that have access to the request and response objects, as well as the next middleware function. As a result, it becomes very easy to add features to web applications by simply adding middleware functions, making Express.js applications highly scalable.
Essential Express.js Developer Skills
Here are some additional skills that Express JS developers should have in order to be great at Express MEAN stack development.
The basics: HTML, CSS
The base language: Node.js
It is in the best interest of any framework developer to also have strong skills in the base language of that framework. In this case, since Express.js is a Node.js framework, learning this technology by heart will allow a Node JS developer to know the inner workings and limitations of the base language and fully utilize the power of Express.js to improve and simplify the programming experience.
Experience in server-side templating
One of the benefits of using Express.js is that it enables the use of template engines for server-side template rendering. To fully utilize this feature, it will be a big advantage if the developer has had previous experience working with server-side templating tools such as Thymeleaf or JSP.
Good grasp of asynchronous programming
One of the major benefits of using Node.js is its support for asynchronous programming, which allows multiple independent processes to run without waiting for each other to complete. This makes web applications built with Node.js able to scale up to support a large number of users. Since Express.js runs on top of Node.js, it will be highly beneficial if the developer has a strong understanding of how asynchronous programming works in order to take advantage of the feature for web development with Node and Express.
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- User guides
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