How Node compares to other web tech I’ve used

I’ve been looking into Node and Express, getting ready for my learning Node month, and I’ve started to compare Node/Express with the other web technologies I’ve used in the past.

Over my career I’ve used a few other web technologies including ColdFusion, .Net even classic ASP a wide variety of approaches to how to build a web app. All of them are server side technologies unlike Express which is client side. Now I have done a lot of Angular and JavaScript work over the years but I see Express as filing a different niche than Angular. For me Angular 1 is really client side, while Express is more of a full-stack approach to building a web app.

If you look at something like the MEAN stack Angular is used for the client side JavaScrip, Express is used for the middle ware part of the stack, being used to connect to the data layer (Mongo) and providing APIs for the client side (Angular). This reminds me of the old sites I use to build with ColdFusion where I’d write ColdFusion Components and ColdFusion tags to connect to the data source and serve this data to the client.

The reason I like the approach Express takes is:

  1. Its lightweight, doesn’t insist that you do everything one way
  2. Its JavaScript across the stack, both client and middleware
  3. The use of one language across all parts of building the web app

For me Express is building full stack web app as I use to, but using modern technologies. I’m sure I’ll find a lot of similarities between my old way of building web apps and using ExpressJS.