What is ExpressJS and what are its origins?
In the world of web development, there are two common types of applications that developers create: servers and clients.
- A client is software that runs from anywhere (e.g., our web browser or a command line script) that can make outgoing requests via HTTP. These requests can be for text, binary files, or encoded data.
Express is a framework that runs within Node.js that provides the means for a developer to create and maintain robust servers. It comes with many built-in features, but also has a gigantic suite of third-party add-ons that developers can use to provide better functionality, increased security, and improved speed.
What is Express used for? Can you give some examples?
The primary use of Express is to provide server-side logic for web and mobile applications, and as such it’s used all over the place.
Companies which use Express as a foundation of their internet presence include:
- Fox Sports
What technologies is Express usually used with?
When talking with each other, developers often refer to their stack as a way to quickly communicate specifics about the code they maintain. A quick definition of a stack is all of the software necessary to run the particular application being discussed.
In web development, the stack usually includes:
- The OS/Environment (in this case NodeJS)
- The HTTP server software (in this case Express)
- The database software
- Any front-end frameworks
- MEAN stack - MongoDB (database), Express (server), Angular (front-end framework), and Node (runtime environment)
- NERD Stack - Node (runtime environment), Express (server), React (front-end framework) and Database (any – partially to make the acronym pleasing, but also because the industry seems to be moving away from database tribalism over time)
What are alternatives to Express?
There are plenty of alternatives to Express, and the one you might use would be based on several things:
Express is incredibly flexible, but requires much more setup. Sails, inspired by Rails, is much more opinionated but lets developers hit the ground running much faster.
How widely used is Express compared with its alternatives?
What are the advantages of learning Express?
What are the disadvantages of Express?
Why does Fullstack Academy teach Express?
Fullstack Academy teaches Express because:
- It is an easy entry point to server-side coding
- It has a robust set of libraries for web developers
- It is well adopted.
This means that there’s nothing it can’t do, and if you’re doing something tough, then someone out there has already done it. This leads to reasonable documentation, great community support, and a quicker rate of learning for our students.
Watch some demos of Fullstack students presenting projects they built with Express.
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