Comparing MEAN Stack, MERN Stack, and Full Stack Development: Choosing the Right Technology for Your Project

By: Rajat Kumar | Last Updated: January 13, 2024

1. Introduction

In the dynamic world of web development, choosing the right technology stack is crucial for building robust and scalable applications. Three popular choices for full-stack development are the MEAN stack, the MERN stack, and the traditional Full Stack. Each of these stacks has its own set of advantages, disadvantages, and use cases. In this article, we'll delve into the details of Mean Stack, Mern Stack, and Full Stack development to help you make an informed decision.


2. What is a Stack?

A stack is a collection of technologies that work together to create a web application. A web application typically consists of three layers: the front-end, the back-end, and the database. The front-end is the part of the application that the user interacts with, such as the user interface (UI) and the client-side logic. The back-end is the part of the application that handles the server-side logic, such as processing requests, performing calculations, and interacting with the database. The database is the part of the application that stores and retrieves data.

A stack combines different programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and tools to implement each layer of the web application. For example, a stack may use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for the front-end, PHP and MySQL for the back-end, and Apache for the server.


3. What is MEAN Stack?

MEAN stack is a specific stack that uses MongoDB, Express.js, Angular and Node.js for web development. MongoDB is a NoSQL database that stores data in JSON-like documents. Express.js is a web framework that simplifies the creation of web servers and APIs. Angular is a front-end framework that enables building dynamic and interactive web pages. Node.js is a runtime environment that allows running JavaScript code on the server side.


Some of the advantages of using MEAN stack are:

- It uses JavaScript as the main programming language for both the front end and the back end, which reduces the learning curve and increases productivity. It makes easier for developers to work on the entire application with a single programming language. 
- It offers high performance, scalability and flexibility for web applications. 
- It has a large and active community that provides support and resources. 
- The use of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) across the stack ensures seamless data interchange between the server and the client.


Some of the disadvantages of using MEAN stack are:

- It requires additional libraries and tools for some features and functionalities, such as authentication, testing, etc. 
- It has a complex architecture that may be difficult to understand and maintain. 
- Requires additional effort to implement server-side rendering for SEO purposes. 
- It may not be suitable for some types of web applications that require relational databases or complex queries. As MongoDB's schema-less nature may not be suitable for applications with complex and relational data.


Use Cases of MEAN stack:

- MEAN stack is suitable for building real-time applications, such as chat applications, collaboration tools, and content management systems.

4. What is MERN Stack?

MERN stack is another specific stack that uses MongoDB, Express.js, React and Node.js for web development. React is a front-end library that enables building user interfaces with reusable components. React differs from Angular in some aspects, such as:

- React uses JSX, which is a syntax extension that allows writing HTML-like code in JavaScript. 
- React uses a virtual DOM, which is an in-memory representation of the real DOM that improves performance and efficiency. 
- React follows a one-way data flow, which means that data flows from parent components to child components through props.


Some of the advantages of using MERN stack are:

- It uses React, which is one of the most popular and powerful front-end libraries in web development. 
- MERN stack leverages React's component-based architecture, enabling the creation of reusable UI components for a more modular codebase. 
- It supports server-side rendering, which improves SEO and performance. 
- React's Virtual DOM enhances performance by minimizing the need for direct manipulation of the actual DOM. It offers smooth user experience and fast rendering of web pages.


Some of the disadvantages of using MERN stack are:

- It requires more configuration and setup than MEAN stack. 
- It has a steep learning curve for beginners who are not familiar with React concepts and features. 
- Managing a large number of third-party libraries in the React ecosystem can be overwhelming. 
- It may not be compatible with some older browsers or devices.



5. What is Full Stack?

Full stack is a term that refers to a developer who can work on both the front-end and the back-end of a web application. A full stack developer has knowledge of multiple programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and tools that are used for web development. A full stack developer can also work on other aspects of web development, such as version control, testing, deployment, and security.

Full stack is not a specific stack, but rather a general term that encompasses any combination of technologies that can be used for web development. Some of the popular technologies that are used by full stack developers are:

- HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for the front-end.
- jQuery, Bootstrap, Angular, React, Vue, or other libraries and frameworks for enhancing the front-end.
- PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, Node.js, or other languages for the back-end.
- Laravel, Django, Rails, Spring Boot, Express.js, or other frameworks for simplifying the back-end.
- MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, or other databases for storing data.
- Apache, Nginx, or other servers for hosting the web application.
- Git, GitHub, or other tools for version control.
- AWS, Heroku, or other platforms for deployment. 
- Mocha, Jest, Selenium, or other tools for testing.


Advantages of Full Stack:

- Full stack developers can handle any aspect of web development 
- Full stack developers can switch between different technologies depending on the project requirements 
- Full stack developers can communicate effectively with other developers and stakeholders 
- Full stack developers can learn new technologies easily


Disadvantages of Full Stack:

- Full stack developers may not have deep expertise in any specific technology 
- Full stack developers may face difficulties in keeping up with the latest trends and updates in web development 
- Full stack developers may have to deal with more complexity and responsibility


Use Cases of Full Stack:

- Full stack is suitable for large-scale and complex web applications that require multiple technologies and functionalities 
- Full stack is suitable for web applications that need to be scalable and adaptable to changing requirements 
- Full stack is suitable for web applications that need to integrate with various external services and APIs


6. Conclusion

In conclusion, Full stack, MEAN stack and MERN stack are different options for web development that have their own pros and cons. There is no definitive answer to which one is better or worse, as it depends on various factors, such as:

- The type, size and complexity of the web application 
- The skills, experience and preferences of the developer 
- The budget, time frame and resources available for the project

Therefore, before choosing a stack for your web development project, you should consider these factors carefully and weigh your options accordingly. You should also keep in mind that these stacks are not fixed or rigid, and you can always customize them or mix and match them according to your needs.