What is MERN Stack? How Does it Work & Is it Full-Stack Solution?

Do you know what is MERN stack and how it works? What technologies are included in it and is it a full-stack solution? Why should you use it? Want to know the answers, then read this article till the end.

5 min read
Apr 30, 2022

MERN Stack is an amalgamation of four different JavaScript-based technologies that allow developers to create complete web software products. The goal of creating the combination of JS technologies was to create a web app from start to finish without needing or using another technology or skill.

MERN stack consists of four essential technologies that are built on top of JavaScript. Here they are:

  • MongoDB — For Database
  • ExpressJS — For Backend
  • React — For Frontend
  • NodeJS — For Runtime Environment

When these technologies are blended to work together, they allow developers to create complex, powerful, and impressive web applications. Their amalgamation is designed to make the development process faster, more efficient, and smoother.

Each of the technologies has a big part to play in developing the most advanced web application software. They provide the possibility to master both the algorithmic and logical aspects of the backend along with UI design, user experience, and animated components of the frontend.

Let’s learn more about what this alliance of the most powerful technologies has to offer:

What is MERN Stack?

As mentioned, the first essential component of the MERN stack is MongoDB. So, let’s get to know the goal of this database in the MERN stack.

1. MongoDB — The Document-Oriented Database

MongoDB is a NoSQL database that enables developers to manage the databases of web applications. It is used in the MERN stack to record documents of key-value pairs that are similar to JSON. It’s flexible and allows developers to create schema, tables, databases, etc.

Here are a few reasons to use MongoDB

  • This type of database is usually faster since it’s document-oriented, which makes it easy to index documents.
  • MongoDB can handle large data by dividing them into several machines.
  • The biggest advantage of MongoDB is that it uses JavaScript, thus, it’s easy for developers to code.
  • It’s schema-less, meaning any type of data is a separate document.
  • It stores data in JSON format
  • The framework is really easy to set up and supports document models.

2. ExpressJS — Backend Development

Express is a NodeJS-based framework, which makes it simpler to write codes for the backend of the web application. The framework plays a key role in designing great web applications and APIs for it. Moreover, the ExpressJS framework includes support for many middlewares which makes code short and easier to write.

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Here are some reasons to use ExpressJS:

  • Express is asynchronous and single-threaded
  • Its efficient, fast, and scalable backend development technology
  • Has one of the largest communities for NodeJS
  • It has a built-in router and promotes code reusability
  • The framework offers robust API development

3. React — Frontend Development Library

React is a JavaScript library to develop dynamic frontend or client-side web applications. The library enables JavaScript developers to build complex-level interfaces using simple components, which connect the application to the backend server and render them as HTML. The major benefit of using React is to handle stateful, data-driven interfaces with minimal code.

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Here are a few reasons to use React in the MERN stack:

  • React has a virtual DOM where any changes in the original DOM are compared with the virtual one and then the changes are made accordingly.
  • The HTML/XML JavaScript Extension (JSX) used in React makes it easy and simple to write React components.
  • Since React supports Components that are building blocks of UI, they promote code reusability and make the overall web application easier to understand.
  • Performance is where React shines more than the rest of the JS-based frameworks.

4. NodeJS — JavaScript Runtime Environment

NodeJS provides a JavaScript runtime environment for developers to run their codes on the server. It’s an open-source, cross-platform JS environment built on top of Chrome’s V8 engine. Node Package Manager (NPM) runs the JavaScript code outside the browser on the server.

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Here are a few reasons why NodeJS has made it to the MERN list:

  • Node follows the single-threaded model
  • It allows data streaming
  • It’s built on Chrome’s engine which makes it a fast for code execution
  • The biggest advantage of NodeJS is it’s highly scalable

How does MERN Stack Work?

To make things simple, let’s divide the MERN stack into two segments: Backend and Frontend. The below diagram shows how this alliance works in a collaborative manner.

Mern Stack

As you can see from the diagram, MongoDB, NodeJS, and Express are utilized for developing the backend of web applications. This means these frameworks take care of things like database management, scripts, HTML documentation, HTTP requests, and many other corresponding things.

The React framework’s role here is simple and it is to execute HTTP requests. Developers can make Ajax calls, which allows them to set up dynamic data downloads without needing to reload the page again. Thanks to this, the resulting application is much faster than the average frontend application.

Is MERN a Full-Stack Solution & Why Should You Use it?

In simple words, MERN is a full-stack web application development solution that follows the traditional 3-tier architectural pattern. This includes client-side development with React, Backend logic, and runtime environment with Node and Express, and the database tier that comprises MongoDB.

Now when it comes to the reason why to use MERN is that first MongoDB works extremely well with NodeJS. This means storing, manipulating, and representing JSON data at every tier of the web application incredibly well.

Moreover, the combination of these technologies means that JSON data will flow naturally from the frontend to the backend. This makes the building applications faster, more efficient, and reasonably easy to debug.

Another great advantage of the MERN is developers will only have to learn and use one programming language which is JavaScript. They’ll only have to understand the JSON document structure that helps them understand the whole system.

All these great advantages of MERN make it the most preferred choice for web developers of today.

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MERN is one of the most powerful tech stacks available in the market. The harmonious alliance of four components included in the MERN stack helps make it a more comprehensive solution. However, if you prefer to work with Angular rather than React, you can just convert it to MEAN stack.

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