Express.js

A flexible Node.js framework for building single, multipage, and hybrid web apps.

You might not expect it when you see something this small, but Express.js (simply referred to as Express) is a critical component of many web development projects. That surely has to do with the fact that it’s an essential component of MEAN, one of the most widely used tech stacks in web application development. 

A small web application server framework, Express is impossible to understand without talking about Node.js first. That’s because Express leverages Node.js web server functionality to simplify its APIs and provide new functionality. In fact, Node.js is boosted by the presence of Express, which, in turn, powers the backend part of the MEAN stack.

A favorite in the development world, Express consistently ranks among the best web frameworks in the market. That’s why any web development team worth its salt almost always has an engineer capable of using Express to empower web development projects through the MEAN stack.

Express.js 1

Express.js Developers Hiring Guide

  • How to choose the best
  • Interview questions
  • Job Description

What Is Express.js?

Since Express is tightly linked to Node.js, it’s important to know what Node.js is before explaining Express. So, Node.js is a cross-platform runtime environment for running JavaScript code without a browser. It’s commonly used to build backend components (such as APIs for web or mobile apps) as well as server-side scripts. 

Express, on the other hand, is a small framework based on Node.js and designed to build web applications and APIs. It’s a minimal tool with many plug-ins that extend its functionality. Express makes it easier to organize the app’s architecture on the server side, adds utilities to Node.js’s HTTP objects, and facilitates their rendering.

Express Use Cases

Since Express is so closely related to Node.js, its use cases are, too. In other words, both technologies work together to empower the backend of different web development projects. Some of the most common include the following:

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    Real-time communication platforms
    Node.js is great at guaranteeing speed and performance as well as at supporting high traffic that doesn’t require intense processing. That’s why it’s so perfect for developing messaging and chatting applications.
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    Collaboration tools
    Processing real-time flows doesn’t just serve Node.js (and, consequently, Express) in developing communication platforms. It also powers collaborative tools, such as project management apps and cloud-based CRMs.
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    Data streaming apps
    There’s a reason why the streaming giant Netflix uses the MEAN stack to provide its services—the Node.js/Express pair is perfect to support streaming of large amounts of data in small packages, whether they are readable or writable.
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    Scalable apps
    One of the main reasons why people use the MEAN stack is how scalable the resulting apps can be. Node.js can support high peak loads with the help of Express organizing the back-end part.

While Express and Node.js are great for these types of processes, it’s important to note that they aren’t a good match for projects that require heavy server-side processing, which overrides the benefits of Node’s event-driven, non-blocking I/O model for incoming requests.

The Relevance of Express Today

It’s impossible to think of Express without the MEAN stack, one of the most popular tech stacks in development. Given MEAN’s popularity, it’s not surprising that Express enjoys a widespread reputation as a great minimal tool to power the back end of numerous web development projects. In fact, according to Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey, Express has consistently ranked among the top 5 web development frameworks alongside jQuery, React, Angular, and ASP.NET. 

Additionally, Express is a powerful tool that’s powering the web operations of some highly renowned companies, including IBM, Uber, Accenture, and Fox Sports. This comes to show that Express can deliver a notable performance that has been tried in production environments with high demand and a superb quality level.

While Express isn’t the only back-end web framework out there, it doesn’t seem like its popularity will decrease anytime soon. That’s because it isn’t just part of the MEAN stack but also contributes to other popular stacks, such as MERN and MEVN.

Benefits of Using Express

The fact that it’s part of a very popular tech stack shouldn’t be the only reason why a team picks Express to work on its web development projects. There are multiple advantages to using Express, including the following:

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    Faster development time
    As it happens with all frameworks, Express allows developers to work on their projects faster and in a more organized way. That’s especially so because Express is a very simple framework that’s easy to configure and customize.
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    High scalability
    Since Express works alongside Node.js, scalability is guaranteed. That’s because engineers can scale the application easily by adding nodes and supplementing with new resources.
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    Language consistency in both backend and frontend
    Having the possibility to use the same language for both backend and frontend development is great. In the case of Express (and the MEAN stack), that language is JavaScript, one of the most powerful and popular languages out there.
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    Increased efficiency and performance
    Node.js interprets the JavaScript code through Google’s V8 engine, which then compiles it into machine code. That means that running the code is more straightforward and shows impressive speed.
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    Concurrent requests management
    Node.js can process multiple requests simultaneously, thanks to its nonblocking I/O system. This is key to the projects Express can power, as requests can be launched quickly and systematically.
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    Huge community support
    The huge popularity around all the components of the MEAN stack guarantees that there will be a community of engineers ready to help in case any issue arises. Additionally, there are plenty of online resources that further facilitate development with Express.

Drawbacks of Using Express

While there are plenty of benefits when using Express, it’s also important to point out that there are a couple of disadvantages that can derail a web development project. The 2 most important ones are:

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    Lots of manual labor
    The purpose of any framework is to facilitate the engineers’ job, which is why it’s such a shame that Express requires so much manual input. That’s because endpoints, middleware, and other components need to be created and tested manually.
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    Lack of a recommended method of organization
    Flexibility and freedom of use are always welcome, but sometimes it’s better to have some guidance. Unfortunately, there’s not one in Express when it comes to defining the approach to organizing the code. That can become problematic when fixing and maintaining the code.

An Essential Technology for Web Development

You can certainly work on web development projects without ever using Express and still get great results. But why would you do that when you have a framework that’s capable of getting the most out of Node? By choosing Express for the backend of your web development, you’ll be taking a step toward increased efficiency and high scalability.

Sure, it won’t be able to power all your web development projects, but being a part of the MEAN stack means Express can be used to build a respectable range of web applications that allow real-time collaboration and communication. What’s best, you’ll be able to do so through a very simple and easy-to-use framework that’s become an essential part of modern web development.

ExpressJS Hiring Guide

  • Express.js 2

    Hiring Guide

  • Express.js 3

    Interview Questions

  • Express.js 4

    Job Description

Why does your company even need Express developers? First off, Express.js supports JavaScript, which is one of the most popular languages in use today. And because JavaScript is so easy to learn, getting up to speed with Express is much easier than many other frameworks.

But one of the biggest reasons your company should be employing Express is because you can develop and deploy different types of web applications very quickly. For example, without using Express, your developers would have to write the code necessary for routing components, which can be very tedious. Express.js provides for simple routing requests, so all your developers have to do is build on the included code.

Express is aptly named. This particular framework drastically cuts down the time required to deploy web applications. Your developers can probably cut the time required to deploy a web application in half. That's how efficient this framework is.

At this point, you might be asking yourself, "What can we build with Express.js?" The answer might be, "What can't you build?" One thing to remember is that you use Express.js in conjunction with Node.js, which makes it possible for you to develop in JavaScript.

So, JavaScript is the language, Node.js makes it possible to run the language outside of the web browser, and Express.js provides a robust set of features for the development of web and mobile applications.


What can you build with Express.js?

  • Web applications
  • Mobile applications
  • APIs
  • Frameworks

That's right, you can even build other frameworks from the Express.js framework. That's how flexible and important Express.js is.


What do you need to know to use Express.js?

To get the most out of Express.js, your developers will most certainly have to be familiar with JavaScript and Node.js. They'll also need to have a solid grasp on things like:

  • Frameworks
  • Web and mobile application development
  • APIs
  • Routing
  • Request handlers
  • Middleware
  • Various Node modules (such as the HTTP module)

Conclusion

If you want your business to be deploying web and mobile applications with a level of speed and efficiency that will keep you competitive, Express.js should be placed at the top of your list of developer requirements. If you don't already have software engineers available that can work with this framework, you should start looking immediately. The longer you wait, the further behind you’ll get.

What do you use Express.js for?

Express.js is an application framework that makes it possible to develop Node.js applications quickly and efficiently.


What are the steps for setting up an Express.js application?

  1. Create a folder with the same name as the project.
  2. Create a file named package.json within the new folder.
  3. Run the “npm install” command within the new folder.

How do you enable debugging in an Express.js application?

  • In Linux, issue the command: DEBUG=express:* node index.js.
  • In Windows, issue the command: set DEBUG=express:* & node index.js

How do you redirect 404 errors to a page in Express.js?

Add code similar to this in the Express.js app:

/* Define fallback route */
    app.use(function(req, res, next) {
    res.status(404).json({errorCode: 404, errorMsg: "route not found"});
});

We are looking for a talented developer with a high-level mastery of  Express.js to build efficient and exciting web and mobile applications. You will be responsible for working with the necessary technologies and teams to build these applications. You will also be responsible for integrating the front-end elements built by your co-workers into the application. Therefore, a basic understanding of front-end technologies is necessary as well.


Responsibilities

  • Design, build and maintain efficient and reusable web and mobile apps with Express.js, Node.js, and JavaScript.
  • Integrate data storage solutions.
  • Implement performance and quality modes.
  • Identify bottlenecks and bugs and resolve all discovered issues.
  • Carefully monitor the performance of deployed software and constantly find ways to improve them.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to define and design new features.
  • Stay up to date with new technology trends, applications, and protocols.
  • Help maintain code quality, organization, and automatization
  • Analyze user requirements to help inform application design.
  • Define application objectives and functionality.
  • Align application design with business goals and customer needs.
  • Produce detailed documentation.
  • Recommend changes to existing applications and the infrastructure used to build them.
  • Ensure continuous professional self-development.
  • Integrate user-facing elements developed by front-end developers with server-side logic
  • Write reusable, testable, and efficient code
  • Design and implement low-latency, high-availability, and performant applications
  • Implement security and data protection
  • Integrate data storage solutions

Skills And Qualifications

  • Degree in Computer Science or related field.
  • Experience with Node.js, JavaScript or Coffeescript, UX, database structures, and statistical analyses.
  • Basic understanding of front-end technologies, such as HTML5, and CSS3.
  • Understanding of the principles behind scalable applications.
  • Fundamental understanding of Version Control Systems (such as Git).
  • Solid problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication.
  • Good organizational skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Understanding the nature of asynchronous programming and its quirks and workarounds
  • A positive attitude.

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