What is full stack development with MERN and when should you opt for it? Discover that and more in Fivecube’s complete guide to MERN development!

Mar 29, 2024

Full Stack MERN Development: Fivecube’s Guide

According to the 2023 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, MongoDB is the most popular NoSQL database management system. Node.js and React are the most commonly used web frameworks, with Express coming in fourth. Together, these technologies comprise the MERN stack for building web applications.

But is MERN a suitable choice for your project? At Fivecube Dev, we’ve spent our fair share of time developing products using full stack technologies, including the MERN stack. Let’s dive right into what this stack is, how MERN apps work, why opt for it, and what to consider if you choose it for your project.

What Is MERN Development?

MERN development means building a web application using the MERN stack – a full-stack set of technologies. MERN itself stands for MongoDB, Express.js, ReactJS, and Node.js – the four technologies that comprise the stack. With their help, developers can build scalable web apps with high performance.

Here’s a short overview of MERN technologies:

  • MongoDB is a cross-platform NoSQL database management system that uses JSON-like documents
  • Express.js is a back-end JavaScript framework for building RESTful APIs and is commonly used with Node.js
  • React is a JavaScript library for building scalable user interfaces with the help of components
  • Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment used for server-side scripting and executing JavaScript code outside the user’s browser

How Does a MERN Application Work?

source: https://www.mongodb.com/mern-stack

If you opt for MERN stack development, the stack’s technologies will cover the whole app architecture:

  • Frontend. React, Meta’s JavaScript library, powers the user interface. Its core strengths include reusing components and building complex data-driven interfaces that dynamically update based on user actions.
  • Backend. Express.js enables developers to connect the app’s user interface with the Node.js runtime environment and, subsequently, MongoDB databases. Node.js, in turn, powers server-side application logic itself.
  • Database. This is where MongoDB comes in. This NoSQL technology enables storing data in databases and supplying it to the back-end when requested.

4 Benefits of Choosing MERN for Development

Full stack development with MERN has gained popularity thanks to the following four advantages of the stack:

  • Single programming language. All technologies in the MERN stack are JavaScript-based. That facilitates reusing code across the whole application, as well as debugging it.
  • Streamlined development. React is designed with component reusability in mind, which speeds up front-end development, while Node.js enables faster event-driven back-end development.
  • Flexibility. As MongoDB is a NoSQL database management system, you have more flexibility in handling data and ensuring application scalability.
  • Active community. Thanks to it, developers can find ready-to-use solutions to common challenges and leverage existing resources to streamline development even further.

When to Use MERN for Development

MERN is a versatile stack that can theoretically be used to build any web application. However, it’s the most suitable for your project if your application:

  • Comes with a dynamic and complex user interface
  • Is JSON-heavy and handles large amounts of data
  • Has to be cloud-native or cloud-ready

That’s what makes MERN a suitable choice for complex web apps like workflow management tools, messengers, social media platforms, and forums. Projects that involve building news aggregators, calendars, and project management tools can also benefit from opting for the MERN stack.

How Fivecube Approaches MERN Development

Discovery and Planning

At Fivecube Agency, we begin every project, whether it involves MERN stack web development or not, with a thorough discovery phase. During it, we analyze your business goals and requirements to identify the right approach for your project. We also conduct target audience and market research to derive insights that will inform our design and development.

Based on the discovery stage, we create a high-level timeline that will serve as a roadmap for our collaboration. We also provide project estimates at this stage.

Architecture & Design

Before we can move on to the nitty-gritty of MERN stack development, our team maps out the solution itself. We begin with creating the architecture that meets your performance and scalability requirements, describing the system’s components and dependencies in detail.

Our design team then moves on to work on the user interface. To that end, we create low- and high-fidelity wireframes, turn them into prototypes, and refine the design based on user feedback.

Development & Rollout

Finally, our team goes on to the coding phase of full stack development with MERN. During this phase, we develop the server-side part of the app, set up databases, add the RESTful API layer, and build the intuitive user interface with React.

We combine coding itself with continuous testing on all levels, from unit and acceptance to security, to ensure the final product will be bug-free.

Once the product is ready for rollout, we deploy it to the environment of your choice. We continue to provide support to your product to keep it up-to-date and refine it based on user feedback.

MERN Considerations to Keep in Mind

While MERN is one of the most popular stacks out there, MERN stack web development comes with two key considerations:

  • Performance. React can power high-performance interfaces (e.g., Facebook, Instagram), but app performance may suffer if the back-end isn’t optimized to handle large amounts of data.
  • Scalability. Ensuring a MERN-powered app can scale without issues also requires the architectural design created with scalability in mind.

Check out works by Fivecube to see how we address such considerations in our projects.

3 Other Stacks to Consider

If for one reason or another MERN development doesn’t meet your project’s needs, you can always consider its three alternatives:

  • MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, Node.js): it swaps React with Angular for building the front-end part of the application
  • MEVN (MongoDB, Express.js, Vue.js, and Node.js): it replaces React with Vue.js for front-end development
  • PERN (PostgreSQL, Express.js, React, and Node.js): it uses PostgreSQL instead of MongoDB for database management

In Conclusion

If you need a powerful and scalable web app with a dynamic, complex user interface, MERN stack development is likely to be the right choice for your project. On top of easily handling large amounts of data and enabling data-driven interfaces, this stack also streamlines development and debugging, speeding up the product’s time-to-market as a result.

Interested in more insights on design and development? Check out Fivecube's blog for more on MVP, SaaS, Web3, and other projects!