Top 30 NPM Packages for Node.js Developers 2021

Top 15 Free Node.js Frameworks for Web Developers 2021

In the realm of web development, Node.js is very likely to be the most widely known server-side platform for developing lightning-fast network applications that can be scaled and optimized in real-time. Node’s platform is based on an I/O model that focuses on events and evasive blocking to provide a seamless performance for real-time apps that heavily rely on data manipulation. This open-source (and cross-platform) runtime environment will give any developer the necessary tools for building networking apps and server-side oriented apps on the fly, whilst allowing all code to be written using JavaScript, regardless of the operating system; works with Mac OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows. Perhaps the greatest feature of Node.js is the NPM package manager which enables Node.js developers to tap into a library of over 350,000+ unique modules that can easily be used to begin creating apps, platforms, and software on the spot.

The framework / server has gained a lot of popularity in recent couple of years, and today we see large corporations and companies like Yahoo!, PayPal, Microsoft, and LinkedIn all using Node.js to power some parts of their infrastructure and software requirements; the one area Node.js excels the most at is the ability to serve unlimited range of data quickly, without compromising the performance of each request. Dan Shaw published an interesting slideshow on SpeakerDeck about the Node.js usage increase in the Enterprise market, and how exactly different enterprises are using Node to optimize their software experience — some of which we mentioned above are also talked about in the slideshow.

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More on Node.js Frameworks

Users have officially downloaded Node.js more than 90,000,000 times, at the average rate of 250,000+ new downloads every day. That’s a staggering number of downloads for any platform or library. Clearly, Node has dominated the hearts and minds of the developer and engineer communities. Node.js can be applied to more than just web apps, but also robots, drones, and other cool stuff! The Chinese engineer and developer communities have strongly started to adopt Node.js as their primary framework for building high-end tech concepts and converting ideas into material form. Rod Vagg has a little more to say about these statistics and their primary source; Node.js had a huge growth in 2015, and we are already eager to see stats for the coming years!

Things are moving fast. If you’re just starting out with Node.js, begin by observing this insightful code-guide from the folks at RisingStack; the insightful guide provides a look at how to operate Node.js infrastructure, how to approach everyday development needs, amongst other insightful tips and tricks to make you a better Node dev! Keeping up with the same idea, StrongLoop — just a week ago — published a code optimization guide for Node devs. Check that one out, too! (Here’s a much quicker optimization guide, both worth investigating!) And last but not least, a look at how much Node.js can change and improve a company in just 365 days time (one year) by Scott Hammond from Joyent.


hapi node js framework

Hapi is a full-stack development framework rich in features and functionality to help developers build reliable software and applications without compromising weak frameworks. Instead of building infrastructure within your application modules, Hapi allows you to create reusable app logic patterns that help increase productivity and overall workflow. Jowanza Joseph was a loyal Express.js user until he began to experiment with Hapi and all that it had to offer to him; a highly recommended read.

Nearly 200,000+ downloads in the last month alone, and the framework is constantly being updated with the help of its community and their recommendations. Speaking of Hapi’s community, the best way to learn more about its features and usability in different situations is to make a cup of coffee and head over to the community section to learn about all the reviews and feedback from leading companies like Mozilla, NPM, Walmart and many others — all of whom have benefited from Hapi in one way or the other.



total node js framework

Total.js is perhaps one of the most forgotten Node.js server frameworks out there. But clearly, Total is a great framework that provides unique features for developers who wish to build rich applications and software. The full-stack framework gives developers tools like a functioning web server, a unique views engine for building modules, an SMTP manager, localization tools, tools for processing visual content like images, websockets, isomorphic codebase and much more. It isn’t limited to any given database at all. For those who are dead serious about trying Total.js, there’s more than 100+ unique code examples available for free download, a weekend of coding to be had.



nestjs node js framework

For building powerful and reliable server-side applications, you better not miss considering NestJS. This Node JS framework is full of great amenities that will do you well. Also, it comes fully flexible and extensible, making sure to cater to your project without a hitch. Moreover, NestJS uses only the latest technologies to ensure all the amazing features you deserve when bringing the desired application. Keep in mind, if you would like to check how NestJS operates, you can also take a peek at the live preview and see it in full effect. Start right away or go through the documentation first, get its gist, and win the game later.


restify node js framework

Whether prototyping or building projects at a scale, Restify is compatible with both approaches. Some of the bigger brands that use Restify are Netflix, Pinterest and Napster, to name a few. To guarantee great performance at all times, Restify was built with debugging in mind. What’s more, the documentation features quick start, APIs and additional guides that will do you well. Also, there is a full guide on how to migrate from 4.x to 5.x and 6.x to 7.x. Get things moving in the right direction right away with Restify for the successful execution of web services.


feathersjs node js framework

FeathersJS is a nifty, easy-to-use, and resourceful framework for applications and REST APIs. It is a solution that will rapidly speed the production phase of your app creation. You now end up with a functional outcome using JavaScript or TypeScript sooner rather than later. Furthermore, FeathersJS also integrates with any back-end and front-end technology and supports multiple databases. It will take you mere minutes to create prototypes and just a few days to construct a full-blown application. Included in the package, you get everything you need, with many ready-to-use plugins.


keystonejs node js framework

With the resourcefulness of KeystoneJS, you can create different apps and projects quite quickly. After all, the tool is fully featured with heaps of great traits that you can take to your absolute advantage. In short, KeystoneJS is a spectacular back-end for React, Angular, Gatsby, static sites, mobile applications and tons more. Upon a fresh KeystoneJS install and the available starting guide, you can master the framework swiftly. Also, it will take you just a few minutes (four, to be more precise) to build a simple to-do app, but that is just the beginning of all the amazingness that is possible with KeystoneJS.


koa node js framework

The same team developing the amazing Express.js framework are also the same guys working on Koa.js. It is a futuristic next-generation web development framework for Node.js that wishes to be a more concise and expressing version of Express to help develop web apps and API’s. Koa’s main feature is Generators, a nifty little way of avoiding callbacks and helping developers better handle errors.

Edward Bramanti wrote a really good article for getting started with the framework and how he felt the journey unfolded for him. This article could be a good starting point for anyone interested in working with Koa.js on a real project. Middleware is available for those who wish to build more rich web and mobile apps. Then, we have a technical article from the guys at 60Devs. It discusses the possibilities of rapid server development with the Koa.js framework. And for anyone who is working with Google Business and Google Developers, you can easily run Koa.js in your server instances.



diet node js framework

Diet.js is a tiny modular Node.js framework for building fast and scalable APIs and applications. Use the host controller to control multiple hosts; the router builds clean APIs and URLs right off the bat and integrates Node.js request and response objects. Middleware allows you to expand your apps and APIs with modules, very lightweight for maximum result. Of course, it is fully open-source allowing you to become a contributor whenever you like.



sails node js framework

Sails.js is a very well-known name in the Node.js framework community. This enterprise-level framework will allow anyone of any experience level to build their custom apps. The framework takes inspiration for its architecture from other frameworks, like Ruby on Rails (as have many others in our list), but with the creative drive to provide a more data-focused experience for modern app development. Sails is very popular amongst applications that need real-time functionality that Chat-style applications use.

Last year Mike McNeil (the founder of Sails) released a free online course for learning how to build real-time apps with Node.js, Sails.js and — a truly eye-opening course that will set your Sails.js journey on a stable foundation for future development. Contrary to that, there have been some rumors about the stagnation of Sails development. The founder himself also cleared up that in a very concise GitHub reply to the whole community. Check it out here.

If you’re looking for a more simplistic approach to deploying a Sails app, take a peek at this tutorial from Felix Rieseberg. Also read the Sails.js in Action book; this will for sure propel the framework into a completely new and exciting direction.



adonis node js framework

Adonis is a true MVC framework for Nodejs with the basics done right. It borrows the concept the of service providers from the popular PHP framework Laravel to write scalable applications. Also, it needs to leverage the power of ES6 to make your code expressive and maintainable. This is one of the many reasons why users dubbed Adonis as Laravel for Node.js! The documentation is informative, well structured, and will provide a great starting point for knowing a little more about the framework itself. It’s worth noting that Adonis is fully compatible with JavaScript Harmony (ES6). It will also provide a great starting point for building sustainable modern apps.



strapi node js framework

Strapi.js helps developers build rich applications and services through a fully open-sourced Node.js framework solution. The framework is most famous amongst those developers and software architects looking to build production-level apps fast. Instead of focusing on the application infrastructure, Strapi can help you build reusable app logic. It’s more efficient rather than spending weeks of structuring and projecting.

The developers built Strapi with the help of Koa.js framework. The developers structured it to work as modules to create a more maintainable development experience. The codebase is one hundred percent JavaScript. This ensures that you can easily convert existing projects to the language you’re already using in front-end development.

It’s database-agnostic, meaning that you will have zero problems with working with alien databases. Strapi supports the major front-end frameworks. It will even help you generate automated RESTful APIs for them. Security is huge at Strapi. That’s why it comes with several security layers that just work depending on your needs and ships reusable security policies.



derby node js framework

Derby.js is a full-stack MVC framework built to establish a more solid routine for creating modern web applications. You can achieve all of this without the need to write complicated code. With Derby, you can easily build real-time applications that run simultaneously in the Node.js server and the browser. Derby enables the Racer Engine for developers to use. It’s a powerful way of synchronizing your browser, server and database data in real-time amongst all three mediums. It also enables you and your app users to have a true real-time experience. Racer supports offline usage and conflict resolution out of the box. This greatly simplifies writing multi-user applications.

Derby is proud to promote that the apps built with the framework are fully compliant with search engine requirements. Derby can also index your apps as normal websites. This gives you the chance to experience the free and organic marketing potential. Derby is also well-known for allowing developers to do offline modifications, on top of building rapidly fast app structures. Anyone eager to learn more about Derby.js should head over to the official Resources page and get a little more insight in the availability of communities and learning resources.



mean node js framework

MEAN should by now already be a household name. It stands for MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js and Node.js. What a mean combination of frameworks and technologies it is! Many front-end developers are looking for the perfect full-stack framework solution for development requirements. If you are one of them, this is the stack you will want to consider the most. It has a humongous community behind each of these technologies. Also, MEAN has attracted quite the crowd for its simplistic approach to front-end web development.

Searching for ‘MEAN stack’ on your favorite search engine is going to yield many great results. You can find results even for the previous year. Some of our favorites so far have been an introductory course to MongoDB through the use of this stack. It has been hosted with the prestigous edX platform, created by Valeri Karpov, and offered free with an estimated 10 hours of course time. Then we have Aldo Ziflaj sharing a very insightful article on how the MEAN stack works and what are its most promising aspects for modern web development. For those ready to dive deeper into the experience, check out this guide on how to begin building a Google Maps app using MEAN stack.



seneca node js framework

Seneca is somewhat unique to our list of Node.js framework. It’s a toolkit that acts like a framework. It can also give you access to plugins that can help you maintain the apps you are creating. Such functionality helps you focus on the more important aspects of the app. Seneca will take care of things like databases, components and dependencies. All you have to do is write code and see how the project goes from zero to one hundred. Seneca also supports commands. It can call the appropriate command to help you execute tasks. Seneca can do this automatically whenever your app encounters a matching property. Intel, CoderDojo, GSD and others are amongst the few companies that reap the benefits of Seneca features.



actionhero node js framework

Node.js is a big platform for when it comes to API servers. ActionHero is one of the most well-known API frameworks out there. It can help you build fast, scalable and reusable Node.js API servers for your app projects. ActionHero acts as a toolkit for building API servers that will work with your existing apps and platforms. This platform has tens of thousands of users. They can help you locate the right answers and insights towards making the most of ActionHero in your everyday workflow.



frisby node js framework

Frisby is a fun and interactive Node.js framework that helps you test API endpoints. It’s a more technical and specific framework but certainly deserves mention in our list. As we haven’t had much experience with Frisby, we are looking for community feedback on its other uses. We are also searching on how to best integrate this framework in an existing front-end (and back-end) development stack.



nodal node js framework

The developers specifically built this Web Server for Node.js developers. The main focus behind Nodal is to help developers create and deploy with ease. This opinionated full-stack framework lets you ease into the process of making tough decisions. It also gives you the space to build sustainable products in a much shorter amount of time than usually expected. Those using Heroku can deploy their Nodal server within a few clicks.

The framework is new but has already received much support from veterans who have used frameworks like Django. One of the great things about Nodal.js is that it allows for smooth ES6 development; without feeling like it’s forced or imposed within the core structure. Keith Horwood wrote a really cool piece on how to get started with deploying Nodal servers and what else to expect from this framework. We also have a nice introductory video (13 minutes long) about building a Twitter platform clone using pure Node.js.

For those who are finding the Nodal framework uninspiring, check out this Hacker News article promoting the frameworks launch, and how hundreds of developers responded to it. We must say that majority of comments are very positive and insightful.


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