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Elm vs Node.js: What are the differences?

Developers describe Elm as "A type inferred, functional reactive language that compiles to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript". Writing HTML apps is super easy with elm-lang/html. Not only does it render extremely fast, it also quietly guides you towards well-architected code. On the other hand, Node.js is detailed as "A platform built on Chrome's JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications". Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.

Elm and Node.js are primarily classified as "Languages" and "Frameworks (Full Stack)" tools respectively.

"Code stays clean" is the primary reason why developers consider Elm over the competitors, whereas "Npm" was stated as the key factor in picking Node.js.

Elm and Node.js are both open source tools. Node.js with 35.5K GitHub stars and 7.78K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Elm with 5.3K GitHub stars and 424 GitHub forks.

Uber Technologies, Netflix, and Medium are some of the popular companies that use Node.js, whereas Elm is used by NoRedInk, Brilliant, and RolePoint. Node.js has a broader approval, being mentioned in 4102 company stacks & 4029 developers stacks; compared to Elm, which is listed in 27 company stacks and 35 developer stacks.

Advice on Elm and Node.js
Needs advice
on
Node.js
and
Laravel

I would like to share my stack in Web/Mobile application Development for Mid Sized Applications.

Project-1 : Laravel + jQuery + Android Java + IOS Swift

Project-2 : Node.js + React + React Native + Electron.

This is my current Stack, Can you comment on my selection and add your thoughts if my choice is a perfect match? Thanks

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Replies (2)
John Clifford de Vera
Software Engineer at CircleYY · | 5 upvotes · 65.3K views
Recommends
Node.js

I would say go for Node.js since you probably would only build a REST API that would talk to the frontend and some communication with the database.

On the other hand, Laravel is a much heavier framework that follows MVC pattern. Since you don't need the V in the MVC of Laravel. You can go for a straight Express that just handles the API request and return a response.

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Nathan De Pachtere
Fullstack Developer at Alpsify · | 3 upvotes · 70K views
Recommends
Flutter
at

Hello Varun S,

Project-1 : If the Laravel part is an API, you should check Flutter or Quasar Framework for your frontend in order to reduce the development time and process.

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Muhammad Shaheer khan
Freelancer at Freelancer.com · | 9 upvotes · 212.3K views
Needs advice
on
Node.js
Magento
and
Django

Currently, I am a university student, and it is my second last semester with a major in Computer science. I want to start my career in full-stack web development. I know Python with Django + PHP with Laravel, and my focus is on learning MERN stack. I am a little bit confused as to which technology I should choose: Django or Magento or MERN stack.

#newbie

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Replies (2)
Recommends
React

I suggest you to go with MERN Stack (Mongo,express,react,Node). As you know python and django which is a plus point because you can use python and node as your backend and for front-end use react(easy to learn) and database of your choice.(Mongo or SQL)

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Moinul Moin
Recommends
Node.js

GO For MERN Stack... brother

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Max Loua
FullStack Dev at Nouvelles Donnes · | 3 upvotes · 102.1K views
Needs advice
on
Rails API
Rails
and
Node.js

Currently working on my company's new saas, the main goal is to manage content and user. I'm familiar with the rails framework and how it is easy to code and deploy. The thing is I'm the only dev on the project, and in terms of the tech stack, there is no preference. However, because Node.js is everywhere and there is enough dev on the market, I am stuck between choosing Rails or Node.js. I don't mind implementing Vue.js or React on the frontend, but I need a solid argument to explain to people that aren't necessarily tech-savvy as to why we should choose Rails over Nodejs.

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Replies (6)
Recommends
Node.js

You are probably referring to ruby on rails for web development and nodejs for building the backend. Nodejs has frameworks such as express and next which not only provides a minimal code to build a backend but also gives the flexibility to try and experiment with the framework choices. For example you can have express framework + Passport for OAuth .... etc. The flexibility and the constant improvement of the language provides a good reason to opt for nodejs. Nodejs uses javascript which makes your code uniform when you are working full stack i.e react in front end and nodejs in backend.

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Recommends
Rails API

I'd use the following metaphor to non-technical people. Rails is like a prepackaged toolkit, which can get most of the common tasks done fairly with ease. Whereas, node.js with whatever backend framekwork of choice, is like a DIY toolkit assembled by mix-and-match different tools in a large tool shop. Of course, at times DIY toolkit can do better on specific tasks. Given that you are the only dev on the project, I'd assume that the resource is fairly limited. And looks like you are not building some next-gen super duper fast smart application. So Just go with the prepackaged toolkit then. Rails is a very opinionated framework, there're pros and cons to it. But thanks to that, many of the gems are coded with it in mind. For example, they are all designed with same naming convention. Many will work well together out-of-box, for example devise and cancancan. Besides, many stuff are built in the framework. For example, logging utility, csrf protection, session encryption, etc. Yes, many of those stuff may not be useful or necessary at the beginning of the project life-cycle. However, down the road, there is a good chance you will need some of those. And the moment you realize that you already have it, it's so delightful. In addition, it's usually easier to debug a rails app than a node app in my experience. Personally, the cases where I would pick node.js over rails would be projects either require a) high-performance, or b) certain core functionality that has been implemented by some node packages but not by any ruby gems. In term of performance, node has a clear advantage over any other major web frameworks, except the ones built with go. It's simply a language feature. Node allows developer to easily write code that runs db query, external api calls, or other stuff of that nature in parallel. And that is THE MOST COMMON performance bottleneck of web applications.

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Dan Pickett
Co-Founder at Launch Academy · | 4 upvotes · 85.7K views
Recommends
Node.js

I hate to admit it, because I loved my time with Rails (and I still love the framework), I have a hard time justifying new Rails applications these days. Core team has made some tragic design decisions, and developers just don't perceive it as being "cool" any more. The latter is a terrible metric for which to base a technology decision, but I think you'll find it more difficult to recruit additional engineers if you choose Ruby on Rails.

Without knowing too much of the details, Node/Express (ideally with Typescript) seems like a better solution here, given you'll be building out the front-end in Vue or React. It might be worth looking at NestJS, as it's the closest I've seen to a well-formed opinionated framework on the Node side of things. We're also fans of Objection ORM.

I hope that's helpful!

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Francisco Quintero
Tech Lead at Dev As Pros · | 4 upvotes · 85.7K views

Rails is currently a very mature and feature complete framework.

It's the ideal one if you're the only dev for your project because you get so many things already baked-in the framework that you'd only need to deeply care about specific stuff.

I won't say any NodeJS framework isn't good enough but in my experience with NodeJS frameworks you have to code a lot of the things Rails already provides. There's many people in Twitter and IRL asking for a "Rails for JavaScript" framework.

And you know? In the early stages of any project we have to validate it first with real users/customers. With Rails you can get to production real quick and fast.

I'm going to mention some of the features you get from day 1 when you run rails new app_name:

  • File uploading with Active Storage
  • Rich text editor with Action Text
  • Emailing with Action Mailer
  • ORM, migrations, validations with Active Record
  • Web sockets with Action Cable
  • Internationalization
  • Modern frontend stuff with Webpacker

and more.

The JavaScript community is on its moment, growing and gathering more people everyday but the Rails community is also a big one and there's always going to be a Rails developer to hire whenever you're ready to hire someone.

I suggest you to go with Rails because is a good choice, gives you less things to worry about and it's a very good and mature framework.

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Jean-Pierre Pommet
Recommends
React on Rails

I need a solid argument to explain to people that aren't necessarily tech-savvy as to why we should choose Rails over Nodejs

Hi Max, it sounds like that you are proficient in both stacks and probably have a higher expertise in Rails (correct me if I am wrong) and since you are the only dev on a project, a good argument that comes to mind is probably the velocity and maturity (enterprise grade, battle tested in production) that Rails provide with proven success stories in the tech industry such as Airbnb, Stripes, Shopify to name a few. You can also make the argument that Rails is great to run the backend and React+Vue (and nodejs for tooling) is ideal for the front-end development (see or find companies example that use both). You can also build and show a prototype using both and share your experience which could help you find and forge the selling points to those non tech savvy folks, why not.

Eventually, are you going to have other developers on your project? if yes then you will need to take in account, onboarding and ramp up to contribution time when they are hired.

IMHO, I am not a fan of the debate Rails vs Nodejs, they are just tools at the disposal of the developer it's just a matter of figuring out what makes the most sense.

Let me know if you wanna discuss further, happy to help out!

ps: markdown preview on stack share... no good.

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Recommends
Rails API

Rails has advantages over node.js (specifically express) when working a more complicated backend. While Express has some speed advantages to Rails, this is mitigated if your software is more CPU intensive.

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Decisions about Elm and Node.js
Omran Jamal
CTO & Co-founder at Bonton Connect · | 7 upvotes · 186.8K views

We actually initially wrote a lot of networking code in Kotlin but the complexities involved prompted us to try and compile NodeJS for Android and port over all the networking logic to Node and communicate with node over the Java Native Interface.

This turned out to be a great decision considering our battery usage fell by 40% and rate of development increased by a factor of 2.

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As a small team, we wanted to pick the framework which allowed us to move quickly. There's no option better than Rails. Not having to solve the fundamentals means we can more quickly build our feature set. No other framework can beat ActiveRecord in terms of integration & ease-of use. To top it all of, there's a lot of attention paid to security in the framework, making almost everything safe-by-default.

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Hey guys,

My backend set up is Prisma / GraphQL-Yoga at the moment, and I love it. It's so intuitive to learn and is really neat on the frontend too, however, there were a few gotchas when I was learning! Especially around understanding how it all pieces together (the stack). There isn't a great deal of information out there on exactly how to put into production my set up, which is a backend set up on a Digital Ocean droplet with Prisma/GraphQL Yoga in a Docker Container using Next & Apollo Client on the frontend somewhere else. It's such a niche subject, so I bet only a few hundred people have got a website with this stack in production. Anyway, I wrote a blog post to help those who might need help understanding it. Here it is, hope it helps!

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Pros of Elm
Pros of Node.js
  • 42
    Code stays clean
  • 40
    Great type system
  • 38
    No Runtime Exceptions
  • 31
    Fun
  • 26
    Easy to understand
  • 20
    Correctness
  • 20
    Type safety
  • 14
    JS fatigue
  • 10
    Declarative
  • 10
    Ecosystem agrees on one Application Architecture
  • 8
    Friendly compiler messages
  • 6
    Welcoming community
  • 6
    Fast rendering
  • 5
    If it compiles, it runs
  • 4
    Stable ecosystem
  • 3
    'Batteries included'
  • 1
    Package.elm-lang.org
  • 1.4K
    Npm
  • 1.3K
    Javascript
  • 1.1K
    Great libraries
  • 1K
    High-performance
  • 791
    Open source
  • 480
    Great for apis
  • 471
    Asynchronous
  • 417
    Great community
  • 387
    Great for realtime apps
  • 292
    Great for command line utilities
  • 78
    Node Modules
  • 76
    Websockets
  • 65
    Uber Simple
  • 53
    Allows us to reuse code in the frontend
  • 53
    Great modularity
  • 38
    Easy to start
  • 33
    Great for Data Streaming
  • 29
    Realtime
  • 25
    Awesome
  • 23
    Non blocking IO
  • 16
    Can be used as a proxy
  • 15
    High performance, open source, scalable
  • 14
    Non-blocking and modular
  • 13
    Easy and Fun
  • 12
    Same lang as AngularJS
  • 11
    Easy and powerful
  • 10
    Future of BackEnd
  • 9
    Fast
  • 8
    Scalability
  • 8
    Cross platform
  • 8
    Fullstack
  • 7
    Mean Stack
  • 7
    Simple
  • 5
    Easy concurrency
  • 5
    Great for webapps
  • 5
    React
  • 4
    Friendly
  • 4
    Easy to use and fast and goes well with JSONdb's
  • 4
    Typescript
  • 4
    Fast, simple code and async
  • 3
    Its amazingly fast and scalable
  • 3
    Scalable
  • 3
    Great speed
  • 3
    Fast development
  • 3
    Isomorphic coolness
  • 3
    Control everything
  • 2
    It's fast
  • 2
    Not Python
  • 2
    Blazing fast
  • 2
    One language, end-to-end
  • 2
    TypeScript Support
  • 2
    Easy to learn
  • 2
    Javascript2
  • 2
    Easy to use
  • 2
    Less boilerplate code
  • 2
    Sooper easy for the Backend connectivity
  • 2
    Great community
  • 2
    Scales, fast, simple, great community, npm, express
  • 2
    Performant and fast prototyping
  • 1
    Easy
  • 1
    Lovely
  • 0
    Event Driven

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Cons of Elm
Cons of Node.js
  • 2
    No typeclasses -> repitition (i.e. map has 130versions)
  • 2
    JS interoperability a bit more involved
  • 1
    Backwards compability breaks between releases
  • 1
    More code is required
  • 1
    Main developer enforces "the correct" style hard
  • 1
    JS interop can not be async
  • 1
    No communication with users
  • 46
    Bound to a single CPU
  • 40
    New framework every day
  • 34
    Lots of terrible examples on the internet
  • 28
    Asynchronous programming is the worst
  • 22
    Callback
  • 16
    Javascript
  • 11
    Dependency based on GitHub
  • 10
    Dependency hell
  • 10
    Low computational power
  • 7
    Can block whole server easily
  • 6
    Very very Slow
  • 6
    Callback functions may not fire on expected sequence
  • 3
    Unneeded over complication
  • 3
    Unstable
  • 3
    Breaking updates
  • 1
    No standard approach

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

What is Elm?

Writing HTML apps is super easy with elm-lang/html. Not only does it render extremely fast, it also quietly guides you towards well-architected code.

What is Node.js?

Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.

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What companies use Elm?
What companies use Node.js?
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What tools integrate with Node.js?

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Blog Posts

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AppSignal

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What are some alternatives to Elm and Node.js?
TypeScript
TypeScript is a language for application-scale JavaScript development. It's a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript.
React
Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.
PureScript
A small strongly typed programming language with expressive types that compiles to JavaScript, written in and inspired by Haskell.
ReasonML
It lets you write simple, fast and quality type safe code while leveraging both the JavaScript & OCaml ecosystems.It is powerful, safe type inference means you rarely have to annotate types, but everything gets checked for you.
Haskell
It is a general purpose language that can be used in any domain and use case, it is ideally suited for proprietary business logic and data analysis, fast prototyping and enhancing existing software environments with correct code, performance and scalability.
See all alternatives
Reviews of Elm and Node.js
Web Developer, Freelancer
Review of
Node.js

I have benchmarked Node.js and other popular frameworks using a real life application example. You can find the results here: https://medium.com/@mihaigeorge.c/web-rest-api-benchmark-on-a-real-life-application-ebb743a5d7a3

How developers use Elm and Node.js
MaxCDN uses
Node.js

We decided to move the provisioning process to an API-driven process, and had to decide among a few implementation languages:

  • Go, the server-side language from Google
  • NodeJS, an asynchronous framework in Javascript

We built prototypes in both languages, and decided on NodeJS:

  • NodeJS is asynchronous-by-default, which suited the problem domain. Provisioning is more like “start the job, let me know when you’re done” than a traditional C-style program that’s CPU-bound and needs low-level efficiency.
  • NodeJS acts as an HTTP-based service, so exposing the API was trivial

Getting into the headspace and internalizing the assumptions of a tool helps pick the right one. NodeJS assumes services will be non-blocking/event-driven and HTTP-accessible, which snapped into our scenario perfectly. The new NodeJS architecture resulted in a staggering 95% reduction in processing time: requests went from 7.5 seconds to under a second.

Trello uses
Node.js

The server side of Trello is built in Node.js. We knew we wanted instant propagation of updates, which meant that we needed to be able to hold a lot of open connections, so an event-driven, non-blocking server seemed like a good choice. Node also turned out to be an amazing prototyping tool for a single-page app. The prototype version of the Trello server was really just a library of functions that operated on arrays of Models in the memory of a single Node.js process, and the client simply invoked those functions through a very thin wrapper over a WebSocket. This was a very fast way for us to get started trying things out with Trello and making sure that the design was headed in the right direction. We used the prototype version to manage the development of Trello and other internal projects at Fog Creek.

AngeloR uses
Node.js

All backend code is done in node.js

We have a SOA for our systems. It isn't quite Microservices jsut yet, but it does provide domain encapsulation for our systems allowing the leaderboards to fail without affecting the login or education content.

We've written a few internal modules including a very simple api framework.

I ended up picking Node.js because the game client is entirely in JavaScript as well. This choice made it a lot easier for developers to cross borders between being "client side" game developers and "server side" game developers. It also meant that the pool of knowledge/best practices is applicable almost across the company.

Tony Manso uses
Node.js

Node.js is the foundation for the server. Using Express.js for serving up web content, and sockets.io for synchronizing communications between all clients and the server, the entire game runs as Javascript in Node.js.

I don't know how well this will scale if/when I have hundreds of people connected simultaneously, but I suspect that when that time comes, it may be just a matter of increasing the hardware.

As for why I chose Node.js... I just love JavaScript! My code is all original, meaning that I didn't have to inherit anyone's bad Javascript. I'm perfectly capable of creating my own bad Javascript, thank you! Also, npm rocks!

Tarun Singh uses
Node.js

Used node.js server as backend. Interacts with MongoDB using MongoSkin package which is a wrapper for the MongoDB node.js driver. It uses express for routing and cors package for enabling cors and eyes package for enhancing readability of logs. Also I use nodemon which takes away the effort to restart the server after making changes.

Tinkhaven uses
Elm

Frontend application