How to Pick an API Framework
When choosing a Node.js REST API framework, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider what kind of functionality you need from your API development. Do you need a simple CRUD API or something more complex? Second, think about how much control you want over the structure of your API. Some Node.js frameworks provide more flexibility than others. Finally, take into account the size and scope of your application. Some frameworks are better suited for large web apps while others work better for small ones.
- Ease of use: How easy is the framework to use? Is it well-documented?
- Performance: How fast is the framework? Does it scale well?
- Features: What features does the framework offer? Does it support everything you need?
- Community: Is there a large and active web developer community around the framework?
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top Node.js REST API frameworks:
The Express framework is a popular Node.js framework for building web app and mobile applications. It’s most commonly used as a router to create a single page application, multi-page, and hybrid applications. Express.js is built on top of Node.js and provides an all-in-one package for managing servers, routes, and more.
- Links to databases like MySQL, MongoDB, etc
- Use Middleware for request handling
- Express provides dynamic rendering of HTML Pages, allocated by passing the arguments to the template
- Open source framework
- Issues with Callbacks
- Errors are challenging to understand
- Inability to process CPUs with the capacity for tasks that require large amounts of processing power
To learn more about Express framework, you can check out the docs here.
- Real-time API support
- Good Documentation for the development process
- CLI scaffolding tool
- Supports both Relational and Non-Relational Databases
- It uses PassportJS that which does not provide SAML authentication out of the box
- Larger-scale real time application in FeathersJS could cause a WebSockets issue
To learn more about Feather.Js framework, you can check out the docs here.
LoopBack is a Node.js framework that can be used by JS developers and businesses to build on top of the service with TypeScript packages. It offers multiple advantages for application development, including the following:
- Health Checks for monitoring
- Metrics for collecting data about system performance
- Distributed Tracing for tracing issues across microservices
- Logging so you can gather insights about what’s going on within your applications
- Built-in Docker files so you can quickly build new projects without having to worry about any of the infrastructure
All this combined makes LoopBack one of the few Node.js frameworks that support proprietary databases like Oracle, Microsoft SQL, IBM DB2, etc. It also provides an easy bridge between SOAP services, making it one of only a handful of Node.js frameworks providing integration with SOAP services.
- Code is modular and structured
- Good ORM with available connectors
- Built-in user & access role feature
- Built in API Explorer via Swagger
- Monolithic architecture
- Opinionated architecture
- Not as much community support
- Steep learning curve
To learn more about LoopBack framework, you can check out the docs here.
- NestJS includes a built-in Direct Injection container, which makes it easier to keep your code modular and readable
- Can create software solutions where the components can be taken out and changed. This means there is no strong coupling between them
- The use of modular structures simplifies the division of a project into separate blocks. It helps to use external libraries in a project
- Easy to write simple API endpoints
- Developers know less about what’s going on under the hood, which means debugging is trickier and takes longer
- NestJS may be lacking in features compared to frameworks in other languages, such as Spring in Java or .NET in C#
- Complicated development process
To learn more about Nest.Js framework, you can check out the docs here.
Moleculer is a Node.js framework that helps you to build out microservices quickly and efficiently. It also gives you tools for fast recovery in the event of failure, so your services can continue running efficiently and reliably. Healthy monitoring ensures everything is up to date and any problems are quickly detected and fixed.
- Fast performance
- Open source framework
- Fault-tolerant framework with CB and load-balancer features
- Lack of Documentation
- Lack of Community Support
- Limitations of an enterprise-grade API are that there are limited options for setting up APIs and other restrictions
- Not as feature-rich as other frameworks
To learn more about Moleculer framework, you can check out the docs here.
Adding in API Analytics and Monetization
Building an API is only the start. Once your API endpoint is built, you’ll want to make sure that you are monitoring and analyzing incoming traffic. By doing this, you can identify potential issues and security flaws, and determine how your API is being used. These can all be crucial aspects in growing and supporting your APIs. As your API platform grows, you may be focused on API products. This is making the shift from simply building APIs into the domain of using the API as a business tool. Much like a more formal product, an API product needs to be managed and likely will be monetized. Building revenue from your APIs can be a great way to expand your business’s bottom line. With a reliable API monetization solution, you can achieve all of the above. Such a solution can easily be purchased as part of an API analytics package. Or, if you have developer hours to spare, many companies opt to build their own solution. Ideally, whatever solution you choose will allow you to track API usage and sync it to a billing provider like Stripe, Recurly, or Chargebee.