The Pros and Cons of MEAN and LAMP Stack

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Technology plays a critical role in web stacks. Web stacks have always evolved in parallel with technology, over the years. We will be discussing LAMP stack and MEAN stack today.

LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Python/Perl.

MEAN is an acronym for MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, and Node.js

There still seems to be a confusion when faced with a choice of MEAN or LAMP stacks for web development. The backend languages, server environment and databases are different for both.

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of MEAN and LAMP stacks with respect to 3 key areas – Web server, database and operating system.
 

The Web Server

 
Apache provides the web server for LAMP stack while Node.js holds that responsibility in the MEAN stack. LAMP stack has been there for a long time. And that is also one of the reasons why Apache is considered a mature technology, where you can get new extensions when they are available.

As for Node.js, it’s a relatively new technology. While you still get quite a few active plug-ins, you will still have to write your own plug-ins to cover those areas missing necessary functionalities. Node.js is event-based and also locks codes on the web server into JavaScript. This can complicate things when you try to convert a sophisticated back-end program.
 

Database

 
LAMP uses MySQL or other relational databases while MEAN works with MongoDB, a non-relational database. If you are in a situation where you have to translate the data in an existing SQL database, you will soon find it tiresome to remove redundant object attributes, and may have to rely on a custom software for this purpose.

Relational databases are comparatively easier to work with but is on the verge of becoming outdated. MongoDB features faster data retrieval and is more scalable though.
 

The Operating System

 
LAMP stack locks the operating system to Linux and its variants. There are no such restrictions in MEAN, as you can run it in any OS compatible with Node.js. Linux isn’t your only option if you are using MEAN stack, though it is still considered to be the best OS for a server environment.

Both LAMP and MEAN have pros and cons in all 3 key areas. Let’s assess a few more facts before concluding.
It is said that you can only master MEAN stack once you have mastered JavaScript. It’s going to be a tad tedious, but worth it. However, LAMP stack works with front-end JavaScript and back-end PHP, just comfortable enough for developers to develop an application without much worries.

While MEAN stack is faster and more scalable, LAMP is a tried-and-tested web stack with a secure infrastructure and a large support community.
 

Conclusion

 
Although many developers claim that MEAN stack will eventually replace LAMP stack, there are others who still believe in the latter’s potential. LAMP is time-tested, stable and sturdy, with tons of online tutorials and support availability. Its back-end architecture allows you to do whatever you want to do on the front-end. MySQL is still one of the most widely used databases.

MEAN stack features a single language from top to bottom, in addition to flexible deployment and faster data retrieval capabilities. You are free from micromanaging schemas and migrations in the database as it uses a non-relational NoSQL database. With JavaScript gaining popularity, MEAN stack is attracting more developers every year.

Deciding between LAMP and MEAN will mostly depend on the organizations you work for and the projects under development.

Written by Ajeesh Azhakesan

Ajeesh leads Verbat's Open Source Practice. He helps clients with project inception, team establishment, devising software architecture and quality deliveries throughout the product life cycle on all software projects built using Open Source technology stack at Verbat.

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