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Learn About Express JS Framework And Best Way To Learn It | Touchstone Words

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What is Express.JS framework and how it is different from JavaScript programming

By Editorial Team on 2018-02-22

Express is a minimal and flexible Node.js web application framework that provides a robust set of features for web and mobile applications. It is heavily used along with Node.JS for RESTful API applications. This article helps you understand what is Express framework and in what ways it outperforms JS.


Software frameworks have been around for a long time - minimizing the number of lines of code developers need to write, offering complex and sophisticated functionality right out of the box and making it easier to deploy Apps to servers. Many of these frameworks today revolve around programming languages and paradigms that have been around for a while - Ruby on Rails for Ruby, Django for Python, Drupal for PHP and the list goes on. Recently, however, web development underwent a paradigm shift with the introduction of Node.JS.


                Node.JS was introduced as a software engine that allows JavaScript to run server-side without the need for a web browser. This revolutionized web development as it allowed JavaScript to not only be written for front-end development but also backend development, minimizing the learning curve for new developers. Node.JS, however, does not come with a lot of functionality out of the box. Creating a simple HTTP server that can handle GET and POST requests is possible but requires a lot of unnecessary boilerplate code that developers can easily reuse from other projects but shouldn’t have to write at any point. Just as Ruby on Rails and Django allowed Ruby and Python developers to more seamlessly create web servers, Express.JS was created to do the same for Node.JS.

                Express.JS is a minimalist framework that allows developers to create their own web servers using Node.JS. This means Express does not restrict you to follow a specific paradigm dictated by its documentation such as Angular or Rails. This flexibility enables the ability to create plugins that can easily be distributed to other developers. Express.JS can be installed using the Node Package Manager or NPM and provides a robust set of features that developers use to create RESTful API applications. Express comes with features such as routing and middleware right out of the box and makes it considerably easier to deploy production-ready servers.


                Because of both routing and middleware being ready out of the box, Express has become a popular framework among Node.JS developers. Routing makes it easier to make URL based queries to REST APIs that would normally be more difficult without a framework. Additionally, middleware enables functionality in a streamlined way to allow servers to be created with seemingly built-in error handling with just one line of code. Middleware can enable the ability to parse JSON text, handle cookies, and parse the body of a request which would otherwise be difficult with native Node.JS. Several third-party plugins have also been created to allow OAuth functionality very easily.


                Express.JS has almost 8 years of iteration it has been through and keeps improving. Its code base is open source with numerous developers contributing to it and other modules that may be created for it. Many companies have also started using Node.JS heavily in their development processes such as Oracle, Intel, PayPal, and Intuit. This growing popularity of Node.JS precedes years of continued adoption of it for developing web applications. With that adoption comes a need for a web framework like Express.JS which will continue to expand its functionality and third party plugins.


Programming Languages and Resources for Web Developers
Here are a brief summary of coding languages and resources for web designers. HTML, CSS (or HTML5 & CSS3) PHP, MySQL, JavaScript (or JS frameworks like jQuery, Angular, React, Node, or Express) or MongoDB, Apache, Ruby on Rails, and Linux are related to web programming. The most  popular content management systems that use PHP  & MySQL are  Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal. Also, obtaining the following PHP and database certifications are highly rewarding for all custom web developers: Zend Framework 2, Zend Certified PHP Engineer, Oracle Database 11g Administration and Oracle Database 12c SQL Fundamentals. For those interested in learning more about web design and development, here are a list of step-by-step training guide articles: i- Become CMS specialist, ii- Become front-end specialist, iii- Become expert SQL developer, iv- Become expert PHP developer

JS coding is well suited for those interested in pursuing a career in web design and development; however, other options are mobile App design and development, system admin and software engineering. It is advisable to consult with an IT career counselor to understand what career options best fits your skills. For instance, if you want to be a software engineer, learning HTML and CSS might not fit the bill. Here is an excellent article for learning more on coding and technology career roadmap. Once you know what career path you wish to pursue, you can make a plan on what, when, and how to learn. There are lots of online resources for learning coding and technology in general. For teenagers and high school students, High School Technology Services offers variety of hands-on training. For adults and professionals, Coding Bootcamps and DC Web Makers Companies offer basic to advance project-based programming and technology classes.


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