I am reading a book (Getting MEAN by Simon Holmes) about MEAN Stack which talks about different architectures that can be used while developing an app in MEAN Stack and I got a little confused with that.

First I'll tell you how I develop applications in MEAN:

  • My Front-End is a templating engine like EJS or Jade.
  • I render pages through my Node/Express.js Server.

  • I also use AngularJS on the front-end, I have angularJS controllers to manage the scope and functionalities of different features in the app and I use Angular Services to communicate with my Node.js Server and make HTTP calls to my routes.

  • I create a Node.js Server using Express.JS and then create a REST API.
  • I create API routes using Express.js
  • I use MongoDB for database and mongoose for database connections etc

The above described architecture is the one I use but the book I am reading talked about a few more and I am confused about how they are setup and work.

The 3 different architectures described in the book are:

  • A Node.js and Express Application

  • A Node.js and Express Application with AngularJS additions for interactivity

  • An AngularJS SPA (Single Page Application)

Heres the image representation of the 3 architecture in the book:

enter image description here

Can anyone explain how these 3 approaches are different from what I do and how they are setup?

  • 3
    The difference between the three architectures is the technology that is chosen for the front-end. No, really. You've already stated the reason for the existence of three different frontend architectures in your question. If you want a more specific answer than this, ask a more specific question. Jul 31, 2016 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


MEAN stands for MongoDB, Express, Angular and Node, which gives us the following:

  • The top using only Node, Express and MongoDB isn't a MEAN application because it doesn't use Angular.

  • The middle is a MEAN app since it uses all technologies, but its different from the last one as it uses Angular features but not single page application, SPA.

  • The bottom one is also a MEAN app, and it uses SPA, which contains the whole application in one page, as opposed to the middle one which have more than one page.

I would say you are using the middle one in your architecture, since its perfectly alright to add on other techniques in a MEAN app.

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