node.js vs. meteor.js what's the difference?


So I've been hearing/reading alot about meteor.js. The tutorials make it seem very sporty as a framework, but I'm still a bit of a novice when it comes to web programming.

I've been trying over the last month and half to really learn node.js and figure out how it all comes together. I like the how fast and easy it is to get up and running, and the community that comes along with it (which is exemplified by the mind blowing number of frameworks you can get for Node).

But what about meteor? What are the real advantages of it, and what's the difference? Has anyone started as a node.js user and 'converted' or is it still more of a curious new framework?

7/12/2012 10:04:13 PM

Accepted Answer

A loose analogy is, "Meteor is to Node as Rails is to Ruby." It's a large, opinionated framework that uses Node on the server. Node itself is just a low-level framework providing functions for sending and receiving HTTP requests and performing other I/O.

Meteor is radically ambitious: By default, every page it serves is actually a Handlebars template that's kept in sync with the server. Try the Leaderboard example: You create a template that simply says "List the names and scores," and every time any client changes a name or score, the page updates with the new data—not just for that client, but for everyone viewing the page.

Another difference: While Node itself is stable and widely used in production, Meteor is in a "preview" state. There are serious bugs, and certain things that don't fit with Meteor's data-centric conceptual model (such as animations) are very hard to do.

If you love playing with new technologies, give Meteor a spin. If you want a more traditional, stable web framework built on Node, take a look at Express.

7/13/2012 11:24:37 PM

Meteor is a framework built ontop of node.js. It uses node.js to deploy but has several differences.

The key being it uses its own packaging system instead of node's module based system. It makes it easy to make web applications using Node. Node can be used for a variety of things and on its own is terrible at serving up dynamic web content. Meteor's libraries make all of this easy.

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