Laravel vs Node.js: Everything You Should Know Before Ratifying Project Backend

Web App Development February 11, 2021
laravel vs nodejs

Laravel vs Node.js: Everything You Should Know Before Ratifying Project Backend

So you have this exciting web application idea and you can’t wait to get started. You’ve done all the homework right from market & competitor research to design and usability strategy. The next step is to get on with the web development process. But as soon as you get into the development phase, there’s a curve ball thrown at you. “Which backend framework to choose for the project?” The success of your web app is very well going to depend on what happens behind the scenes afterall.

Laravel vs Node.js is most often what it boils down to when choosing the perfect backend framework for a web application. In this article, we’ve expertly dismantled the Laravel vs Node.js debate to let you know which one is the most suitable for your project. We assess the two frameworks against the biggest concerns of app owners such as scalability, database support, developer talentpool, and many others. So go ahead and find out which of these two frameworks will go well with your priorities.

What is Laravel? – An Overview

Laravel is an open-sourced web framework known for its server-side handling of routing, HTML authentication, templating, and more. Created by Taylor Otwell, Laravel is written in PHP and is based on Symfony that provides reusable PHP components/libraries. Since it is a server-side-based framework, with Laravel, you can build applications with pre-defined architectures, customized backend logic, web portal, templates, and full-stack apps as well as manage SaaS products.

Market usage stats of Laravel

  • Laravel holds 0.37% of the market share in the category of all the web frameworks that exist today. 
  • The number of live websites using Laravel is rising above a count of 648,115, with the top 1.78% (one million) websites are based in the US region. 
  • Laravel has 63.5k Github stars with 20.3k live projects and 544 dedicated contributors who improve the real-time framework. 

Use cases of Laravel

  • SaaS-based web applications 
  • On-demand streaming web apps
  • e-Learning web apps
  • Stock trading based web management systems
  • Web apps with rewards and recognition features 
  • Multilingual CMS systems 
  • Self-hosted website-performance monitoring apps

Popular apps using Laravel as backend technology

  • Laracasts, an e-learning website, offers various courses and serves as a platform where technical queries are answered and resolved by experts. 
  • Barchart, a financial portal, gained an advantage of the latest global market data in stock, currency exchange, trade offers, gold price, and more. 
  • Asgard CMS, a modular multilingual CMS, provides futuristic ready-to-use modules such as dashboard, media management, and flexible back-end support. 
  • World Walking,a charity led healthcare platform, focuses on provoking people to do more walking by offering rewards and recognition programs. 
  • Neighborhood Lender uses Laravel as the backend support to serve as a mortgage calculator with a wide range of financial functionalities, making complex mortgage processes more comfortable and straightforward.

What is Node.js? – An Overview

Node.js is a server-side, Javascript-based runtime environment that’s a massive open-source tool. It attributes its success as a high-performance, scalable framework to the single-threaded process used for web loads and async programming. What’s more, you can use Nodejs-based frameworks such as Express, Socket.io, and Meteor.js within it to enhance the backend capability of a project. Designed with real-time and push-based architectures, the technology is known to build single-page applications, websites, and backend API services. 

Here are some Market usage stats of Nodejs as a backend technology:

  • 66.8% of developers rated Node.js as the most loved tool in Stackoverflow Developer Survey Report 2020
  • 85% of Node.js developers use it for web app development, and the other 43% use it for enterprise-grade applications. 
  • 51.4% of developers regarded Node.js as the most-used tool earlier in the 2020.
  • StackOverflow Trends has noted an increase in the discussion around Node.js over the last decade covering almost 3.5% of questions.

node.js use trends

Use cases of Node.js 

  • Streaming web applications 
  • Real-time software & Streaming apps (Collaboration tools used for video/audio conferencing, document editing, Chat applications, etc. )
  • Complex Single-page apps 
  • Microservices 
  • IoT-based applications 
  • Backends and servers
  • Developing APIs
  • Scripting and automation

Popular apps using Node.js as backend technology

  • NASA revealed that Node.js made migrating data from legacy databases to a cloud database effortless. It created a single database for any query and reduced access time by a massive 300%. 
  • Twitter launched Twitter Lite with a 30% faster launch time and quick loading on slower connections.
  • Netflix decreased startup times and significantly improved performance. They migrated their backend from Java to Node.js that resulted in a decrease in startup time from 40 minutes to 60 seconds. 
  • Trello implemented instant propagation of updates. As the application organizes tasks on an agile basis, they wanted a tool that instantly reflects the updates without reloading the page.  

Check how we helped Red Bull to build a scalable solution using Node.js

Laravel vs Node.js— Pros and Cons

Pros of Laravel 

  • Pre-packaged tools: Facilitates common tasks required for building web applications by offering ready-to-use packages for user authentication, testing APIs. 
  • Templating system:  Uses a templating engine known as Blade, which offers enormous power to format data and create complex web-app layouts with easy navigation. It allows the addition of new modules and features without making any change in the core. 
  • Routing: Reverse routing is a unique feature that supports the automatic propagation of changes in routes into relevant links. In other words, it automatically creates Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs).  
  • Automation with Artisan CLI: Offers the ability to automate any kind of recurring task which is application-specific. It generates modern boilerplate codes to manage databases, migrations, and implement custom commands conveniently. 
  • Automated testing: Offers expressive testing methods with PHPUnit that simulates user behavior by making requests to the application’s functions. This way, testing is less time-consuming and automated. 

Cons of Laravel

  • Lightweight: Typically, the lightweight feature of this framework is considered an advantage, but in this case, the lightweight nature leads to excessive backend congestion of database queries, ultimately leading to lower performance with an increase in data congestion.   
  • Library quality: While Laravel might be open-sourced and backed by a vast community, it also leads to an increase in less reliable third-party libraries.
  • Community: Since the Laravel community is considerably large, the number of third-party libraries built and published is significant. It becomes difficult to evaluate which library is reliable and quality certified. 

Pros of Node.js

  • Unopinionated: Builds everything from scratch with fewer restrictions, which gives developers the freedom to code their own way. 
  • Non-blocking I/O System: Lets you process several requests simultaneously, resulting in more scalability and faster performance. 
  • Active Community: Allows access to readily available solutions and codes that makes easy for startups and beginner developers. 
  • Easy to learn: Developers with an experience in Javascript as a frontend language can easily adapt to the framework.
  • Full-Stack Privilege: Allows Node.js developers to write frontend and backend both in Javascript. This enables smooth deployment of apps and reduces the learning curve. 
  • Caching facility: Caches single modules in the application memory and eliminates the need to re-execute the code for faster response times. 
  • Extensive support: Assists developers with commonly used tools for different purposes such as testing or identifying project dependencies. 

Cons of Node.js

  • Productivity loss: Since everything needs to be written from scratch, you may experience a decline in productivity. Beginners find it difficult to build apps from scratch due to its unopinionated nature. 
  • Not suitable for extensive computing: Although Node.js supports complex apps, it doesn’t fare well with heavy computing (CPU intensive) apps. Additionally, it is less efficient at heavy calculations as it doesn’t support multi-threaded programming. 
  • Difficult to maintain code due to Async nature: Due to nested callbacks in Node.js and its heavy reliance on asynchronicity, it becomes tedious to maintain and difficult to understand code.
  • Some of its tools lack quality– Some Node.js tools don’t match high-coding standards and are not correctly structured due to its open-source ecosystem.

Performance and speed comparison— Laravel vs Node.js

While performance should not be a killer factor for small projects, it becomes extremely important to consider it when building complex and large projects. With that being said, let’s compare Laravel and Node.js in terms of performance.

How does Laravel stand out in terms of performance?

The performance of Laravel-based applications can have implications on the success of a project, and it is said to be slow. But, its community suggests that it can be improved for better performance if optimized appropriately, which may allow applications to perform efficiently even under 20ms.

Usage of Cache tags allow applications to quickly load the pre-stored information that allows a faster response time, leading to improved performance.

How does Node.js stand out in terms of performance?

As it inherits the asynchronous and non-blocking from Javascript, Node.js creates a perfect environment for small tasks (micro-operations/tasks) that don’t affect the main application thread. What’s more, with the V8 Javascript engine, multitasking becomes more efficient and functions at a lightening speed. 

The framework processes many requests simultaneously compared to other backend solutions. In fact, a large number of tech giants are turning towards Node.js for its performance. Paypal, for one, saw a 35% drop in the average response time and doubled their requests per second. Another such example is Linkedin that reduced its servers from 30 to 3 as they migrated to Node.js. Now doesn’t that speak volumes?

node.js performance

Application architecture— Laravel vs Node.js

When choosing a framework, it’s important to choose flexibility and avoid any strict enforcement of architecture and guidelines.  As a matter of fact, it’s always recommended to treat a framework as a guide, not methods, and standards. That said, let’s juxtapose Laravel and Node.js with each other and check whether they are flexible in terms of architecture. 

What kind of architecture does Laravel support?

Laravel follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern that provides the ability to split developer roles for a more comfortable development process. In other words, while a frontend developer is working on the views, a backend developer can be working on the controller logic simultaneously. 

The MVC patterns also offer full control over the application, which might come in handy to choose application-specific routes and customize how your application appears on a global scale. This improves the SEO of the application in return as well. Implementing external APIs and reusing application logic is effortless with Laravel’s MVC architecture. Thus, the creation of immutable backend support for any web application is always possible.

What kind of architecture does Node.js support?

Under the hood, Node. js leverages the Single-threaded Event Loop architecture that enables it to handle multiple concurrent requests with high performance. However, Node.js also lets you use MVC/ MVP architecture pattern, which eases isolating and onboarding issues in the application codebase. In addition to this, it creates multiple views for the same data and supports asynchronous communication between various components. 

Here’s how you benefit from the async architecture of Node.js:

  • Processes multiple concurrent requests simultaneously and offers high performance. 
  • Ensures faster and flexible development of modules.
  • Reduces time-to-market of applications.

Scalability— Laravel vs Node.js

Frameworks significantly influence the web application scalability, therefore, the right choice of framework is important. Here’s how Laravel and Node.js stand out in terms of scalability.

Is Laravel scalable?

Popular apps using Laravel for years are scaling up their applications without any limitation. Laravel inherits scalability from PHP as it proffers support to rapidly growing businesses. By choosing a good database and load balancer, Laravel can achieve massive horizontal scaling. 

Using MySQL, AWS if needed, and conducting advancing caching methods, Laravel applications can scale as per requirement flexibly.  

How scalable is Node.js?

Node.js builds highly-scalable applications. The non-blocking I/O and event-driven model handles multiple concurrent requests. Moreover, the event-loop mechanism enables the server to process maximum requests. What’s more, Node.js makes the best compatibility with microservices by segregating applications into smaller parts. That way, it’s efficient to allocate tasks among different development teams and build applications more quickly and scalably.

Ease of testing— Laravel vs Node.js

To be able to work without a glitch under continuous, high load and growing market expectations, your application development project needs to go through a series of tests to ensure compliance with the UI standards, compatibility, and usability. Here’s how Laravel and Node.js stand out when compared with testing. 

How easier is it to test a Laravel app?

Given the fact that Laravel functions with PHP, there are many testing tools available to ensure the creation of a bug-free application. However, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed by the number of tools and resources available for testing. To make the testing process more comfortable, Laravel tests code in two distinct levels known as Unit tests and Feature tests. 

Laravel, by default, has a robust testing documentation and provides all the tools you need to test the application environment at several levels, including the ability to conduct mock tests by mocking application codes and events. 

How easier is it to test Node.js/ applications?

Node.js offers competent testing and debugging capabilities with its rich ecosystem of third-party packages. Various automated testing tools/frameworks like Mocha, Jest, Lab and Code, Jasmine, and AVA create a sound testing ecosystem for Node.js apps. Moreover, you could use testing libraries such as Mocha, Jest, and Chai to offer a seamless, bug-free experience to your users.

Hire node.js developers

Microservices compatibility— Laravel vs Node.js

Is Laravel compatible with microservices architecture?

PHP supports microservices architecture, and it is evident that Laravel supports microservices architecture as well. How does Laravel do it? The app is broken down modularly into small building blocks, each with its function and responsibility. These functions communicate with each other using language-agnostic APIs, and as a result, the app becomes compatible with the microservices architecture. 

For the past few months, the need to use Laravel with microservices architecture was so intense that a developer came up with a framework – Lumen. It serves a similar purpose and is a leaner, smaller, and lighter version of Laravel.

Is Node.js compatible with Microservices architecture?

Both Node.js and Microservices build smaller parts of services and code modules. Node.js is suitable for developing scalable apps as it’s efficient at handling multiple concurrent requests. Thus, it makes an absolute combination for building enterprise-grade complex applications with higher scalability.

Database support— Laravel vs Node.js

How good is the database support for Laravel?

Laravel currently supports four database system types: Postgres, MySQL, SQLite, and SQL. The fluent query builder, raw SQL, and Eloquent ORM make the process of interacting with these databases simple. Even establishing multiple database connections is more comfortable to configure with Laravel. 

Whether other databases will support Laravel, only the future can tell. But say, you are comfortable with the databases that Laravel supports, you will face no limitations in creating a wholly controlled relationship between the database and the web app.

How good is the database-support for Node.js?

Node.js supports all kinds of databases like relational and NoSQL databases. However, it’s best to use a NoSQL database like MongoDB as it stores data in JSON objects, which offers more accessibility for Javascript-based backends like Node.js. 

As a matter of fact, you can use “mongoose” to manage relationships with data. The object data-modeling library is exclusively built for Node.js and MongoDB. Moreover, it boosts productivity by increasing code readability, maintaining code flexibility and providing a modelling for applications’ data among others.

Community— Laravel vs Node.js

PHP holds 79% of the market when it comes to server-side programming of web applications. Laravel has a vast community with more than 46,231 active users, 18,105 threads, 63.5k Github stars, and 4.7k real-time watchers. The maximum time taken to resolve a Laravel query by the community is not more than three days. PHP and Laravel combined has a powerful community, where developers share Laravel podcasts, news, documents, repositories, etc. Following are some of the places where you can meet the Laravel community: 

How big is the community around Node.js?

Node.js holds a well-supported and robust community. It is reported on Stackoverflow that 51.4% of professional developers use Node.js for frameworks, libraries, and tools. Tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google have made significant contributions to the Node.js environment, making the technology more credible. 

There are several community forums for Node.js such as,

Hiring developers— Laravel vs Node.js

How convenient is it to hire Laravel developers?

With the vast community of PHP and Laravel worldwide, it is no rocket-science to hire a Laravel developer. You can almost find a Laravel developer in every corner. But it is essential to keep in mind that rookies might find it challenging to handle its advanced features. Hence, the ones you hire must have the know-how of handling Artisan, Eloquent ORM, and caching. The average charge for employing a Laravel developer is around $15 to $30 per hour. Laravel also offers an official platform to find Laravel developers

How convenient is it to hire Node.js developers?

The large community of Node.js developers makes it easier to hire Node.js developers. The average range for hiring Node.js developers as dedicated or freelancing resources varies between $70 to $90 per hour in North America, $50 to $70 per hour in Eastern Europe. In Asian countries like India, it is from $20 to $40 per hour. With a few considerations in mind, such as the portfolio and fundamentals of Javascript, one should be able to hire the right Node.js developers for their projects.

Hiring remote nodejs developers

Conclusion

We hope the comparison must’ve helped you look beyond the Laravel vs Node.js debate and pick the appropriate backend framework for your next web application. Both the technologies present some tough-to-overlook features, and we also highlighted some of the potential pitfalls of using them. Let’s conclude with the most suitable use case for both the frameworks.

Choose Laravel, if: 

  • You want built interactive website layouts with appealing content. 
  • Your vision is to create an advanced application without adding any overhead components or additional costs by leveraging the Blade Template Engine of Laravel. 
  • You want to take advantage of various widgets with JS and CSS compatibility to create customized web apps. 
  • You require an excellent documented framework with constant support from a community that is large. 
  • Your project requirement is to build a web application quicker and faster with object-oriented libraries. 
  • Your goal is to create an SEO-friendly and reliable web application with high security.

Choose Node.js if:

  • You want to build a web application to stream content.
  • You want to build a performant single-page application.
  • You want to build web applications enriched with efficient data processing capabilities.
  • You wish to create a real-time multi-user web application.
  • You want to create browser-based game applications.

Whether it is Laravel or Node.js, we are here to help you build full-fledged web application.

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Hiren is VP of Technology at Simform with an extensive experience in helping enterprises and startups streamline their business performance through data-driven innovation.

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