Adonis JS vs Express JS: Key Differences

Last updated on February 20th, 2024 at 03:24 pm

Software Comparisons

Adonis JS Vs Express JS: Which is the Best MVC framework?

By September 8, 2022 5 min read

What is Node JS? What is the advantage of Adonis? Which is better, NodeJS or ExpressJS? Which is the best JS framework between Adonis and Express? Who wins the Adonis JS vs Express JS battle? 

Keep reading this post to find out.

One of the biggest innovations of the world wide web is the ability to create applications with scalable web servers. However, almost a decade ago, creating web servers was tedious. The most popular web server software – Apache HTTP server, had a lot of limitations.

The Apache HTTP server could not handle 10,000 or more concurrent connections. The sequential programming method for creating Apache code blocked the entire process or required multiple execution stacks. Ryan Dahl solved this bottleneck by creating Node.js – a low-level I/O API, an event loop, and Google’s V8 JavaScript Engine.

What is Node.js? 

Node.js is a back-end JavaScript runtime system that runs on Google’s V8 JavaScript Engine. Node.js executes JavaScript code external to a browser and lets developers write command line tools with JavaScript. Node.js features server-side scripting that produces dynamic web page content before the page loads in the browser. 

Node.js unifies web app development with a single programming language – JavaScript for server-side and client-side scripts. Node.js features an event-driven architecture with asynchronous input/output. Companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, LinkedIn, IBM, Yahoo!, Walmart, PayPal, Netflix, SAP, GoDaddy, and Rakuten use Node.js.

Node.js frameworks

Node.js frameworks are workspace platforms that support web development with Node.js and use JavaScript for front-end and back-end development. Node.js frameworks can build functions and create unique capabilities for Node.js applications. There are three types of Node.js frameworks: 1) MVC frameworks, 2) Full-stack MVC frameworks, and 3) REST API frameworks.

Related Post: Why and When to Use Node.js? A Brief Guide.

What is an MVC framework?

Model-View-Controller frameworks feature an important design pattern that separates application logic into three parts: models, views, and controllers. The separation makes web development an easy, efficient, and scalable process. 

Express JS and Adonis JS are two of the most popular MVC frameworks based on Node.js.

What is Adonis JS?

Adonis JS is a fully featured back-end framework for Node.js. It creates dynamic data-driven web apps or API servers. Adonis JS can handle HTTP requests, database queries, data validation, user authentication protocols, file transfers, email handling, and a lot more.

Adonis JS is an MVC framework that is based on the Laravel architecture. The concepts of dependency injection are employed with Inversion of Control (IOC). Adonis JS is ideal for developing fast web applications and web-based services that must return JSON responses from a controller.

What is Express JS?

Express JS is a minimalistic Node.js framework with a simple learning curve. A basic understanding of Node.js functionalities is enough to work with Express JS. Companies like Uber, Accenture, IBM, Twitter, Trustpilot, and Stack use Express JS to develop and deploy web applications. 

Express JS features rapid server-side programming packages, template engines, and process managers. The asynchronous programming of Express JS results in better performance, as multiple operations can be executed simultaneously and independently. The simplicity, flexibility, and scalability of Express JS make it a popular choice among other Node.js frameworks.

Adonis JS vs Express JS: What is the difference?

Both of these Node.js frameworks have quite a few differences, unique features, and factors that separate them from each other. Let us learn in-depth about the differences between Adonis JS vs Express JS.

  1. Architecture

    Adonis JS is a Node.js MVC framework useful for creating scalable web applications. Every Adonis JS project is deployed with a well-defined set of folders and files. So, developers must understand the underlying structure of folders before they start developing with Adonis JS.

    Express JS, on the other hand, is very minimalistic and flexible. It can be used with any database, object-relational mapping (ORM), or folder structure. Even junior developers can set up the back-end side of web applications easily and quickly with Express JS.
  2. Object-Relational Mapping (ORM)

    Object-Relational Mapping, or ORM, is a programming technique that uses the object-oriented programming language to create a ‘virtual database’ within the framework. Every framework has its ORM, and the ORM of Adonis JS is ‘Lucid.’ Lucid can quickly build queries, run seeds and factories, create and manage migrations, and hosts data modeling capabilities.

    Express JS does not ship with its ORM. Express JS supports many 3rd-party Node.js ORMs like Sequelize, Bookshelf, and Waterline. Developers can also choose to write plain SQL queries or use query builders like knex.js, instead of using a dedicated ORM.
  3. Routing 

    A routing system defines how the application endpoints (URLs) respond to the web client’s requests. The Express Router hosts basic HTTP routing functionalities like app.get( ), ), and so on. The app.use( ) method route specifies middleware as the callback function.|

    Adonis JS hosts robust routing functionalities and allows the developers to bind routes to controllers. The method enables developers to group multiple routes and configure them instead of re-defining the same properties for every route. Using the Route module, routes are generally defined in the start/routes.ts file.

    Related Post: 12 Best Node js Frameworks for 2024
  4. Authentication

    Adonis 5 features an authentication system that greatly reduces the time required for its development. The system supports three types of authentication: basic HTTP authentication, web sessions, and API-based tokens. The support for authentication relies on the @adonisjs/auth package, which relies on the Lucid package.

    Express JS does not have its own authentication system. Developers use third-party tools like Okta and integrate them with Express JS to handle user authentication. 
  5. Performance

    The Adonis JS version 5 adds a few micro-optimizations and performance tweaks to the backend framework. Consistent updates of Adonis JS have led to great results with the HTTP server and the validator. Now, the HTTP server is almost on par with the benchmarks of Fastify.js.

    Express JS also performs great. However, it does not run as fast as Fastify. Express JS is more popular and stable than Fastify and does not compromise the I/O performance of Node.js.
  6. Emails

    For Adonis JS, the official adonisjs/mail package can send emails from the web application. The package relies internally on the Nodemailer module for transferring emails. The package also supports AWS SES, Mailgun, Sparkpost and SMTP.

    The Nodemailer module can also be used with Express JS, but the drivers must be set up manually before the emails deploy. 
  7. Templates

    Adonis JS hosts a templating engine – Edge. Edge can be used to create loops, layouts, components, add conditions, and a few more tasks. Edge can also inspect templates and debug them with a built-in tool. 

    Express JS does not have any templating engine. Developers can create their own templating engine with the app.engine(ext, callback) method. Since creating templating engine is very time-consuming, Express supports many external third-party templating engines. 

Adonis JS vs Express JS: Bottomline

Express is essentially a microframework that can be used to quickly build applications with Node.js. Adonis JS, on the other hand, Adonis JS is a full-featured Node.js framework that is Typescript-first. 

Both are exceptional Node.js frameworks and offer great benefits to web developers.   Depending on the requirements, developers can choose either of the two for their web applications. 

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  1. What is the advantage of Adonis?
    Adonis is a complete MVC framework in itself. Adonis has many advantages like powerful analytical tools, easy migration, and offers an efficient collaborative environment. It hosts smart BPMN, modeling, and personalized views. AdonisJS is easy to set up and configure with high transparency.

  2. Which is better, NodeJS or ExpressJS?
    ExpressJS is based on NodeJS, so it offers more features. ExpressJS makes it very easy to set up web servers with minimum configurations and has faster setup timelines. ExpressJS can perform the same tasks that NodeJS can; in a faster, efficient, and effortless manner.

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Adonis JS vs Express JS: Which is the Best Node.js Framework
Article Name
Adonis JS vs Express JS: Which is the Best Node.js Framework
Adonis JS is a full-fledged MVC framework. Express JS is a minimalistic framework. Adonis has its own ORM - Lucid, while Express doesn’t have a built-in ORM.
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  • Kedar Kanekar

    Kedar is a skilled technical content writer and a social media marketer. He has worked with Apollo Hospitals, upGrad, Lumina Datamatics, and other companies.


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