Welcome, Angular developers! Are you seeking to enhance your abilities and delve into the world of full-stack development? If so, you've arrived at the right place. In this article, I will be discussing the most sought-after options for constructing a backend, database, deploying, and hosting applications that integrate very well with Angular.
The backend is the backbone of any web or mobile application, and Angular developers have several options to choose from when building their applications. One of the most common tasks that the backend is responsible for is providing a REST API, which allows the frontend to communicate with the server and retrieve or update data.
Node JS is a popular choice for building REST APIs with Angular, thanks to its fast performance and support for real-time applications. The MEAN stack, which stands for MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js, is a full-stack combo that can help you build amazing web applications from start to finish. With its seamless integration between frontend and backend, the MEAN stack is a great choice for Angular developers who want a complete solution for their projects. For those just starting with Node.js, the simplest framework to use would be Express.js.
Python is another popular language for building REST APIs, and its simplicity and readability make it a great option for developers who are just starting with backend development. Python's large and active community means that you'll always have access to resources and support when building your REST API. The simplest framework for newbies in Python is Flask.
Java is a language that is widely used in enterprises and is known for its stability and security. It's a great choice for Angular developers who are building complex and large-scale applications that need to handle transactions and structured data. Java's extensive libraries and frameworks can help you build your REST API more quickly and efficiently. For newbies in Java, the simplest framework to use would be Spring Boot.
In addition to REST API, GraphQL is another query language and runtime for APIs that can be used as a backend, either as an alternative or in conjunction with REST API. For Node.js, some popular frameworks for building a GraphQL backend are Apollo Server and GraphQL Yoga, for Python: Graphene, and for Java: GraphQL Java.
When it comes to choosing a database for your Angular application, there are several options to choose from including SQL, SQLite, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL. Each database has its strengths and weaknesses and the right choice for your project will depend on your specific requirements.
SQL databases, such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, are traditional relational databases that use a structured query language to store and retrieve data. They are great for applications that require complex transactions, joint operations, and referential integrity. SQL databases are widely used and have a large community of developers, which means there are plenty of resources and support available when needed.
SQLite, on the other hand, is a file-based relational database that is often used for smaller applications and for testing purposes. It is easy to set up and use and does not require a separate server to run.
MongoDB is a document-based database that uses a flexible data model, allowing you to store data in a variety of formats. It is well-suited for applications that have complex, hierarchical data structures and is commonly used in modern web applications.
PostgreSQL is an object-relational database that supports both SQL and NoSQL data storage. It is known for its advanced features, including its support for advanced data types, such as arrays and hstore.
Firebase / Supabase
Firebase and Supabase are both backend-as-a-service (BaaS) platforms that provide a convenient way for Angular developers to build and deploy web and mobile applications without the need to manage a separate backend and database. Both platforms offer a range of features for building and deploying applications, including real-time databases, authentication, and hosting.
Firebase is a product from Google that provides a wide range of tools for building and deploying web and mobile applications. It includes a real-time NoSQL database, authentication, hosting, and many other services that make it a complete solution for building and deploying applications. Firebase is known for its ease of use and fast development cycle, making it a popular choice for many developers.
Supabase, on the other hand, is a newer platform that offers a similar range of services as Firebase. It provides a real-time database, authentication, hosting, and other features, but with a focus on open-source technology and a more flexible pricing model. Supabase is designed to be more modular and customizable than Firebase, allowing developers to pick and choose the services they need, rather than having to pay for a full suite of services.
Speaking of full-stack development I must go over deployment. For deploying a full-stack Angular application, there are several options available, but the simplest and free option for continuous deployment is to use Github Actions.
- GitHub Actions is a workflow automation tool built into Github that allows you to automate your software development workflows, including deployment. With GitHub Actions, you can set up a pipeline for continuous deployment, so that every time you push changes to your repository, your application is automatically deployed to a specified environment, such as a production server.
Alternatively - as mentioned both Firebase and Supabase offer deployment as a part of their all-in-one solution, making it easy for developers to deploy and host their Angular full-stack applications.
Firebase and Supabase can be used as standalone solutions for deploying full-stack applications, but they do have limitations. For example, Firebase only supports hosting for static assets and limited server-side code. Supabase is a more flexible platform and allows for more customizations, but it may not be as user-friendly as Firebase for some developers.
GitHub Actions, on the other hand, is a platform for automating software workflows and can be used in combination with Firebase or Supabase for continuous deployment. By using GitHub Actions, developers can automate the deployment process and ensure that their applications are deployed consistently and reliably. For example, developers can set up a workflow that automatically builds and deploys their application whenever they push changes to a GitHub repository.
When integrating Firebase or Supabase with GitHub Actions, developers can use the Firebase CLI or Supabase CLI to deploy their applications to the platform. This way, they can take advantage of the hosting and other services provided by Firebase or Supabase, while using GitHub Actions to automate the deployment process.
In conclusion, while Firebase and Supabase offer deployment capabilities, GitHub Actions can be used in combination with these platforms to provide a more robust and flexible solution for continuous deployment.
Here is an example of a SPA that I built using Angular & Firebase - Collab Match. I am using Github Actions for continuous deployment. Although I have been meaning to explore other options for the backend, I started with Firebase due to time constraints. However, I intend to explore one or more of the other options, in the future to further expand my skills in full-stack development.
Deployment and hosting are related but distinct. Deployment refers to the process of releasing a software application to production, making it available for use by end-users. This can involve various steps such as copying the code to a server, building and compiling the application and configuring any necessary settings.
Hosting, on the other hand, refers to providing a location where the deployed application can be stored and run. This can include physical servers, cloud-based virtual servers, or even specialized hosting platforms such as Firebase or Supabase. Hosting is a necessary component of deploying a full-stack Angular app, as it provides a place for the app to run and be accessed by users.
There are several other options for hosting full-stack Angular apps, including:
Heroku - a cloud platform that offers free hosting for small-scale apps, with easy integration with a variety of databases and other services.
Netlify - a modern platform that offers free hosting, automatic SSL certificates, and a host of other features for building, deploying, and managing web applications.
AWS Amplify - Amazon's cloud platform that offers free hosting for small-scale web apps, along with a suite of tools for building and deploying cloud-powered applications.
Google Cloud Platform - Google's cloud platform offers a range of hosting and deployment options, including a free tier with limited resources.
Firebase Hosting - part of the Firebase platform that offers fast and easy hosting for Angular apps, with built-in support for SSL and custom domains.
Supabase Hosting - a component of the Supabase platform that provides quick and effortless hosting for Angular applications, complete with built-in support for SSL and personalized domains.
Each of these platforms has its pros and cons, and the best option for a given project will depend on the specific requirements and constraints of that project.
Java is another popular choice for backend development, offering a wealth of libraries and frameworks that can help you build robust and scalable applications. Java is particularly well-suited for enterprise applications and is known for its security and stability.
Python is another great option for backend development and is known for its simplicity and readability. Python has a large and active community, which means that you can easily find support and resources for your projects. It is also used for a wide range of applications, including scientific computing, data analysis, and machine learning.
There are several database options to choose from, including SQL, SQLite, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL. SQL is a traditional relational database that is well-suited for structured data and transactions, while MongoDB is a NoSQL database that is better suited for unstructured data and scalability. PostgreSQL is a powerful open-source database that is popular for its support of advanced data types and features.
GraphQL is a query language for APIs that provides a more flexible and efficient way of requesting data from a server. It allows the client to request only the data that it needs, rather than receiving a large amount of data that it may not use. This results in faster and more efficient applications.
Serverless is a term used to describe the idea of running applications without having to manage the underlying infrastructure. This is particularly relevant to Angular apps, as it allows developers to focus on building and delivering applications without worrying about managing servers.
Firebase and Supabase are backend-as-a-service solutions that provide a complete solution for building and deploying web and mobile applications. This includes both the backend and database, making it a convenient option for those who do not want to manage a separate server and database.