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Spring vs Nestjs: Which Framework Should You Choose?

Colin Shah
Colin Shah
May 26, 2023
Clock icon9 mins read
Calendar iconLast updated May 26, 2023
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NestJs and Spring are both open-source, full-stack frameworks for building modern web applications; the first one is TypeScript-based, while the Java Spring framework leverages Java’s capabilities. 

They both support dependency injection and include application testing features, encompassing MVC structure, which often leads to confusion and debates on Spring vs Nestjs on the internet.

As per Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2022, Spring was among the most-loved frameworks, while Nestjs is gaining popularity, enabling developers to build highly scalable server-side applications leveraging a Node.js environment.

Though they both are popular, widely used and have large community support, the choice between them depends on your needs. This article discusses the key features of each framework to help you understand which one is ideally suited for specific tasks.

Spring vs Nestjs: Head to Head

FeatureSpringNestJS
LanguageJavaTypeScript
ArchitectureMVCMVC
AdoptionWidespreadGrowing
FeaturesDependency injection, AOP, MVC, TestingDependency injection, Routing, Middleware, Testing
SizeLightweightLightweight
Learning curveSteeperGradual learning
Best forLarge, complex applicationsSmall, simple applications
GitHub stars47,00021,000
MaturityReputed and highly matureEvolving
PopularityMore PopularLess Popular
CommunityLargerRelatively Small

What is Spring?

Spring framework is an open-source Java framework that offers an all-inclusive infrastructure for building Java applications. The framework is lightweight, loose-coupled, and includes dependency injection, aspect-oriented programming, and inversion of control in its core. Overall, it presents a mature ecosystem for developing complex and enterprise-grade applications. Again, it is the world’s most popular Java framework

Note: When looking for Spring, we often see “Spring Boot,” another framework built on top of the Spring, extending the Spring’s capabilities. 

What is NestJs?

It is a progressive node js framework, allowing developers to leverage and extend the Nodejs functionality. 

When we refer Nodejs framework, it means the Nestjs app requires Nodejs runtime to execute. In particular, NodeJS is JavaScript runtime environment that utilizes Google’s V8 JavaScrpit engine, renowned for its exceptional speed in executing code, which allows developers to run JavaScript outside the browser. 

Consequently, Node.js has achieved widespread popularity by allowing developers to build native-like, server-side, and highly scalable applications using JavaScript.

NestJS not only harness the capabilities associated with Node.js but also amplifies the powers of this popular framework. It also allows developers to leverage renowned Node.js frameworks like Express and Fastify.

Additionally, NestJS provides the added advantage of TypeScript, allowing developers to code in JavaScript while enjoying the benefits of strong typing and enhanced tooling.

In addition to the discussed benefits, NestJS encompasses a range of remarkable features. Developers can take advantage of OOP (object-oriented programming), FP (functional programming), and FRP(functional reactive programming), which provide them with a multitude of programming paradigms to choose from. This versatility enables rapid development and enhances the flexibility of the framework.

Let’s delve into the distinct features of the frameworks that contribute to their widespread adoption, emphasizing the factors that distinguish them from each other.

Key Features of Spring

The Spring offers a range of features to simplify large and complex app development. Some of the key features of the framework include as following: 

Dependency injection: Dependency injection is the core of the spring framework. DI allows developers to build loosely coupled applications.

Support for Aspect-oriented programming: AOP or aspect-oriented programming promotes modularity of cross-cutting concerns (examples of cross-cutting concerns are logging, error handling, caching, transitional management, and authentication).  In other words,  it promotes reusability by encapsulating the cross-cutting concerns into aspects. Later the aspects can be applied to various parts of the system, promoting code readability and maintainability. 

Data access framework: When it comes to communicating with a database, many frameworks do not provide the amount of ease required to focus on development parts. In the case of Spring, it greatly simplifies database communication by incorporating support for Java access frameworks such as Hibernate, JDBC, and JPA(Java persistence API).  

Transaction management framework: Spring comes up with its own transaction management component for managing transactions in an application, streamlining the transaction management process. 

Application testing: Testing is a critical process that enables the initial evaluation of an application to ensure it functions as planned. It contains various testing features that simplify the testing of the application. These features help in efficient and effective testing. 

In addition to the features mentioned above, the Spring Framework offers notable features like a well-defined MVC structure, web service support, a core container, etc.

Key Features of Nestjs

NestJS, a popular framework for building Node.js applications, includes a diverse set of features that contribute to rapid application development. Below are some key features provided by NestJS:

Progressive framework: As mentioned above, it is a progressive framework, though “progressive” has a broad meaning, and it can have different meanings. In the context of software development frameworks, it refers to a progressive approach where you start with small and progressively build something bigger. For example, NestJS can be a perfect choice for building a single-page application, and later the new functionality can be added to the application over time, enabling the creation of complex applications in a step-by-step and straightforward manner. 

Scalable: The framework allows the development of scalable applications so that if the app’s popularity grows over time and requires more resources to handle the increased demand, it can be scaled without compromising performance. 

Extensible: Extensibility refers to extending the framework’s capabilities beyond its core functionality. Its modular structure allows developers to add more functionalities, features, and modules without requiring significant modification to the existing database. As a result, you can efficiently customize your framework with ease.

Versatile: Though scalability and extensibility are part of a versatile ecosystem, the Nestjs framework has the ability to integrate with Express and Fastify easily, enabling the framework to achieve different functionality in order to serve a wide range of requirements. 

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Spring vs NestJs: The Pros & Cons

Every framework, including Spring and Nest.js, has its flaws and limitations. This is because frameworks are developed to address specific problems, aiming to simplify development processes. As a result, it’s unavoidable to encounter limitations associated with each framework. In this section, we will explore those of Spring and Nest.js.

Spring Pros & Cons

spring pros & consPros – Spring

Spring is a renowned framework that excels in developing complex and large applications. It encompasses crucial features like Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP), Plain Old Java Object (POJO) paradigm, and a wealth of functionalities that ease the development of secure, robust, and modern Java-based applications. By opting for Spring instead of Nest, you can leverage the following advantages:

  • Various kinds of pre-defined templates for Hibernate, JDBC, and JPA technologies, eliminating the need to write complex code. 
  • Dependency injections for loose coupling, increasing modularity and flexibility in application design. 
  • Spring streamlines testing by including features like dependency injection, mock objects, and integration testing support. 
  • Spring enables rapid application development with its rich set of pre-built components, simplified configurations, and efficient development patterns.
  • Spring offers strong abstraction capabilities, allowing developers to focus on business logic while abstracting away complexities of underlying technologies and frameworks.
  • Spring’s lightweight Inversion of Control (IoC) container enables the creation and deployment of applications on systems with restricted memory and CPU resources.

Cons – Spring

  • It is complex to learn and use, especially for beginners, as it comes up with a lot of pre-built features that require prior knowledge of the acronyms and abbreviations it uses.
  • The allowance for dependency can make your development easier; at the same time, it can increase the risk of security vulnerabilities. 
  • Many people praise frameworks as having unopinionated in nature; Spring is not opinionated that has its disadvantages.
  • Due to its complex configuration, it can be difficult to debug sometimes. 

NestJs Pros & Cons

nest pros & cons

Pros – NestJs

There are numerous advantages to opting for NestJS in web development.

  • It’s a JavaScript framework; you will have a vast and supportive community that can provide excellent support and resources when stuck.
  • It is lightweight and faster; moreover, a beginner-friendly framework.
  • With a single-threaded architecture and efficient memory utilization, NestJS ensures optimal resource management.
  • It has event-driven capabilities, allowing the code execution in an asynchronous manner.
  • It has support for Typescript, Rest, and GraphQL.  
  • It is easier to start for a beginner.
  • It is easy to integrate it with other frameworks.

Cons – NestJs

  • Nesjs has a highly defined structure that provides developers with a clear and organized structure, though it can present challenges for new developers as it can also be overwhelming to get adopted with a strict structure.
  • It uses a lot of acronyms and abbreviations that can make a beginner confused. 
  • The NestJS is not as mature as established frameworks such as Spring. Also, due to its newness, you may find less number of libraries and tools.   

Which One to Choose Between Spring vs NestJS? 

Nest.js, a framework that combines TypeScript and the Node.js ecosystem, offers significant benefits for businesses looking to venture into e-commerce, SaaS, fintech, healthcare, media, and entertainment application development.
Despite being relatively new, it benefits from strong support and an active community within JavaScript and Node.js development.

On the other hand, Spring is a robust and well-established framework for complex and large application development.  It encompasses all the essentials and extensive tools to build complex and scalable applications efficiently. It is a suitable choice for businesses looking to embark on developing enterprise-grade applications.

Ultimately, the selection of the appropriate tool can also depend on the specific project requirements that you will be working on.

Top Companies Using Spring

  • Indeed: A leading job portal that connects seekers and employers, providing real-time updates, insightful reviews, and personalized recommendations. 
  • ZOOM Video Communications: It is a leading video conferencing platform that allows businesses and individuals to host and schedule virtual meetings. 
  • McDonald’s Global Technology: A technology division of the renowned global fast-food chain, McDonald’s, focuses on developing technical solutions.  
  • Visa INC: It is among the world’s largest payment technology companies that offer electronic payment solutions. 
  • Best Buy: Best Buy is a multinational retailer specializing in electronics and technical appliances. 
  • Accenture: It is a world’s renowned company providing consulting, technology, and outsourcing services across the globe. 
  • FNB: First National Bank is one of the leading prominent financial solution institutions in South Africa.
  • Schneider Electric: It is the world’s leading energy management and automation solutions provider company. 
  • Amazon: Amazon is the world’s leading online e-commerce store. 

Top Companies Using NestJs

  • Roche: It is a multinational healthcare company based in Switzerland, also one of the largest pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies in the world.
  • Adidas: It is a well-known global sportswear and athletic footwear company.
  • Capgemini: Capgemini is one of the well-known multinational consulting and professional companies that provide technical solutions. 
  • Decathlon: Decathlon is a global sporting goods retailer that offers a wide range of sports equipment and accessories. 
  • Autodesk: Autodesk is a leading corporation that makes products and services for the engineering, architecture, and entertainment industries.

Conclusion

This article aims to provide a concise overview of the main difference between Nest and Spring frameworks, helping you in choosing the right framework for your development endeavors. 

Have you decided on the technology to be used for your upcoming project development? Brilworks, a prominent Node js development company, offers the expertise of both Node and Spring developers. If you require further information or direct assistance in selecting the appropriate tool, feel free to reach out to us and hire a Node.js developer or Java Spring developer from our team today.

Colin Shah

Colin Shah

Colin is a lead Java developer with 8+ years of experience designing and developing scalable, reliable, high-performance web applications. He has expertise in Java, Spring Boot, Hibernate, Microservices, RESTful APIs, AWS, and DevOps. He is passionate about learning new technologies and sharing his knowledge through blog posts and tutorials.

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