NestJS vs. Spring Framework In Java - Which Should I Choose?

・8 min read
NestJS vs. Spring Framework In Java - Which Should I Choose?

In the world of web applications, there is one battle-tested framework called Spring. But this world is also known for rapidly growing and developing where new solutions frequently appear. One of those is NestJS - a framework similar to Spring, which can help you achieve comparable results.

However, if you were to choose between NestJS or Spring as the Java framework to power your business for the upcoming years, which one would you choose? I bet this is one hard question to answer. That is why this article aims to help you understand the differences between those solutions, so you will be able to pick the one best suitable for your needs. We are going to talk about the main features of the frameworks, present their pros and cons together with the successful companies that are using each of them.

What is NestJS?

Since NestJS is a progressive Node.js framework, it is crucial to understand what Node.js is. In short, Node.js has been created as a combination of Google’s V8 JavaScript engine, an event loop and a low-level I/O API. Node.js platform is a server-side runtime environment based on JavaScript, which means that developers are able to use the same solution for both the front-end and the back-end of applications they create. Node.js is known for being highly scalable, fast and of high performance. It is ideal for asynchronous programming and gives you the ability to execute multiple actions at the same time.

As mentioned above, NestJS is a Node.js framework for creating scalable and efficient server-side applications. It makes use of progressive JavaScript and was built using TypeScript. NestJS combines elements of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), Functional Programming (FP) and Functional Reactive Programming (FRP). Under the hood, it uses Express while providing compatibility with a wide range of other libraries like Fastify.

NestJS provides an out-of-the-box application architecture that allows creating highly scalable, testable and loosely coupled applications.

The main features of NestJS are:

  • extensible - gives developers a great deal of flexibility by allowing using any other libraries thanks to modular architecture,
  • progressive - uses the latest JavaScript features, bringing mature solutions and design patterns to the Node.js world,
  • versatile - a fully-fledged backbone ecosystem for all types of server-side applications.

When compared with the Spring framework on stackshare.io, NestJS gained over 2 times more followers. To find out more details about this framework, go to the post Why Choose NestJS As Your Backend Framework.

What is Spring Framework?

Java is a programming language and computing platform. It is known for being reliable, fast and secure. It is general-purpose, class-based and object-oriented designed for having fewer implementation dependencies. Java is known for being one of the easy-to-use programming languages to learn and the code written in it once can be run on almost any computing platform. Moreover, it is platform-independent and was designed as a multithreaded language with automatic memory management.

Spring is one of the most popular application development frameworks for Java. It is used by millions of developers around the world to build high performing, easily testable and reusable code. Spring can be used in developing any Java application, however, there are extensions for building web applications on top of the Java EE platform.

Spring allows quick startup of production-grade, stand-alone applications. It is very easy to run and minimizes the number of issues surrounding getting applications up and running. It is heavily focused on dependencies and relies on annotations or XML. It simplifies configuration and is multi-threaded, which is super useful in long or repetitive operations.

The main features of Spring are:

  • transaction management - Spring provides a consistent transaction management interface that can scale down to a local transaction and scale up to global transactions,
  • lightweight - when compared to EJB containers. It is beneficial for developing and deploying applications on devices with limited memory and CPU resources,
  • dependency injection - this means you can develop loosely coupled applications, therefore making them easier to test.

When searching for information about Spring framework, we can also come across Spring Boot. It is an extension of the Spring framework eliminating boilerplate configurations required for setting up a Spring application. Spring Boot takes an opinionated view of the Spring platform providing a faster and more efficient development ecosystem.

NestJS vs Spring Framework - the comparison

Now that we have discussed the core features of both frameworks, it is time to share the pros and cons of using them.

NestJS

In many articles, NestJS is recognized as being a versatile and progressive framework heavily influenced by React, Vue and Angular. It leverages TypeScript and is easy to use. Additionally, NestJS makes use of the Powerful Command Line Interface to boost productivity. Many developers also appreciate the dependency injection that comes with the framework. We can also talk about advantages like:

Pros

  • rapidly growing JavaScript community
  • constantly growing nmp
  • lightweight, fast
  • perfect for I/O tasks
  • single-threaded with low memory utilization

However, like in the case of any framework, tool or programming language, there are some drawbacks to using NestJS, which are as follow:

Cons

  • lack of support for multi-threading
  • not ideal for heavy computing, which can cause performance bottlenecks
  • lack of strict type checking leading to runtime problems

Img

Spring

Spring is typically used to ease the development and testing of Java-based applications. It reduces development time and increases team productivity. Thanks to Spring Boot, it is easy to avoid lots of boilerplate code, annotations and XML configuration. What is more, the framework provides embedded HTTP servers like Tomcat or Jetty. Apart from that, there are also:

Pros

  • lots of plugins
  • easy to use dependencies
  • statically-typed Java
  • multi-threading support
  • maintainable

Spring Boot too has its limitations. Apart from the slightly time-consuming process of converting existing or legacy Spring projects into Spring Boot apps, we can also notice:

Cons

  • high memory utilization
  • it may include unused dependencies
  • lots of boilerplate code, which makes debugging tough

Img

Why does it matter? Companies using NestJS and Spring Framework

If you are now wondering why you should care about any of those frameworks, you should get to know the companies that are successfully using them.

NestJS companies

Adidas

A multinational corporation that designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories.

Capgemini

A corporation providing consulting, technology, professional and outsourcing services in over 50 countries.

Decathlon

The largest sporting goods retailer with over 1600 stores in 57 countries and regions.

Autodesk

Software corporation making software products and services for architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, education, media and entertainment industries.

SocieteGenerale

The 3rd largest bank by total assets investment bank and financial services.

Neo4j

A graph database management system developed by Neo4j, Inc.

Spring Framework companies

Intuit

An American business specializing in financial software with products like tax preparation, personal finance app or accounting program.

Zalando

A European eCommerce company offering fashion and lifestyle products in 17 European markets.

Accenture

A multinational company selling consulting and processing services. Accenture’s clients include 91 of the Fortune Global 100.

Zillow

An American online real estate marketplace company created by former Microsoft executives and founder of Microsoft spin-off Expedia.

Indeed

A worldwide employment website for job listings. It is an example of both a single-topic search engine and an example of vertical search.

Picnic Engineering

The world’s fastest-growing online supermarket with a unique business model and a highly engaged customer base.

There are also quite a few well-known enterprises making use of Spring Boot. They are:

  • Google - a technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products including cloud computing, software and hardware.
  • Microsoft -  a technology company developing, manufacturing, licensing, supporting and selling computer software, personal computers and related services.
  • Capital One - an American bank holding company specialized in card credits, auto loans, savings accounts and banking.
  • Amazon - a technology company focused on eCommerce, cloud computing, AI and digital streaming.

Conclusions

This is the time to come back to the question from the very beginning of this article: NestJS or Spring Framework - which is better for your business? The answer is probably as you expected, not straightforward since it all depends on the product you wish to build. If you are looking to create an application for FinTech or a booking system (depending on a lot of I/O) NestJS would be better. However, if you are creating an app that needs to perform a great deal of computing - Spring Framework is the one.

Are you looking for a team of experienced developers to handle your project from start to finish? You are in the right place! Our fully-fledged engineering teams are specialized in many frameworks and will definitely help you choose the most appropriate one. Feel free to contact us to schedule a call and get an estimation.

Related articles