Meteor is a game-changing framework for rapid software development. By using JavaScript on the front and back-end, Meteor allows you to build faster.

So what exactly is Meteor?

Meteor is a full stack JavaScript (JS) framework, made up of a collection of libraries and packages, bound together. But some people call Meteor magic.

In a way, it is. Meteor has been built on concepts from other frameworks and libraries in a way that makes it easy to prototype applications. Essentially, it makes web development easier. It’s flexible and requires less code, which means less bugs and typically a higher quality and more stable end result.

Meteor is easy to learn and quick to build with—making it a new favorite for many developers. So what are the top things that make this framework a favorite? Let's take a look at the best reasons to build with Meteor.

8 reasons to build with Meteor

1. It's fast to build with.

When using Meteor, launching a MVP in 3-4 weeks can be a reality. With JavaScript on the front-end and back-end, plus smart packages, Meteor allows you to develop faster. This makes it a go-to for startups and others trying to get a product out the door quickly.

2. Develop with just one language.

Aside from rapid development, JavaScript on the server and client has other benefits—like less context switching. Moreover, JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. It has many use-cases, and many developers are already familiar with it.

3. Easy to learn.

Anyone who gives Meteor a try knows how simple it is to get up and going. Unlike other popular full stack frameworks, you don’t have to rely on multiple languages. Any semi-experienced JS developer could be handed a Meteor project with decent structure, and pick it up and get it running quickly. Even those who are not full-fledged developers, like designers, find it easy to implement. They love it for the same reasons as everyone: it’s simple to learn and work with.

4. Real-time applications at the core.

Meteor is the perfect solution for those looking to build real-time applications. It is real-time by default, known as “full stack reactivity”. All of the application’s layers from database to template update automatically. This means there is no need to refresh the page to see updates. And any changes to documents save instantly. This makes Meteor a perfect use-case for real time collaboration, too.

5. Smart packages that save you time.

Building out a login system for your application can be a pain. But not with Meteor. Meteor packages make it simple to add features such as:

  • User accounts
  • Javascript libraries like React
  • Extras like Bootstrap or Stylus
  • ...and more

There is even an entire website dedicated to Meteor package management. Even better, adding these kinds of smart packages is easy: just a few keystrokes in the terminal.

6. Turn your Meteor app into iOS and Android apps.

Yes, you read that right. Meteor makes it simple to turn your web app into a smartphone app with Cordova. Cordova is a platform to build native smartphone applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It has a set of APIs that allow you to access native device functions, like the camera, with JavaScript. And the best part is that Meteor comes out of the box with Cordova.

7. Active and supportive community.

Despite its young age, there is already a passionate community of web developers using Meteor—"Meteorites", as they call themselves. More than that, tons of blogs, resources, and even online learning platforms have emerged to discuss and teach the platform. Meteor's popularity can be seen by fact that it is the 10th most starred repository on Github, with 27,085 stars at the time of writing. (Ruby on Rails has 27,216 stars at the time of writing.) There is also a large, and constantly growing, in-person community. There are Meteor Meetups in over 75 countries around the world, and in 217 cities. Chances are there is a Meteor Meetup near you.

8. Meteor is the future.

The web is becoming an increasingly real-time environment. With the growth of online applications like real-time collaboration tools, instant customer support, multiplayer web games, and more, the need for real-time friendly applications is increasing. And Meteor offers just that. .

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Common Misconceptions about Meteor...

1. It’s too much “magic”.

Some say that Meteor has too many features. Renowned author and innovator Arthur C. Clarke said:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Agree with Clarke’s point of view or not, many believed Rails to be “magic” when it first emerged. Yet today there is a vibrant and thriving business structure around Rails.

2. Building software should be hard and labor intensive.

Other people believe Meteor makes it too easy to build web applications. Yes, to achieve an end-result with Meteor compared to other frameworks typically involves less code. (However, less shouldn’t necessarily be equated with easy.) Nonetheless, less code generally means less time involved. With that, there is more time and resources to dedicate for other parts of business. Furthermore, less code means less liability in the long run for businesses.

3. Not enough structure and conventions.

Some prefer frameworks with rules and structure. However, there are plenty of dev languages and frameworks that have evolved as we learn about programming, and best ways to do it. We actually have increased flexibility to explore these ideas with Meteor. Nevertheless, there are many resources on Meteor "best practices". But, ultimately the individual decides which to adopt.

4. There is no production-grade MySQL support.

At the time of writing, SQL support for Meteor is on the roadmap. In the meantime, there are several packages available to integrate MySQL with Meteor, like numtel:mysql.

5. Subscriptions are not scalable.

Scaling comes down to your app and how it manages data. It is not a problem for Meteor web applications alone. Scaling is an issue that can be found across languages and frameworks.

However, Meteor has some advantages when it comes to scaling because of its reliance on DDP. With DDP, one can easily separate out and build a new system that just has to adhere to the API for DDP to work with a Meteor app. This means that when the time comes, it easier to swap out node for other backends.

Still, while building Meteor apps there needs to be diligence on behalf of the developer to only put relevant data into the publication rather than publishing everything. And fortunately, there are tools available like meteorhacks:aggregate to help with Mongo aggregation.

What Others Say About Meteor

Meteor makes is possible for a single person to build and launch entire projects quickly and painlessly. It's what web development should've always been like!

Sacha Greif Co-Founder, Discover Meteor

We build our Meteor apps in half the time compared to other frameworks we used to use, and with far superior user experience. It has been a game changer for our startup!

Ry Walker Founder, Astronomer

I knew Meteor was special from the moment I saw it in action. It has fundamentally changed how I approach and build software for the web now.

Josh Owens Founder, Meteor Club

Built With Meteor

Meteor—A Bright Future

Meteor is still in its early days. But it is constantly evolving and being improved. However, a few things are certain:

  • Meteor is fast and easy to implement—Less code and rapid development makes it fun to build with—for experienced devs and those just starting out
  • Real-time applications are the present and future—Meteor makes it easy to build real-time apps on desktop and mobile devices
  • Meteor has an amazing community—Top ten starred repositories on Github, with in-person Meetups in 217 cities worldwide and counting

In the end, the only way to know if Meteor is for you is by giving it a try.

Get started with the Free 4-day Meteor Crash Course