In a simplified explanation, full-stack refers to the developer (who can perform both frontend and backend development), while MEAN is a full-stack JavaScript technology framework. 

Full-stack development can be categorised into web stack, mobile stack or native application stack and involves coding, databases, servers and platforms, but MEAN stack is only for JavaScript developers. However, both are popular stacks for developers, no matter the scope and purpose of the app, as both provide end to end development. 

Let’s understand the features and differences of both in detail. 

What is a Technology Stack?

It’s a combination of a collection of the data technology infrastructure of all the technology services used to build and run one application, websites, mobile apps, and standalone desktop software, from front-end to back-end, together with database system management. 

What is Full Stack?

It’s an umbrella term that involves the development of front-end and back-end parts, testing and mobile app. 

Front end: to develop the part of the app/website that’s responsible for user experience, parts that the user interacts with directly. Full-stack developers accomplish tasks like the program a browser (like using JavaScript, jQuery, Angular, or Vue, a server (like using PHP, ASP, Python, or Node) and databases (like using SQL, SQLite, or MongoDB). The back end of the full stack handles and modifies the data provided by the user upon using the front end of the app/website. 

What are the benefits of full stack development? 

It entails all the techniques, tools and learnings involved in a development project, from start to finish. 

Switching from backend to front end or vice versa is easy and manageable. 

It makes sense to hire full stack developers instead of separate front end and back end developers, thus help in cost cutting. 

Full stack takes into account the entire design and development structure and can be easier to implement, upgrade and maintain. 

They provide end to end solutions for development cycles like quick prototyping, easy project ownership and budget friendly solutions and are ideal for small to medium businesses as well. 

What is Mean Stack? 

It stands for a collection of JavaScript based technologies used by JS-based developers for app development and is an acronym for MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS and Node. js. Its users are limited to the knowledge of Java frameworks, although it’s quite popular as it was named as one of the most popular tech stacks in 2020. 

The main features and functions of MEAN Stack are: 

AngularJS – maintains the application data and behavior, accept requests and display results to end-user

NodeJS: single threaded, non-blocking, event-driven servers to handle client and server requests

ExpressJS:  parses incoming request payloads into a string and to make requests to database and return response

MongoDB: for storing/retrieving data, aggregation of utility functions such as count, distinct and group. 

Benefits of Mean Stack

A host of compatible time optimization tools for system administration

JS tools and framework covers both frontend and backend development entirely

It has a Model View Controller architecture for better frontend coding and only one single language for development throughout

Open source solutions to all types of development projects with great scalability in the form of an object-oriented organization instead of a relational model. 

Quickly builds versatile, performant and easily maintainable, good quality apps, web and mobile applications

Optimized cloud deployment simplified with a built-in web server

Large amounts of data can be managed by Mongo DB

Usage spikes can be handled by scalability of data and cloud hosting optimization

Javascript is flexible, dynamic and simple to read and code, with the benefit of reusable code across the entire application

It’s equipped with great in-built tools for testing and automation with extensive community support

Differences between the two

Full-stack involves the knowledge and implementation of the diverse range of tools and technologies for front-end, back-end, coding, design and deployment, along with the necessary underlying language and structure of each component, however, in MEAN stack, a developer needs only the required knowledge of JavaScript-based frameworks and a database for both frontend and backend development. 

Full stack development would be suitable for developing ecommerce platforms, social media apps, trackers, chat apps with quick switching between backend, frontend and UI which makes it an ideal choice. 

MEAN Stack would be ideal for developing all levels and types of apps as they use the same language and JS frameworks throughout the architecture, although they’re not preferred for large scale applications. But it could also work for eCommerce projects and others that can be built by other full tech stacks. 

On the other hand, full stack developers are trained in several programming languages and have a wider perspective on the scope and complexity of the project, while MEAN and MERN stack developers are more specialised and niche in their learnings, approach and references. 

MEAN Stack involves Breadth-First Search (BFS) but needs to learn in full stack development. 

In terms of disadvantages, MEAN stack is known to be not as functional in comparison to relational databases and may require in depth skills to solve

challenging programming concepts in order to carry out advanced tasks. 

Criticisms of full stack development include the fact that due to your involvement in every aspect, it’s often difficult to dig deep into something, a function done better by specialists, and also several tasks overwhelming developers at one given time. 

MERN Stack 

Required for MEAN Stack development insights, MERN stack is an acronym for MongoDB, Express, React, Node. It’s a variation in the MEAN Stack that replaces Angular JS with ReactJS which is the declarative JavaScript framework for simple and elegant UI components for the front-end, usually for single page applications. It is widely scalable and provides code reusability across multiple platforms, which is why it’s quite effective for rapid development and deployment. 

This stack also offers full stack solutions with front end and backend development for diverse software applications.  

In the end, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons of each stack before choosing which one is more cost-effective and suitable for your project.