Experimenting with MEAN

MEAN is a full-stack JavaScript boilerplate that's super fun for experimenting and learning. If you're a designer working in the Node environment at all, playing with MEAN is a great way to understand more about Mongo, Express and Angular.

Its development is headed by Linnovate, an Open-Source advocacy company out of Israel. They're doing an awesome job getting it exposure and keeping the Node community involved. It's organized according to most best-pracitces I'm familiar with, but I'm sure there are plenty of Node engineers who could have quite a bit to say about it's structure. However, there is no better place for getting an awesome full stack app to experiment with right from a clone.

Easy to fire up

The repo is entirely pre-organized. All you have to do is clone the repo, npm install (it runs a bower install post the node packages installing) and then you can fire it up with grunt (with mongo running). Out of the box you can play with Authentication, Angular views, data-binding and all sorts of goodies. Because it's full stack, everything works right out of the gate. Just make sure you've already got Node and Mongo installed and you're sailing.

I've ripped the repo apart and started putting it back together twice now. It's organized in a little open-source app I'm making called partem now. I find little exercises like that so incredibly helpful for getting more confident with every piece of product design. Learning how input fields are saving strings to the database can be just as helpful for optimization as experimenting with label.

Don't be afraid to spend time learning things you don't think would be valuable. Design is about making connections.

Posted January 2014