Is it time to move on from Express?

I feel for the longest of time, I have clung onto a technology that I feel has been fading for a long time, and that is the ExpressJS framework.

I really enjoyed Express’s middleware approach, and I have been building a lot of personal projects using the framework over the past years.

Although Express is the de-facto go-to for building node backends, I feel the project is dying and barely maintained by very few developers. If you even look on the Express website, it is not being maintained and says “2017” at the bottom.

I have mainly migrated to frontend development, and I even hold a well-paying role as a frontend software engineer. However, I still like developing backend solutions, even for personal projects. What should I devout my attention to next?

I don’t know where this perception is coming from. If I look at the npmjs for express, I see 23.8M downloads per week. As far as not maintained, if I look at the release history, it’s had 4 releases this year. If I look at their issues, I see that they’ve closed 10 in the last month. If I look at trends in it’s usage, it certainly doesn’t look fading to me.

You have to be careful with reading stuff on the internet. People know that the more shocking the claim, the more clicks it will get, from both people that agree and from people that are offended. What they say is often based highly on opinion and cherry picked facts. Or sometimes just made up facts. They’re trying to get ad revenue, not have an intellectual debate. The more shocking the article title, the more ad revenue they get.

I mean, wait? Are the MERN and MEAN stack no longer two of the most popular stacks out there? Am I missing something?

Look, if you want to learn something else, fine. Google “alternatives to express js”. But I would recommend sticking with things that are popular, if your goal is eventually to get a job. And I think you’ll learn more but getting really, really good at one stack.


I assume you are referring to the copyright notice at the bottom. That is just a number that refers to when the copyright was registered - you don’t update it every time you make an edit. You can read up on it here.

Version 5 is also in beta now.

As said, the library is definitely not dead. The fact that a library like Express is stable and doesn’t need to receive tons of updates is a pro, not a con.

There are also lots of frameworks like Next, Sveltekit, Remix, etc. that combine both front and back into a more unified workflow letting you write backend code without needing an dedicated Express backend. The popularity of these frameworks is likely also taking a chunk out of the Express usage percentage.