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Setting up a MEAN stack

by: Arian Allenson M. Valdez

This guide is for everyone who wants to setup a MEAN stack on their development machine.

A MEAN stack is a full stack javascript framework that includes:

  • MongoDB
  • Express
  • AngularJS
  • NodeJS

Note: Everything in MEAN (MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, Node) is open source!

MEAN Dependencies


Node.js is a platform built on top of V8 for easily building fast network applications.

While you can install node by its own and work from there, we highly encourage to use a node manager such as nvm or nodeenv. For this tutorial we will be installing nvm.

To install nvm, run this on the terminal:

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/creationix/nvm/v0.17.2/install.sh | bash

For Windows, use a bash emulator such as Git bash to run the command above.

NVM is a bash script that allows you to install multiple active node.js versions. Let’s create our first node version by running the following:

nvm install stable

And then use the version by:

nvm use 0.10

Learn more about nvm

Learn how to develop in node through NodeSchool


MongoDB is the leading NoSQL database.


Install mongodb through Homebrew.

brew update
brew install mongodb


sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv 7F0CEB10
echo 'deb http://downloads-distro.mongodb.org/repo/ubuntu-upstart dist 10gen' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mongodb.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y mongodb-org


The easiest way to install MongoDB on windows is through MongoDB’s binary distributions.

We suggest that you try out Mongodb’s shell’s online tutorial

AngularJS and Express

AngularJS and Express are frameworks of their own. This means that they are not system dependencies, but simply imported into your application.


AngularJS is a front-end MVW (model-view-whatever) web framework. It’s main philosophy aims to adapt and extend HTML to better serve dynamic content (dynamic HTML).

This can be very tricky to understand if you come from a jQuery background. This StackOverflow Question might help out.


Express is a minimal and flexible Node.js backend web application framework.

Try Express’ Getting Started Guide

Making it All Work Together

MEAN is a collection of different javascript based technologies to develop web applications. As such, “MEAN” is not a single, framework/stack/technology that can just be worked on top of.

Bare build:

It would be beneficial, as a learning experience, to create a bare build of MEAN by your own.

If you have experience in other web technologies, just remember that: * MongoDB => database (MySQL, Postgres) * Express => backend framework (Laravel, Rails, Django) * AngularJS => frontend framework (JQuery, Backbone) * NodeJS => runtime environment (PHP, Ruby, Python)

Therefore, you need to run your database, use your frameworks (Express, Angular), and then let Node interpret.

Prebuilt MEAN:

There are multiple pre-built MEAN stacks/frameworks created: * mean.io * mean.js

Further Notes

If you do not have any experience with any of the 4 technologies in MEAN, then take your time. Remember that these are 4 different technologies you are learning all at once. (The only advantage is, it’s using only one language, Javascript)