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There was Rails, then Laravel and now Adonis js

ericchapman profile image Eric Chapman Updated on ・3 min read

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Adonis = MVC Framework for Node

I am a Rails and Laravel developer. I love those framework. They are powerful, stable, fast and easy to use. When you get use to develop with a good MVC framework, it's hard to go back.

Earlier this year I had the mandate to develop a javascript frontend application. To accompany this application I said to myself why not use a backend in javascript also. The goal was to have my entire stack in javascript.

On paper it seemed easy but in reality the task was much more complicated than expected. I couldn't find a javascript framework that in my opinion was as good as Laravel and Rails. Good in the sense of development efficiency i.e. powerful, fast but very easy and pleasing to work with.

I did try 3 different frameworks and none matched what I was looking for, so I decided for this project to use a Laravel backend.

Recently, I stumbled across a framework that had been around for quite some time but for some reason that I didn't know had gone under my radar. This framework is Adonis.js

What is Adonis? In summary, this is the Node.js version of Laravel. It is a framework that contrasts with other Node.js frameworks. Like Laravel, Adonis has for mission the happiness of the developer and also as mandate to provide all the necessary tools to carry out a project from A to Z.

I haven't done a real project in production yet but I still had the chance to do some small projects for fun and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised how natural and easy to use Adonis is.

Being an MVC framework just like Laravel, the learning curve is much shorter.

Here are some examples that compare Laravel code with Adonis.js code. See the similarities:

Laravel route

Route::get('/', [PostController::class, 'index']);
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Adonis route

Route.get('/', 'PostsController.index')
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Laravel migrations

public function up() {
    Schema::create('posts', function (Blueprint $table) {
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Adonis migrations

protected tableName = 'posts'
public async up () {
    this.schema.createTable(this.tableName, (table) => {
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Laravel controller:

class BlogController extends Controller
    public function index()
        $posts = Post::all();
        return view('posts.index', ['posts', $posts]);
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Adonis controller

export default class PostsController {
  public async index (ctx: HttpContextContract) {
    const posts = await Post.all()
    return ctx.view.render('posts/index', {posts})
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Laravel view (blade)


<h1>Welcome to my Blog</h1>
    @foreach($posts as $post)
      <h3>{{post->id}}. <a href="{{ route('', $post)}}">{{ post->title }}</a></h3> <br>
      {{ post->content }} <br><br><hr>
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Adonis view (edge)


    <h1>Welcome to my Blog</h1>
    @each(post in posts)
      <h3>{{}}. <a href="{{ route('', {id:})}}">{{ post.title }}</a></h3> <br>
      {{ post.content }} <br><br><hr>
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As you can see the learning curve is pretty low.

But not everything is the same for example. In Adonis the model is explicitly declare in the model file. In Laravel, the model is only define in the migration file.

Adonis model file:

export default class Post extends BaseModel {
  @column({ isPrimary: true })
  public id: number

  @column.dateTime({ autoCreate: true })
  public createdAt: DateTime

  @column.dateTime({ autoCreate: true, autoUpdate: true })
  public updatedAt: DateTime

  public title: string

  public content: string

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That's it for today. Stay tune because I will post many more articles on Adonis.js in near future.

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Discussion (10)

Editor guide
karmekk profile image
Bartosz Gleń

Thanks for this post, I wasn't aware of this one :)

I think Node.js lacked such a framework, to be honest I found developing with Express tedious and boring. Hope it gets more popular - again, thanks for spreading the word!

ericchapman profile image
Eric Chapman Author

The project have close to 10k stars on github...

karmekk profile image
Bartosz Gleń

Sorry I don't get if it's sarcasm or not, but Express.js has over 52k stars, not to mention frontend frameworks like Vue. So yes, I think it's not that popular yet.

paztek profile image
Matthieu Balmes

I also strongly suggest NestJS as a full stack Node.JS framework. It’s built on top of Express (but you can switch to fastify).
It has adapters for TypeORM, Sequelize or Mongoose. And the dependency injection really helps with large projects.

migueldevelopez profile image

Laravel developer here! and oh my god I hope Adonis become more popular! 😍

johannchopin profile image

Would be nice at some point to have the link to the github page of this tool 👍

ericchapman profile image
robencom profile image

I'm staying tuned and following you, because as someone who ADORES Laravel, this (Adonis) might be a great way to do backend work in JS instead of PHP (if needed...).

ngprnk profile image
Nischal Gautam

Getting there but nowhere near Rails in terms of DX and productivity.

ericchapman profile image
Eric Chapman Author

If we compare to other Node.js framework. The DX is excellent. Of course compare to ultra mature product like Rails, Adonis is not quit there yet... That will come with more community adoption/contribution. But for now it’s a good start.