5 Reasons Why Meteor Is Ideal for Startups

By Pranab Agarwal

This article was peer reviewed by Nilson Jacques, Chris Perry and Mark Towler. Thanks to all of SitePoint’s peer reviewers for making SitePoint content the best it can be!

Picking the right tech stack is among the most challenging tasks for new startups. I took the picture below at a hackathon recently. It appropriately displays the multitude of languages and frameworks available for web development today.

A whiteboard full of words relating to web dev

Let’s evaluate your topmost goals and your toughest challenges as a startup. Time is critical. More likely than not, you would start with a limited reserve of cash, and your topmost goal would be to put out a minimum viable product in the least amount of time. From experience, I’ll tell you that your toughest challenge would be to find the right people, and build the right team. Motivating smart people to come and work for you, when you do not have a brand name and cannot pay top dollar, is exceptionally difficult.

Meteor is a full-stack web application framework, and in my opinion, has come up as a cure-all technology solution for startups. Below, I’ve identified the top five reasons why the Meteor framework is an ideal fit for new startups:

1. Get Started in Literally Two Hours!

It’s true. Anyone with elementary knowledge of programming can follow the instructions on Meteor’s “Getting Started” tutorial, and then jump right into coding. I am convinced that making it ‘simple to get started’ was one of the top goals of the originators of Meteor, and they have definitely aced at this. The code-flow is easy to understand, and the tech stack is intuitively structured to allow for a quick ramp-up. Compare this with an old-school web application, where a developer would need to understand PHP and a front-end framework, let’s say AngularJS, along with setting up the entire tech stack, and managing the interactions between the front-end and back-end. For a new product, and a new team, writing a ‘Hello World’ full stack app itself might consume an entire week.

2. Hiring Smart People Becomes a Reality!

With Meteor, this works like magic. There are two primary reasons for this:

  • You do not need to look for full-stack developers anymore. You do not need to spend top dollar to hire experienced developers who can help build you a multi-language tech stack, and assist with connecting business logic to front-end code. With Meteor, it’s JavaScript everywhere, and this means that you simply need to find pure-play JavaScript developers. These developers can work on both the front-end and the back-end, and debug the entire application.
  • Young, passionate developers want something new, something exciting, and crave to work on the latest technologies. Compared to other conventional languages, Meteor wins this race by a mile, leaving the likes of PHP and Python in the dirt.

3. Reactive Rendering for Free!

Meteor offers a reactive front-end. To a layman, this means that all elements on the client application are automatically updated, across the application interface, and across all simultaneous users. This out-of-the-box capability of real-time updates has now become a standard norm across all modern collaborative applications. Reactive rendering also cuts down your front-end code, and significantly reduces your total development time. The front-end reactivity offered by Meteor is among the best-in-class, and far ahead of most other web technologies. The video below by MeteorHacks is a simple illustration of real-time updates in Meteor applications.

4. One-Click Deployments

Among the most convenient features of Meteor is it’s one-click deployments. Often the time taken for setting up your servers and deploying your application is seen as a necessary evil — you must invest some percentage of the total development time in deploying your application. One of my favorite features of the Meteor framework is that it runs its own server, and maintains its own instance of the database. This means that no additional set-up is required, and there are no additional installations. The Meteor development group also offers a free hosting solution, where test deployments can be done with a single command. This speeds up the testing and feedback process for new applications. A quick how-to tutorial on Meteor deployments can be found here.

5. A Fast Growing Community

If you have ever written code, you must have spent time on Stack Overflow! Whenever you get stuck, the open internet community comes to your rescue, and presents you with appropriate hacks and solutions. A strong community around a particular web technology is among the top reasons for its success and adoption. Meteor was among the top 10 on GitHub in April 2015. This is a pretty big deal for such a new framework! Moreover, there are 15,000+ Meteor-related questions on Stack Overflow, and over 5,000 unique installations. This means that Meteor has risen to substantial popularity, and is all set to become a healthy community on the internet.

And yes, we did use Meteor for our own application, and absolutely loved coding with it! A reactive front-end meant that we had to write significantly less code. Coming from a world full of PHP apps, Meteor’s unorthodox gains in performance were extremely useful and impressive. Most of the developers we interviewed were super excited to hear about Meteor. A reactive front-end, an asynchronous Node-based back-end, and MongoDB as a no-SQL database; what’s not to like? So Meteor became a significant motivating factor for them to join zipBoard.

A screenshot of the zipboard interface

Every person that we hired on the zipBoard dev-team spent one day learning Meteor, and every developer, without fail, started contributing to the source pool on their second day of joining the team! We did get stuck at multiple points. Stack Overflow rescued us at some, and we were able to hack our way through others. Overall, I do believe we did take some risk with adopting a new framework, but looking back, it feels like a smart move and a great business decision. Up next for us is to scale our application beyond a single server. This is an area where we have not spent any brain-power, but we might have to do it soon. Eliezer Steinbock’s first-hand experience with scaling a meteor app is a good starting point.

So once again, I’d like to say that we love Meteor and will strongly stay behind it. Check out zipBoard, and it will convince you that Meteor can be used to produce brilliant commercial-scale applications. Lookback, Respondly, HansoftX and Workpop are some other popular examples of commercial applications written on Meteor.

  • ElDerecho

    The problem with very intrusive frameworks like meteor is that doing anything outside the box as envisioned by the designers often leads to brick walls. I would never base a company’s future on a framework like that.

    • M S i N Lund


      You always end up at a stage where you have put in more work that you would if you just built everything from scratch.

      The difference being, that you now have no idea what most of the code in your project does.

      Its like owning an old crappy car, that you already sunk way to much cash into.

  • M S i N Lund


    After spending considerably more than those “Literally
    Two Hours!” actually looking into this thing before
    wasting any time installing it, I can tell Im not
    touching it.

    Simple things give it away.

    Like the documentation lacking search.
    (At least not in any visible form on any of the pages)

    Bad documentation in general.
    For example; the instructions on how to deploy, gives zero clues on how to actually deploy (other than to their site).

    own site is a POS, with trendy hard to read needle-thin fonts, trendy
    slow scrolling reveals, that you have to sit trough to navigate, and
    other trendy user-hostile shit that kids think is cool for their first

    Not a great showcase for ones own dogfood-brand.

    some short confusion when I opened the site in another browser, to see
    if the fonts looked like crap everywhere, and for a while i couldn’t
    figure out why it was completely blank!

    I was just about to start turning of and on ad-dons, to find out why, when i realized i had disabled JavaScript on that browser.

    Yes, apparently a meteor site looks like this:

    With zero warning to any visitors that anything is wrong, except that your site maybe isn’t finished yet?

    Yeah great F idea, surely that cant ever blow up in ones face…

    • bmlsayshi

      I’m not sure what you’re doing differently, but I didn’t have any of those problems.

    • Nathan Cox

      I’ve been working in Meteor now for several months, and have never experienced any of the complaints you listed here.

  • blue jet

    nicely put. we have been using Meteor for a while, and are happy with the completeness that it offers as a full stack framework. rightly said that the speed of development is very high with meteor, and is ideal for building quick minimum viable products

  • M S i N Lund

    Same BS excuses from fanbois here, as in all code-religions on the web.

    Somehow their eyes see different, and their view-source shows different.

    Nope, cant see a single thing wrong here.

    Somehow that does not make me want to use the flawlessly shiny thing more.

  • komrath

    I spent some time with Meteor, made 2 online apps, and I can say that it’s a framework NOT suitable for any professional, Internet-facing work :-( I liked the way you do things in a reactive way, but in general it feels too barebone for any quick prototyping. I will stay with Rails for time being (and port performance-critical parts to NodeJS directly)



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