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Best JavaScript Frameworks

The World Wide Web (www) was invented in 1989 to enhance information sharing between science institutes and universities. After a year, the first web-browser emerged named: ‘WorldWideWeb.’

Until that moment, www has been static, with only HTML being added. To enhance and further build the www, Netscape Communications Corporation created JavaScript (JS). The goal of JS is to make web pages dynamic and add a scope for interactions.

To keep up with the competition (i.e., Internet Explorer by Microsoft), Netscape partnered with Sun Microsystems to support Java programming language as the scripting language for Netscape Navigator browser. Sun Microsystems was the creator of Java: a language for smart applications. However, Netscape later dropped this idea due to some reasons and decided to develop a new scripting language for their browser, which is what we know today as JavaScript.

Currently, about 94% of the web pages use JavaScript and it is extremely popular among web developers. According to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow that involved 32000+ developers, JavaScript is the prevalent programming language for the consecutive 5th year in a row. More specifically, over 62% of the 32000+ developers use JavaScript as a coding language.

10 Best JavaScript Frameworks

JavaScript frameworks have become an essential part of web development, offering developers tested and tried tools for building interactive and scalable web applications. Many modern companies use JavaScript frameworks as a standard part of their tooling. Today, most web development jobs require you to have knowledge and experience working with at least one popular framework.

If you are wondering which JavaScript frameworks are trending right now, you need to check out the following list of 10 best JavaScript frameworks.

1. ReactJS

React.js is a front-end JavaScript library created by a team of Facebook developers led by Jordan Walke back in 2011 and became open source in June 2013. React can be considered one of the biggest influential disruptors in the web development domain that delivered a real breakthrough in shaping web applications that we see today.

React introduced a functional, component-based, and declarative programming style for building interactive user interfaces for single-page web applications. With React, the DOM renders only those components that have changed instead of rendering the whole page.

Pros

  • Creating Dynamic Web Applications Becomes Easier – To create a dynamic web application specifically with HTML is tricky because it requires complex coding but with React JS creating dynamic web pages is quite easy.
  • Reusable Components – A ReactJS web application is made up of multiple components, and each component has its logic and controls. It is possible to reuse components at different parts of the web application, which saves developers from writing the same piece of code multiple times.
  • Scope for Testing the Codes – ReactJS applications are extremely easy to test. It provides a scope where developers can test and debug the codes with the assistance of its native testing tools.

Cons

  • Poor Documentation – React is getting frequent updates, which cuts the availability of time to make proper documentation.
  • Suitable for Developing Only the Visual Part of the Web App – ReactJS covers only the UI Layers of the app and nothing else. So, you still need to choose some other technologies for creating the other sections of the app such as the business logic on the back-end.

2. Angular

Angular is an open-source framework by Google which is used to create single-page web applications. Angular has gained widespread acclaim and was supposed to rule the market but the emergence of React pushed it into oblivion.

Angular took inspiration from React and made drastic changes, the biggest of which was the shift from M-V-W architecture (Model-View-Whatever) to component-based architecture like React. Today Angular is a highly secure front-end JavaScript framework for creating enterprise-level applications. It is used by over a million websites, including Forbes, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and others.

Pros

  • Component-Based Architecture – After ditching MVW (model-view-whatever) architecture, Angular 2 and beyond adopted a strictly component-based architecture that facilitates reusability.
  • Server performance – Angular supports out-of-the-box caching and tons of features to ensure fast server performance.
  • 2-way data binding – One key feature of Angular is two-way data binding, which forms a link between the Model layer and the View layer so that each one of them reflects a change made in the other.

Cons

  • Typescript – To use Angular, you are obliged to use Typescript, which offers a lot of advantages but still poses significant learning challenges to developers having little to no knowledge of JavaScript.
  • Heavy and Bloated – Compared to lightweight alternatives like React JS and Vue JS, Angular is exceptionally bulky and large, roughly close to 550-600 kB, which makes it less suitable for developing small-scale applications.
  • Poor SEO – Angular struggles with SEO due to acute accessibility issues cornered with search engine crawlers/spiders. If SEO is your primary focus, then React is far better SEO-friendly than Angular.

3. Vue.js

Vue.js is an open-source lightweight front-end JavaScript framework suitable for developing creative user interfaces and single-page web applications with minimal effort.

Vue was first launched in 2014 by Evan You, a developer working for Google who took inspiration from Angular to create a simple, lightweight, and efficient front-end framework. Although Vue has adopted most of its features from React and Angular, it has made significant improvements on those features to deliver a better, easy to use, and secure framework. The biggest example of this approach is that Vue offers a two-way data binding like Angular and uses the concept of ‘Virtual DOM’ from React.

Pros

  • Small size – The downloaded zip file containing the Vue framework weighs only about 18 KB.
  • Virtual DOM rendering and performance – A Document Object Model (DOM) is something you’ll probably encounter when rendering web pages. The use of virtual DOM allows elements to render on pages faster.
  • Reactive two-way data binding – Another benefit in DOM manipulations is two-way data binding inherited by Vue from Angular.

Cons

  • Lack of support for large-scale projects – Vue.js is still a young framework. Its community and development team size is still incomparable with more mature JavaScript frameworks like Angular. Vue also lacks significant financial support from large enterprises.
  • Risk of over flexibility – Vue offers a high degree of flexibility in the development process but that may increase the complexity of the projects created with it.

4. jQuery

jQuery is a JavaScript library designed to simplify HTML DOM tree traversal and manipulation, event handling. It is an open-source and free-to-use framework under MIT License.

jQuery’s syntax is designed to handle events on the web with ease. Also, by using this framework developers will find it fairly easy to navigate a document, add animations, and select DOM elements.

Pros

  • The most significant upside to jQuery is its simplicity. It takes only a little bit of programming knowledge to create crowd-pleasing animations.
  • jQuery is popular because it has excellent technical support, interacts well with other types of code, supports plug-ins, and makes basic animation as easy as can be.

Cons

  • There are many versions of jQuery available right now and some are less compatible than others.
  • jQuery’s lightweight interface may lead to problems in the future.

5. Nuxt.js

Nuxt.js is a progressive open-source JavaScript framework based on the Vue ecosystem. It is taken in use to develop performant web apps, particularly server-side rendered web apps. It can be taken as an enhanced version of Vue. But remember, Nuxt.js is not a substitute for Vue as it cannot function alone. And neither can it be considered a full-fledged back-end framework like Express.

Nuxt.js is a combination of official Vue libraries and components – Vue, Vue Router, Vuex, Vue server renderer, and Vue meta while also packing the prowess webpack babel and PostCSS too. With Nuxt, you can create three different kinds of web apps – Pre-rendered Static pages app, Single-page web application (SPA), and Server-side, rendered web applications (SSR) or universal apps.

Pros

  • Fast setup and development – Setting up a new project in Nuxt.js requires just a few minutes, all thanks to the starter-template that can be created easily using the command line.
  • Create Universal Apps – One of the most significant advantages that Nuxt.js offers is that it allows the creation of Universal Apps – JavaScript code that runs on both client and server-side.
  • Well-managed code structure – Nuxt organizes your code in a logical, scalable, and easy-to-understand structure right out-of-box.

Cons

  • You might face problems integrating custom libraries with Nuxt.
  • Debugging issues when using Nuxt can often be quite challenging and frustrating.

6. Gatsby.js

Gatsby.js was developed by Sam Bhagwat and Kyle Mathews and was launched around May 2015. Gatsby is a flexible, modern GraphQl and React-based framework that allows you to build high-performance and SEO-friendly static websites. Gatsby lets users pull data from any data source imaginable – CMS like Netlify, WordPress, Contentful, Drupal, etc. or databases APIs, or simple markdown.

Unlike Next.js, Gatsby does not perform server-side rendering. Instead, it generates HTML content on the client-side during build time. As a result, Gatsby.js delivers blazing-fast performance, impeccable security, and good SEO performance. Gatsby.js is used by major brands, including edx.org, Airbnb, Nike, Figma, and others.

Pros

  • SEO Friendly – Static content generated by Gatsby.js is easily readable by search engine crawlers.
  • Out-of-the-box PWA – Gatsby.js converts your website into a full-fledged Progressive Web App that enhances the user experience.

Cons

  • Not suitable for large-scale websites – Gatsby.js is not an ideal solution for content-heavy, enterprise-scale websites like e-commerce stores or extensive media websites.
  • Prerequisite knowledge – Although learning how to use Gatsby is relatively easy, you need to have knowledge of React and a little GraphQl to under the concepts of Gatsby

7. Express.js

Express.js is an open-source un-opinionated web framework for Node.js and is used exclusively for creating feature-rich web applications and APIs. It’s so famous that it is considered as the de facto best JavaScript framework for developing the back-end with Node.js, especially in MEAN or MERN stacks.

Pros

  • Community support – Express is a mature 10-year-old framework with a massive community backing it up.
  • Good Documentation – Express has been blessed with well-written and thorough documentation along with a trove of tutorials and resources.
  • Fast-paced development – Simplifies and accelerates the development of web applications using Node.js.

Cons

  • Ensuring the web application’s security is entirely up to the developer and the quality of the code.

8. Mithril

Mithril is the contemporary client-side JavaScrip framework for constructing single-page applications. It is around 10kb gzipped small and, fast that delivers routing and, XHR uses out of the box. Besides, Mithril is an open-source Javascript MVC framework specialized in the category of a tech stack. You can check Mithril’s open-source community on GitHub from here.

Popular companies like Nike and Vimeo and other open-source platforms such as Lichess use Mithril in their tech stacks. It supports IE11, Firefox ESR, and the latest version of Edge, Safari, and Chrome. It also has a small API and a small learning curve.

Pros

  • Mithril has a download size of only 9.5kb compared with others like Angular that has (135kb)
  • It has the supreme fast performance of 6.4ms while others like Angular has (11.5ms)
  • Mithril has an intelligent auto-redrawing system which makes it highly featured.

Cons

  • The biggest disadvantage is that Meteor’s database integration only supports MongoDB.
  • A developer cannot use Meteor if they have to include NoSQL database

9. Ember.js

Ember.js is an open-source JavaScript web framework that follows a component-service pattern. It permits developers to build scalable single-page web apps by incorporating best practices, common idioms, and patterns from other single-page-app ecosystem patterns into the framework.

Ember is used on several famous websites, including Groupon, Square, Apple Music, Inc., LinkedIn, Discourse, Live Nation, Twitch, and Nordstrom, Chipotle. Although primarily considered a framework for the web, it is also possible to build desktop and mobile applications using Ember.js.

Pros

  • Potent add-ons – The size of the package ecosystem of Ember is extensive, and therefore, you can easily find add-ons to tackle various development challenges.
  • Ember CLI – The “Command Line Interface for ambitious web applications” of Ember will allow you to interact with the computer’s operating system.
  • Convention over configuration – Even though Ruby on Rails mainly used this notion, it is also used by Ember.

Cons

  • Tough to learn – As compared to React or Vue, beginner developers might find it challenging to master Ember. It is appropriate for complicated & large-scale apps and is not an ideal choice for developing simple apps.
  • Highly opinionated – This framework is highly opinionated, given that any deviation from performing things might result in frustrating issues.

10. MeteorJS

Meteor is a Javascript framework that offers several features such as automatic Css, creative templates, and JS minification. The meteor itself claims to be a full-stack solution for developing and deploying web applications. It has a cloud platform name Galaxy which is excellently dynamic for deploying, scaling, and monitoring client applications. Besides, Meteor has bundled useful technologies such as templates, events, and many more.

Pros

  • Simplicity – If you are a novice in the world of JS frameworks, Meteor is a good option to start the learning process.
  • The abundance of packages and libraries – An extended functionality of the described framework is achieved due to its foundation represented by the jQuery and JS library combined with Underscore.js.

Cons

  • Rendering on the Server Side – SSR is essential for search engine optimization tasks. Unfortunately, Meteor lacks SSR support.
  • MongoDB Support – When it comes to the back-end, there is only one official database solution i.e. MongoDB.

Conclusion

If you want to learn multiple JavaScript frameworks, it is advisable that you first get familiar with one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks such as Angular or ReactJS. By doing so, learning other frameworks will become easy and quick. While frameworks vary in terms of code structures, their basics are somewhat similar.

Once you are comfortable working with JavaScript, you can start playing around with its frameworks like Ember, or Vue. You may find that the basic philosophies of these frameworks are much more in line with each other.

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