The Top 3 JavaScript Frameworks

Created in 1995, JavaScript may well be one of the oldest programming languages in the game. Yet, it remains one of the most popular, constantly battling it out with Python and C for the title of “most in-demand programming languages.

JavaScript’s continued dominance in the space can be attributed to its ubiquity. It’s supported by most browsers, making it popular with coders. As a result, an estimated 94.5% of websites currently run on JavaScript.

Put differently, if you’ve spent any time on the internet at all, you’ve encountered JavaScript, in some capacity, on countless occasions.

And, if you’re a developer, chances are, you already know JS as a user-friendly language, ideal for both front and back-end development projects. JS supports functional, imperative, and event-driven programming styles, which, combined, contribute to the language’s staying power.

Below, we take a closer look at some of the top JavaScript frameworks and what makes them uniquely appealing.

What is a JavaScript Framework and Why is it Important?

Another reason for JavaScript’s enduring popularity is that it offers a vast array of frameworks and libraries. It allows developers to create applications faster and at a lower price point.

Before we dig into JavaScript frameworks, let’s define software frameworks.

A software framework is a platform that gives developers a foundation for developing software. It offers generic functionality that can be customized by making changes to the existing code.

Essentially, it’s a collection of templates designed to help you move through the development process quickly while reducing the potential for human error.

JavaScript frameworks operate under the same logic as general software frameworks. They’re typically defined as collections of JavaScript code libraries that give developers pre-written code they can use to save time on programming routine tasks and features by providing a template for frequently-used components.

While this is far from an exhaustive list, here’s a look at the three most popular JavaScript frameworks and how they compare/contrast from one another.

Top JavaScript Frameworks

Angular

Angular is the oldest of the JavaScript frameworks on this list–developed by Google in 2009–boasting one of the largest libraries (maintained by 1500+ GitHub contributors) for developers to leverage, making it an ideal framework for developers.

Formerly known as AngularJS, Angular was rewritten in 2016 and is now used to power Google tools like Google Docs and Gmail. It’s lighter and faster than its predecessor, as its functionality has been moved across multiple modules–unlike monolithic AngularJS–and uses TypeScript instead of the “traditional” JavaScript, making it a solid option for large, sprawling software solutions, mobile apps, and Progressive Web Apps.

React

React is one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks, often compared side-by-side with Angular (and sometimes Vue). It’s an open-source JS framework, first introduced by Facebook in 2013 with the goal of creating a framework that allows developers to create operational applications fast and rapidly scale up or down.

While Angular and other technologies were already available when Facebook launched ReactJS, developers using the existing frameworks typically dedicated a large share of their working hours writing code manually.

React’s creators sought to tackle that problem by creating a solution that’s both more flexible and easier to use than Angular. The framework follows component-based architecture designed to simplify the problem-solving process by breaking into more manageable sub-tasks.

And, instead of TypeScript, React uses a unique syntax called JSX, a templating language that allows developers to write HTML inside JavaScript, enabling developers to compose each component more efficiently.

Vue

When it comes to big players in JavaScript frameworks, we certainly couldn’t have the conversation without Vue. Vue may be the new kid on the block compared to Angular and React, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hold its own.

Vue is a progressive JavaScript framework designed for building front-end web interfaces that was first released by Evan You in 2014 after his experience of extensively using Angular while working at Google.

You’s goal was to create a JS framework with all of the advantages of Angular, but lighter and easier-to-use. In the end, You created something that shares many similarities with React, though it offers some unique advantages you won’t find with Facebook’s framework.

The framework offers a template-style that looks similar to Angular; it also provides the component-based props characteristic of React. Vue offers a quick and easy fix for UI, applications, and interactive web interface development and can even power advanced single-page web apps.

Vue’s main advantage over React is that it automatically tracks dependencies between components during rendering. In turn, this means that the system automatically knows which components need to be re-rendered anytime the state changes.

The benefit here is that developers can save a ton of time–eliminating the extra steps required for optimization, allowing them to focus on delivering the best possible solution.

Choosing a JavaScript Framework for Your Project

While any of the three JavaScript frameworks outlined above are solid options for developing interactive web apps, it’s important to understand the differences between them before your project gets underway, as each platform is better suited for different types of projects.

A few factors to consider:

  • Developer knowledge & experience. Does your team have experience with the framework you’d like to use? If not, consider whether it makes sense to hire an external developer or use a different framework.
  • Project size & scope. Lightweight JavaScript frameworks like React and Vue are great for tackling small projects or individual components. That said, Angular–in spite of the steeper learning curve–may be a better choice for larger projects. Unlike React (which is more of a library for building interfaces), Angular provides a comprehensive toolkit for building end-to-end apps on both mobile and desktop.
  • Developer community. Does the framework offer a supportive community? Resources? Access to help if you run into trouble?
  • Data binding. Data binding syncs data between the UI & business logic. Angular uses both one-way and two-way data binding. This means that when changes are made to the code, updates are reflected in the UI, as well. React uses one-way binding, which provides more stable code and makes it easier to perform bug fixes.

Whether you’re building a new application, modernizing an old one, or gearing up for a cloud migration, Tiempo provides clients with top developers who know exactly which technologies will deliver the ideal outcome.

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