All-In-One Guide on JavaScript Frameworks - MobileAppDaily
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All-In-One Guide on JavaScript Frameworks [+ List of Top 13 Free JS Frameworks]

Know why these top 13 JS frameworks are better than others

https://dk2dyle8k4h9a.cloudfront.net/All-In-One Guide on JavaScript Frameworks [+ List of Top 13 Free JS Frameworks]

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Updated On
August 31, 2018 07:39 PM
5 min read

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JavaScript a.k.a. JS is a scripting language that lets the developer create dynamic web components as well as control them. These components include user-interactive forms, photo/image slideshows, digital animated graphics and many more.

Right now, with all the evolution that has been happening in the Information Technology field 'To learn JavaScript' has become an important thing to do by a developer. Also, JavaScript is a great option for those who are looking to earn more from the average programmer salary.

If you want to give a boost to your development career then make sure to add JavaScript at the top position of your list of Front-end Development Skills that you need to learn before this year ends.

Once you get started on JavaScript, you will get to know how important JavaScript Frameworks are and why. Simply speaking, Front end JavaScript Frameworks are mainly the tools which are used for making the JavaScript coding more efficient as well as faster than before.

The JavaScript Framework also offers the front-end developers/programmers with a variety of structural website templates along with the pre-written JavaScript code that is required for the routine programming tasks.

scripting languages

So, for learning JavaScript the developer also needs to be familiar with the JavaScript frameworks, their use, their advantages and disadvantages, if any.

But which framework should you opt for?

To answer this question can be a little tricky that's why we decided to curate a list mentioning the top 13 JavaScript frameworks and covering everything important that you need to know about them.

Before we proceed with the list of the best free JavaScript Frameworks, you need to get a better understanding of what actually a framework.

Defining a Framework and its purpose

There is a majority of people including beginning-level developers and programmers that do not have a clear understanding of the meaning and working of the term.

It can be described as a supportive platform with a design that is reusable, which can further provide an excellent support for scripting programming languages.

Altogether, it is a block of code that was written by a team of developers who wanted to make the entire process of development simple and easy to implement.

The purpose of this block of code is to prevent the programmers from writing extra code that is redundant and unnecessary for the development process. One of the main objectives of a framework is 'to reuse' i.e., with reusability being its greatest feature, the programmer doesn't have to worry about the writing a particular function again and again.

Using this, during the development process is very efficient and saves a lot of time as the developer can just directly reuse a function as many times as it is required during the whole process.

Similarly, the front end JavaScript Frameworks can be known as a collection of JS code libraries that offer the developers with pre-written JavaScript code to use it for programming various new tasks and features while building their web applications or websites.

Note: JavaScript Libraries are like jQuery when used by plugging the library JS code into the rest of the web application's code when required.

Looking from the business perspective, it enables the developer to work on the respective client's requirements and using the frameworks for overcoming the challenges faced in the development phase of the client's project.

Now that you are well aware of what JavaScript Frameworks are and why these popular frameworks hold such a great importance during development stage. We should probably move forward and discuss some of the best JavaScript Frameworks that are currently available in the market:

Best Free JavaScript Frameworks

The year 2017 was a big year for JavaScript and its community as some really big changes were made. One being, the publishing of the standardized version of ECMAScript 6 to which the majority of web browsers and compilers are trying hard to still adapt to all the latest updates as well as regulations.

Angular.js Framework

The Angular.js is an open-source javascript framework which is backed up by Google itself. Angular JS is mainly adopted by the upcoming startups and SMEs (Small to Medium-scale Enterprises) as it provides great support for simplifies testing with rapid app development.

angular js

Some of the business-oriented features that angular.js offers are two-way data binding, quicker production of code and many more.

Advantages of Angular.js

  • The two-way data binding features comes with a great DOM programming interface.
  • It gets updated consistently and at regular intervals of time as it is maintained by Google.
  • Its model is of the plain javascript objects with the old structure that are very easy to maintain, reuse and test.
  • The community size of angular js is huge and that's why it is easier to get support.
  • Angular.js also works on a highly documented architecture.

Disadvantages of Angular.js

  • For some programmers, the learning path of angular js can be quite tough.
  • Also, the scopes used in angular.js are comparatively hard to understand.
  • To effectively use angular js, you need to have a very good background knowledge.
  • The websites that are created using angular.js might require some extra time to render in different browsers this is due to the DOM elements that are involved in this.

Vue.js Framework

The Vue.js was first released back in the year 2014, but vue js got its much more stable version update i.e. Vue 2.0 after a gap of two years. Basically, in Vue, the developer gets some of the best features combined together in one like features from Angular, Ember, and React at one place.  

This vue.js was designed in such a way that it can be adapted incrementally and used for projects including various different JS Libraries.

And similar to the angular.js, the vue.js also offers the feature of two-way data binding. Vue is mainly used by developers as an open source full-featured javascript framework for front end web applications to develop interactive user interfaces. Other than that, this vue.js can also be used to create awesome single-page apps.

Advantages of Vue.js

  • In comparison to the angular framework, vue.js is simple to learn.
  • It has a small size which can be easily downloaded easily. Vue js is also preferred by programmers because of its small size.
  • The documentation of vue.js is easy and can be easily understood.
  • Vue gives developers the freedom to write their templates in the HTML file and pure JavaScript file using some virtual nodes which also makes it quite flexible.

Disadvantages of Vue.js

  • The vue.js is relatively new that's why it's community size is really small and can not expect much support from it right now.
  • Vue js was developed by Evan You who is Chinese-American so there arises a language barrier as you will find some community libraries that code is written in Chinese.

React.js Framework

For some time now, people have been divided into two groups when it comes to react.js, one group stating react js as a framework and other describing react as a javascript library. React made its debut in the year 2013 by the company, Facebook and yes the amazing user interface of two of the most popular social media platforms - Facebook and Instagram are made on React.js.

The react js framework is prominently used to develop web as well as mobile user interfaces this is the reason why react is also considered as a 'View Layer' instead of a just a framework.

Advantages of React.js

  • The virtual DOM in react js speeds up the updates by providing a great compatible event model for every different browser.
  • Because of the React components, the code can be reused easily.
  • Even though, react js is new but its community has made itself an impressive base.
  • The developer is allowed to use many different tools as they go along with React smoothly.

Disadvantages of React.js

  • In case you are a javascript developer, then using react syntax and its DOM creation process may look a little odd to you.
  • For using React.js it requires some prior experience and if the programmer wants to use some additionally required libraries for a development project.
  • In some scenarios, the developer may have to spend a decent amount of time in figuring out the differences between the current DOM and the virtual DOM.

Ember.js Framework

Another free open source javascript framework is Ember.js which first came into the spotlight in 2011. Ember is primarily used for creating web applications but apps for desktop and mobile can also be built by using the ember.js.

ember

Ember is a great choice especially for startups who are looking to develop complex web applications. Currently, the ember.js community is very large and is widely active all over the world. Like vue.js and angular.js, ember javascript framework also supports the two-way binding.

Advantages of Ember.js

  • Ember.js provides a highly stable performance that remains consistent throughout the process. 
  • The ember.js is one of the easiest frameworks to understand and learn about.
  • The Ember offers faster loads and higher run speeds.
  • The ember provides great support and has a great number of following.
  • This framework continuously gets updates and have more features added to its array of new features.

Disadvantages of Ember.js

  • In comparison to other JavaScript frameworks, ember has a larger size.
  • Because the ember.js changes are very frequent, it becomes difficult to find some outdated tutorials, files, and documents.
  • There is no server-side rendering support available for the ember.js framework.
  • In some situations, the ember framework is not able to process the sudden changes to the developer's code.

Node.js Framework

This node.js javascript framework for frontend Development of Mobile Apps and web applications has been among the most popular frameworks for quite a few time now. The basic idea behind node.js was to use the event-driven I/O in order to fulfill the aim of being lightweight and also efficient at the same time. This aim was mainly projected towards the data-intensive real-time applications which are known to operate on a range of distributed devices.

The node.js is a great option when the developer is looking to work with a full-feature Javascript environment consists of all the necessary tools. With node.js, the programmer can easily build the quick and scalable network apps because it can smoothly manage a wide array of various connections via its high throughput rate.

Advantages of Node.js

  • One of the best features of node.js is that a user can build each and every element of his/her application right from the scratch as it doesn't bear any restrictions.
  • Node.js as a huge community which is very active and offers great support at the global level.
  • As node.js has a non-blocking I/O ecosystem, the developer can easily process several requests simultaneously.
  • Before the node.js, JavaScript wasn't full stack as it was only used for the purpose of doing the client side development.

Disadvantages of Node.js

  • The node.js does not have the feature of multi-thread programming yet, which makes it harder to choose for the long-running calculations. This limitation somehow also plays a role in lowering the app's performance.
  • Over the past few years, many developers still face the instances where the node API behaves unpredictably.  

Backbone Framework

The backbone framework is amongst some of the well-known web development javascript frameworks. This popularity is mainly because of the two reasons, one being that the backbone's usability models are quite easy to understand and the other being that, the learning curve of backbone is pretty straightforward.

The code only tends to get messy when the developer doesn't pay attention to the coalition with the code's structure. The main objective behind the creation of backbone framework was the idea that all the server-side functions should flow through an API. This will minimize the total amount of code and the developer will be able to create complex functionalities with a lesser line of codes.

Advantages of Backbone

  • The backbone framework offers a great code structure for the web development.
  • The developer can easily build stable app development projects using backbone framework.

Disadvantages of Backbone

  • Backbone framework has an imperative programming style as opposed to the declarative programming style.
  • In the past year or two, we have witnessed the drop in its community size.

Aurelia Framework

The Aurelia framework claims to be the web development framework of the next generation that mainly focuses on making the process of web development creative in nature. This framework offers capabilities like routing, templating, and dependency injection that's why the programmer doesn't need to piece together various different libraries to create an app.

Aurelia is known to be the next generation because as it is entirely build on the ES6 which is the latest update of the javascript standard. With this, Aurelia also incorporates some of the ES7 features as well which makes it easily function with all the latest web browsers.

Advantages of Aurelia

  • Basically, this framework is itself a complete solution for web and mobile development.
  • This framework works great with TypeScript, JavaScript, and many other languages.
  • The API of this framework is very stable while operating.

Disadvantages of Aurelia

  • Right now, there are very few job opportunities in the market for this JavaScript framework.
  • The community of this framework is very small in comparison to the other frameworks' communities.

Polymer Framework

Another free framework in this list is the Google's Polymer javascript framework which is all about being super fast by creating modern web design through its ability to build and reuse web components.

polymer

As a project, the polymer framework was in the BETA phase for a very long period of time and last year it was finally released. The polymer is a lightweight library that can help the developer in taking complete advantages of the web components.

Advantages of Polymer

  • Polymer the full-featured framework has a very strong corporate support as it is backed up by Google itself.
  • This polymer framework also supports the new and emerging web standards.

Disadvantages of Polymer

  • This framework is currently facing community complaints regarding the communication segment.
  • Its implementation of vision is not so strong as the polymer framework is also facing issues on poor browser support due to option limits.

Svelte Framework

This javascript follows a unique approach as it compiles your web application during the build time so that you can curate the lightest code that is possible. So, rather than interpreting the developer's app code at the runtime, the application is then converted into an ideal JS at the build time.

This further spares the developer from the performance cost of the framework's abstractions, making it more efficient than it already is. The user can also adopt Svelte into an already existing application because there's no overhead in this framework.

Advantages of Svelte

  • This javascript framework is very fast as well as very lightweight.
  • It also provides a great documentation in comparison to other front end JavaScript frameworks.
  • The features implemented in this framework are very innovative.

Disadvantages of Svelte

  • Right now the community of this framework is very small so the support facility is limited.
  • Although this framework is very new in the market but it also looks promising for the future.

Reason Framework

Some people tend to confuse Reason framework with that with the React framework. Even though, we can say that Reason framework does somehow belong to the React system. Here, Reason is basically a syntax on top of an OCaml language which can compile to JS but it can also compile to the assembly language.

Reason cannot be stated as a new language but its syntax is new and Reason's toolchain is powered by the programming language, OCaml. Mainly the Reason framework is used to create mobile as well as desktop applications.

Advantages of Reason

  • Reason framework is backed up by Facebook that means it has a strong corporate support.
  • This javascript framework has a versatile nature which can come in handy in creating various complex applications.
  • The Reason framework is somewhat similar to the React's structure and programming style.

Disadvantages of Reason

  • This framework is very new to the market and needs to be thoroughly explored before moving ahead with the app development stage.

Preact Framework

Preact is a well-established javascript framework that is used by various large corporations and some of them are Uber and Pepsi. Preact is famously known for being a great alternative to the React JavaScript framework as well by emphasizing on a smaller library size.

preact

Preact uses the same API as the react framework uses and comes in an only 3KB gzipped file which is compatible with most of the React's system. In short, Preact has better startup performance i.e. page load time but React performs faster during the UI update when the page is being loaded.

Advantages of Preact

  • Preact JS is very small and lightweight.
  • Preact framework also has a good documentation.
  • It is compatible with almost all of the React's ecosystem.

Disadvantages of Preact

  • Preact surely has a smaller community than React but a lot of overlapping is happening in these communities.
  • If you are using the preact-compat then it may also affect your performance level.

Inferno Framework

If you are someone whose first concern is related to the performance then this Inferno JavaScript framework might be the one for you as it has now also become a member of the React clan. The idea behind creating Inferno was to prove the point that many javascript frameworks are great for mobile devices.

The API of Inferno javascript is very similar to the React javascript API and yes it is possible to directly port a React application to Inferno using the library called inferno-compat. This framework also has its own router which is compatible with the state management libraries: MobX and Redux.

Advantages of Inferno

  • This framework showcases excellent performance while operating.
  • The APIs of this framework will look familiar to the React developers and programmers.
  • Inferno framework has a great documentation.

Disadvantages of Inferno

  • Using the inferno-compat may also have some impact on the performance of the whole process.

Elm Framework

Elm is similar to Reason framework as it is also a separate language that compiles to JavaScript and positions itself as a worthy alternative to the React JavaScript framework. As it is a functional language, Elm acts as a tool for developing web applications and websites.

elm

This framework lays a very strong emphasis on providing the ease of use to the user combined with offering simplicity and quality tools for the development purposes. It offers a well-architectured code that remains well architectured throughout your application's growth and this framework is also known to be highly influential as an inspiration.

Advantages of Elm

  • In this framework, there is virtual elimination of all the runtime errors.A
  • Elm framework has a strong architecture.
  • The refactoring is simplified in this javascript framework.

Disadvantages of Elm

  • There is an added complexity in elm which is interoperability with JS (in some cases).
  • The community is comparatively smaller in size.
  • There are currently very fewer job opportunities for this framework.

Looking back, we know that JavaScript is growing at a rapid pace and is becoming more native and also much more stable than it was before. The number of web development javascript frameworks that were released over the last year is amazingly big and some of those JavaScript frameworks have even managed to turn themselves into great communities in just a small period of time.

Conclusion

Choosing a right JS framework is a decision that you should take once you are done comparing:

  • The Architecture
  • The Performance
  • The Documentation
  • The Community Support and much more.

Even if you are new to the scene of JavaScript Frameworks or the JavaScript programming language itself. Then, you can easily go ahead and try to experiment with any one of the above mentioned JS frameworks as they all are free so you won't be spending any money on experimenting.

We hope that with this guide on JavaScript Frameworks will help you to understand the role that frameworks play during the development process. And in knowing different types of most popular front end frameworks in the Mobile App Development Industry that you can use for your next web or mobile app development project.

Let us know if we missed any JavaScript Framework that you would like us to add in the above-mentioned list of best JavaScript frameworks by leaving your ‘Comment’ in the section below.

Read More About:

Akash Singh Chauhan
Written By
Akash Singh Chauhan

Akash Singh Chauhan is a senior writer at MobileAppDaily and he mainly covers all the latest happenings and tweaks in mobile app technology. Being an Engineering graduate he is always compelled to the technology and tries to discover new trends in the tech world. Along with any tech news he also never misses a single episode of ‘Dragon Ball’.

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