Best JavaScript Frameworks :: The portal of the largest rankings on the Internet!

The 10 Best JavaScript Frameworks

JavaScript Framework
1 Angular JS Essentially an open-source JavaScript framework for easy web development, Angular JS is actively used by a large majority of developers for creation of both desktop as well as mobile web applications. The framework is based on the MVVM and MVC application framework. Not only does it prove helpful in app creation for desktops and mobiles, it also facilitates easy testing of all such apps.

Its user interface (UI) is well synchronized with JavaScript objects through two-way data binding. This also enables declaration of dynamic views inside the web apps. Angular JS can be extended and used with the other JavaScript libraries too. This facility proves to be highly useful for the needs of different developers as they can add all kinds of functionalities to their creations. Furthermore, it provides reusable components, directives, local aware filters, all of which help in creation of many useful components.

Other than the above, Angular JS has many tools for powering the backend, for instance, deep linking, server communication and form validation. With the help of these, you can even add various controls such as plain, controller and data binding JavaScripts. Angular JS is used by a large number of popular organizations and websites including NBC, Wolfram Alpha, Sprint and Intel. It’s an integral part of the MEAN stack (Mongo DB, Express.JS, Angular JS and Node JS) as well.

The framework is very well documented, is highly popular with over 57,000 stars on Github (at the time of writing this piece) and has around 1600 contributors. A quick visit to Stack Overflow would tell you that it has around 250,000 questions tagged under its name!

More information:
2 Ember.js Another highly popular open-source JavaScript web development framework, Ember.js is based on the MVVM (Model – View – ViewModel) framework. Other than being extremely useful for development of web applications, Ember.js is also extensively used for development of mobile and desktop apps. Some of the popular websites developed using this JavaScript framework include Yahoo, Twitch, Groupon, Vine, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Netflix to name a few. Ember Inspector, Data Layer, Templating Engine, Routing and Ember CLI are some of the most prominent features that make it stand out from the competition.

It’s also updated pretty frequently, ensuring that the developers stay on top of the latest technological advancements. You can access detailed documentation related to this JavaScript framework on its official website. Apart from that, many books and tutorials are also available to help developers find their way around this framework.

Ember.js had close to 19,000 stars and around 700 contributors on GitHub at the time of writing this piece. Furthermore, there were over 22,000 questions tagged under its name on Stack Overflow.

More information:
3 Angular Many developers are of the opinion that Angular JS and Angular have only one thing in common - their name! Angular is a typescript based web development framework that makes the development of even the most complex web applications quicker and easier. It can be used for developing both desktop and mobile apps. When using Angular, you can be assured of all the latest features as it is updated pretty frequently. Angular has gained quite a large user base in a short span of time. It’s different from Angular JS in various ways. Some of the well-known and highly useful features of Angular include router lift cycle events for resolvers and guards, HTTP clients making HTTP requests and more.

Other than that, there are many different features which facilitate efficient web development. Angular 5 has introduced more amazing features to Angular users such as material design improvements, introduction of build optimizer and support for progressive applications. As per Google (the people behind Angular and Angular JS), developers can expect at least two updates to this useful JavaScript framework per year. Like Angular JS, this one also forms an integral part of the MEAN stack.

Not only do you get access to proper documentation for Angular, there are also many different books and tutorials available for the same on the Internet. There are around 30,000 stars for it on GitHub, apart from 500+ contributions. Close to 80,000 questions are tagged under Angular on Stack Overflow!

More information:
4 React JS Maintained by the likes of Instagram, Facebook and their developer community, React JS has quickly made rapid inroads into the front-end developer communities everywhere. It has evolved as a robust JavaScript framework whose simple views (for each state of the application) can even be used for development of extremely large web application user interfaces. Other than that, it’s also extensively utilized for development of mobile apps. All in all, it offers optimum performance and a very simple programming model.

One of the most loved aspects of this JavaScript framework is that the views of only those specific components are rendered and updated whose data has been changed. This greatly facilitates and provides web applications with the simplicity and quickness required for their optimum functioning, and enhances their scalability.

The framework is based on the declarative views methodology which ensures that the code stays easy to debug and easy to understand. Another frequently talked about and highly useful feature of this framework is that you can easily add new features without having to rewrite the already existing code.

There is proper documentation available to help developers learn React JS technology fairly easily and quickly. Other than that, you can access a large number of tutorials on the Internet, enabling you to master this framework with great ease. As React JS utilizes Virtual DOM, it significantly improves the performance of applications (since Virtual DOM is much faster compared to the regular DOM).

Not to forget, React JS has a massive developer community behind it too. The framework has scored an impressive 80,000+ stars on GitHub, apart from 1000+ contributors. There are around 63,000 questions tagged under its name on Stack Overflow.

More information:
5 Meteor.js One of the most interesting aspects of Meteor is that it was widely perceived as a stillborn JavaScript framework at the time of its release. No one had any detailed information about this framework even long after it was made public in the year 2012. However, Meteor.js gained tremendous recognition over a period of time and continues to expand its community.

While many might call it a JavaScript framework, if looked at closely, it’s actually a full-stack platform with database management, server and various tools for efficient front-end and back-end development. Regardless, Meteor is best suited for real-time applications such as Viber, Slack etc. In fact, it must have been named Meteor for some very good reasons! Any changes made to the database get transmitted to the user interface almost instantly, without any latency arising from different languages, late server reply and so on. In addition, it covers the entire development cycle, which is an excellent feature.

Meteor.js utilizes Node.js as its foundation and uses its own repository of library and packages – Atmosphere.js. You must definitely give Meteor a shot if you’re keen on developing a real-time messenger or chat application.

More information:
6 Vue.JS Imagine Angular and React JS having a baby - that’s how Vue.js can be best described! It combines the most efficient and operated features of Angular and React, that is: server side rendering, optional JSX support, two-way data binding and Vue CLI. Just like other well-known JavaScript frameworks, this one also has a fairly large developer base throughout the world. It’s commonly used everywhere for development of user interfaces, and makes web development quicker and easier.

Anyone can develop high-end web applications using Vue even if he/she has just basic knowledge of JavaScript, CSS and HTML. Not only does it help you power advanced-level single-page applications, should you require addition of complex and high-end features to it, even that can be done with the assistance of supported packages and libraries. Implementing time-travel debugging, hot-reloading, declarative UI, components etc. become a breeze with Vue.

Few of the most complicated features which can be implemented using Vue are: state management, routing and build tooling. As it utilizes HTML-based template syntax, the rendered DOM can be easily binded in the Vue’s instance data. The reactivity system of Vue aids easy updation of states and views. As it constantly keeps track of the reactive dependencies, it can quickly get to know which components must be re-rendered and when.

Furthermore, you can easily apply, remove or update many different transition effects. The framework can help you carry out various tasks such as integration of third-party CSS, manipulation of DOM during the transition hooks (with JavaScript), using JavaScript animation libraries and much more.

Vue.JS is very well documented and you can access plenty of resources on the Internet to learn more about it. The framework has close to 75,000 stars on GitHub and over 150 contributors, indicating that it is definitely in good hands and is frequently updated.

More information:
7 Aurelia.js Aurelia is a client-side JavaScript framework that features focused modules and is backed by Blue Spire (the developer) for web, desktop and mobile applications. It guarantees excellent memory efficiency and quick rendering.

You get access to Aurelia modules for templating, metadata, routing, binding and dependency injection. It efficiently integrates the web components and provides two-way data binding to the objects. Majority of the Aurelia code has been written using plain JavaScript. Some of its prominent features are:
– Dynamic loading support
– Polymer library integration for easy development of reusable web components
– Using a dependency injection container to develop a coupled code, for the purpose of unit testing
– Availability of an HTML compiler for creation of custom elements and addition of attributes to them
– Bindables’ inheritance inside the templating engine, for facilitating component inheritance situations
– Aurelia Command Line Interface (CLI) that offers an option for developing new projects; it requires Git, NPM 3 and Node 4 (or higher)
– Support for languages like CoffeeScript, AtScript, TypeScript, ES5, ES6 and ES7
– Support for web components which can be easily exported to other projects without any issues

Designed on a module-like web development framework, Aurelia offers many huge and small libraries which can be utilised either individually or as a combination, depending on the type of application you are designing.

More information:
8 Backbone.JS Yet another popular JavaScript web development framework, Backbone.JS facilitates efficient client-side app development. It is based on MVP (Model View Presenter) framework. Considering the fact that Backbone.JS communication is event-based, the resultant code is cleaner, easier to maintain, less complicated and nicer compared to others.

As it is an open-source framework, you get access to over 100 extensions that can significantly improve the functionality of your web applications. There is a huge multitude of web applications that employ Backbone.JS, the most commonly known ones being Hulu, SoundCloud, Digg and Airbnb, among many others.

The models constitute the web applications’ structural framework, in combination with key value binding, rich APIs, declarative event handling and many other features. The existing APIs can even be connected over the RESTful JSON interface.

A large amount of credit for Backbone.JS’ popularity can be given to its easy-to-understand usability modules and the straightforward learning curve. With Backbone.JS you can easily create efficient single-page applications using some of the most conventional web development libraries. Backbone.JS has been created with the idea that all server side functions must flow through an API, so as to minimize the code quantity that needs composition, to accomplish the same kind of functionality as some of the more sophisticated frameworks.

The framework is very well-documented, facilitating quick learning and easy development of web apps. Apart from that, there are multiple online resources from where you can learn more about web development with Backbone.JS. The framework has over 25,000 stars on GitHub and 296 contributors.

More information:
9 Mithril This one’s an MVC framework which like React JS makes use of virtual DOM rather than a regular DOM. This ability enables the developers to enhance the performance ability of their applications that are specifically created for real-time interactive communication with the users.

Developers can also make use of some amazing Mithril utilities that aid asynchronous event handling. An important distinguishing factor of this popular JavaScript framework is that it has its own router (responsible for binding the software components to a specific address in the web browser), Web services (for processing online requests) and controller.

Additionally, Mithril is actively supported by a great multitude of web browsers including Internet Explorer 9 and all its mobile versions. Furthermore, its component independence is one of its main characteristics, ensuring that if required, the developer can easily connect any external tools without facing any problems.

More information:
10 Svelte Developed by Richard Harris, Svelte positions itself as a magically disappearing UI framework! If everything goes right, Svelte is all set to gradually transform JavaScript frameworks into JavaScript compilers!

JavaScript framework as a JavaScript compiler is exactly what Svelte is all about. Going by the details available in its introductory blog post, you write components using JavaScript, CSS and HTML (and a few more things that can be learnt within five minutes). However, during the build process this framework-cum-compiler compiles them and gives them the form of small standalone JavaScript modules. By carrying out statistical analysis on the component template, it can be ensured that the web browser doesn’t need to do much work.

As is the case with majority of other new-age JavaScript frameworks, Svelte also features a component-based architecture, quite like Vue.js. You must be aware that a component is nothing but an HTML file which can be easily imported into an application.

Rather than focusing its energies on the reinvention of wheel, the Svelte templates are built on foundations – JavaScript, CSS and HTML, which have proven their mettle over a period of time. It’s extremely quick, even quicker than React, Mithril, Ember, Angular or anything else out there! What more, it gives Inferno a run for its money!

Regardless of the benchmarking intricacies, Svelte is extremely fast, especially when it comes to app start-up. It’s also apparently much ahead of the rest in terms of its approach.

More information:

A bit about JavaScript

Easily the most popular programming language for the web, JavaScript is normally used in combination with CSS and HTML. It’s extremely useful in designing interactive websites as it enables you to program the way websites should behave. Few of the most commonly known uses of JavaScript are its utilization for server data submissions through Ajax without having to reload the page, application of animation effects to the web page elements, transmission of website users’ behaviors, validation of user inputs, creation of interactive content such as video, audio, games and more.

JavaScript is also often used for designing computer interfaces, real-time modification of webpages, addition of functionalities to the web applications and many more similar tasks. While during its earlier days, it was commonly used for client side purposes, within the web browsers, nowadays, it is seen being used on the server side, databases and in web servers as well. What more, many developers are actively using JavaScript for creation of mobile apps too!

What are JavaScript frameworks?

A JavaScript framework is essentially a type of application framework that has been written using JavaScript. JavaScript web frameworks are used for making the process of web application development cheaper, quicker and easier. When using JavaScript frameworks, the developers don’t have to worry about the structure of the code, or its maintenance, and hence it saves them a lot of time. They can instead focus their energies on complex interface elements, thereby improving the site’s functionality. Furthermore, using a JavaScript framework ensures that you can easily fix any problem immediately, without wasting any time.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that JavaScript was named among the best programming languages by IBM in the year 2017.

Please note, developing large scale web applications can be a very complex affair and therefore it becomes very important to select the right framework to support the task.

Frameworks are not the same as libraries

It’s very crucial to understand that JavaScript framework is different from JavaScript library in terms of its control flow. While a JavaScript library provides functions that can be called by the parent code, the framework is responsible for the definition of entire application design. As a developer, you are not required to call a framework; rather it’s the JavaScript framework that would call and make use of the code in a certain way.

At the very basic level, a JavaScript framework and a JavaScript library are different from each other in terms of Inversion of Control. To explain it better, when your code calls a particular function from the JavaScript library, it’s the code which is in control, however, when it comes to JavaScript framework, this control gets inverted, meaning that the JS framework code calls your code.

As JavaScript libraries have a narrow scope, their APIs are comparatively smaller and have fewer dependencies. On the other hand, JavaScript frameworks are wider in scope, and usually include all things necessary for making the applications up and running with a number of interdependencies.

Simply put, a JavaScript library answers the question ‘What?’ whereas a JavaScript framework is more of an answer to ‘How?’

Some of the JavaScript frameworks available out there are based on the Model - View - Controller paradigm, designed specifically for segregation of a web app into orthogonal units, thereby improving the quality and maintainability of the code. Ember.js and Angular JS are excellent examples of this.

Benefits of JavaScript frameworks

Some prominent benefits of JavaScript frameworks are:
Cost – As majority of JavaScript frameworks are open source in nature, they prove very helpful for the programmers in quick creation of custom apps. This significantly reduces the overall cost of web development.
Security – The applications and websites developed with the help of JavaScript frameworks have robust security forms and features, made available by large forums whose users and members also serve as testers.
Efficiency – Projects that sometimes take several months and hundreds of lines of code can be developed and completed far quickly with the help of organized and prebuilt functions, objects and libraries.

How to pick the right JavaScript framework?

Identify your requirements

Although it might seem like an obvious activity, sitting down and jotting exactly what kind of a vision you have for your web application will enable you to better understand the things you must look for in a framework. For instance, you must start by penning down your thoughts on the kind of user interface you require and the expected business workflow levels. Would you need to regularly communicate with the external systems? Will there be any data storage options? Are there any expected inward integrations? What about the tenant-specific responses, versioning, APIs etc.?

Once you have everything listed out clearly, go ahead with an abstraction round, allocating certain keywords to each one of them, for instance, Templates, Adapters, Services, Multi-tenant, Cache, Queues, Workflows, Two-way data binding etc. Hope you get the drift.

Creating such a keyword list would prove to be very handy as it will enable you to window shop for different JavaScript frameworks, before settling for the ultimate one.

Window shopping for the best

You can further narrow down your list of potential frameworks by finding answers to some important questions under the below-detailed categories:

Configurability and feature richness
– What percentage of the above-created keywords are catered to in the framework?
– Are there optional features which can be excluded for reducing the shipped code’s volume?
– How many different options are available for configuring the native flows and for fine-tuning based on the needed context?

Support and industry adoption
– Who’s behind the project, that is who and when would be onboarding, and what kind of projects would it be for?
– How mature is the support and official documentation?
– What do people think about the concerned framework, in different technical forums?

Productivity and developer experience
– What kind of a learning curve will be there for developers?
– Is the framework too opinionated, heavily based on some yet-to-evolve standards?
– What kind of support is available for continuous testing, development and integration?

Dependencies and code complexity
– Open any of the .js files of the framework and randomly go through the code. Observe how it’s written and try tweaking it a bit for any specific scenarios.
– Go through the published API documentation and refer to the code’s embedded developer notes. It would give you a good understanding if all such plumbing activity makes any sense or not.
– When scanning through the documentation and code, try looking for any embedded dependent libraries within the code itself and external dependencies’ published list. The lesser they are, the better it would be.

Extensibility and the roadmap for the future
– Understanding the would-be state of a framework in the future is extremely important. There’s usually a lot that remains undone when anyone writes such framework. You must refer to the published roadmap (if there is one) as well as any to-do lists under the hood.
– Try visualizing any scenarios wherein you’d need to incorporate any special libraries, for instance, device communication, captcha, maps integration etc.
– Considering the fact that technology changes so fast, a JavaScript framework that is incapable of evolving and integrating new technologies without impacting the old ones, cannot be considered a safe bet. You must seek out extensibility hooks within the framework’s overall execution pipeline - the more they are, the better it would be for you.

A proper evaluation based on the above five categories would help you zero-in on a JavaScript framework that would fit well for you based on almost all your parameters.

Once you start hitting the limitations of a framework and wish to go beyond what the chosen framework was meant to do for you, it would be the magic keyword ‘flexibility’ that would come to your rescue. The flexibility of a framework in terms of replacement of its individual components can go a long way in fulfilling your long-term needs. Hence, you must give ‘flexibility’ some extra weightage while coming to a final decision about a JavaScript framework.