Most Functional, Popular JavaScript Frameworks of 2018

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The tech world is making progress in JavaScript at breakneck speed, as it continues to be one of the most highly favored platforms among developers and businesses. Due to its popularity, there is an abundance of JavaScript technologies, tools, environments, frameworks and libraries out there right now. There are currently over 1 million projects on GitHub alone that can be linked to web and app development. JavaScript is used as a scripting and query language for many relevant database management systems like MongoDB and CouchDB. It is a top choice for designing vibrant interfaces, creating engaging web applications with a variety of features/functions, and making changes to page content in real time, etc. One of the most exceptional qualities of JavaScript frameworks is that it provides a suitable, reliable architecture for single page app development. Hence, developers can complete the project more quickly by remaining focused on the design and features of the interface elements rather than the skeleton of the single page app. There are a number of other advantages to using JavaScript in project development such as:

  • Overhead expenses – Not only is there a very active community around JavaScript framework development, but most of these projects are open source and free to use. This helps programmers create custom solutions at a lower cost.
  • Increased Productivity – The inbuilt functions and patterns provide programmers with a faster and easier alternative to spend time on long pieces of redundant code.
  • Security – Most of the top-rated JavaScript frameworks have acquired high-end security. Moreover, due to the vast communities involved in JavaScript framework development, the system is actively tested by members and users.

However, due to this very incredible diversity of JavaScript ecosystem of technologies it can be very confusing, especially for beginners, to pick a platform to go with. If that’s the case, then this post should serve as a comprehensive guide of the top JavaScript frameworks in 2018.

AngularJS and Angular 2

For a long time, Google’s AngularJS remained the most used JavaScript framework among web developers, providing a solid base foundation web application and single page application (SPA) development. It is an MVW (Model-View-Whatever) Framework, which offered – fast application development, seamless code integration as well as unit testing options – due to its high-tech development and design features. Moreover, AngularJS’s two-way data binding allows for the changes in the model to be reflected by the view and vice versa, and it extends HTML capabilities so that by linking a controller to the HTML code, programmers will need less coding time. Its dependency injection proves to be a very useful feature for testing the application UI.

However, the JavaScript community is gradually transitioning to Angular 2, which is an entirely different framework from Angular 1.x. Angular 2 framework is written entirely in TypeScript, but it provides more choice of language from ES5, ES6 or Dart to write application code. Angular2 also offers mobile support and has libraries (i.e. Native Script) that allow faster mobile app development. There are major architectural changes and others in Angular 2 such as:

  • One-way data binding (while retaining two-way data binding by using ngModel)
  • Controllers and $Scope replaced
  • Component-based UI
  • Improved DI ( e.g. child injectors introduced)
  • New Event Syntax to take user input
  • Ng-app attribute ditched for bootstrapping (which is platform specific), to call application
  • It comes with all basic and necessary libraries installed, but still requires many services, directives and filters to be imported. This can be a plus since it gives programmer more control over the resources required for application.

There are numerous other upgrades and benefits to using Angular 2.

Ember.js

Ember is another old, open source JavaScript framework that still has a large online community, due to which it gets regular updates and new features. Developers with a preference for the convention-over-configuration model favor Ember (despite being an opinionated framework) for its simplicity and focus on code productivity. Moreover, Ember.js is easier to learn and there is an abundance of online tutorials as well as guides for it.

Although, typically used for single-page application development, Ember is also great for designing complex, large-scale applications and websites that offer a lot of features. Other properties of Ember include:

  • Model-View-View Model (MVVM) framework
  • Two-way data binding
  • Handlebars based templates are in sync with the data changes
  • Great backwards compatibility
  • The Ember router handles URL translation into a series of nested templates that are associated with your application’s pages. Depending on the URL, the router is also responsible for determining which template should be rendered on the page, the controllers it should be connected to, and the particular model represented by the controller.

When Ember is used alongside Ruby on Rails, it provides developers with more flexibility and an opportunity to get more creative with their code in order to design highly interactive web apps.

Vue.js

Vue is was created by Evan You, who brought together the most useful features from his previous project,  AngularJs, into this self-proclaimed library which can be integrated with additional tools to perform framework-related operations. Meanwhile, other developers have defined Vue as a progressive framework that is faster and features a minimal core in comparison to React or Angular 2.0. It is praised by developers for being a highly adaptable software stack that is great for quick, cross-platform development and setting up sleek SPAs where performance is of priority. Going deeper into other features, Vue offers:

  • Two-way data binding (just like AngularJS)
  • Server-side rendering
  • A great project scaffolding in the form of Vue-Cli
  • Core library that is heavily focused on the view layer, which can be used in combination with other libraries – or it can be integrated with existing projects to further refine them.
  • Templating in terms of parsable (enhanced) HTML by binding the rendered DOM to the instance data.

With additional tools, developers can handle routing, animations, and much more.

React

React is a JavaScript library built by Facebook developers that is used for building high-performance front-end interfaces. Due to its nature, React it focuses on the View part of the MVC framework, which makes it easier to implement the uni-directional reactive data flow approach and create UI components that can manage their states. To achieve full effect of the MVC architecture, a Flux based approach for building application architecture can be used.

React is among the pioneers libraries to first offer developers a virtual DOM to render. The in-memory structure maps out differences between the virtual and actual DOM to determine the minimum number of operation required to update the page. The operations are carried out in form of batches. Some other plus points and qualities of React include:

  • Light-weight, fast and flexible framework
  • Notable SEO performance
  • Simpler JSX
  • Good documentation and abundance of online resources as well as tutorials
  • Efficient component model (e.g. easy to manage isolated components)
  • Easy to comprehend and straight-forward app development (due to one-way data flow and simple display logic)
  • React components are re-useable for other applications and they can even be made open source.

Around 38% of developers are using the React library to build dynamic web applications that are likely to receive high traffic.

Conclusion

These are just some of the more popular options available right now. Due to JavaScript being labeled the future of web development, there are vast other number of JavaScript technologies due to which it can be tricky to choose the right JavaScript framework for your project. While features are important they should not hog all of the attention when picking a framework of your choice. Focus should also go to the primary business goals, requirements of the project, framework functionalities and their application.

Author Bio:

Asad Ali is a digital marketing expert with an extensive experience of 7 years in SEO & conversion optimization. He is currently working at Go-Gulf Dubai that is a prominent web development company. You can reach him on Linkedin.

 

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