We’ve already reviewed the top 100 programming languages out there, so it made sense that we went for the top 100 development frameworks now. Today’s development landscape is impossible to explain without talking about frameworks, essential components of any developer’s daily routine. We could even say that software development has come as far as it has because of the proliferation of frameworks.
So, we thought we should review the best and most popular software development frameworks out there and add some other interesting frameworks out there. Of course, we are aware that creating a list like this always ends up being controversial. There’ll be people that will say that we forgot about a particular framework. There’ll be others that will say that some of these can’t be considered frameworks. We may even miss one framework that’s very popular in a specific niche.
Thus, we should say that this isn’t an exhaustive list nor it aspires to be one. We just wanted to review the different frameworks that help us develop here at BairesDev – and then some. Also, keep in mind that the order in which we put these doesn’t have anything to do with their popularity or usefulness. We just listed them as we remembered them.
What Is a Software Development Framework?
A framework is a platform that you can use to build applications. It provides the foundation for developers to create their software as it necessarily imposes an architectural paradigm and even includes a development philosophy. You might not care for anything that imposes you something but in the case of frameworks, that imposition is a huge advantage.
How come? Because frameworks include predefined elements (like classes and functions) that can handle common software tasks like processing input and interacting with systems. Having those readily-available components makes it easier for developers to build new applications, as they don’t have to rewrite code that they already have at their disposal. This streamlines the development process, making it quicker and more efficient.
What Does a Framework Include?
Though the components vary from framework to framework, there are certain elements that are common to all of them. The main one is the logic within the frameworks themselves, as all of them provide architectural structures that predefine how the different parts of an application will work together.
That logical foundation is both the framework’s key imposition and the biggest benefit we’ve mentioned before. Additionally, any framework also provides you with the following:
- Generic functionality
- Built-in solutions to common development tasks and routines
- Code structures
- Development philosophy
All of that may have you wondering whether a framework is the same as a library. It’s not. While a library also provides you with pre-written functionalities and code structures, the difference is that developers use a library when they feel the need to, while frameworks control what the developers can or can’t do (because of all that imposition thing).
How to Choose a Development Framework
As you’ll surely see once you dive into the list of the top 100 development frameworks below, there are many, oh-so-many frameworks out there that seem to offer the same things to do the same work. Thus, we have an overabundant quantity of frameworks that make it hard to pick the right one for a particular project.
So, how can you choose the one that better suits you when most of them address the same basic needs? Well, it obviously depends on what you are trying to build – there are web development frameworks, data science frameworks, mobile frameworks, and so on. After narrowing down the number of frameworks through that, it’s important to consider the expertise you can count on. In other words, if your company’s development team are master developers in Python, you should obviously work with a Python framework.
That will filter out a lot of options but won’t help you in making the final choice. So what would your safest bet be when doing it? Try to find other projects that are similar to yours and check which frameworks did the developers use to build them. Doing that will provide you a clearer example of what you can achieve with a particular framework and help you decide if a particular alternative is your best choice.
Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, it’s time to get to the list. To make it a little more organized, we’ve divided the frameworks into different groups according to the kind of projects they are better suited for.
Web Application Frameworks
Angular is one of the most popular web development frameworks in the market – and for good reason. Created by Google, this client-side TypeScript-based framework follows the MVC pattern, which provides you with a reliable and fast way to develop single web applications, ranging from simple apps to sophisticated solutions with millions of users.
Angular is a modular and scalable framework that, given that it’s based on web components standard, allows you to encapsulate individual custom HTML elements you can later reuse at your will. Additionally, Angular is open source, which means you’ll have enough flexibility to tackle your projects with it, and a huge community with many available resources you can turn for help.
- ASP.NET/ASP.NET Core
Anyone looking for superior performance should look in Microsoft’s direction. That’s because the Redmond giant has two great web development frameworks in ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core. The former is a great option to extend .NET’s basic functionality with tools and libraries that boost your web development capabilities with features like code completion, multi-factor authentication, and web-page templating syntax.
ASP.NET Core, for its part, is a redesign of earlier Windows-only versions of ASP.NET – and an open-source alternative at that. Both ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core are great for web developers building modern web and services and use Windows, Linux, macOS, or Docker to do so.
A minimalist and unopinionated framework that’s part of the popular MEAN stack, Express is the de facto server framework for Node.js. That surely has to do with two of its most notable characteristics: how minimal it is and how powerful it can be (through plugins). And if you add to that the fact that Express has a remarkable performance, you can understand why Express is such a top framework.
Its set of features and the various HTTP utility methods it provides make it a great alternative for two major purposes. First, express is widely used to create web and mobile applications. And second, it’s an unbeatable ally for anyone developing robust APIs, since it allows them to do so in a quick and easy way.
At its most basic level, Vue is fantastic to build user interfaces. But if you combine it with modern tooling and supporting libraries, you can also use it to create complex and sophisticated Single-Page Applications.
Since its release in 2003, Spring has quickly become one of the most widely used Java frameworks, mainly because it can help you create high-performing, lightweight, and reusable code. Though it’s not precisely a web framework per se (you can use its POJO development approach to build anything you want), it has become a good option to develop web apps on top of the Java EE.
Its use in web development comes from its own MCV, which the Spring developers included in the framework to overcome the shortcomings of Struts and other popular alternatives.
Django markets itself as the “web framework for perfectionists with deadlines” mainly because it offers versatile features for quick development cycles. It does so by using Python, which allows this high-level framework to focus on the reusability of all the components you build. Besides, Django allows you to use less code, mainly because of its focus on the “don’t repeat yourself” principle.
Apart from using one of the most widely used programming languages out there, Django is a developer’s favorite because of the increasing security level it provides your apps right out of the box. Also, this framework is highly flexible and scalable, which allows you to easily build web apps in no time regardless of their complexity.
Flask is another highly-popular Python framework, yet it offers a different approach to Django. In fact, instead of enforcing dependencies or project layouts, Flask offers suggestions. Ultimately, you, as the developer, have the ability to choose the tools and libraries you want to use in your projects and applications.
That’s the main reason why Flask is considered a microframework – it doesn’t provide common functionalities with pre-built libraries. You only add the extensions you need for the web development project at hand, which keeps things small, lightweight, and easily manageable, advantages that can be a charm for certain developers.
Laravel sees itself as a PHP framework for web artisans and it mostly delivers on that promise. Boasting an expressive and elegant syntax, this framework combines some of the most useful from other popular web frameworks like Rails and Sinatra. Based on Symfony, Laravel uses an MVC pattern and provides a comprehensive set of tools you can use to build large and robust applications.
Thus, you can use Laravel to simplify your web development by using its built-in capabilities for authentication, caching, sessions, and routing, among others. Besides, you can use its integrated unit testing support to make sure all your apps are up to the challenge.
- Ruby on Rails
Most commonly known as RoR or simply Rails, this server-side web development MVC framework is a highly influential one. That’s because Rails is a very innovative framework that has pioneered useful features like migrations and seamless database table creation, setting web development standards used today by many other frameworks.
Thanks to its object-oriented nature and its focus on data safety, tool integration, and innovation, Rails is the choice of many web developers that want to build custom platforms, ecommerce stores, SaaS systems, and APIs.
Symfony developers like to say that this is more than a web application framework. To them, Symfony is a set of PHP components, a framework, a philosophy, and a community. Aside from the fact that all frameworks have a philosophy and a community, the components are an important part of Symfony, as the framework is built on top of them. Basically, components are decoupled and reusable components on which apps are built.
So, Symfony is a collection of those components you can use to develop applications and websites in PHP. It offers good performance and helps you come up with well-structured, maintainable, and scalable code.
Some might rush to point out that Gatsby is more like a site generator than a framework. While that may hold some truth to it, the thing is we see Gatsby as being closer to a modern frontend framework, which is the reason why we’ve included it here. This React-based tool has all the features you need to build modern websites, including plugins to integrate highly popular services and “recipes” to automate common web tasks.
Gatsby works fairly straightforwardly. You code your site and it transforms it into a directory with a single HTML file that you can later upload to a server to get your website running. Besides, it helps you by applying preconfigured options to provide you with fast page loads, server-side rendering, data prefetching, and other very useful features.
Though Ruby developers will say that Rails is vastly superior, Sinatra is another interesting framework to keep in mind when developing web apps with said language. Yes, even when it feels closer to a library than to a framework, Sinatra can still qualify as one, mainly because you can use its pre-written methods and abstractions to build simple Ruby-based applications. We could say, in fact, that Sinatra is a lightweight framework that feels like the perfect gateway to learning about Ruby web apps.
That doesn’t mean that Sinatra is a good learning tool just for beginners. It’s a good alternative for projects that call for more flexibility, as Sinatra lays the responsibility of your app’s structure and communication on you – which can be a challenge but also a blessing.
You could say that CakePHP is almost like a direct child of Ruby on Rails, mainly because this web framework has been modeled after RoR’s concepts. It uses the MVC pattern and provides you with everything you need to build your web applications, including features like database access, authentication, and caching.
CakePHP lets you build quickly by using code generation and scaffolding, which is great to create prototypes fast. And since this framework follows a set of predefined conventions, you can be sure it’ll guide you throughout development towards a successful product that not just performs well but that’s also highly secure.
Horde surely doesn’t top anyone’s list of best development frameworks but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful in its own right. This is another PHP-based framework that provides you with many elements for quick web development, including authentication, compression, connection tracking, and MIME handling.
While Horde is a little more “codey” than other frameworks in this list, it’s quite effective when dealing with groupware projects, especially for bulk email, calendar, and task list applications.
Yii is a high-performance PHP framework to develop modern web apps quickly. It uses the MVC pattern and it allows you to use it for full-stack development through its ready-to-use features, including multi-tier caching, RESTful API support, and query builders. Focused mainly on high performance, Yii helps you write simple and elegant syntax to ensure your applications always run at the top of their game.
Yii is a generic framework, which means that you can use it to develop any PHP application you want. However, it’s worth noting that it’s especially useful for large-scale applications, especially web-based portals, ecommerce stores, and CMS systems.
Zend (also known as Zend Framework or ZF) is more like a collection of PHP packages that you can use through Composer as a package dependency manager. It has the MVC pattern and allows you to develop web applications through object-oriented code that supports a wide range of language features.
Zend is a highly performance-oriented framework that’s enterprise-ready. That means that you can use it to develop high-usage apps for critical business processes without worrying about its efficiency. Best of all, Zend is a very secure framework, as it follows the best and latest security practices.
Zikula is a web development framework written in PHP that you can use to build robust and secure websites and web apps that have a strong focus on interactivity and collaboration. This framework is entirely modular, object-oriented, and based on Symfony, which means that’s highly stable and extensible.
In fact, you can use different types of extensions to build everything from simple one-page sites to powerful web applications. Thus, using Zikula you can enjoy features to quicken up your development times, including categorization, events, and AJAX support.
You can use it to simplify the development of informative web pages, as it allows you to easily customize the frontend and ensure that the web’s components are displayed in the same way across web browsers. And then there are Bootstrap’s layout components that you can accommodate to your requirements.
Grails is a web application development framework that uses Apache Groovy (hence, indirectly uses Java) whose main focus is providing a development environment that reduces the number of decisions you have to make when developing without losing flexibility. It does this by combining several things, including opinionated APIs, sensible defaults, and, most notably, a convention-over-configuration approach.
Play is a web application framework based on Java and Scala that brings APIs and components together to simplify your web development. It’s a full-stack framework, which means that you’ll find all the web apps and REST services you need for your project, including a routing mechanism, an integrated HTTP server, and form handling. It also comes with hot reloading, which means you can easily see the output of your code by refreshing it.
One of the biggest benefits of using Play is that its resulting applications have a very low resource consumption, thanks to the framework’s lightweight, stateless, and web-friendly architecture. What’s more – Play’s apps can also scale both horizontally and vertically, thanks to its reactive model.
Web2py is a web application framework written in Python that was originally designed as a teaching tool. Though it evolved from there, that origin provided two of its most notable features – its ease of use and the absence of project-level configuration files. This leads to Web2py being a great option for you if you are in need of a framework for rapid development with a convention-over-configuration approach.
As a result, Web2py allows you to develop scalable and secure database-driven web-based applications in a fast way. Another thing that’s worth mentioning about this framework is that it works through a web-based IDE, which means that you can create, deploy, and manage your apps from anywhere in the world just by using your browser.
Lumen’s website greets its visitors by saying that this micro web framework is “decidedly Laravel” and “ delightfully minimal” which is a perfect way to describe it. That’s because this definitely-micro framework based on PHP allows you to build Laravel microservices and fast APIs very easily.
Lumen also gives you enough power for your development needs, as you’ll be able to leverage Laravel features such as caching, routing, and the service container practically without configuration. And the best thing about it is that you can scale up your Lumen project at any time just by taking the code to a Laravel installation and take it from there.
Yet another Python-based web framework, TurboGear uses the MVC pattern that starts as a microframework and can quickly scale up to a full-stack solution. In other words, you can use it through a minimal mode that can highly simplify your tasks in simpler projects but you can change it to a more complete mode at any time to meet increasing requirements.
TurboGears boasts a flexible ORM, supports multiple data-exchange formats, and has built-in extensibility through pluggable applications and WSGI components. Overall, it’s a great choice for you to tackle any kind of project, especially given its designer-friendly template system.
Phalcon is another PHP web framework that uses the MVC pattern but that it’s implemented as a web server extension. This allows it to boost its execution speed, limit its resource consumption, and handle a considerable amount of HTTP requests. This all means that Phalcon is a good alternative for projects where performance is of utmost importance.
This full-stack framework doesn’t need you to know C to use it. You’ll interact with PHP classes through the Phalcon namescapes, all of which are ready to use. Besides, Phalco is loosely coupled, which means that you’ll only use the components you need, something that streamlines the code and provides better overall performance for your applications.
FuelPHP was born out of a simple yet powerful idea – to build a PHP web application framework that takes the best ideas out of other frameworks to build a more powerful alternative. As such, FuelPHP aims to be community-driven, meaning that the framework has many contributors that collaborate with its development, spotting and fixing bugs and adding new features.
One of the most important features you’ll find in FuelPHP is that is an MVC framework with full support for HMVC, which allows for the “widgetization” of content structures. This is a highly useful feature, as relieves you from having to duplicate and switch layouts or from creating your own widgets to display specific pieces of content across multiple pages.
This is a simple Java and Kotlin web application microframework whose main goal is rapid development by providing you with expressive syntax that keeps the boilerplate to a minimum. In fact, Spark allows you to leverage the power of the JVM without having to dive into verbose code.
What’s more, Spark is a great alternative for microservices, since it can help you create your REST APIs and ready to serve JSON in just a couple of lines. And that’s not all, it also supports template engines to create both backend and frontend applications in a flash.
Python developers have another nice web application framework in Grok, an alternative that’s great for both beginners and veterans. That’s because it has the Zope Toolkit at its core, which is an advanced set of libraries that provides you with anything you might need to tackle projects of varying complexity.
In a sense, you can see Grok as being a package of building blocks you can combine to come up with your web applications. That means you won’t have to edit configuration files or go through painful development processes – you just have to take advantage of the built-in features to quickly build what you have in mind.
As its own creator says, Mojolicious is a fresh take on Perl web development. The comment isn’t gratuitous, as those responsible for this web application framework are the same that created Catalyst. The idea was to take everything he learned with Catalyst to come up with a new framework capable of tackling both simple and complex web apps.
The result is there for you to see – Mojolicious is a real-time framework that lets you grow your prototypes from their single files into large MVC web applications. It provides you with routes, commands, plugins, templates, testing frameworks, first-class Unicode support, and many other features. And you can even extend it through third-party extensions for increased power.
- Fat-Free Framework
As its name suggests, Fat-Free Framework is a super lightweight PHP microframework that wants to help you build dynamic web apps as quickly as possible. To do so, it includes a fully-featured toolkit, a mature code base, and a very simple approach to writing applications. The best thing about it is that getting started with the Fat-Free Framework is very straightforward, as you don’t need to go through complicated configurations or directory structures.
Now, the fact that this is a microframework doesn’t necessarily translate into limitations. In fact, the Fat-Free Framework is very powerful under the hood. That’s because it includes a multiprotocol cache engine, URL routing, and built-in code highlighting, among many other things.
Wicket is a component-oriented, server-side web application framework that allows you to write apps in Java code and HTML markup. It’s most notable feature is its component-based nature, which has it structuring your applications as trees of components and patterned in a stateful way similar to that found on frameworks like Swing. Other features include components with encapsulation, inheritance, and event support, multi-tab and window support out of the box, and a set of basic Ajax components.
You can use Wicket to develop pretty much any website or application you imagine. And you can do it with peace of mind, as Wicket comes with full support for CSP and a series of security features that will keep your model private wherever you need.
Haskell also has its web frameworks – and Yesod it’s probably the most notable one. This framework lets you build type-safe, high-performing web apps through simple, high-level code. That’s thanks to its lightweight syntax that uses simple and correct DSLs that are checked at compilation, preventing runtime bugs.
Another interesting thing about Yesod is that it divides its functionality in different, individualized libraries. This allows you to choose the functionality library that better suits the part of the project you’re working on, be it forms, HTML rendering, databases, or any other you can need.
- Sencha Ext JS
Some of the components you’ll find in Sencha Ext JS include layouts, grids, charts, D3 visualizations, and analytic functions. You can even combine them by dragging and dropping, which relieves you from having to code everything manually. That doesn’t mean you can’t tweak or factor in any code you want – this framework is extremely versatile and gives you complete control over your app whenever you need it.
Getting such a significant benefit might seem like a complicated task, but one of the wonders of Nuxt.js is that it makes it very easy for the development team to get it. That’s because they can develop UI portions of the app as if they were single-file applications.
A lot of the frameworks in this list are written or work with very popular languages, which is why it’s refreshing to see developers providing frameworks for other languages. That’s precisely the case with Phoenix, a web development framework written in Elixir that uses the MVC pattern. With it, you can develop high-performing and scalable web applications that are rich and highly interactive.
Phoenix is another framework whose aim is to provide a simpler development experience. That’s why it prompts you to use less code by using essential functions with fewer moving parts. Additionally, the framework provides you a built-in live dashboard that gives you real-time data and the ability from Erlang VM to handle millions of connections without a hassle.
PHP developers in the know often recommend using CodeIgniter. How come? Because this rapid development web framework is widely recognized for its speed and performance. What’s more, some people think that CodeIgniter doesn’t feel like a framework (because it doesn’t force the MVC pattern on you, it just encourages you to use it). That’s why you need it by your side if you’re about to build dynamic websites with PHP.
But that’s not all there is to it. CodeIgniter also has built-in protection against common web attacks and has a “near-zero-configuration” approach. This means that you’ll apply most of its configuration by convention (though it’s important to note that you have some options available if you want to customize it more to your liking).
What started as a microframework has now become a powerful full-stack PHP framework that didn’t see its performance affected in the least bit. That definitely has to do with PHPixie’s strict architecture, which avoids relying on antipatterns to ensure that all the code you write with it is easy to read, test, and maintain.
PHPixie is also great for developers that want a linear code flow through which they can write code that can be later reused as many times as needed. That’s thanks to PHPixie’s Composer that packages code in self-contained bundles that remove all the trouble of reuse. This framework also comes with MongoDB support and uses hardened security practices for a superior experience.
Perhaps you’re trying to use a web framework that is as simple as possible and that doesn’t have you learning many concepts to fully leverage its power. If that’s the case, then you need to meet Javalin, a Java and Kotlin web framework that redefines the meaning of lightweight in a lot of senses.
First and foremost, Javalin is a small code on top of Jetty that displays incredible performance. Then, it never forces you to extend classes and you almost never have to implement interfaces. And then, it’s highly interoperable, meaning that you don’t have to work with different versions of the framework depending on whether you’re using Java or Kotlin, as Javalin allows you to build apps in both languages in the same way.
We’ve already listed several Symfony-based frameworks and Silex comes to add itself to that group. This PHP micro web framework is another platform that focuses on being lightweight, which translates into a series of options to easily add features to the Silex base. It comes in two versions. The slim version just includes a basic routing engine and it’s a good option to develop small web applications.
And then there’s the fat version, a fully-featured framework that includes different Symfony components as well as database abstraction and a template engine. This means that Silex might be a microframework but that you can extend its capabilities with this version to turn it into a full-stack MVC framework.
- Caliburn Micro
Though its developers recently announced that it’s no longer under active maintenance, it’s worth at least mentioning Caliburn Micro in here. This is a pretty small framework originally designed to build apps across XAML platforms. Though its applications narrowed throughout the years, its strong support for MV patterns provided its users with enough quality and testability to easily build apps.
Mobile Development Frameworks
Ionic is one of the most powerful and versatile mobile app frameworks you’ll find. It comes packed with features that will let you create high-quality, native applications with a single codebase that can run on pretty much any platform. This means that you can use its gestures, UI components, and tools for your app with the security that it will run smoothly across different systems. You can even use it to develop PWAs!
There are several outstanding features in Ionic, but the ones that stand out the most are its ability to integrate itself with the most popular front-end frameworks and its access to native device features. The former will let you work side by side with Angular, React, or Vue, while the latter allows you to pick from more than 120 native device plugins to enrich your apps.
It’s true that Xamarin feels like more than just a mobile framework but, at its heart, that’s precisely what it is: a tool to build Android, iOS, and UWP apps in C#. This is a highly-reliable platform that provides you with native performance supported by Microsoft technology and with enough features to control your resulting app.
There are plenty of benefits in using Xamarin, including cross-platform development that lets you work on a single codebase, easy API integration that allows you to access native APIs without hassle, and a huge community of developers that can provide you support be it on the official forum or on third-party websites.
Thus, PhoneGap provides you with everything you need to easily build hybrid applications that you can later compile in a package stored in the cloud. Other great features you’ll find in this framework include its mobile app, which you can plug in the development machine to quickly check how changes would look; and its high extensibility through a solid number of plugins and third-party tools to help you throughout the development lifecycle.
- React Native
React users swear by this framework which is naturally tailored to them but that it’s flexible and robust enough to please anyone in mobile development. React Native brings together the best aspects of React to combine them with native development. The result is a versatile framework you can use to work on Android, iOS, or UWP projects.
As with the previous frameworks, React Native lets you create platform-specific versions of components within your app so you only need to build a single codebase that you can seamlessly share across different platforms. This is because it includes agnostic native components and because its React components wrap the native code to interact with APIs.
Though it’s in the middle of a rebranding that will end up changing its name to Solar2D, most people still know it as Corona, a cross-platform framework designed to create games and apps both for mobile and desktop. Corona is a Lua-based framework that’s easy to learn, includes more than 1,000 APIs, and provides you with Corona Native extensions, all of which come together so you can create sophisticated apps and games.
Corona has many outstanding features, including a real-time simulator that allows you to preview your code changes as you apply them, a Live Build system that lets you quickly update any live apps you may have, and optimized performance for fast graphics processing.
- jQuery Mobile
Flutter is one of the newest kids in town, but one of the loudest at that. Surely the fact that Google is behind this software development kit (that we like to call framework because, at its core, that’s what it is). Flutter includes 4 major components: the Dart platform, the Flutter engine, the foundation library, and a series of design-specific widgets.
With it, you’ll be able to develop more than just mobile apps – you’ll also be able to use web and desktop applications, all from within a single codebase. Using Flutter increases your development speed by providing you with a set of fully-customizable widgets you can use to build native apps quickly. Using them doesn’t just save you development time, they also provide your application with native performance, thanks to Flutter’s code compilation into native ARM machine code.
- Mobile Angular UI
Mobile Angular UI is sort of a peculiar thing. It’s a mobile UI framework, sure, just like jQuery Mobile but it can also be seen as an evolution to Bootstrap. How come? Because this framework adds mobile components that aren’t in Bootstrap while retaining its basic functionality. That way, Mobile Angular UI includes switches, scrollable areas, and sidebars, among many other things.
Besides, this framework doesn’t work with jQuery dependencies or bootstrap js – it just employs Angular directives to make it easier for you to build your projects. And since it uses Bootstrap’s syntax, developing your apps is fairly easy and straightforward.
- Appcelerator Titanium
If simplicity is essential for developing your mobile projects, then you should check Swiftic out. This mobile framework for iOS and Android development is a highly abstracted app builder that provides you with all the common features your application will need, such as push notifications and social media feeds.
Naturally, it’s a somewhat limited option, as it sacrifices some versatility for ease of use. That means that more advanced developers might not find it useful. However, beginners in mobile development will see that this framework is a good way to create custom apps, specially designed for small businesses and startups.
AS it happens with other frameworks in this list, NativeScript is focused on using code with efficiency. That translates into two major features. On one hand, it lets you build native UIS using a single codebase. On the other hand, you can reuse your code in as many apps as you want, making your development quicker and more efficient.
- Framework 7
Perhaps your mobile development project calls for a fully-featured dev framework that can meet more elevated demands. When that happens, you can always turn to Framework 7, a mobile and web app development that can work with you to create full-fledged apps. Ironically enough, most Framework 7 users go with it for prototyping.
AI Development Frameworks
PyTorch is one of the most widely-known machine learning frameworks. Its popularity is due to how powerful it can be given its many features that significantly increase your development speed from prototyping to production. It provides you with a robust ecosystem of tools and libraries to extend its capabilities.
PyTorch is often used for applications that require computer vision and natural language processing. It’s also a great option for your ML-driven projects, as it has strong cloud support that allows you to develop in a frictionless environment while also giving you high scaling abilities both in production and in training.
- Neural Network Libraries
Neural Network Libraries is a deep learning framework tailor to researchers and AI developers. Many engineers praise it because of how intuitive it is to use it, to a point where it’s possible for you to develop complex deep learning solutions with less code, ending up with products that can run anywhere.
Aside from that, Neural Networks Libraries provides you with features like support for dynamic computation graphs and multi-target device acceleration as a plugin. Finally, this framework also allows you to add new functions easily by combining a neat function abstraction with a code template generator.
- Apache MXNet
Apache MXNet is another deep learning framework that focuses on research prototyping and production. Its main strength is that it’s highly scalable, which is great for fast model training. That doesn’t mean that such trait is the only thing it has to show for itself – MXNet also supports multiple programming languages, including Python, Java, C++, Perl, R, and many more.
What’s more, this framework has a very extensive tool and libraries ecosystem, which allows you to extend your use-cases in the fields of computer vision, NLP, time series, and many others.
ML.NET is the open-source framework for anyone that wants to develop machine learning solutions using their .NET skills. In other words, you can integrate machine learning features into web, mobile, and desktop applications as well as in games and IoT systems by using C# or F# – all within the .NET ecosystem.
You can easily use this framework’s builder or its own CLI to build your custom models. You’ll also get the help of a cutting edge technology called Automated ML, which automates the development of models to take them to their best performance. And then there’s more, as you can connect ML.NET with other popular ML frameworks to access new capabilities and extend this framework’s use.
If you want to use the framework that Microsoft uses to power Office, Xbox, and Azure, look no further than Infer.NET. This framework was mainly developed to run Bayesian inference in graphical models and for probabilistic programming. In fact, you can use Infer.NET to tackle several ML problems, from data classification and clustering to domain-specific tasks.
Infer.NET was designed for large scale inference, as it compiles the models into the source code to execute it independently from the application. It can also be extended through your own distributions, factors, operations, and algorithms. But even if you work just with the models and operations that come with this framework, you’ll have a powerful ally by your side.
Though its developer announced that development for Accord.NET might have reached its end a few months ago, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of it. This is yet another .NET framework for machine learning, computer vision, and image processing, among others.
Two of the nicest things about Accord.NET include sample applications and useful testing features. You can use the built-in samples as a foundation for your new projects, so you won’t have to start your models from scratch. Additionally, you’ll enjoy template method patterns that will allow you to swap between learning algorithms and compare different training approaches so you can quickly find the best suit for you.
Chainer is a deep learning framework written in Python and based on NumPy and CuPy. Though it might not be as widely known outside its specific field, the truth is that Chainer pioneered the define-by-run scheme. Instead of the traditional two-phased approach to train a network, Chainer uses define-by-run to determine a network during the training as it performs the actual calculation.
Another strength of Chainer is that it’s highly intuitive, as it can include any control flow statements from Python and combine them with backpropagation. This makes it easier to work with this framework while it also simplifies debugging.
If you’re looking to reduce the training times for your deep learning models, then you need Horovod. This deep learning training framework can work with TensorFlow, Keras, PyTorch, and Apache MXNet to scale up any training script and run it on hundreds of GPUs. The best thing is that you’ll only need some lines of Python code to do so.
Thus, if you truly want to scale your training, you only need to deploy Horovod on any cloud platform (like AWS or Azure) and you’ll be ready to go. Additionally, you can run it on top of Apache Spark and unify both training and processing in the same pipeline, increasing your efficiency.
- H2O Q
Developing AI applications isn’t easy and making them both interactive and beautiful seems like too high a challenge. However, with an application development framework such as H2O Q, the task won’t be as complicated as it seems. This framework let developers create new AI apps in Python quickly and leverage a series of built-in components to speed up the entire development process.
With H2O Q you can pick a series of predeveloped AI apps from a huge catalog, each of which is aimed at a specific business challenge. That way, you can combine predefined solutions into your own custom applications that make sense for your own business context.
- Robot Framework
As you might deduce from its name, Robot Framework is an automation framework whose goal is automating tests and helping you with developing robotic process automation (RPA) solutions. It can be of great help with acceptance test-driven development but it can help you in other development projects as well. That’s because it’s a keyword-driven framework that uses an easy-to-use syntax which can be further expanded through Python and Java libraries.
A powerful tool in and by itself, it can become even more useful if you integrate it with other solutions. But Robot Framework works at its best when you use RIDE, its own IDE, which highly simplifies your job.
Here’s another test automation framework specially developed for acceptance testing. With it, you can create test cases and scenarios in markdown, which highly simplifies your development work. You’ll be able to reuse specifications and reduce duplicated code by using its refactoring features.
Gauge can work with multiple tools and automation drivers but if its built-in capabilities aren’t enough for you, you can extend them with plugins and add new drivers, data sources, IDEs, and events in pretty much any language you want. Finally, you can enjoy Gauge’s parallelization support right out of the box, which will considerably accelerate your tests.
Pytest markets itself as “a mature full-featured Python testing tool that helps you write better programs.” More specifically, Pytest is designed to aid you when you write small tests through an easy to use interface. This doesn’t mean that this framework is only useful for small projects, as you can quickly scale up the tests you create with it and integrate support for functional testing.
Pytest includes several nice features to help you with your testing, including autodiscovery of test modules and functions and modular fixtures that aid you in managing your test resources. Additionally, it has a wide range of plugins that can take its abilities even further.
In Jest, all tests are paralyzed, which means all of them run in their own processes. Doing that increases the overall performance and helps you achieve higher levels of efficiency. Besides, it allows you to write tests through a feature-rich API that improves your final results and limits the time you spend working on tests.
Mocha is packed with features, including the ability to run in the browser, the integration of 9 different reporters to cover a wide range of reports, and the possibility of running parallel tests. This latter feature works out of the box for a lot of cases and can provide you with a significant performance boost.
One of the outstanding features of Jasmine is that it’s blazingly fast. That’s mainly because it has no external dependencies. Additionally, this framework allows you to run both browser and Node.js tests without having to use anything else, a highly-convenient feature that will surely save you some time.
Like other frameworks we’ve included in this list, you can extend Nightwatch through custom commands and assertions if you want to go beyond its pre-built options. But the true value of this framework lies in its ability to run sequential and parallel tests through its built-in command-line test runner and its ability to integrate them in build processes. What’s more, Nightwatch developers are working on their own cloud testing platform, a nice addition that will allow you to quickly run your tests – once the platform is live, that is.
If you are working with Angular applications, then Protractor can help you with your end-to-end tests. This framework runs its tests with your application running on a browser and working with it as if it was a real user. That approach is possible thanks to Protractor’s use of WebDriverJs, which employs native events and browser-specific drivers to provide real-world interactions. In the end, you’ll get more precise reporting.
A nice feature in Protractor is automatic waiting, which is nothing more than the automatic execution of steps in a test once pending tasks are done. This way, you don’t have to monitor whether your tests and webpage are syncing, as Protractor will do that for you.
Cypress promises you all-in-one testing with mocking and stubbing all in the same framework. And while it might not always deliver on it, it’s certainly worth looking into it. As it says in its website, this framework works with “anything that runs in a browser” and it does so with speed and efficiency.
That’s mainly explained by some of its features, which include a time travel feature that lets you explore all the steps in your steps in detail to see what happened in each of them. There’s also its optimized debuggability, which allows you to use tools you already use (like Chrome DevTools) to easily spot bugs. And then are the real-time reloads to easily apply changes to your tests and the automatic waiting feature that will make testing more efficient.
TestProject is another end-to-end framework that gives you access to a robust toolkit with which you can automate tests for web and mobile apps. With this framework, you can easily create your own tests through an in-browser recorder that allows you to use a set of built-in features to quickly create automated tests.
You can then go on and use the test editor to edit and organize them as you see fit, from commenting and defining types to choosing failure behavior and setting timeouts. After that, you can head to TestProject’s test analytics section where you’ll see in-depth data about your tests that you can analyze to better understand the results.
- Galen Framework
Galen Framework is a layout and functional testing framework for websites written in Java that can help you assess how responsive websites look and behave. Based on Selenium, you can execute it through Selenium Grid for cross-browser testing. This framework uses a simple approach to test layouts: through a special syntax and general rules, you can describe your layout and let Galen Framework test the location of the objects relative to each other.
Since virtually all modern websites are responsive, Galen Framework offers you the option to test your sites for different browser sizes. Thus, you only need to tweak a couple of specs to see how well your site would feel on a screen of a different size.
WebDriverIO is a browser and mobile automation testing framework for Node.js that creates true cross-browser tests. It’s a feature-rich framework that includes a wide range of plugins developed by a thriving community that you can easily add to your setup to meet any testing need you may have in your project. And that’s not all – you can extend it even more through your own helper functions and custom command combinations.
WebDriverIO works with applications developed with most modern web frameworks, you’ll be able to use it with your React, Angular, and Vue apps without problems. It also works seamlessly with iOS and Android apps. And the best thing is you can start testing all of those in a handful of minutes, thanks to the configuration utility that lets you create a config file in no time.
If none of the other test automation frameworks here fits your needs, you can always try OpenTest. This framework can help you automate tests for web and mobile apps, as well as your APIs. It has a strong focus on scalability and extensibility, but its main strength is that its features set doesn’t require you to be an expert testing engineer to get your tests going.
That’s thanks to OpenTest is keyword-driven, which basically means you’ll use keywords to build simple and maintainable tests. Keywords are abstracted enough to keep all the complexity under the hood, so you only need to focus on your tests. Sure, this takes away some of the flexibility but it provides you with enough an efficient way to quickly create all sorts of automated tests.
Citrus is a test automation framework for enterprise integration testing which enables you to define entire case tests that can later be executed automatically. All of the tests you create with it can be integrated into any continuous integration environment, keeping quality consistent at all times.
This is a feature-rich framework that allows you to control the test flow by specifying control messages for validation and simulating interface partners. Citrus is very easy to use as it comes with cross-editor and XML support. You can even expand its basic capabilities through a wide number of extensions and even write your own customized functions and test actions to go even further.
Karate combines API test automation with mocking and performance testing into a single, unified framework. You can write tests with simple syntax and mix API and UI test automation in the same script for maximum efficiency. And if you want higher performance, you can run tests in parallel, which will be extremely helpful for HTTP API testing.
Karate is very easy to get started with, even if you haven’t programmed in your life. It includes simple and meaningful assets for large responses and can come up with data-driven tests that can use JSON or CSV sources. It’s lightning-fast, especially when testing APIs, but it provides great performance in all of its tests.
Scrapy is a web-crawling framework you can use for web scraping or extract data through APIs as well as a general-purpose web crawler. The way it works is fairly simple – you only need to give some instructions to a set of spiders (or crawlers) and put them to work. Scrapy lets you reuse your code and provides you with a web-crawling shell to test how your instructions will work on a real scenario.
Truffle is a framework that gives you everything you need to build, test, and deploy smart contracts and dApps on the Ethereum network. It’s made up of 3 components: Truffle, Ganache, and Drizzle. The first one is the one you’ll use to build dApss with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Ganache is a blockchain that lets you create and test smart contracts and dApps. And Drizzle is a frontend development library capable of synchronizing data.
Embark is a framework that helps you build, test, and deploy decentralized applications and smart contracts. In a certain sense, Embark is similar to Truffle, especially at its most basic level. However, Embark provides you with more control to manage and deploy smart contracts. This framework is highly extensible and gives you enough flexibility for you to define how much you want to delve into the configuration itself.
Etherlime is an Ethereum framework that allows you to develop and deploy blockchain applications. Unlike some of the other alternatives here, Etherlime is much more verbose because its developers understand that that’s the only way you can fully understand and control the deployment process. It’s based on ethers.js, which provides it huge stability.
- OpenZeppelin Contracts
OpenZeppeling Contracts is another blockchain framework that helps you build smart contracts by using trusted libraries and by providing you with the most widely used implementations of ERC standards. It offers high-security levels, a modular approach to build robust code, and reusable Solidity components for you to create complex systems and custom contracts.
Brownie is yet another blockchain development framework that can also help you with testing. Mainly designed for creating smart contracts for the Ethereum Virtual Machine, Brownie is Python-based and uses Pytest to aid you in writing your tests. It also includes powerful debugging tools to increase the quality of your projects.
- Create Eth App
AS you surely got from its name, Create Eth App is a command-line framework that allows you to build apps for Ethereum through a series of simple commands and a single boilerplate template. Its developers believe that smart contract development needs more frontend components to make it easier for newcomers to get into the blockchain world. That’s precisely the goal of Create Eth App.
Exonum is a blockchain framework designed to handle smart contracts with efficiency, security, and high performance in mind. With it, you can take advantage of a private blockchain to write your smart contracts in Rust and Java and handle them at impressive speeds. Besides, you can use Exonum to develop a token or cryptocurrency if your project calls for one.
Though Hyperledger isn’t a framework per se (it’s more of an umbrella term that encompasses blockchains and related tools), it includes several notable blockchain frameworks. Fabric, Iroha, Sawtooth, and Besu are all different frameworks within the Hyperledger ecosystem that have their own specific uses for different blockchain projects.
Corda is a very different type of blockchain framework. Driven mainly by business-centered goals, this platform allows you to build dApps (or CordApps, as they call them) to transact directly with other businesses using smart contracts. The idea is developing secure and high-performing dApps capable of streamlining business operations.
MultiChain is a framework that allows you to build and deploy a private blockchain through a simple command-line interface. In fact, simplicity is a big deal in MultiChain, as you’ll only need two steps to create a new blockchain. From there, you’ll be able to issue countless assets into it to make transactions. What’s more – this framework is highly customizable, even to its security configuration.
- Onsen UI
SiteWhere is a Java-based customizable framework that provides you with the tools and features you’ll need to create IoT applications for devices of all kinds, from wearables to home automation devices. You can use this framework to quickly come up with IoT that you can then integrate into the company’s platform to get data that can later help you with insights for your development.
Microdot is a .NET framework that’s very useful for anyone trying to create scalable and reliable microservices. With it, you’ll only need to focus on creating the underlying logic of the service, as the framework will take care of the distributed system. Besides, Microdot supports many microservice-related patterns, includes a service container, and boasts a hierarchical configuration system with change detection.
Rapidoid is an HTTP server and modern Java web framework and application container that focuses on three things: speed, productivity, and performance. Some might say that Rapidoid is a collection of modules and there’s some truth to it, as this framework includes a network protocol framework, a REST API framework, a web GUI components module, and a template engine module, among others.
Ktor is an asynchronous framework to create microservices and web apps in Kotlin. It’s an extensible framework with a configurable pipeline that lets you add the extensions you want when you need them. What’s best about it you can create highly scalable apps using Kotlin coroutines, leveraging the non-blocking development approach.
Scalatra is yet another microframework for web development that combines powerful features of the Java Virtual Machine with the brevity-driven development of Scala. The result is a tool that can help you build websites and APIs quickly. Besides, it serves as a great server-side counterpart for in-browser frameworks such as Ember or Angular.
Toolatra is a micro web framework that’s similar to Sinatra which allows you to write HTTP Tcl applications. It offers a built-in template and layout engines, a built-in web server, and a module to handle and validate tokens. It may seem like a limited framework but it gets the job done and it’s very good at it.
The Ever Dynamic Framework World
As you’ve surely noticed, the most widely known and used frameworks are few when compared to the many other frameworks out there. It’s hardly surprising. Given the many programming languages available, it’s only natural for developers to work on frameworks to simplify common development tasks depending on those languages and the particular fields and solutions.
All that means that it’s highly likely that you noticed we missed a specific framework in this list. As we said above, it’s quite hard to cover all the frameworks in existence: there are new frameworks popping up all the time while others change, merge, or disappear entirely. Hopefully, this list provides you with enough alternatives to spark your curiosity and learn more about frameworks.
Frameworks are an important part of the daily life of a developer. Knowing your options and picking the right one is essential for the success of any development project, so we hope this list can help you with that.