Most Used JavaScript Frameworks and Tools

JavaScript has officially conquered the web development field. That’s because an estimated 95% of websites in the world are built with the programming language. However, the language’s dominance didn’t stop there.

The popular programming language is now a frequent choice for mobile development. This is incredibly important since the mobile app industry is expected to generate more than $188 billion in annual revenue by 2020. Companies of all sizes are turning to JavaScript software development to build custom applications.

This guide will walk executives through the most important JavaScript frameworks and development tools used for web and mobile application development.

JavaScript Developers

What Is a JavaScript Framework?

A JavaScript framework is a collection of JavaScript libraries that provide developers with pre-written code that addresses common features and functions. Thus, a JavaScript framework offers templates to handle regular programming tasks that developers can use to build their own JavaScript applications without having to write everything from scratch.

A common confusion when discussing frameworks is what makes them different from libraries. That’s because a JavaScript library also has pre-written JS code covering specific features. At first glance, both frameworks and libraries feel like the same thing, but there’s a crucial difference. Libraries are little components that seek to provide specific functionality and handle a specific task. Frameworks leverage those little components to provide a development environment for building applications with multiple functionalities.

Thus, using a JavaScript framework means that developers can create their software in a faster and more efficient way, as they have a collection of ready-made tasks and functions (libraries) available to work on their projects. 

JavaScript Frameworks

The following three frameworks are used throughout the JavaScript software development industry to build complex web and mobile applications with outstanding user interface and experience design.

Each framework is supported by an active open-source community and is regularly updated with new features and components that streamline the development process and save engineers valuable time.

Javascript Development Frameworks

  • Most Used JavaScript Frameworks and Tools 5 Scale JavaScript Development with These Frameworks

React

There’s some argument as to whether React is a framework or library, but no matter what you call it, it’s an important tool that should certainly be in your development toolkit. It’s ideal for the front-end development of complex user interfaces (UI). 

This popular tool has many advantages, particularly if you want to create native apps to be used across multiple platforms. React is also user-friendly and easy-to-learn, provided you have a basic knowledge of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Plus, you’ll be able to use React components with web applications, Android, and iOS.

Generally speaking, React is best for complex projects, rather than simple ones. It has a place in numerous tech stacks of many big companies, such as Amazon, Facebook, Uber, Instagram, Twitter, Salesforce, Dropbox, and PayPal.

Angular

Created by Google and used by the likes of Microsoft, Apple, YouTube, Adobe, and Paypal, Angular is another popular, open-source Javascript framework for mobile and desktop development. Just some of the products you can create with the framework are native apps, progressive web apps, desktop apps, and more.

One of its main features is two-way data binding, connecting JavaScript and HTML together. It also makes your coding quicker and less buggy while also having the ability to run on most platforms, both mobile and desktop. It will also allow you to produce code that’s optimized for JavaScript’s virtual machine.

Vue.js

Lightweight, flexible, open-source, and highly popular, Vue is known as a progressive framework, thanks to its adaptability. It accommodates developers as they build their projects, allowing them to add components as needed. Developers can also integrate it with other JavaScript frameworks and libraries to make the process even more seamless.

Stack Overflow, Grammarly, Nintendo, and PlayStation are just a few examples of major businesses that use Vue. They trust it because the framework doesn’t have a steep learning curve, and development is fairly easy and quick. Like some of its peers, it offers two-way data binding, along with additional features like templates, reactivity, transitions, and components.

Ember.js

Ember is a flexible, open-source framework predominantly used to build web apps. Many prominent companies, including Netflix, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Square, use it. Like Angular, it supports two-way data binding. 

One reason why Ember is a bit less popular than some of its peer frameworks is that it has a somewhat steeper learning curve and a smaller community to assist with development. There is, however, plenty of support and documentation available, along with a great data library and add-ons. And for those who are adept at JavaScript, it can prove an advantageous tool to know.

jQuery

Like React,JQueryis generally considered a library but is also sometimes classified as a framework, mainly applied to web development. One of its main uses is to address cross-browser and cross-platform complications by streamlining HTML scripting.  It also facilitates user interface (UI) design, even if the developer isn’t highly skilled in this area. 

A fast library for creating interactive, animated, feature-laden websites, JQuery has been used by some of the most well-known companies in the world, such as Facebook and Google. 

Backbone.js

A newer, lightweight, open-source, flexible framework, Backbone is largely used to build a single-page application and facilitate easy front-end development. Some features include components like models, routes, collections for better frontend web application development, and a strong structure for creating products.

Other advantages of using Backbone include updating your HTML code without manual intervention, providing plenty of extensions, and much more. Uber, LinkedIn, ESPN, Tumblr, Pinterest, Walmart, SoundCloud, Airbnb, and many other companies turn to Backbone to facilitate better front-end web development.

Next.js

Many React developers, including those from companies like Netflix, Nike, Github, Ticketmaster, and Hulu, have been quick to turn to Next, a server-side framework that’s actually based on React but was only introduced a few years ago. It facilitates the development of many different types of apps, including web, desktop, and mobile.

Although relatively new, Next has already introduced a lot of benefits to JavaScript users, such as high SEO performance, hot code loading, full React support, server-side rendering, and automatic code-splitting

React-min

React is by far the most popular JavaScript framework used today. This bare-bones framework uses functional programming principles to make parallel programming and coding comprehension much easier.

Billed as “a JavaScript library for building user interfaces,” React enables developers to create intuitive and beautiful-looking websites. In addition, the framework is SEO friendly and promotes faster web page loading speeds.

React is also an open-source project maintained by Facebook, which means that the framework is updated regularly and at the forefront of development trends. In particular, developers love the fact that Facebook enabled React to reuse system components, helping engineers save time and boost their productivity.

The online file-sharing company Dropbox used React to build their web application. Their development team used the framework to create a simply designed and easy-to-use web application, in addition to their photo and video app Carousel.

Angular is another popular JavaScript framework designed to simplify the development and testing process. This is accomplished through a wide array of components and by making the code unit test-ready—meaning that developers don’t have to write additional code in order to run test modules.

This “all-in-one” framework comes with all of the features that developers may need. This includes routing, Typescript adoption, HTTP request handling, and a simple progressive web application.

Angular 5, the latest version, also comes with detailed documentation that makes learning the framework a breeze. It also places the burden of building a page on the browser, reducing the server load and increasing page load times. Finally, Angular was built by Google, which means the tech company regularly provides patches and updates.

PayPal is an excellent example of a web application built with Angular. The popular Internet payment company used the framework to build its sidebar, credit card, and payment pages. Angular helps streamline the application build-out and increase processing speeds for the payments themselves.

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vue_logo-01

Vue is a popular lightweight alternative to the Angular JavaScript framework and has one of the fastest-growing user bases in the industry.

One of the reasons for its success is its integration ability—engineers can fuse parts of the framework into other frameworks and libraries such as Django and WordPress. It also reduces the length of the development cycle and the overall amount of code through a wide selection of code snippets and automatic tracking of component dependencies.

Vue is frequently called a progressive framework because it is designed to be “increasingly adaptable” to the needs of its developers. This means that the framework starts with a minimal amount of features—engineers can add components into it until it meets their specific project needs. Programmers can also quickly integrate the framework within an app using a script tag.

My Nintendo is one of the most well-known web applications built with Vue. The website was built so that users could track and spend their reward points from the Nintendo ecosystem. The framework was chosen because it allowed for rapid development of the web application and came with the flexibility that Nintendo’s user design engineers craved.

In summary, the most popular JavaScript libraries are:

React

A bare-bones framework used for building user interfaces and beautiful web applications.

Angular

An all-in-one framework that comes with a wide array of features and components that can be used for any web development project.

Vue

A lightweight framework with a rapidly-growing user base and highly flexible capabilities.

Other JavaScript Frameworks in the Market

While React, Angular, and Vue are the most popular JavaScript frameworks in the market, they aren’t the only ones that can boost your projects. There are other equally useful platforms that you should consider, including the following.

  • Ember.js
    Ember is a flexible, open-source framework predominantly used to build web apps. Many prominent companies use it, including Netflix, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Square. Like Angular, it supports 2-way data binding. One reason why Ember is a bit less popular than other frameworks is that it has a somewhat steeper learning curve and a smaller community. There is, however, plenty of support and documentation available, along with a great data library and add-ons. And for those who are adept at JavaScript, it can prove an advantageous tool to master.
  • Backbone.js
    A newer, lightweight, open-source, flexible framework, Backbone is largely used to build single-page applications and facilitate easy frontend development. Some features include components like models, routes, collections for better frontend web application development, and a strong structure for creating products. Other advantages of using Backbone include the ability to update HTML code without manual intervention, providing plenty of extensions, and much more. Uber, LinkedIn, ESPN, Tumblr, Pinterest, Walmart, SoundCloud, Airbnb, and many other companies use Backbone for their frontend web development needs.
  • JQuery
    Like React, JQuery is generally considered a library but is also sometimes classified as a framework, mainly when applied to web development. One of its main uses is to address cross-browser and cross-platform complications by streamlining HTML scripting. It also facilitates user interface (UI) design, which is a great help if the developer isn’t highly skilled in that area. A fast library for creating interactive, animated, feature-laden websites, JQuery has been used by some of the most well-known companies in the world, such as Meta and Google.
  • Next.js
    Many React developers, including those from companies like Netflix, Nike, GitHub, Ticketmaster, and Hulu, have been quick to turn to Next, a server-side framework that’s actually based on React. They did so because Next.js facilitates the development of many different types of apps, including web, desktop, and mobile. Although relatively new, Next has already introduced a lot of benefits to JavaScript users, such as high SEO performance, hot code loading, full React support, server-side rendering, and automatic code-splitting.
  • Node.js
    Node.js isn’t technically a framework nor a library, but rather a runtime environment that leverages the V8 engine to execute JavaScript code outside of web browsers. This open-source, cross-platform, backend JavaScript runtime environment is perfect for server-side scripting, as it allows to run server-side scripts for dynamic web pages before the content is loaded in the web browser. Node.js embraces a JavaScript everywhere paradigm, as it provides the opportunity for developers to use the same programming language for the entire scripting process. So, rather than using different alternatives for the server and the client sides, Node.js users only need JavaScript.

JavaScript Tools

JavaScript developers use tools like Gulp, NPM, and Sublime to streamline the application development process. They accomplish this by automating time-consuming tasks like writing code, testing applications, updating development work, and more.

Gulp_logo_red-2

Gulp is an open-source, streaming task runner that allows engineers to automate simple and time-consuming development tasks like debugging code, minification, optimization, unit testing, cache busting, and more.

Programmers can use Gulp to automatically check for new files and change files in specific directories. In addition, popular plugins allow developers to automate other unrelated processes, such as batch renaming files, comparing source and destination files, and maintaining WordPress themes.

The Node.js Package Manager (NPM) is the most widely used JavaScript package manager. This collection of tools automates the installing, upgrading, configuring, and removing applications from a computer’s operating system.

Developers love NPM because it automatically runs code from dependencies and allows programmers to add permit packages on command. Engineers can also use Node.js to write JavaScript applications on the server itself.

Npm-logo-1
Sublime_logo

Sublime is the most popular text editor used in JavaScript software development. One reason for its success is its gentle learning curve—developers can master the basics in just a few short days. In addition, the tool comes with a wide variety of plugins and shortcuts that improve productivity.

The text editor also operates using a Python API. This means that it natively supports most programming languages and allows developers to quickly integrate Python-based extensions into their code. Lastly, the use of projects improves workflow and helps developers stay focused when juggling multiple tasks.

jQuery is a very popular JavaScript library that is used to solve many of the cross-browser compatibility issues that plagued JavaScript in its early years. It accomplishes this by streamlining HTML scripting and requiring simpler and shorter code from programmers.

In addition, jQuery allows developers to create a beautiful user interface without requiring a background in user design. Finally, engineers can utilize jQuery to create highly interactive websites with a range of effects and animations, without resorting to the memory-intensive Flash Player.

JQuery_logo-1

In summary, here are the four most popular JavaScript tools used for web and mobile application development:

Gulp

A streaming task runner designed to automate simple development tasks and save engineers time.

NPM

A package manager which automates the installation, updating, and configuration process for software.

Sublime

The most popular JavaScript text editor. Helps developers stay on track and organized throughout the development cycles.

jQuery

A cross-platform JavaScript library that helps developers overcome browser compatibility issues and create a consistent user interface.

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