EPAM Anywhere: Top 5 JavaScript Frameworks to Use: an Overview

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Technology / 6 min

Top 5 JavaScript Frameworks to Use: an Overview

Logos of the top five JavaScript frameworksLogos of the top five JavaScript frameworks

There are so many JavaScript frameworks out there that we could play a name game with them. All this variety can be tricky for many JavaScript engineers though. To help you navigate through the rich and functional JS world, we've written this post where we uncover the pros and cons of the most popular JS frameworks.

Next.js

Next.js is a lightweight framework for static and server-rendered React applications that's been around since 2016.

Next.js offers server-side rendering, so you can render components before sending HTML code to the client side. Simple client-side routing requires minimum effort to configure files as all URLs are linked to the filesystem. In addition, developers enjoy automatic code splitting, a Webpack-based development environment, and compatibility with JavaScript, Node, and React ecosystems.

Here are the advantages of Next.js that developers like the most:

  • Elegant, laconic syntax.
  • A vibrant community ready to provide support and a well-documented codebase.
  • Easy entrance, especially for developers that have already worked with some of the JS frameworks.

Among Next.js's cons, we can outline:

  • A small ecosystem and not so many projects written with Next.js.
  • Constant upgrades and fixes that cause bugs and inconsistencies in functioning.
  • Relatively low popularity in comparison with other top JavaScript frameworks.

A technology stack of Netflix, Ticketmaster, GitHub, Hulu, and TikTok includes Next.js.

React.js

React.js is one of the most used JavaScript MVC frameworks to develop user interfaces nowadays. Facebook is a cradle of React.js. It was presented in 2013 by Jordan Walke, a Software Engineer, as a powerful, scalable, and fast open-source solution for building single-page applications (SPA) and multi-page applications.

This framework implements a component-based architecture, which is trendy nowadays and considered as the future of web development. A component-based UI and declarative components help software engineers apply their problem-solving skills and develop readable and maintainable codebase.

Another indicative feature of React.js is virtual DOM – a virtual representation of a user interface stored in memory and synchronized with the "real" DOM with a ReactDOM library.

Other advantages of React.js include:

  • Easiness of team development thanks to strict adherence to UI and workflow template.
  • JSX (JavaScript XML) – an extension of JavaScript that allows the use of HTML-like syntax to describe the interface's structure. Linking functionality directly to markup and packaging it in a portable, self-contained "component" makes it easier to write code and keep up with code quality.
  • Open-source nature, a lively community, and compatibility with lots of developer tools.

Despite all of the benefits, React.js has some disadvantages too:

  • Slowing down the team's work when launching the project because of complex documentation.
  • Being forced to "reinvent the wheel" as React.js is a relatively young framework and there aren't many established practices and ready-made solutions.
  • Lack of IE8 support, just like in many other JS frameworks.

Airbnb, Asana, Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, and KISSmetrics are some of the prominent websites built with React.js.

Vue.js

Vue.js is a progressive front-end JavaScript framework that implements the MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) pattern. The purpose of Vue.js is to solve the issue of the presentation layer (view). Just like the previously mentioned frameworks, Vue.js is mostly used for creating complex SPAs, especially with the help of third-party integrations and libraries.

The Monterail survey shows that 81% of developers note that one of the main benefits of Vue.js is easy integration with third-party tools and backend frameworks. Along with that, 60% of developers believe that documentation is well written and covers most of the issues that appear during development.

These aren't the only pros of Vue.js. In addition, these frameworks delight developers with:

  • Focus on speed thanks to a virtual DOM and memory distribution.
  • Low entry barrier which makes it perfect for implementation in startups.

Keep in mind that despite many call Vue.js one of the best JavaScript frameworks, it is a relatively immature framework. Its community and the number of ready-made solutions are limited in comparison with frameworks like Angular.

Anyway, Vue.js is gaining its popularity in China. For example, Alibaba marketplace is built upon Vue.js.

Lately, we've seen some of the prominent software products migrating to Vue.js. Codeship switched from jQuery to Vue.js to improve user interface, reduce bugs and malfunctions, and improve the maintainability of a codebase.

Angular.js

Since its introduction in 2012 by Google, Angular.js has been in favor among top JS frameworks. Angular.js is one of JS MVC frameworks - a concept that was informally called “Model-View-Whatever”.

What makes Angular.js outstanding among other front-end JavaScript frameworks?

  • Design patterns that facilitate maintainable software. Angular.js eliminates the confusion of classes and methods that are difficult to edit and even harder to test. With a structured code, it's easier to maintain the codebase and keep everything structured.
  • Short learning curve. Angular.js is built on TypeScript, which in turn relies on ES6. That means that you don't have to learn the framework from scratch since most of the features are already familiar.
  • Variety of ready-made developer tools. Under the hood, Angular.js has various types of asynchronous HTTP requests, easy routing configuration, FormControl for form validation rules, directives for dynamic HTML elements, and more.
  • Disconnected components and NodeJS-like injection that makes it easy to replace components.
  • Focus on testing. Angular.js supports unit tests and end-to-end testing with tools like Jasmine and Protractor.

There are a few challenges though you have to consider:

  • Knowledge of code debugging tools like Augury to deploy applications.
  • Complex testing of Angular.js applications that requires knowledge of testing tools.

YouTube, PayPal, Upwork, and Netflix are only a few products that use Angular.js for robust and content-rich user interfaces.

Ember.js

Ember.js is an open-source MVVM front-end JavaScript framework for developing complex model-driven multi-page applications. Thanks to comfort and speed of development, Ember.js is called Ruby on Rails in the frontend world.

Ember.js is considered to be one of the best JavaScript frameworks as it is structured and robust. It's great for a large development team as it offers simple, readable syntax that simplifies understanding the code and contribution to the project.

One of the prominent features of Ember.js is the Handlebars language that makes templates easier to read and understand and speeds up their loading. However, Handlebars's <script> tags used for updating the templates may clutter the DOM.

The active Ember.js community regularly updates the framework and makes backward compatibility easier.

Using Ember.js for small projects isn't reasonable as the codebase gets cluttered and filled with excessive code. Overall, using Ember.js for solving non-traditional tasks may lead to cumbersome and overblown projects.

A prominent example of feature-rich software using Ember.js is Discourse, LinkedIn, Digital Ocean, and Travis CI.

Written by

Article's author Maryna ZavyiborodaArticle's author Maryna Zavyiboroda

Maryna ZavyiborodaCopywriter

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