Top 7 JavaScript Frameworks to Learn in 2021

JavaScript is among the most in-demand programming languages that organizations look for in professionals today. JavaScript is everywhere, whether in developing frontend or backend web applications. There have been many releases of JavaScript frameworks over the years, and it can be a real challenge to choose one to learn as many of them are excellent with new ones coming up every other day.

JavaScript frameworks are tools that make working with JavaScript simpler and smoother. Most website developers prefer frameworks as they are more adaptable for designing of websites that are more responsive. Mentioned below is a list of some of the popular JavaScript frameworks that one needs to learn to stay up-to-date with today’s industry requirements.

  • React
  • Vue
  • Angular
  • Ember
  • Backbone
  • Node
  • jQuery

Fig.1: Dec 2020 Job Postings In-Demand JavaScript Frameworks

1. React

While React is not the earliest, it is the most influential and disruptive JavaScript framework. React was created by Jordan Walke and a group of Facebook engineers in 2013. This is a one-way data flow component-based web framework.

It changed frontend web development by introducing concepts such as declarative programming, functional and immutable state. Virtual DOM was the other breakthrough that React introduced to provide performance gain and better user experience. 

Fig. 2: NPM Trends for 2019 Show React Dominates

Key Features

  • React creates dynamic and interactive UI for mobile applications and websites.
  • It efficiently updates and renders the right components as and when there is a change in data.
  • The declarative view of React makes the code easily readable and simpler to debug.
  • React utilizes an application architecture known as Flux controls for one way data binding.
  • React divides a web page into small components to create a simple UI.

2. Vue.js

Vue.js was developed in 2014 by ex-Google engineer, Evan You, by combining the best of AngularJS with the best of React. From AngularJS, Evan You picked the View Layer and from React, the Virtual DOM. In 2020 Vue.js is considered as a very popular JavaScript framework.

Evan You’s main goal while developing Vue.js was to lower the barrier into front end development, which is why it is one of the simplest frontend frameworks that can be used to write SPA applications with minimum effort.

Fig.3: Vue.js Trends As Most Starred JavaScript Framework

Key Features

  • Its data binding feature assigns values to HTML attributes, assigns classes, and changes style.
  • Its CSS Transitions and Animations feature allows developers to apply transitions to HTML elements while they are being added, updated, or even removed from the DOM.
  • HTML based templates are available in this JavaScript framework, which bind Vue.js instance data to the DOM. This JavaScript framework compiles the templates into Virtual DOM Render functions, which developers can use or replace through the render function. 
  • Since the success of a JavaScript framework is largely dependent on its size, Vue.js is advantageous as its framework size is just 18–21 kb.
  • Vue.js documentation is comprehensive enough for amateur users to be able to develop their own web pages or application.

3. Angular

AngularJS was initially released by Google in 2010, however, the entry of React exposed the design flaws of AngularJS. In 2016, Google recreated a completely new SPA framework, which was released as Angular. Though the names of the two JavaScript frameworks are quite similar, the functioning is quite different.

Angular provides an end-to-end framework with total support for developers to come up with an Enterprise-grade web application. Despite trailing to the likes of other JavaScript frameworks such as React or Vue.js, Angular is a reliable and proven framework that will be used in the foreseeable future.

Fig. 4: Angular Leads Number of Downloads According to NPM Trends

Key Features

  • Angular comes with an MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture, with Model referring to the lowest level of the MVC model in which data is stored. The View element showcases data to the user, and the Controller segment is a software code that controls interactions between the View and Model.
  • It has a two-way data binding process, wherein Model displays changes in the View and, similarly, the View displays changes in the Model.
  • The AngularJS framework allows users to build single-page applications that are fully responsive and easily fit various screen sizes with perfection.
  • The applications developed with Angular provide enhanced UX (user experience) as compared to other web applications.
  • The organized and simplistic UI of applications based on Angular is due to the use of HTML language to build UI. This framework is especially useful for those looking for a quick, easy to use, and simple solution.

4. Ember.js

While Ember was developed in 2012 by Yehuda Katz from Apple, it was only in 2015 that it was introduced to the market. This JavaScript framework has since gained popularity due to its wide areas of application. In fact, renowned websites such as Netflix, Nordstrom, and LinkedIn, among others, use the Ember.js framework.

This framework has an intricate architecture that allows the quick building of huge client-side applications and provides multiple useful functionalities.

Fig. 5: Ember Ranks 4th in Terms of Awareness, Interest and Satisfaction Ratio Rankings

Key Features

  • Ember makes use of templates that help developers in automatically updating models if application content is changed.
  • It provides users with the Ember Inspector tool that is used for debugging Ember apps.
  • It aids in creating usable and easy to maintain JavaScript web apps.
  • Provides users with Ember.js library and Ember Data for the purpose of data management.
  • The Ember CLI tool allows quick prototyping and managing dependencies.

5. Backbone.js

Backbone.js is another framework that uses the MVC architecture, wherein the View element helps in implementing component logic similar to a Controller. It is simple to use JavaScript framework that enables quick development of single-page apps. It is a lightweight JavaScript library that allows the development and structuring of client-side web browser apps. More than half a million websites use Backbone — websites such as tumblr.com, soundcloud.com, and espn.com being some of them.

Fig. 6: Shows the Percentage of Users for Backbone.js

Key Features

  • One of the most important features of this JavaScript framework is that it separates business logic from UI. UI becomes easier to work with when business logic doesn’t depend on it.
  • Backbone overcomes the problem of a cluttered code by providing event-driven communication between models and views.
  • The need to code is lower in the Backbone framework as it leverages conventions, which are a method of introducing a common coding style without the need to develop a large set of coding standards. This, in turn, improves code readability and makes it standardized.
  • The BackPlug online repository possesses a significant amount of ready solutions for Backbone-based applications.
  • Building Backbone apps is easier with the availability of the Backbone generator.

6. Node.js

The Node.js is a server-side, open-source JavaScript framework that was built on Google Chrome’s JavaScript Engine that works on cross platforms. There currently are more than 84,000 websites that use Node.js, and is one of the most downloaded runtime environments for executing JavaScript code. Rather than a simple framework, Node.js is considered as an entire eco-system of server-side JavaScript development.

Fig. 7: StackOverflow Developer Survey Puts Node.js in Top Position in ‘Other Frameworks’ 

Key Features

  • It is an asynchronous JavaScript framework that is event-driven to build scalable network apps.
  • Since it is cross-platform, it runs on Linux, iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows, among other operating systems.
  • Node.js is significantly used in serverless computing due to its fast startup and small size.
  • The Node.js library is fast in terms of code execution as it is built on Google Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine.
  • Node.js uses a single-threaded model along with event looping.
  • It is highly scalable as it follows an event mechanism that allows the server to respond in a non-blocking manner.

7. jQuery

jQuery is one of the oldest JavaScript frameworks, which has been around for over 12 years. It is a concise and fast JS (JavaScript) library that was created in 2006 by John Resig. The motto given to this framework was ‘write less, do more.’ jQuery is a cross-platform library that is designed to ease client-side HTML scripting.

As of today, more than 19 million websites use this JavaScript framework, with companies such as Facebook, IBM, Google, and more, relying on jQuery to provide a unique browsing experience.

Fig. 8: StackOverflow Developer Survey Shows jQuery As Most Broadly Used Web Framework

Key Features

  • Cross-browser support enables jQuery to work well in Chrome, Opera 9.0+, Firefox 2.0+, Safari 3.0+, and Internet Explorer 6.0+, among others.
  • It possesses AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) support.
  • Its community of contributors is bigger and more diverse than that of any other JS library.
  • Manipulation of DOM is easy on jQuery through easy to learn API.
  • With jQuery AJAX methods, users can request text, HTML, JSON, or XML from remote servers by using HTTP Post and HTTP Get.

Conclusion

It can be a real task to decide which framework to learn irrespective of you being an experienced JavaScript developer wanting to upgrade your skills or just starting your career. 

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