Best Front-End Frameworks to use in 2020

What is a framework exactly? A framework can be simply described as a number of pre-built components that allow developers to customize or augment them and this is mostly depends on what kind of application they make. Most frameworks are based on the programming language JavaScript, which is currently one of the most, if not the most, popular language out there. Frameworks are essential in the development of mobile and modern web applications. Netflix, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram heavily rely on such frameworks to bring users the best experience with as little downtime or interruptions as possible.

Making the right choice of which top front-end framework to use can be often times difficult. There are many things to take into consideration such as project specific requirements, performance, re-usability and last but not least, the community built around these frameworks and the support it can offer.
However, due to the numerous challenges that developers face everyday, the market offers a wide variety of solutions, and the number of front-end frameworks increases with each passing year to help address these challenges.

In this article we will touch upon 5 of the best front-end frameworks available to developers in 2019.

  • React
  • Angular
  • Vue
  • Ember
  • Backbone

1. React

Regardless if you are an experienced veteran or a newcomer to front-end development, chances are you have already heard of React.

The first prototype for React was created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook. The reason behind its creation was the ever-expanding network of the Facebook, and developers were looking for ways to make their code more efficient. The results were astounding, as it simplified the process of making UIs for web applications. The best part is the large community that has been created around it, making it easy for newcomers to find guides and support from experienced developers. So it comes as no surprise that React is currently the most widely-used and popular front-end framework out there.

React’s Strong Points:

  • Eases the development process and allows a more predictable management of application states
  • Effective event handling
  • Component-based architecture
  • Exceptional performance due to the virtual DOM feature that allows for one-way data binding
  • Very SEO friendly
  • The markup syntax -JSX- is very useful to keep things uncomplicated when writing components

React is most often used for dynamic applications that need to be constantly upgraded or updated. One con of using React is that in order to build more complex applications, other libraries are required.

2. Angular

Almost essential for large-scale enterprise projects, Angular is an open-source platform for building complex user interfaces. Developed by Google engineers in 2019, it was initially called AngularJS. It received an update in 2016 and was rewritten to better fit the requirements of developing modern web applications, and the development team behind is very active, releasing new versions every so often.

It is one of the four pillars of software development, the so-called “MEAN” stack, which includes the following : MongoDB. Express, Angular and Node.js. Despite it holding one of the top positions among front-end frameworks, Angular has steep learning curve, being more suitable for developing more complex applications rather than simple single-page applications.

At the core of Angular lies TypeScript – a programming language that allows for easier code maintenance and a type system with reliable type checking. A great feature of TypeScript is that you don’t need to rely on the browser, as it is updated independently, so you can use all the new features it has to offer without worrying about incompatibility.

Angular’s strong points:

  • 2-way data binding which removes the need to write excessive code
  • Syntax is simply to read and write
  • Great performance (code quality is a big factor in performance)
  • Mobile friendly
  • Component-based architecture
  • Used by companies such as Google (obviously) Microsoft, Forbes, Santander Bank, BMW and Xbox to name a few

While it is difficult to get into and even more difficult to master, Angular is currently the best options for building complex systems but not so great when it comes to constantly changing user-interfaces. However, it is all the more worth it to start learning Angular because of how reliable the resulting software is.

3. Vue

Despite being one of the younger frameworks, Vue has seen a big rise in popularity in the past few years and a lot of startups and enterprises have benefited greatly from incorporating it in their projects. The main selling points of Vue are the fact that it is very easy to learn, and the reduced complexity require to build simple, effective web applications.

It is not as popular as React and Angular just yet, however switching from the either of the two to Vue is easy and hassle-free due to the concepts shared between these three frameworks.

Vue’s strong points:

  • Light-weight framework size, shipping at about 18-21KB
  • Easy to integrate other JavaScript Applications
  • Fast development process
  • High performance
  • Beginner friendly
  • Offers a variety of solutions for mobile UI development

If you’re a beginner when it comes to front-end frameworks, Vue is definitely a good place to start. The fast growing community ensures there are plenty of guides readily available. Some of the apps where Vue is found are Xiaomi, Alibaba, Reuters and Alibaba.

4. Ember

Ember is a client side framework built on JavaScript, and it is similar to Angular to due to its steep learning curve, component based architecture and 2 way binding. The steep learning curve is due to the very inflexible structure and the time required to learn (not master) it. In spite of all these, the documentation available for Ember is one of the best out there.

Due to the way Ember works, developers will find it a lot easier to focus on functionality rather than configuration when it comes to their apps. Ember is most commonly used in the development of SPAs, mobile and desktop apps.

Ember’s strong points

  • 2-way binding
  • Great architecture, which allows complex applications to be developed
  • Comes with a variety of tools that allow for a complete development stack
  • Over 5000 plugins are available in Ember’s plugin repository which can be simply installed
  • Big focus on productivity
  • Backwards compatibility

Ember is the perfect choice when it comes to creating very complex web applications. Some of the companies using Ember include Apple, Netflix, Microsoft, Yahoo!, LinkedIn and others.

5. Backbone

Backbone.js is an MIT licensed, open-source JavaScript library and anyone can contribute to its development. It ships at only 7.5KB making it extremely lightweight and relies only on two other JS libraries, which are Underscore.js and jQuery.

It was released in 2010 and quickly became very popular after launch, however its popularity has gone down in the recent years due to the growth of frameworks such as Vue, Angular and React. Nevertheless, it is a fan favorite of many developers thanks to its structured approach to building web applications. Companies such as Trello, Airbnb, Soundcloud and many others use Backbone for their front-end development needs.

Backbone’s strong points:

  • Small, organized and very efficient
  • Simple learning curve
  • Perfect for small applications
  • MVP design pattern
  • Real-time synchronization

While it is not so often updated nowadays, most of the bugs have been fixed and the documentation available is solid. It is also a great choice for more complex client-side applications.

Conclusion

If you’re just interested in which of these 5 front-end frameworks pays the most, read on below. The numbers are based on the average salary for the past six months, according to indeed.com

  1. React.js – $62k
  2. Angular – $59k
  3. Backbone – $59k
  4. Ember.js – $54k
  5. Vue.js – $53k

Easiest to learn ranking

  1. Backbone.js
  2. Vue.js
  3. React.js
  4. Angular
  5. Ember

Generally, the thing you should look for when choosing a framework is what problem you want to address, and how steep the learning curve is to get where you need to be. Performance is always a big factor, depending on the complexity of the project or application. If you’re just starting out, it is best to go with whichever framework offers the most gentle learning curve. Don’t forget that the community around each of these technologies can be invaluable when you’re a beginner, and that whatever problem you’ve run into, most certainly hundreds of other have ran into it as well, and have written ways to solve it.

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