June 9, 2022
Frontend frameworks are used by developers to create client-side applications. They are instrumental to web development, power some of the websites on the planet (e.g. Facebook, Netflix, Youtube), and help drive trillions of dollars in revenue.
In 2022, there are dozens of popular frameworks to choose from in many different programming languages. Today we’ll go over the top 5 frontend frameworks and their pros and cons.
Originally developed by Facebook, React is arguably the hottest frontend framework in recent years. It’s an open-source framework that allows developers to make code changes easily, it has a unique feature called the Virtual Document Object Model (or Virtual DOM), a virtual representation of the UI that is kept in memory.
Easy to Use
React is quite easy to work with. In development mode, the UI auto-updates whenever a change is made, and any errors are clearly surfaced on the dev webpage along with any stack traces, so there’s no need to hunt for error messages.
The virtual DOM provides an efficient way to update web pages that also increases performance. The team at Facebook chose this solution after finding their use cases needing to frequently re-render the UI.
With how easy it is to make changes and see them in real-time, React increases developers’ productivity. Over time, this can lead projects to be finished ahead of schedule, which helps keep teams’ morales high.
Can be Difficult to Learn
During the learning phase, React throws around a bunch of new concepts and terminologies (such as JSX, props and state). These concepts can be difficult to grasp at first, and developers need to understand how they work to make use of React.
Angular is another very popular web framework. Originally named AngularJs, it was originally created by the folks over at Google (yes, it seems like giant tech companies have a thing for competing frontend frameworks) and later open sourced. In 2016, a brand-new rewritten version called Angular 2+ was released.
Angular uses the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture. Within this design pattern, the Model and the View are synchronized, and as the data in the Model changes, the View does too. Two-way data binding enables engineers to reduce development time as it eliminates the need to write additional synchronization code for the View and Model.
Since its release, Angular has gained serious momentum (no pun intended!) in the developer community. This makes asking questions and getting help/advice much easier.
Steep Learning Curve
There is a wide range of features and built-in functionalities that come with Angular, which can be difficult to learn.
VueJs is a framework for building both dynamic and small web applications with ease. It’s a simple, straight-forward framework that developers can learn to use quickly, but despite being versatile, it’s not yet popular among larger companies.
VueJs provides plenty of documentation for new developers, making onboarding even easier.
Like React, VueJs also makes use of a virtual DOM, enabling more efficient UI updates.
The VueJs framework has a relatively simple syntax and is easy to work with.
Despite recent popularity, the overall user base of VueJs is still smaller than powerhouses like React and Angular.
EmberJs resembles Angular with its component-based functionality and two-way data binding. It was developed in 2011 thanks to the demands of modern technologies. Despite being one of the toughest Frameworks to learn, it is still used by some of the largest companies like Linkedin and Apple because it allows developers to create complex mobile and web applications easily.
While it may lag behind frameworks like React for simple page renders, EmberJs provides great performance for large, complex web applications with many components running at once.
Two-way Data Binding
Two-way data binding saves developers time because they don’t need to write boilerplate synchronization code.
Steep Learning Curve
EmberJs is a large, heavy framework with a steep learning curve and complex syntax. For smaller projects, it might be better to choose a more lightweight framework.
Very Simple Framework
It doesn’t take a lot of frontend experience to get started with jQuery. In fact, using jQuery doesn’t even require much knowledge of programming in general. And it’s largely thanks to this reason jQuery is still so popular even in 2022.
Lack of Newer features and Design Patterns
Being such an old framework, jQuery does not really contain the innovations that the frontend community developed in the last decade and a half. This can create maintenance problems down the road and drive developers into making poor design choices (by today’s standards).
Hopefully these 5 frontend frameworks can provide a starting point for you and your project. As always, the decision of choosing a framework should not only depend on its pros and cons but also your specific project. Choosing the right framework to fit your project needs is the key, and spending some time deciding could save you months of pain and regret in the future.