It’s become quite a task to keep track of all the JavaScript frameworks and libraries available today. Each of these exists because there’s definitely some need for it. But the question is, which one should you pick for your enterprise project?

The way to go about it would be to evaluate your business requirements against the pros and cons of each of the frameworks. And though we know there are a lot of frameworks out there, there are only a handful that are capable of handling enterprise projects. Mostly, JS frameworks are open-sourced, licensed, and can create single page applications with a Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture. Yet, each of them perform differently based on the types of applications they are used in.

Let’s take a look at three of the most popular JS frameworks and libraries, and three recent entrants that are fast catching up. 

ReactJS

Released in 2013 as a component to quickly update dynamic content on Facebook, React is now maintained by the open source community. It has a Model View Controller(MVC) architecture and focuses on the efficient rendering of large data sets. 

React increases performance with a faster method of rendering content directly to the screen. It is particularly useful if you are dealing with an application that uses large data operations and dynamic content. It creates a diff of your active DOM and your virtual DOM to identify the elements that need change. It has an easy interface design and learning API, and increases performance significantly compared to other JavaScript frameworks.

Developers often use React to augment Angular, to enhance the performance of troublesome components.

On the plus side, React gives you:

Faster updates: Since it creates a minimal list of updates to be made to the real DOM to bring it in sync, rather than re-rendering the data on the entire site, it updates faster. Additionally, server-side rendering allows creating isomorphic, universal web apps.

Fewer dependencies and good code reuse: It enables easy import of components, has very few dependencies, and fantastic code reuse. It’s also efficient for JavaScript debugging.

Downside?

It’s important to remember that React is not a full framework but a loaded library with a very sophisticated view layer. 

Additionally,

Angular JS

If React is a brand new engine, Angular is a whole new car complete with an engine, wheels, and a sleek body. Released in 2009, it is an open-source JavaScript web application framework built and maintained by Google. It has over 40,000 stars on Github. 

To start with, Angular reduces download sizes by updating only the portion of the content that needs modification. Its main target is to resolve the difficulties involved in creating single-page applications (SPAs) that may load new content without leaving the page, such as in social media sites. 

Note how Facebook feed updates as you scroll down the page. For achieving this, Angular provides a client-side framework in an MVC architecture to enable the creation of high-quality brand experiences within an app featuring dynamic content.

On the plus side, Angular: 

Creates two-way data binding: This refers to event listeners that attach to data changes in an application. It reduces the size of code that developers need to build a sleek interaction and smooth content transitions.

Offers many functionalities: Despite its large framework, Angular offers numerous innovative functionalities that speed up development. Also, the growing Angular community has helped reduce the cost of building SPAs. 

Downside?

  • The problem with Angular, as with any other front-end framework, is delayed execution while rendering, updating, and manipulating huge chunks of data. 

  • Angular enables fast improvement of your app’s quality, but it also requires proficient developers for building the complex UI components. 

  • Angular has a steep learning curve. If you do not have developers well versed in TypeScript, this could be a treacherous terrain.

Node.js

Node.js is an open source, cross-platform framework built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime. It provides fast and scalable execution for server-side and networking applications. For real-time web apps, Node.js is the best choice as the framework enables creating APIs that handles I/O based requests and demand scalability. 

On the plus side:

It’s superfast: Node.js runs on the V8 engine developed by Google. It uses a single thread and functions at a super speed. It also enables developers to create quick, robust network. Such benefits reduce the number of servers that enterprises need to use and also make applications 20 times faster. 

Additionally, with Node.js, it is possible to quickly create real-time web applications.

It visualizes requests as data streams: Node.js visualizes HTTP request and response as data streams. This means you can process files while uploading, reducing the overall processing time. Same for real-time video and audio recording. 

Additionally, managing asynchronous I/O from the root is efficient with Node.js, as is the resolution of common web and network development problems. 

It’s flexible and migrates easily: Node.js has got JavaScript both on the browser and the server side. This makes it more flexible and enables easy migration of data by allowing developers to write JavaScript for both the server and client. This means it’s convenient to coordinate the data between the server and the client smoothly, and changes made in the server appear instantly in the client.

It’s backed by a strong community: Being open-sourced, the shared repository of dynamic tools and modules add a further edge to Node.js. Over 60,000 modules in the Node Package Manager (NPM) has put it in competition with the Ruby on Rails platform, with added speed, and perfect dependency management. 

The Node.js programs get rid of inter-silo dependencies and allow enterprises to combine frontend and backend teams for smooth functioning. 

Downside?

  • Node.js requires a great deal of developer expertise, and if you do not have an experienced JS team at hand, things might be difficult. 

  • Debugging with Node.js is difficult, despite tools like the node-inspector. So once again, an experience JS team is mandatory.

  • This is compounded by the fact that module documentation for Node.js is not as advanced as the other frameworks. This means help is not as readily available. 

Vue.js

If you have backend data collected over a period of time and want them to show up without investing a lot of time and effort on the front end framework, Vue.js is your best bet.  It’s a front-end framework that uses simple objects for models, but one that exudes a lot of power. 

On the plus side, Vue.js has:

Very short pick up time: Vue.js is progressively adoptable and its owner attempts to make the development of web UI more approachable. This means any developer who chooses to work with Vue.js can learn it pretty fast, almost in minutes, and create something productive and functional, using modern, interactive web interfaces. Developers agree that this is a seriously underrated benefit.

Supports complex web architecture: One can also use its drop-in library to add simple interactivity in existing pages and even totally replace jQuery. 

Vue.js can also be used to build large single page applications. It yields to modifications and allows the addition of more complicated functionalities to simple debug user interfaces.

Allows a lot of freedom: Vue.js is lightweight, easy, and well structured; it has an excellent ecosystem around it, and allows developers a lot of freedom to adopt, compared to several other frameworks. Also, it has very few bugs and errors, which are tackled pretty fast. 

Downside?

No standardization: The only trouble with Vue.js is its lack of standardization and documentation. While developers agree that this is what makes it so adoptable and fast to learn, it can be a deterrent when a project runs for a longer time and developers change through the lifecycle. Having a standard way to do things has its own advantage and it also leads to a more consistent code base.

Preact

Developers call Preact a first-class citizen of the web platform. It can be made compatible to React, although it is not intended to be its reimplementation. Rather, Preact intends to remain small, lightweight, and focused compared to the complex and intricate React codebase.

Preact has been developed keeping in mind that the web is a stable platform and we need not be paranoid about safety. It differentiates the Virtual DOM against the DOM itself and registers real event handlers. 

On the plus side, Preact is:

Small in size: Unlike most UI frameworks, Preact is so small that the code becomes the largest part of your application. This means there’s less JavaScript to download, parse and execute, leaving more time for the code. It adjusts well with other libraries too.

Fast execution: Preact is one of the fastest Virtual DOM libraries because of its small size, and its simple and predictable diff implementation.It includes extra performance features like customizable update batching, optional async rendering, DOM recycling, and optimized event handling via Linked State. It works best to create small, functional POCs at enterprises, without spending much time or resources.

Portable: Preact is portable and can be embedded. One can use it to build parts of an app without complex integration, simply by embedding Preact into a widget and applying the same tools and techniques for building a full app.
Also, like Vue.js, Preact’s lightweightedness helps one to get immediately productive with it.

Downside?

Being a new kid on the block, the community backing and consequently the documentation, is minimal. Hence the amount of help available online is limited.

Next JS

The makers believe that universal isomorphic applications are a big part of the future of the web. That’s the reason they came up with the Next.js, which is an advanced, open-sourced, universal JavaScript framework. It is compatible with server-based web apps that run on React. 

Next.js includes an advanced feature, a component lifecycle hook, getInitialProps(), which enables the framework to perform initial rendering on the server and continue rendering on the client as required. 

On the plus side:

High speed execution: Next.js enables users to add a twist to a new web app with ease, and without requiring any major tool setup. Like React, Next.js also sets up a build process upon installation of the framework. It doesn’t need any setting up of Webpack or Babel configurations either. These benefits speed up a developer’s work to a great extent. 

Advanced technique: Universal JavaScript is an advanced technique and several frameworks have their own advanced implementations. For example, Angular 2 has Universal Angular 2 and Ember has Fastboot. Next.js combines the advanced features in its simple framework with huge potential. Ahead-of-time bundling and compilation is a critical part of an effective deployment. 

Downside?

Once again, being the new kid on the block, documentation and online support in limited. 

So that’s our assessment of the JavaScript frameworks that we think are going to be very popular in 2017. 

Srijan’s JS teams are experienced and well-equipped to deliver enterprise projects. In case you have chosen the JavaScript framework that’s best for your project, but do not have a team experienced enough to implement it, we can help. Let’s get started.