JavaScript Frameworks That Changed How We View The Web

According to statistics posted in, currently approximately 89% of websites use JavaScript as their main client-side programming language. JavaScript is a lightweight language that many programmers use to build great sites and application that are compatible with search engines, operating systems, and devices. And as a result, various frameworks with different features have been adopted to achieve the highest level of abstraction.  In this article, I’m going to discuss different JavaScript frameworks that changed the way we view the web.

1. Angular JS 1.X

Angular JS 1.X is one of the most preferred options when it comes to selecting the best framework. This is because it is maintained by Google and supported by most developers.

It is an extended HTML (hypertext markup language) with two way data binding that displays changes made to view instantly in the model without the developer intervening. The two-way approach also helps the developer spend less time and effort coding, translating and updating Document Object Model (DOM).

This framework also supports caching among other processes consequently reducing the load from server CPUs (central processing unit). It means the server only attends to static files and answers the API (application programming interface) calls.

Another interesting aspect of angular is the fact that it builds websites and applications that have withstood the test of time. It has made testing and debugging much easier than ever. Karma, Jasmine, and Protractor are some of the unique testing tools that come with this framework.

Other pros of the angular framework include:

  1. Model view controller and model view ViewModel (MVVM) architectural patterns
  2. Use of directives that ensure scripts and HYMP (Howard Yen Monet Page) pages are organized

However, using angular is time-consuming especially for those not familiar with Model View View Model (MVVM) architectural patterns or the directives.

Although the scopes are very simple, it is very difficult to debug.

2. Angular 2.x (now 4.x)

Released in September 2016, Angular 2 was a rewrite which introduced TypeScript (compiled with JavaScript).  TypeScript offers great benefits to developers familiar with statically-typed languages like C# and Java. In March 2017 the fourth version was released, skipping the third one. This was done to avoid issues with semantic version.

It is worth noting that Angular 2.x is very different from 1.x and they are not compatible with each other. As a result, one can never upgrade from Angular 1.x. Unlike angular 1, angular 2 has a larger code base.

Despite being developed by Google, the big G does not use it.

3. Vue.js

In spite of being reasonably new Vue.js is one of the fastest growing frameworks that serve as a quick and easy solution not only for applications but also interface development. Developed by Evan You, a former staff of Google, its inception has been used by numerous Chinese firms including Sina, Weibo and Alibaba.

Its small size is one of the significant features; it is only 18kb after zipping. Despite its tiny size, this framework can match products of large brands like Facebook and Google which are Angular 2 and React.js enabled as well as outperform them.

Unlike many JavaScript frameworks, Vue integrates an element’s structure, logic, and style all in one single file which makes flexible components that can be reused in other projects. It also adds several small reactive components to the current template.

Vue JavaScript framework has nice documentation and for amateurs to write their first application, they must have some basics in JavaScript and HTML.

Just like angular framework, it enables two-way communications, is very responsive, high-speed rendering and very simple to code.

However, it has a few cons with language barrier being the biggest issue.

4. Backbone.js

Developed by Jeremy Ashkenas and released on 13th October 2010, Backbone.js is a lightweight framework (41.6 KB).  It has an MVC (model view controller) framework that summaries data into a model, DOM into views and later combines the two using events. It also allows the creation of client-side web or mobile application in an organized manner.

So when should you use Backbone ?

  1. To create an application with many code lines using JavaScript
  2. If you have a design with few codes; it offers functionality and is well structured.
  3. It communicates through events and ensures the code is clean and easy to maintain.

Although Backbone claims to be a library because it can be incorporated into very many projects most developers consider it a framework.

Pros :

  1. Has wonderful documentation
  2. Has been adopted for use by firms such as, LinkedIn, and Trello
  3. It does not add logic to HTML
  4. A lesser abstraction level compared to alternatives like angular (although this can also be considered as a disadvantage)

Cons :

  1. Additional components are needed to perform features like data binding
  2. Most of the recent JavaScript frameworks are no longer MVC architectures

5. Ember.js

Originally known as SproutCore MVC framework, Ember.js is an open source framework under MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) license that enables developers to build client-side JavaScript application that offers a solution that has web application flow and data management.

Developed by Yehuda Katz, the Ember.js is based on MVVM pattern and gears templates, data binding, and libraries in one package. Data binding is enabled by the linkage of two properties; where when one property changes the other is upgraded.

Common features of ember include:

  1. Used to create eco-friendly and easily maintained web applications
  2. It has HTML and CSS (cascading style sheet)
  3. Provides instance initializers
  4. The routes are primary features that manage the URL’s

It is very simple to configure Ember.js in your system. All you need is Ember CLI (command line interface) utility that creates and manages your projects.

To install the framework, you require the following dependencies:

  1. Git, an open source system that tracks changes made in your files
  2. js and npm- Node.js is an open source written in JavaScriptwhile npm is used to install, share and manage the different dependencies in projects
  3. Bower is used to manage components like JavaScript, image files, and HTML.
  4. Watchman is used to check files and make changes if any
  5. PhantomJS is an optional dependency used to run browser-based unit tests to interact with web page

Firms using Ember.JS include LinkedIn, Netflix, Microsoft, Zendesk, SKYLIGHT among many more.

6. Meteor.js

Released in 2012 by Meteor development group, meteor.js is a framework that offers complete functionality that assists developers to build applications in JavaScript right from scratch to the end. Besides the front end UI rendering, this framework provides back-end abilities that include architectural configuring and database management.

So why do developers prefer it ?

  1. It is faster to build applications when compared to other frameworks
  2. Launching an MVP in 3 or 4 weeks can be a reality with the meteor.js framework. It has both front-end and back-end packages that allow you develop faster.
  3. Easy to learn
  4. Compared to many renowned full-stack frameworks, meteor only uses JavaScript, a language that most developers are familiar with.
  5. Real-time applications; this means any changes made to documents are saved instantly.
  6. Allows you to turn your web application into a mobile device app. This is facilitated by Cordova, a platform with a set of APIs that builds built-in smartphone applications using HTML and JavaScript.
  7. It is very fast. Meteor’s speed is as a result of from great community packages and libraries that fill any gaps.
  8. Besides that, it solves small and time-consuming tasks that developers have to do hence assisting them to expand their business with ease.

7. Express.js

Express.js is a flexible JavaScript web app framework that comes with a strong set of features for web and mobile applications. It is a popular node framework that offers tools to:

  1. Write requests for handlers with various HTTP verbs at different URL routes
  2. Integrates with view to create responses by introducing data into templates
  3. Adds more requests when needed
  4. Builds APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)

This framework has two template engines (Jade and EJS) that facilitate data flow into a site.

Is express.js opinionated or unopionated? Opinionated frameworks are those with views about the perfect way to handle a certain task while an unopinionated framework has few restrictions making it easier and flexible for developers to make use of the most suitable tools when performing a given task. Express is unopinionated and you can use any compatible approach. You can organize the app into one single file, many files or even have the two options.

8. Batman.js

Batman.js is another interesting JavaScript framework that has changed the way we view the web. Created by Shopify, this framework looks like knockout and angular. It has a great user interface (UI) that is founded on HTML features. It is also the only framework that is written in idiomatic CoffeeScript. Moreover, it is well integrated with Node, js and can use the node.js server.

Advantage :

  • A very clean codebase that allows binding, persistence, and routing

Disadvantage :

  • Uses singleton controllers

Of course, this article has not given a list of all JavaScript frameworks that changed how we view the web. JavaScript frameworks are very many. Which framework do you use? Do find it helpful?

Author Bio:

Over the many years we’ve been in operation, Florida Vocational Institute has built a solid reputation in the web development space. We have a committed and professional workforce that’s results oriented and dedicated to accelerating the growth of web developers.


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