Every business that partakes in web development is concerned with delivering the best possible user experience. After all, if the application doesn’t operate smoothly and isn’t intuitive, people will quickly flock to another one. For this reason, leaders are always wondering, what are the best frontend frameworks to employ?

In 2021, the most popular framework in terms of use was React.js with 40.14% of developers reporting using it worldwide. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that you should abandon your search and simply stick to React.js.

Our team has spent years accumulating web app development expertise and has decided to assemble its own list of top frontend frameworks for you to consider. Below, we’ll discuss each of them in detail so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

The Role of Frontend Frameworks in Web Development

The Role of Frontend Frameworks in Web Development

First, let’s quickly establish what frontend frameworks are. Well, the term “frontend” itself refers to the elements of an application or website that are visible to the users. Things like typography, color schemes, button shapes and the like all constitute a graphical user interface that presents information from backend components.

Learn the more about User Interface Design

A framework, on the other hand, is a piece of software that simplifies development of a particular IT project by providing ready-to-use code that developers can build on. Thus, allowing them to avoid starting from scratch and easing the entire software development process.

As such, a frontend framework is a tool that helps with the creation of the frontend elements of a web application. Typically, it can aid in the management of AJAX requests, associating data with DOM elements, or styling of app components.

Factors Affecting Frontend Framework Selection

Before we list the most popular frontend frameworks among our team members, let’s take a look at the factors that often affect selection of this technology:

By keeping these top seven considerations in mind when choosing frontend development frameworks, you’ll be able to determine which one suits your needs best.

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Best Frontend Frameworks to Choose From

Choosing the right frontend web development framework for your application isn’t always an easy feat and there will continuously be discussions about which one is best. Here, we’ve assembled the top three for you to consider. Let’s take a look.

React.js

React.js

Like we said, React.js is currently the most popular frontend development framework according to recent research. In essence, it is an open-source and free Javascript library that helps build user interfaces based on UI components. It was created in 2011 by Facebook and is currently maintained by Meta.

One of React’s most prominent features is the virtual Document Object Model (DOM) in which a representation of a UI is stored and synced with the real DOM. This facilitates a quick and easy manipulation of the virtual version before only the relevant changes are updated to the real DOM. This process of “reconciliation” significantly improves performance and results in great functionality.

React.js Pros

React.js Cons

React.js Uses

Typically, React is used for building single-page apps that require a rich user interface. It can be particularly useful when you’ve got a limited time frame to complete the UI because components within the framework can be reused.

One of the projects our team worked on required a redesign of a sports website. Our developers revamped the entire site from an older PHP to a new, mobile-friendly React version. Thus, keeping the Client happy and improving performance as well as user engagement.

Angular

Angular

Another one of the popular UI development frameworks is Angular. It is based on TypeScript and was initially released by Google in 2010 as Angular.js. Now, the modern version has come to be known as Angular 2+, and many software vendors, including ourselves, can help companies migrate from the legacy version to the most up-to-date one.

Find out how a Plant Growing Company Migrated from a Legacy System

Just like React.js, Angular is a free, open-source framework. However, unlike React, it has a two-way binding feature, which means that any changes a developer makes can be viewed in real-time. Overall, the framework is great for developing single and multi-page web apps as well as mobile solutions.

Angular Pros

Angular Cons

Angular Uses

Angular isn’t the best choice for small-scale web applications, but is great for enterprise solutions, projects with a complex infrastructure, or progressive web apps (PWA). As long as developers are experienced in this frontend framework, you’ll get a good result.

Read about the development of Angular-Based Inventory Management Software

Vue.js

Vue.js

Vue.js is one of the simplest and most straightforward frontend frameworks. It is relatively small in size but does have a virtual DOM, a component-based architecture, and two-way data binding. All of these elements lead to great performance and ease the work associated with updating components and tracking changes.

Despite being more versatile and “beginner-friendly” than Angular, Vue.js hasn’t gained as much widespread popularity among big enterprises just yet. Typically, many big companies still try to stick with the trustworthy Angular or React, but all this might soon change if Vue.js keeps gaining market share.

Vue.js Pros

Vue.js Cons

Vue.js Uses

Vue.js is best suited for creating one-page web apps as developers can quickly get on board and make the most of the framework’s flexibility. Of course, thanks to Vue’s simplicity and allowing specialists to design everything from scratch, it can be good for bigger projects too.

However, the difficulty of getting community support or understanding documentation if you don’t speak Chinese can easily put people off this framework. So, make sure to hire developers with good expertise in Vue if it’s imperative they work with it.

Legacy Frameworks Companies Migrate From

The above-mentioned React.js, Angular, and Vue.js are definitely the most popular choices of frontend frameworks among our team. However, there is a couple of legacy technologies that we may inadvertently run into when working on certain projects.

You see, legacy systems come with the territory of software development and are especially common in modernization initiatives. A solution that was implemented ten years ago may not be running on the most popular tech stack of the current day and could benefit from an upgrade. As such, it might first be necessary to modernize existing systems and migrate to newer platforms prior to solving the initial challenges a Client approaches us with.

Learn more about Legacy System Modernization

Of course, this happens with frontend frameworks too. So, we thought it’d be important to mention two legacy frontend technologies that you may have heard of, but that haven’t made the “best of the best” shortlist.

jQuery

jQuery

jQuery is one of the oldest frontend frameworks that was introduced in 2006 and has since amassed a large tech community. Strictly speaking, it is actually a library, but one that sort of fits the definition of a framework as well. Hence, many frontend developers still consider it as such.

jQuery allows its users to manipulate CSS and DOM to boost interactivity and functionality of a website or application. Additionally, it offers simplicity by minimizing JavaScript coding.

Initially, jQuery wasn’t created to develop mobile apps. Nonetheless, the latest version of the framework — jQuery Mobile — allows developers to build native mobile applications.

Learn more about the Mobile Tech Stack of Native Apps

jQuery Pros

jQuery Cons

jQuery Uses

jQuery isn’t recommended for developing large-scale apps due to the excess JavaScript code that can make the solution rather hefty. Instead, it used to be a go-to option for building desktop-based JavaScript applications thanks to the optimized code logic and cross-browser support.

Discover a project employing jQuery for Web App Redesign

Knockout.js

Knockout.js

Knockout.js, similar to the above-mentioned jQuery, is more of a library than a framework. However, it still allows for JavaScript implementation based on the Model-View-View-Model (MVVM) pattern. It helps developers create rich and responsive websites through declarative binding.

In essence, Knockout.js is a pure JavaScript library that can be added on top of existing web apps you may have without needing to enact big architectural changes.

Knockout.js Pros

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Knockout.js Cons

Knockout.js Uses

Knockout is mainly used to manage UI representation in apps with lower levels of complexity. It isn’t very well-suited for large enterprise applications that might benefit more from the Angular framework.

Create a Great User Interface With Frontend Frameworks

Choosing the right technology for your next web development project can be a challenge, but we hope that our frontend framework comparison has shed some clarity on the subject. At the end of the day, the decision will likely come down to the personal preference of your developers and the unique requirements of the software you’re looking to build.

Our team has been developing powerful web applications for years and would be happy to share the acquired expertise. So, if you’re seeking help with creating web solutions, want to migrate from legacy frameworks or simply are interested in discussing the different framework options — don’t hesitate to reach out to Velvetech.

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