Before we present the list, let’s distinguish between the terms “frameworks”, “libraries” and “tools” in the context of software development.
- Framework – an abstraction that allows you to create applications in a standard manner. It also provides a lot of functionality such as events, data binding, and storage. JS examples: Node, Electron, Angular, Backbone.
- Library – A collection that contains certain functionality. It can include events, cookies, and network requests. A file containing functions that perform specific tasks. Examples of JS: Bootstrap, React, and Socket.io.
- Tool – A small assistant that makes the development process more efficient in terms of performance and maintenance. You can use compilers, image compressors, and task runners. Some JS examples include Browserify, JSLint, and Mocha.
We are focusing on tools and libraries that every JS developer must know or should at the very least, be able to use in order to remain relevant.
React was developed by Facebook engineers and released open-source in 2011. ReactJS provides new ways to render web pages. It has a dynamic user interface, high performance, and many other benefits. Reusability of code components is one of its key advantages. This is particularly useful when it comes to system upgrades and is time-saving. The components are isolated and don’t cause any changes to each other.
Data binding is one way (down), to allow a stable code, virtual DOM for speed to increase the speed and continuous improvements by the developer community to bring React.js up to the top. The same engineers also created Native, a framework for mobile app development, that supports both iOS and Android platforms.
It has the following features:
- High coverage of the test
- HTTP helpers (caching, redirection, etc.)
- View system that supports multiple engines
- Fast execution for general apps
Express: Why choose Express? Express is ideal for websites, single-page applications, and HTTP APIs. Programmers will find the ability to create APIs very easy to use one of its most useful features.
Angular, in simple terms, is a popular, single-page web app development tool that allows you to create modern web apps. It is part of the standard MEAN stack and is constantly being updated. The current version is 4.4.6. However, it is strange that the older and the newer versions are not compatible.
The main benefits of an Angular include:
- Automated code-splitting
- Command-line tools
- Ready for unit testing
- 2-way data binding
This framework is a great tool for building cross-platform apps and websites. Electron is built on Node.js, a Chromium engine, and supports all HTML, JS, and CSS packs. Slack and Jibo are just a few of the many apps that Electron supports.
It is freely available and compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. It includes pre-built demo applications APIs, Chromium tools for debugging, unit testing inside the environment, and code distribution.
This tool has a drawback: the size of the updates is about 40Mb due to Bundling with Chromium.
Strong characteristics of Webpack include:
- Code splitting – dividing code into multiple pieces to reduce loading times
- Optimizations – Reducing the size and controlling the load at runtime and initial chunks, etc.
- Bundling: A single bundle or a few parts that can be loaded asynchronously.
- Compiling requires you to resolve dependencies
- Modular plugin system enables any task to be possible
- Possibility of using as a task runner.
There are also some drawbacks, such as the inability to load files during runtime. You may also find Browserify and RequireJS module bundles.
Another important aspect of programming is code supervision, which helps to identify errors. Humans are human and sometimes miss closing brackets or variables. Linting is the process of analyzing code for potential flaws. ESLint is one of the most popular linting JS tools. It is in many ways the same as JSHint and JSLint.
We’ll return to JS frameworks and finish with Vue.js, a more advanced framework for developing user interfaces. It’s an open-source, lightweight (20Kb zip), virtual DOM framework/library, made out of Angular. Vue uses HTML syntax to data-bind and offers tools for routing, scaffolding, animations, etc.
Vue is a similar project to React. It’s simple, performant, and supports all browsers. Vue seems to be getting more adoption from developers. It is possible that Vue may be a trendy and new project, but it is worth keeping an eye on what updates Vue’s large number of contributors might bring tomorrow.
jQuery foundation also provides useful and related tools such as jQuery UI, jQuery Mobile, and a CSS selector engine called Sizzle. jQuery UI allows you to design and tweak your user interface for web apps, reduce code for interactive features, and more. jQuery is a great tool to create dynamic web pages.
jQuery can be perceived as obsolete by many developers. Why is this? Many believe that the library became too popular with mediocre developers, which made it a server-side tool. A DOM-centric paradigm can be a major headache. This JS giant must not be forgotten.