Top 5 JavaScript Frameworks to learn/work on in 2020

1. React

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React is not among the earliest disruptive JavaScript-based Web frameworks. But it is the most disruptive and influential JavaScript-based Web frameworkJordan Walke and a group of Facebook Engineers created React in 2013 as a Component-based Web Framework with one-way data flow and changed the Front-end Web Development forever. It also introduced many other concepts like functional, declarative programming, immutable state, which was uncommon in Front-end development. The other breakthrough of React was to introduce the Virtual DOM, which gives better user experience and performance gain.

Today, React is by far the most dominant Web frameworks with no sign of slipping up soon.

5 Key Features:

  • React is one of the most unopinionated frameworks where React-Core is just a Component-based library for the View layer.
  • React has the slogan: “Learn Once, Write Anywhere.” Software Engineers can use React to develop Web (React), Mobile App (React Native), Desktop App (Electron), and Back-end Development (with Node.js).
  • React offers the best in class Server-Side Rendering (SSR) with excellent SEO support.
  • The Tech Giant Facebook’s need drives React development. The upside is that React features are battle-tested by the 2.6 billion Facebook users.
  • React is continuously improving itself and recently introduced React-Fiber (better Concurrency), React hook (less boilerplate code), Suspense (better rendering).

Popularity:

With 8 million downloads per week, React is by far the most downloaded Front-end JavaScript frameworks. Also, NPM trends from the last five years shows that React is the clear winner among the Front-end frameworks with a massive lead over other frameworks:

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Source: NPM trends

It is the second most starred JavaScript frameworks in GitHub with the second-highest number of Contributors:

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Source: GitHub

“The State of JavaScript” survey has placed React in top position in terms of satisfaction and awareness:

The StackOverflow developer Survey 2019 has ranked React as the second most used framework in Web development:

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Source: StackOverflow Developer Survey, 2019

It was also the most loved front-end framework in 2019:

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Source: StackOverflow developer survey, 2019

2. Node.js

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Although there were several attempts to use JavaScript in Server-side development, they were not very popular. In 2009, Ryan Dahl created the asynchronous, event-driven Server-Side JavaScript runtime Node.js and brought JavaScript in the uncharted territory of Back-end development. Ryan Dahl has used the popular JavaScript Engine V8 and C++ libraries. Since then, the popularity of both Node.js and JavaScript has skyrocketed. With Node Package Manager NPM and countless numbers of frameworks/libraries, Node.js has surpassed many other established Server-side frameworks. Because of its Asynchronous Event-Driven nature and lightweight, fast runtime, Node.js is especially suited for I/O heavy applications like Web, IoT, Serverless.

Today, Node.js is not a framework rather than an entire Eco-system of Server-Side JavaScript development. With many innovations (like NPM, Module Systems), Node.js is one of the primary driving force to improve JavaScript as a programming language and to increase the popularity of JavaScript.

5 Key Features:

  • Node.js is an asynchronous, event-Driven JavaScript framework to build scalable network applications.
  • Node.js is a cross-platform and took Java’s “write once, run everywhere” to the next level. It runs on Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, and many other platforms.
  • With its relatively smaller size and faster startup, Node.js heavily used in Serverless computing.
  • Run by the OpenJS Foundation, Node.js is an open-source framework and not controlled by one tech corporation. Today, almost all tech giants (IBM, Microsoft, Netflix) use and support Node.js.
  • It supports JavaScript natively and all other “Compile to JS” languages like TypeScript, CoffeeScript, Dart. Node.js also supports the next enormous thing of the Web: WebAssembly.

Popularity:

Although Node.js is the third most starred JavaScript project, it has the highest number of contributors in GitHub:

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Source: GitHub

StackOverflow Developer Survey 2019 has put Node.js in the top position in other framework categories:

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Source: StackOverflow developer survey, 2019

Also, Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2019 has placed Node.js as the 6th most loved framework:

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Source: StackOverflow developer survey, 2019

From the last ten years of Google Trends data, it is evident that Node.js has surpassed and overtaken other popular Server Side frameworks like PHP Laravel, Django, and ASP.NET.

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Source: Google Trends

3. Vue.js

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In modern days where Web frameworks are backed by Giant Tech companies, Vue.js is an exception. In 2014, an ex-Google Engineer Evan You decided to combine the good parts of AngularJS (View Layer) and the good parts of React (Virtual DOM) and created Vue.js. Today, Vue.js is one of the most popular JavaScript-based Web frameworks. One of the key design goals of Evan You was to lower the barrier into JavaScript-based front-end development. Vue.js is one of the easiest Front-end frameworks where developers can write SPA applications with minor effort.

Developers can use Vue.js as an End-to-End framework with Routing, State management like Angular, or as only a view layer like React. It also offers Angular like two-way data-binding with additional Reactivity and React like rendering using Virtual DOM.

5 Key Features:

  • Vue.js offers progressive app development and best in the class documentation. If you have a large legacy JavaScript code-base, then you can progressively modernize your code-base with Vue.js.
  • Vue.js works both as an opinionated end-to-end framework and a View layer with state management.
  • It offers reactive two-way data binding (like Angular) and Virtual DOM, Event Sourcing (like React).
  • Vue.js has equal support for JavaScript and TypeScript.
  • Vue.js is going through a major overhaul and improvement in the upcoming Vue.js 3.0.

Popularity:

Vue.js is the most starred GitHub project, as shown below:

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Source: GitHub

Vue.js is experiencing high adoption in the industry of late, which is evident from the high number of downloads in NPM and caught up Angular:

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Source: NPM trends

Vue.js ranked 7th among all Web Frameworks according to the StackOverflow Developer survey 2019:

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Source: StackOverflow developer survey, 2019

Also, StackOverflow developer survey 2019 has ranked Vue.js as the second most loved Web framework:

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Source: StackOverflow developer survey, 2019

“The State of JavaScript” survey has placed Vue.js in the second spot in terms of interest:

4. Angular

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In AngularJS, Google had created one of the earliest hot JavaScript-based Front-end frameworks in 2010. But once Facebook released React, it exposed the design flaws of AngularJS, and it quickly became an outdated framework. As a result, the Google team has created an entirely new SPA framework and released it as Angular in 2016. Although Angular and AngularJS have similar names, in reality, they are two different frameworks. Unlike React, it is an end-to-end Framework with “Out-of-the-box” support of everything one needs to develop an Enterprise-grade Web App. Also, Angular is the first significant framework that has embraced TypeScript and played a considerable role in making TypeScript popular.

Today, Angular is lagging React, Vue.js, or Svelte in terms of hype and interest. But it is a proven and reliable Enterprise Grade framework that will be in the community for years to come.

5 Key Features:

  • Angular.js is an end-to-end framework with “out of the box” support to develop Enterprise Application. In Angular CLI, it has one of the best Command-Line Tool in the JavaScript landscape.
  • With TypeScript and separating the template from styling and business logic, it is especially suited for the enterprise-grade large code-base.
  • It is inherently the most secure Front-end framework with built-in features like DOM sanitization.
  • Although Google is not backing Angular the same way as Facebook is backing React, it is still putting enough resources so that Angular remains an attractive and innovative framework. Recently it has added Lazy Loading, Differential loading to improve loading time of modules.
  • In Angular 9, it releases a new rendering Engine Ivy to improve startup time, response time, and to reduce bundle size.

Popularity:

If we consider GitHub stars, then it is the 4th most popular JavaScript framework as shown below:

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Source: GitHub

Angular has made up its lack of popularity with a massive adoption in the industry as it leads the highly popular Vue.js in terms of NPM downloads:

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Source: NPM trends

StackOverflow Developer Survey 2019 ranked Angular in the 3rd position among all Web Frameworks:

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Source: StackOverflow developer survey, 2019

According to “The State of JavaScript” survey 2019, Angular ranked the second spot in terms of awareness:

5. Express

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When Node.js appeared in 2009, TJ Holowaychuk has created Express.js based on the minimalistic Web Framework Sinatra. It is a minimalistic Web framework to develop Web application and REST API. It is also less opinionated and very fast. Many other JavaScript-based Web frameworks are based on Express.

Today, Express.js is the most popular JavaScript-based Web application framework hands down.

5 Key Features:

  • Express.js is almost the default JavaScript Server Side framework.
  • Express is the complete Application framework with middleware, routing, template.
  • Express supports MVC pattern with View system supporting 14+ templating engines.
  • It also offers robust routing.
  • Express also supports content negotiation.

Popularity:

It is the most popular JavaScript-based back-end framework as evident by GitHub stars:

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Source: GitHub

With over 10 million downloads every week, Express.js is by far the most downloaded JavaScript framework:

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Source: NPM trends

The “State of JavaScript” survey has ranked Express.js as the top JavaScript server-side framework for three consecutive years (2017, 2018, 2019):

The StackOverflow Developer survey 2019 has ranked Express as 5th most popular Web framework and most popular JavaScript back-end framework in 2019:

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Source: StackOverflow Developer Survey, 2019

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