Front-end frameworks facilitate web developers' jobs by providing them with reusable code modules, standardized front-end technologies, and ready-made interface blocks that ease the development of applications and user interfaces without the need to code every function or object from scratch.
These front-end frameworks come with various development instruments, including a grid that simplifies placing and positioning the user interface design components, predefined font settings, and website standard building stocks like website panels, buttons, navigation bars, etc.
What is a framework?
If you simply look at some web applications, you can see that they are replete with duplicated and similar features and sections. For example, most web applications have user authentication, rendering pages, connection to databases, profiles you can look at, stylized feeds of information, and many more. Front-end developers could need to write all of the logic behind these features every time they build an application; however, front-end frameworks can do the job for them in a flash.
As most web applications offer very similar – or sometimes identical – structures, front-end frameworks have been developed to provide a common structure, so developers do not have to write everything from scratch. This enables them to reuse the code, simplifying much of the work and saving a great amount of time during their development project. In other words, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Moreover, front-end developers care about their code being readable by others who tend to use the code in their development projects. That is why developers like to make their coding as efficient and easy-to-understand as possible. The truth is that a code is read many more times than it is initially written. Therefore, front-end developers must help others know where the code for certain tasks exists in their project, so they can use it for themselves.
Web frameworks help front-end developers achieve a structure in their website applications and add additional features without much hassle. Front-end frameworks expedite the initiation of a development project and put the developers' focus on features instead of configuration details. They also have conventions for how the code is written and structured, which can standardize how the development process takes place.
Front-end frameworks vs backend frameworks
The best front-end frameworks in 2023
With all the technological advancements, several front-end frameworks have been designed for the highest efficiency developers can get. All frameworks come with their unique features, making it tough for developers to pick one. As every business has different needs and goals, the development of its website and application should be managed in correspondence with its needs and dreams too.
Knowing which front-end framework is the best on the market has always been controversial. However, recent studies and surveys show that currently, the most popular front-end frameworks are React, Vue, Angular, Svelte, JQuery, Ember, Backbone, Semantic UI, Foundation, and Preact. Below, we will review each one to determine their features and limitations to choose one for our project ultimately.
Over 3 million active users take advantage of React. There is a huge community behind the framework supporting it. Almost 80 percent of competent developers have had a positive and easy experience with React at least once in their development projects. It is also jaw-dropping to know that over 1.5 million web applications have been developed with the help of React. Some of the most popular, real-life projects that have been designed with React include Facebook, Netflix, Vivaldi Browser, Khan Academy, BBC, Airbnb, Pinterest, Asana, Reddit, and UberEats.
The main advantageous feature of the React front-end framework is the virtual Document Object Model (DOM) with one-way data binding. Thanks to DOM, React provides developers with outstanding performance and is deemed to be one of the easiest frameworks developers can learn. This front-end framework is pleasantly user-friendly and offers an easy learning curve, making it the best option for beginners or developers who are less experienced.
Unlike other front-end frameworks, the React framework is a library and does not maintain some essential features. Therefore, it has been designed to work with other libraries for tasks like state management, routing, and interaction with API. Since the components of React are reusable, it is considered the right choice if you want to save time on the development of an interactive interface.
- Fast updates
- Supported by Facebook
- Virtual DOM for fast operation in the document
- Compatible with many JS libraries
- Writing components without classes
- Code components can be reused
- Easy to migrate between different versions
- Complicated to learn JSX syntax
- Lack of well-elaborated documentation
Since React is equipped with virtual DOM capability, it is considered one of the best front-end frameworks for complicated web development projects that have many blocks (navigation panels, accordion sections, buttons, etc.) going through variable/binary states, such as active/inactive, expanded/collapsed, active/disabled, etc. If you want to make the React framework even more efficient, you can use it with other libraries such as Redux.
It is interesting to know that 40 percent of developers have reportedly tried Vue.js at least once in their careers. Also, over 700,000 web applications have been designed with the help of this front-end framework, including popular brands such as Alibaba, Reuters, 9gag, Xiaomi, and Ride Receipts.
Unlike some other popular front-end frameworks, Vue.js is not supported by large market players. The framework was first created in 2014 by Evan You, who is also behind the development of Angular, which is another prevalent JS front-end framework. We will discuss the features of Angular later.
Vue offers a high-speed performance thanks to its virtual DOM, component-based architecture, and two-way binding. These are everything that front-end frameworks need for updating related components and tracking data variations, which is a must for all applications in need of real-time updates. Developers can enjoy the small size of Vue compared with other front-end frameworks, too, as the compressed file containing it weighs only 18 kilobytes.
With well-explained documentation and a supportive community, Vue is easy to work with and much simpler than Angular and many other front-end frameworks to get used to, and it is known as one of the friendliest frameworks for beginners. It offers countless tools, including plugin installation systems, browser debugging tools, state manager, end-to-end testing tools, server renderer, and many others.
- Fast and small-sized
- Comprehensive documentation
- Two-way data binding
- Easy syntax
- Positive effects on SEO
- Lack of plugins
- New and developed by private individuals
- Limited applications in big projects
- Not supported by a powerful business
Vue is possibly one of the best front-end frameworks for building single-page applications from scratch or launching a small web development project. It can simply integrate with server pages and support developers with diverse features such as tree-shaking, bundling, code-splitting, and many more.
Angular, also known as Angular 2+, is one of the most popular software development tools these days. It is a modern, open-source front-end framework that works based on TypeScript. So far, over 600,000 websites have been developed using Angular or Angular 2+. It has been used to develop most services offered by Google.
Angular is usually used for the development of mobile and web applications. It is easy to build single and multi-page web applications using Angular. That is why many brands have been designed with Angular or AngularJS, including famous names such as Forbes, LEGO, UPS, BMW, and Autodesk.
Angular is actually an enhanced version of AngularJS with a more powerful performance and a multitude of useful features. The main difference between Angular (or Angular 2+) and React is that the Angular front-end framework offers two-way data binding. With this, you can be sure about the real-time synchronization between the model and the view in Angular. Therefore, all changes in the view will appear in the model and vice versa when using Angular.
Developers can make use of the Directives feature in Angular to program specific behaviors of DOM and create rich and dynamic HTML content. What's more, Angular offers a Hierarchical dependency injection function that makes code components reusable, testable, and easy to control in Angular. With this function, developers can define code dependencies as external elements decoupling components from their dependencies.
- Two-way data binding
- Component-based architecture
- Testable, reusable, manageable applications
- Directives feature
- Dependency injection feature
- Supported by Google
- Strong community
- Good training materials
- Enhanced server performance
- Tough to learn for beginners
- Limited SEO capabilities
- Bloated code and large in size
Angular offers all the features ideal frameworks should offer for creating large applications on an enterprise scale. If you have a small team aiming to build a simple application, Angular might be a little overwhelming and complicated; therefore, you can pick another easier framework. Also, if SEO is too important for you, it would be better if you could choose an SEO-friendlier alternative to Angular.
Svelte was originally introduced in 2016 and had been continuously getting more popular since then. It is neither a framework nor a library; as a matter of fact, Svelte is a compiler. It is now considered one of the best front-end frameworks in 2023. Almost 10 to 15 percent of front-end developers are satisfied with Svelte.
Currently, over 3,000 websites and applications have been designed with this framework, including The New York Times, 1Password, Philips BlueHive, Chess, Absolute Web, Godday, Cashfree, Rakuten, HealthTree, Razorpay, and many more.
Svelte is not equipped with DOM and promotes modularity in the process of coding. You will be able to access variables directly from the markup to have easy development navigation. That is because Svelte applies modularity principles to different grouping components and isolates the logic, template, and view.
- One of the quickest front-end frameworks with fast reactivity
- Minimal coding
- Component-based architecture
- Lightweight and simple
- Able to run current JS libraries
- No need for a virtual DOM
- Limited ecosystem and tooling
- Immature community
- Lack of supportive materials
- Doubtful scalability and coding nuances
Since Svelte offers simple, easy syntax and does not need DOM manipulation or high browser processing abilities, it is one of the best front-end frameworks for beginner front-end developers. It is also one of the ideal frameworks for small applications.
Svelte is not much appropriate for bigger applications as it does not offer powerful tooling, a mature pool of plugins, as well as a stable community. Switching to Svelte will possibly not enhance your web development project if you are currently using React or Vue front-end frameworks.
JQuery was not initially designed to build mobile applications, but the newest version of the framework – JQuery Mobile – enables developers to do so. JQuery is a perfect framework when handling browser interchangeability, so front-end developers will face no cross-browser issues.
- Comfortable to work
- Replete with plugins
- Compatible with popular browsers
- Powerful community
- Multiple tools for DOM manipulations
- Huge in size
- Slightly low-speed applications
- Gradually losing the battle to more functional browsers
- Misses a data layer
JQuery lacks a data layer, unlike modern frameworks. This makes the process more complex as you have to access the DOM directly and manipulate it each time. Therefore, if your user interface is a complex one, it would be better if you could opt for modern frameworks instead of JQuery, as it may make your code bloated and slow down your performance.
Ember is one of the fastest front-end frameworks when rendering the server side. It also provides two-way data binding, synchronizing the view and model in real time. It comes with a huge ecosystem with advanced templates to help developers shorten coding. The platform offers myriad powerful features from day one, but if you need more, you can use the community's countless plugins.
The community behind Ember is believed to be one of the most motivated, active ones out there. Ember framework might lack flexibility due to its strict and specific workflows that developers have to follow while using it.
- Server-side rendering
- Testing and debugging tools
- Consistent documentation
- Widget-based approach to components
- URL-focused approach
- Two-way data binding
- Motivated community
- Not very much beginner-friendly
- Not ideal for small projects
- Heavy size
- Lacking component reusing capabilities
- Little or no customization
As Ember comes with component architecture, it can be one of the ideal frameworks for creating complicated single-page web applications that are full of features, both for client-side and mobile applications. However, you should keep in mind that it is too big for small applications and unsuitable for minor activities. Developers can only work with the predefined features of the framework, so it will not be much productive when you are in need of more professional space.
Backbone follows an MVC/MVP development concept, representing your data as models that can be created, validated, eliminated, and saved to the server. Every time a specific user interface action makes any changes to an attribute of a model, the model produces a change event. This change is then transferred to all views that reflect the model's state, so they can react and render themselves again with the new data.
When the model is changed in Backbone, the changes are automatically applied to the view, so you do not have to manually update the HTML and write special code that searches the DOM for elements with certain IDs. Backbone framework offers a rich API of enumerable functions to assemble the client-side web applications, declarative event handling for views, and makes it easy to connect the framework with your current API via a JSON interface.
- Over 100 extensions
- Easy to learn for beginners
- Small size
- Fewer requests to HTTP
- Well-organized tutorials
- Storing data in models instead of in DOM
- No two-way data binding
- Unclear architecture on some occasions
- Gradually becoming obsolete
- The need for more code to write
Backbone is one of those frameworks that are perfect for designing single-page, small, simple web pages. However, it can also be used for bigger applications as it keeps the application logic separated from the user interface, avoid the spaghetti code model, and helps maintain a better design with less coding. Although the framework is getting a little less popular than before, it is still a relevant, flexible, powerful tool experienced front-end developers love to use.
Although the community behind Semantic UI is pretty small, it is very loyal and active. They have created thousands of themes and numerous components for the UI and submitted thousands of commits to GitHub.
- Rich and responsive UI components
- Self-explanatory organic code
- Offering a big choice of themes
- Seamless integration with Angular, React, Meteor, and Ember
- Small community
- Not easy to learn for beginners
- Few recent updates
- Needs proficiency in developing custom configurations
Semantic UI allows UI designers to design their user interfaces elegantly. Despite that, inexperienced developers and UI designers may not find it easy to work with. You need to be a qualified-enough developer to be able to develop customizations in the applications without using the prepared functions. That is why Semantic UI is probably not desired by beginner developers.
It is not easy to choose one of the front-end frameworks mentioned above as the best in 2023 as each of them provides diverse advantages and limitations. In addition, most of them are regularly updated to deliver the newest features, making the comparison process even more complicated. What's more, there are other great frameworks on the market, too, though we could not cover them all in the article.
After reading this article, if you are still not sure which front-end framework technology will be the best for your project, you can get help from experts in this field. They can formulate your business needs and pick the right technology for you. What comes first is that you know your expectations thoroughly and vividly to be able to align them with the key features of the frameworks to see which fits your needs the most. No-code platform AppMaster can help you in this regard. This platform specializes in creating web applications and mobile applications, and of course, there is a back-end that is the most potent back-end no-code in existence. Without any coding skills, you will be able to create unique app ecosystems using AppMaster by the visual coding method.