Here's a quick index of the libraries and frameworks in this post:
At over 350,000 packages, the npm registry contains more than double the next most populated package registry (which is the Apache Maven repository). In fact, it is currently the largest package registry in the world.
Only eight months later, there were about 500,000 packages in the npm registry. That's a massive growth compared to other package repositories.
A framework has an architecture that dictates the flow of control in your application. The framework describes the skeleton and tells you how everything should be organized. The basic functionality required to get the application up and running is also provided to you. Moreover, you are bound to follow the framework's design principles and patterns. The difference between a framework and a library is that you call a library, whereas the framework calls you.
A framework often comprises many libraries and has a higher level of abstraction. Functionality such as event handling, making AJAX calls, template and data binding, and testing are built into the framework.
So why is React getting all the attention? With React, it is possible to create an interactive UI using a declarative approach where you can control the state of the application by saying "the view should look like this". It uses a component-based model where the components are reusable UI elements, and each component has its own state.
React uses a Virtual DOM so that you don't have to be concerned about directly manipulating the DOM. Other notable features of React include one-way data flow, optional JSX syntax, and a command-line tool for creating a React project with zero build configuration.
Some of the features of Angular include:
- component-based architecture
- improved performance on both mobile and web platforms
- better tooling and scaffolding options
The framework offers a React-like experience with its Virtual DOM and reusable components that you can use to create both widgets and entire web applications. Moreover, you can use the JSX syntax to write the render functions directly. When the state changes, Vue.js uses a reactivity system to determine what has changed and rerenders the minimal number of components. Vue.js also supports the integration of other libraries into the framework without much hassle.
Whereas traditional frameworks such as React and Vue do the majority of their work in the browser, Svelte moves that work into a compile step that occurs when you build your app. This makes it a useful option for user interface development.
Ionic is a free and open-source framework that provides a library of mobile-optimized UI components, gestures, and tools for creating high-speed, high-interactivity apps. It allows you to create a hybrid mobile application.
This open-source static website generator uses Webpack and GraphQL technology and is built on the React front-end development framework. You can use Gatsby to create progressive web apps, as well as static sites that are fast and secure. It's used by several well-known organizations, including Tinder, Snapchat, and Affirm, and it's very fast and flexible when building websites.
Meteor is especially geared to writing full-stack apps with a shared codebase for the client and server.
Express is a popular and powerful tool for writing the server-side code for any web application. It is both free and open-source. It is used to quickly and easily design and create web apps.
D3 works by binding the data to the DOM and then making the transformation to the document. It also has an ecosystem of its own, which consists of plugins and libraries that extend its basic functionality. The library has been around since 2011, and it has tons of documentation and tutorials that can help you get started.
With the simple but powerful Anime.js animation library, you can create a broad range of animations on your CSS properties, as well as SVG images and DOM attributes. You can read more about Anime.js here:
A tool is a collection of routines that help you in the development process. Unlike a library, a tool usually executes a task on the client code. It takes your code as input, performs a task on it, and then returns an output. The commonly used tools include transpilers and build tools, asset minifiers, module bundlers, and scaffolding tools.
General-purpose task runners are the tools used to automate certain repetitive tasks. The popular general-purpose task runners include:
Gulp uses pipelines to stream the data from one plugin to another, and the final result is outputted to a destination folder. Gulp performs better compared to Grunt because it doesn't create temporary files for storing intermediate results, which results in fewer I/O calls.
The Grunt task runner and automation tool has a command-line interface that lets you run custom tasks defined in a file called a Gruntfile. Grunt has thousands of plugins to choose from, which should cover most of the common repetitive tasks that you'd encounter. With Grunt, you can run all the tasks under a single command, making your life easier.
Gulp and Grunt require you to spend time learning and mastering a new tool, which takes time. Introducing additional dependencies into your project can be avoided by choosing an alternative that is already bundled with Node.js. Although npm is better known as a package manager, npm scripts can be used to perform the bulk of the abovementioned tasks.
Prettier is a code formatter with strong opinions. It enforces a consistent style by analyzing your code and reprinting it according to its standards, which take into consideration the maximum line length and wrap code as needed. It works with a variety of languages and can be integrated with some of your favorite editors.
Testing is the process of validating and verifying that the application meets the expected business and technical requirements. The Test-Driven Development approach also aids in discovering bugs and therefore should be treated as an integral part of the modern front-end development stack.
Jest is a relatively new testing framework authored by Facebook and has been well-received by the React community. There is a common misconception that Jest is specifically designed to work with React; however, according to the Jest Documentation:
The biggest advantage of using Jest over other test suites is that you require zero or minimal configuration to start writing tests. The framework has a built-in assertion library and supports the use of mock functions or spies.