5 Things to Consider When Choosing the JavaScript Framework for Your Next Project

StackOverflow Developer Survey 2020 confirmed JavaScript tops the chart of programming languages worldwide. 69.7% of developers use JavaScript for development. Furthermore, JavaScript holds the rank for 8 years in a row

choosing javascript framework

Photo source: https://insights.stackoverflow.com/

Before you jump and hire a frontend developer, stop. I urge you to read this article before you make a decision. Why? In the next five minutes, you will know about the 5 things you must consider when choosing a JavaScript framework for your next project:

  • What are the core features the framework offers?
  • What is the usability of the framework?
  • How popular is the JavaScript framework?
  • Can you find enough learning resources on the framework?
  • Does the JavaScript framework integrate easily with third-party tools?

1. What are the core features the framework offers?

Scan the documentation to know the core features. Is the framework only a view layer or fully-fledged? Furthermore, search for the following features in the documentation:

  • HTTP communication
  • Templating
  • Routing
  • State management
  • Form processing and validation

Let us check the core features of the four most popular JavaScript frameworks — Angular, React, Vue, and Ember.

a. Angular

Angular places CSS, HTML, and TypeScript files separately for each feature and component. The framework promotes TypeScript. Thus, Angular is an ideal choice for large applications. However, TypeScript can cause resistance.

Furthermore, the framework offers built-in packages for forms, routing, and other features as well. 

b. React

With React, you can choose and install from multiple packages for routing or forms. 

Furthermore, components are reusable. React is best suited for small to medium-scale projects.

c. Vue

Vue offers a simple data binding. Thus, if you prefer not to switch between hundreds of files, Vue is the right choice for you.

The framework offers built-in packages. Furthermore, you can install third-party packages as well.

d. Ember 

Ember offers its own object model. Furthermore, the framework offers a data layer for Ember applications — Ember Data. You can create models and map their relationships. 

Ember works well if your server uses JSON API. However, if the server does not (Hint: not using JSON API is the norm), you need to write custom serializers and adapters. 

Check out the summary of the core features of the four frameworks below:

choosing javascript framework

Photo source: https://www.toptal.com/

2. What is the usability of the JavaScript framework?

The best way to test the usability? Use the framework in a mini-project. Analyze whether you are being productive or not with the framework. 

Check for the following aspects to understand the usability:

  • Can you find any conventional guidelines or structures within the context of the framework?
  • Do you need to search for external libraries? Must you install plugins from the community?
  • Can you find a CLI to accelerate the development process?
  • How easy it is to achieve the desired results?

Now, check out the usability of four of the popular JavaScript frameworks — Ember, React, Vue, and Angular.

Ember is a productive framework for its core users. The framework offers a CLI. You can generate a new process. Furthermore, you can create components, models, routes, and controllers along with their own test suites. In addition, you can build tools, install necessary packages and testing environments, and create basic folder structures. 

React and Vue offers CLI, vue-cli, and create-react-app. Both the frameworks represent a view layer. You can create customized workflows and different structures on a project-to-project basis. 

Angular offers a similar CLI to Ember. The framework allows you to generate services, components, and directives. Furthermore, you can create the initial structure for an application. The test suite lives near every generated piece of the app. Angular comes with TypeScript which provides a productivity boost as well.    

3. How popular is the JavaScript framework?

Imagine this scenario. When traveling, you choose homestays for accommodation. You love the familiar feeling, listening to the owner’s stories, and the solitude. However, when you travel with a group, you might have to choose a popular hotel chain because everyone else in the group likes the hotel.

The same works for JavaScript frameworks. You might like a framework but your company or client can choose a time-tested and reputed JavaScript framework. Here is why they would be right (pro tip: Even if you are a business owner or an employee, you should think the same way too):

• Less number of developers work on frameworks that are not so popular. Thus, if the developers abandon the project midway, you will be in deep waters.

• Furthermore, if the project grows, you will need more developers to accelerate the development. Again you will be stuck at finding developers who know the framework.

• With a less popular framework, you won’t have the support of a large community. Thus, if you cannot find the solution to a specific issue, you will end up like a person rowing a boat alone in the sea. 

• Furthermore, if you want to receive better opportunities in your career, specializing in a popular framework will ease your path. 

Angular and React top the popularity chart. Why? Google backs Angular. Facebook does the same for React. Thus, the resulting authenticity and reputation precede the frameworks.  

Check out how well the project is doing on GitHub below. You will know the popularity of a framework.

choosing javascript framework

Photo source: https://www.toptal.com/

4. Can you find enough learning resources on the framework?

Imagine this scenario. Your parents enrolled you in school. However, they never bought you books and notebooks. Your school never offered any study material as well. How lost will you be?

The same applies to JavaScript frameworks as well. But what about documentation? The short answer, documentation is not enough. Most of the time, documentation offers only a basic overview. If you get stuck with an advanced issue later, you will want to have learning resources at hand. 

Thus, check out if you can find resources from reputed authors on the framework you have chosen. If you do not find the resources, think twice before choosing the framework. The lack of resources is a sign the framework is either new or not well adopted by the community yet.

Here are the available learning resources of some of the most popular JavaScript frameworks:

• EmberJS comes with brilliant documentation. The documentation offers detailed descriptions of core features and cases with generic examples. However, there is not much more available resource other than the documentation.

• Angular and React have abundant resources. You can visit any front-end-oriented educational website and you will find articles, full video courses, and even books on the frameworks.

• Vue falls in the middle. The framework offers decent documentation and moderate resources.

• Aurelia comes with almost no resources apart from the documentation.

5. Does the JavaScript framework integrate easily with third-party tools?

Even a feature-rich JavaScript framework will need additional tools. Third-party libraries help you solve problems the JavaScript cannot solve itself — rich text editing, DOM manipulation, time formatting. However, the libraries won’t matter if you cannot integrate them with the chosen framework. 

Furthermore, if the integration takes three hours every time, you will be in deep waters. Thus, test the ease of integration before choosing a framework. 

Check out how the three most popular JavaScript frameworks integrate with third-party tools:

• Angular is one of those rare frameworks that support TypeScript. You can integrate instructions on the page of the library itself.

• With React and Vue, you can directly refer to installed libraries using NPM, especially if you are using Webpack or a similar building tool. However, Vue makes the process of using community plugins a little more complicated than React. The situation escalates when the community plugins contain user interface logic.

• Ember offers EmberObserver — a community plugin website. Type the name of your favorite libraries and the website shows you related plugins from complete rewrites to simple wrappers.   

Functionality over personal preference

You want the JavaScript framework to boost your website performance. Thus, choose a framework that has proved to have delivered the same, even if it was not your initial choice. 

In this article, you have learned:

  • Why should you care about the core features
  • Why does the usability of a JavaScript framework matter
  • Why should you choose a popular framework over a new one
  • And why are learning resources other than documentation necessary

Hope the information will help you make a wise decision.