Best JavaScript Frameworks to Learn in 2024

Keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date with the latest frameworks and libraries is crucial for any professional developer. But with new options popping up all the time, how do you decide what’s worth your time? In this article, we’ve outlined the best JavaScript frameworks that are on demand in 2024, to give you a head start. 

What is a JavaScript Framework?

A JavaScript framework is a library of pre-written JavaScript code that provides structure and functionality for web development. Frameworks aim to simplify complex tasks and speed up development time.

Frameworks provide structure and common tools so you can focus on building apps without reinventing the wheel. They handle cross-browser compatibility, state management, routing, and more – all so you can build web applications faster. However, their size and complexity also come with a learning curve.

If you’re just getting started with JavaScript, we’d recommend learning a lightweight option like Vue.js before diving into React or Angular. Once you grasp the core concepts, you’ll have an easier time picking up any of the best JavaScript frameworks. The key is to start building projects as soon as possible to cement your learning.

Whether you’re looking to build an interactive user interface, develop a powerful backend API, or create a full-stack web application, these top-ranked JavaScript frameworks will help you get there faster and easier than before.

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React is currently the most popular JavaScript library for building user interfaces. Created by Facebook, React development allows you to create interactive UIs efficiently.

The benefits of mastering React

  • Easy to learn. React uses a simple API with few methods and a straightforward view hierarchy. This makes the framework easy to pick up. With React, you can build basic apps in no time.
  • Declarative. React uses a declarative paradigm that makes it easy to describe UI. You simply state what the UI should look like and React will handle rendering it to the DOM. This abstracts away the DOM manipulation details.
  • Component-based. React builds encapsulated components that manage their state, and then compose them to make complex UIs. These components make the code more maintainable and reusable.
  • Virtual DOM. React uses a virtual DOM that is a representation of the real DOM. This allows React to perform different algorithms and only update what needs to be changed. It makes the framework very performant.
  • Unidirectional data flow. React uses a unidirectional data flow which makes the app very predictable. State flows in one direction down from parent to child components. This makes the apps easy to reason about.

React ecosystem

React has a huge ecosystem of libraries and tools that can be used with it, like Redux for state management, React Router for routing, React Bootstrap for styling, etc. This makes React a very capable framework.

To get started with React, we would recommend going through the official React tutorial. You’ll build a small app and learn the basics. Then you can move on to building some simple projects to practice. 

The React docs are also a great resource to learn from. React is a very popular framework, so spending time learning it will benefit you greatly as a front-end developer.

Vue.js – The Progressive Framework

Vue.js has become one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks, and for good reason. It’s versatile, lightweight, and has a fast learning curve.

Vue is a “progressive framework” – it’s designed to be flexible and incrementally adaptable. You can use it for small projects with just the core library, or scale it up to large enterprise applications with the robust ecosystem of tools and libraries in the Vue ecosystem.

Getting started with Vue is simple enough. You can add it to an HTML page with a single script tag and start writing template syntax right away. But under the hood, Vue is a highly capable framework for building both web interfaces and native mobile apps.

The benefits of Vue.js as a JavaScript framework

  • Declarative rendering. Vue uses an HTML-based template syntax that allows you to declaratively bind DOM elements to the underlying data.
  • Component-based. Build encapsulated, reusable components that compose large interfaces.
  • Two-way data binding. Keep your HTML and data in sync at all times. 
  • Transition effects. Add transition effects (such as fade or slide) to elements when they are inserted, updated, or removed.
  • Rendering. You can render Vue components on the server and hydrate them on the client to enable faster page load times and improved SEO.
  • Scaleable. From small projects to enterprise applications, Vue scales with you. Robust routing, state management, build tooling and testing solutions are all part of the Vue ecosystem.

Whether you’re building an interactive game, a mobile app, or a large enterprise dashboard, Vue has you covered. Its flexibility and incrementally adaptable nature make it one of the absolute best JavaScript frameworks, suitable for teams and projects of any size.

Angular – Developed by Google

Angular is an open-source JavaScript framework developed by Google that allows you to build web applications. It has a steep learning curve but is a very robust and full-featured framework.

Once you get past the initial hurdles of setting up your environment and understanding Angular’s architecture, you’ll find it provides a lot of functionality out of the box. 

The main benefits of Angular

  • Component-based architecture: Angular applications are built as a hierarchy of components, which makes it easy to reuse code and split the UI into independent, reusable pieces.
  • Two-way data binding: Angular keeps your UI in sync with your JavaScript data models seamlessly. When your data changes, the UI updates automatically.
  • Dependency injection: Angular has a built-in dependency injection system that makes it easy to inject services into components. This makes your code flexible, testable, and reusable.
  • Powerful templating: Angular’s template syntax extends HTML and allows you to create dynamic templates using variables, pipes, directives, and more.
  • Great for large applications: Angular’s structure and architecture scales well for large, enterprise web applications. Its features like modules, services, and dependency injection provide the foundation for building robust apps.

How to get started with Angular

To get started with Angular, you’ll want to check out the official documentation and tutorial. Follow the steps to set up your environment, and learn about components, services, routing, pipes, etc. Some other resources for learning Angular include:

  • Angular University – Free video tutorials and courses on Angular
  • Angular Expo – Open source projects built with Angular 
  • Thinkster – In-depth Angular tutorials and courses 
  • Angular Weekly – Newsletter with Angular resources, tools, news and more

Overall, Angular is a comprehensive framework for building web apps. While the learning curve can be steep, it provides functionality and structure for developing large, complex applications. And if you lack the time and patience to master it, there are always offshore Angular development services that you can turn to for support.

Node.js – Fast and Scalable

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment that allows you to build fast and scalable server-side web applications.

The benefits of Node.js

  • Asynchronous and event-driven. Node.js uses asynchronous and event-driven programming, which makes it lightweight and efficient. This allows it to handle many concurrent connections without interrupting the program flow. Apps built on Node.js can scale and support many users.
  • Great for real-time apps. The asynchronous nature of Node.js makes it a good fit for building real-time applications that require quick communication between the client and the server. Apps like chat rooms, online games, and live comment streams are all possible with Node.js.
  • Beginner-friendly. Node.js has a shallow learning curve. If you know JavaScript, you can easily pick up Node.js. The syntax is the same, you’re just writing server-side code instead of client-side code. Node.js is also lightweight, so it’s easy to set up and get started building your first web app.
  • Great community support. Node.js has a very large and active development community. If you get stuck while building an app, you can turn to the community forums and code repositories for help. New packages and tools are constantly being developed and released to help make development in Node.js even easier.

npm – The largest open-source Library

Node comes with npm, the largest open-source library in the world. Npm contains over 1 million packages to help you build web applications quickly without having to write everything from scratch. Just install the packages you need and you’re ready to go.

To sum up, Node.js is a fast, scalable, and easy to get started with a framework for building server-side web applications. With its event-driven architecture, npm library, and great community support, Node.js is an excellent choice for learning back-end web development.

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Svelte – The New Lightweight Option

Svelte is a lightweight JavaScript framework that’s been gaining a lot of attention lately. Unlike heavier frameworks like React and Vue, Svelte compiles your components into highly optimised vanilla JavaScript. This means your apps end up being very fast, and have a small bundle size.

The benefits of Swelte

  • Easy to learn. If you’re familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you’ll pick up Svelte quickly. It has a simple, intuitive syntax and structure. You write components using .svelte files which contain your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Props are passed to components similarly to other frameworks. Svelte shines with its reactivity and state management features which make building complex apps a breeze.
  • Performance-focused. Svelte can achieve amazing performance due to how it compiles your code. Instead of using a virtual DOM and diffing on each state change like React, Svelte surgically updates only the parts of the DOM that have changed. This means no wasted renders and lightning-fast apps. The small bundle size also means faster load times and less data usage for your users.
  • Scaleable and maintainable. Even though Svelte is a lightweight framework, it’s fully capable of building large-scale web applications. Features like scoped styles, lifecycle hooks, context, and stores provide a robust environment for development. Svelte also has a small API surface area so there are fewer concepts to learn, leading to code that is easy to understand and maintain.
  • Growing ecosystem. The Svelte ecosystem is growing rapidly. There are libraries for state management (Svelte/Store), routing (Svelte/Router), and SSR (Svelte/SSR). UI component libraries like Smelte and Svelte Material UI put powerful components at your fingertips. The community support for Svelte is strong, and as one of the best JavaScript frameworks, it continues to gain more attention and adoption in the front-end world.

Svelte allows you to build web apps with a fraction of the effort and end up with an experience that delights your users. For its simplicity, performance, and small footprint, Svelte is a framework worth learning.

Ember – The Framework of Choice for Ambitious Web Apps

Ember is one of the best JavaScript frameworks for building web applications that are complex and innovative. Released as open source in 2011, Ember has a lot to offer to front-end developers.

The benefits of Ember

Stable and predictable. Ember follows a strict convention over the configuration approach, meaning there are established “best practices” for how to structure your app and handle state management. This results in a very predictable development experience and makes it easy for developers to get started. Ember also has a very stable API with few breaking changes between releases.

  • Component-based architecture. Ember uses a component architecture, allowing you to build encapsulated and reusable UI elements. Components handle their own rendering, styling, and state. This makes it easy to share UI between apps or move components around without affecting other parts of the app.
  • Two-way data binding. Ember has a two-way data binding system that automatically updates the UI when the underlying data changes, and vice versa. This means when you update data in your app, the UI updates instantly, and when a form changes, the underlying data model updates as well. This makes building interactive UIs and forms a breeze.
  • Built-in router. Ember comes with a robust router that handles state management for you. The router allows you to define application states and build nested routes, all while synchronising the URL with the app’s state. This enables features like bookmarking, sharing links, and back button support with no extra work.
  • Large collection of add-ons. Ember has a rich ecosystem of add-ons that provide extra functionality beyond the core framework. There are add-ons for UI components, data management, testing, and more. Using these add-ons, you can quickly put together an app without having to build everything from scratch.

Ember is a battle-tested framework used by many large companies and ambitious startups. If you’re looking to build highly interactive web apps, Ember is worth considering. The framework handles a lot of the repetitive work for you, allowing you to focus on building great user experiences.

Meteor – The Full-Stack Framework

Meteor is a full-stack JavaScript framework that handles both front-end and back-end development. So, if you want to build web applications quickly without having to worry about wiring up different components, Meteor is a great choice.

The functionalities of Meteor

  1. Build real-time web applications easily – Meteor uses web sockets and publishes/subscribes to data automatically.
  2. Use a single language (JavaScript) on the front end and back end – No context switching between languages is required.
  3. Get up and running fast – Meteor uses sensible defaults so you can start building apps quickly without having to make many initial configuration decisions.

The benefits of Meteor

  • Data on the wire. Meteor subscribes to and publishes data over web sockets, updating the UI in real time.
  • Full stack reactivity. Changes on the server are pushed to the client instantly, and changes on the client automatically update the database.
  • Mobile ready. You can build mobile apps for iOS and Android using the same Meteor codebase. Meteor uses Cordova to compile mobile apps. 
  • Packages. Meteor has a large ecosystem of third-party packages that provide additional functionality. 
  • Scaling. Meteor can scale to enterprise levels using Galaxy, their commercial hosting platform.

Aurelia – Great for Mobile and Desktop Apps

Aurelia is a JavaScript framework for building mobile and desktop web applications. If you’re looking to build feature-rich apps that run across platforms, Aurelia is a great option to consider.

Aurelia uses a simple conventions-over-configuration approach, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time setting up and configuring the framework. It has a small API surface, so it’s easy to learn and pick up. Aurelia also has a strong focus on standards compliance and interoperability, so you can leverage your existing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript knowledge.

The advantages of Aurelia

  • Supports ES2016+ JavaScript out of the box. No need to transpile or polyfill.
  • Utilises a simple HTML-first approach. Build templates using plain HTML and then enhance them with JavaScript.
  • Includes a robust set of components including grids, forms, dialogues, tables, etc. to build full-featured apps.
  • Supports popular CSS frameworks like Bootstrap, Foundation, and Semantic Ul. Use the styling options you prefer.
  • Includes a CLI to easily bootstrap new projects, add resources, build for production, etc.
  • Large ecosystem of community plugins to extend the functionality.
  • Open source and community-driven. Backed by Durandal, a proven framework.

Best JavaScript Frameworks FAQs

What exactly is a JavaScript framework? 

A JavaScript framework is a library of pre-written JavaScript code that provides structure and functionality for building web applications and websites. Frameworks aim to speed up development and make your life as a coder easier by handling common tasks.

Why should I learn a JavaScript framework? 

1. Develop web apps faster. Frameworks provide ready-made components so you don’t have to code everything from scratch.
2. Keep your code organised. Frameworks follow an MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture to separate concerns.
3. Stay up-to-date with the latest web standards. Frameworks are constantly evolving to take advantage of new HTML5 APIs and CSS3 features.
4. Build interactive user experiences. Frameworks have built-in support for animations, drag and drop, and other interactive elements.

Which JavaScript framework should I learn?

In the end, you can’t go wrong with any of these. We would recommend starting with React or Vue since they have the most resources to help you learn. The framework you choose depends on your needs, skills, and preferences.

Final Thoughts

Any one of these JavaScript frameworks will serve you well in your development career and help you build powerful web applications. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the number of options though. Pick one that resonates with you and start building something, anything, to apply your learning.

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