Overview of JavaScript Frameworks in 2015

DevToolsGuy / Thursday, April 09, 2015

We are well into 2015 and as a developer it is important to know what kind of technology or framework will be leading the way in the coming months. Every year the number of applications being created and used grows. Important is the fact that applications are becoming more and more complex, especially on the front end. Sending data from the client to the server, updating data stores or re-rendering parts of a page. These are things a developer needs to take care and this is where a JavaScript framework comes in.

In this post we will look at some of the frameworks you need to know about in 2015.

AngularJS

AngularJS is a JavaScript framework that is an open source platform which is maintained by Google. It is based on the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture and it primarily aims at making both development as well as testing efficient and easy. AngularJS extends traditional HTML code such that dynamic content can be easily served with the help of two way binding. 

AngularJS is an independent framework which means that it does not depend on any other JavaScript library, not even jQuery. When including jQuery in a project before referencing AngularJS it will use jQuery for DOM manipulation but this is not strictly needed - it will work without the jQuery reference. AngularJS is very popular and becoming more widely used in big companies. If there is one framework every developer needs to learn in 2015 it is AngularJS.

React

React is a JavaScript framework for building rich user interfaces and is a framework build by the developers of Facebook. It has a virtual DOM so it performs very fast and can be easily plugged into existing projects, as it does not care about the underlying technology. React Components provide a render method, which returns a virtual DOM structure which is, upon state changes, reconciled against the real DOM — and only the minimal set of DOM manipulations will occur in order to update your changes.

Popular websites like Facebook, Instagram, Khan Academy, New York Times and many more are using React in 2015. Given its benefits and burgeoning popularity, React looks likely to be one of the more popular web technologies in coming months.

Meteor

Meteor is an open source platform that recently secured $11.2 million in funding for creating real time JavaScript’s apps. With meteor you build templates and the pages update when the data in the database changes. Meteor can be used to create real time database applications.

With Meteor it is easy to build a modern user interface with a minimum of code thanks to its reactive programming model that extends all the way from the database to the screen. By using Isomorphic API's, the same code written in the same language can run on both client and server. Meteor is a flexible framework and can be customized by using AngularJS or any preferred component.

KnockoutJS

KnockoutJS is a framework that uses the MVVM pattern to produce UI manipulations. KnockoutJS uses declarative bindings to associate DOM elements with model data. This is done in a readable language (using the data-* attribute on the DOM elements). When the models data changes, the UI get refreshed instantly. KnockoutJS has dependency tracking to create chains of relationships between model data to transform and combine it and can use templates for complex UI's.

KnockoutJS is a free and open source framework that works with any other web framework. Since it has no dependencies it is easy to implement for small parts of a page. Learning the basics of KnockoutJS is easy and can be done in just a few hours so it’s not a big investment.

Dart & AngularDart

Dart is an open source project by Google that has the aim of simplifying web development. Dart code can run on the web and server and has recently been ported to AngularJS. Dart was founded in 2011 and its goal was to replace JavaScript as the most important language of web development on the open web platform. By porting it to Angular it meets many more of the current needs of web development. Together with Angular Dart, it can be used to build rich interfaces with data binding like KnockoutJS. AngularDart uses the MVC pattern and it therefore takes only a few hours to learn the basics for most professionals.

An ever shifting framework

When carrying out a web search on JavaScript frameworks there are a lot of results. It is hard to pick the best framework and it is even harder to pick the right framework for the task you need to complete. The frameworks mentioned in this post are only a few of them but they are frameworks that seem to be getting increasingly adopted (or have already been so) by a big group of developers. It’s also worth taking a look at Famo.us, EmberJS or BackBoneJS if you haven't already done too. The trends in development languages for 2015 are looking more diverse than ever!