Top 10 most popular JavaScript frameworks in 2020

Unique web app features become possible when developed as part of a robust framework. Software engineers choose the libraries and tools that best suit the final goal, and everything necessary to achieve it. Web solutions traditionally involve a custom approach, and consequently – a custom network. Since JavaScript frameworks are notoriously useful for building websites, web creators prefer them. But what framework is best for what project? Here’s what we found out.

JavaScript (JS) is an interpreted, lightweight, or just-in-time (JIT) compiled programming language, which utilizes first-class functions. JavaScript can undoubtedly be called the most popular programming language when it comes to building web pages and web applications. Not only that, but non-browser environments have widely used it. Some of the famous examples include Apache CouchDB and Adobe Acrobat. JavaScript is a prototype-based, dynamic language, which happens to be multi-paradigm and single-threaded. It supports imperative, object-oriented, and declarative styles.

In terms of demand, JavaScript can be put right after Python, which remains the most used programming language overall. In this article, we are going to talk about the Top 10 most popular JavaScript frameworks that are in demand in 2020. So, if you are a beginner looking to learn JavaScript and its frameworks, or a professional looking to update your knowledge about the latest JavaScript frameworks, you are in luck.

The criteria that we are going to use to stack up these 10 most popular JavaScript frameworks include:

  • Popularity (based on reliable sites like Google Trends, NPM Trends and GitHub)
  • Establishment (this factor includes how mainstream or established a framework is in the programming community or industry)
  • Support (based on how much community support a particular framework has)
  • Future Prospects (this one includes the strength of the framework going towards the future, i.e., it is not fading away in the future).
The top 10 JavaScript frameworks according to our above-discussed criteria are as following:

React

React JS

While React might not be the earliest JavaScript framework in the industry of JS-based web frameworks, it is, for sure, the most powerful and disruptive framework at the moment. React was created by Jordan Walke and a group of Facebook engineers. React is a component-based framework with only one-way data flow, and react single-handedly changed the way front-end web development is done.

Features

  1. It happens to be one of the most unbiased and neutral frameworks in which React-Core is just a component-based library for the View layer.
  2. React also happens to be very versatile, which shows in their slogan ‘Learn Once, Write Anywhere,’ meaning that developers who have once learned React can then go on to create anything from websites, mobile apps, desktop applications, and back-end development.
  3. It has recently introduced new features like React-Fiber for better concurrency, React hook for less boilerplate code, and suspense for better rendering.
  4. React framework offers the best server-side rendering (SSR) along with excellent search engine optimization (SEO) support.
  5. Finally, having the backing of Facebook, React framework is continuously under development and only keeps improving, thanks to the rigorous battle testing by 2.6 billion users of Facebook.

Node.js

Node JS

From the day JavaScript was created, there have been several attempts to use JS in server-side development. Still, none of them was very successful until 2009, when Ryan Dahl, created an asynchronous and event-driven server-side JavaScript runtime framework called Node.js.

This brought JavaScript into the territory of server-side development, and from that day onwards, JavaScript and Node.js shot up in popularity. With many frameworks and libraries, including node package manager (NPM), node.js has left behind many more developed frameworks owing to its asynchronous and event-driven nature. Node.js is lightweight with a fast runtime, making it one of the best.

Features

  1. As discussed earlier, its main feature is being an asynchronous and event-driven framework and can build scalable network applications.
  2. Like react, Node.js is also cross-platform, and once you have mastered it, you can work on pretty much anything, including windows, macOS, iOS, Linux and Android, etc.
  3. Because of its smaller size and a relatively faster startup, node.js is favorable in serverless computing.
  4. Node.js is an open-source framework run by OpenJS Foundation and supported by tech giants like IBM, Microsoft, and Netflix, which makes its development and new advancements very easy.

Angular

Angular JS

AngularJS was created by Google, as one of the earliest JavaScript frameworks, but the advent of frameworks like React exposed the design flaws that existed in AnuglarJS. It was in 2016 that the google team stroke back with an all-new SPA framework and called it Angular. While it might sound similar to the last one, these two are very different frameworks. Angular is slowly catching up to all the hype that frameworks like react and node.js enjoy, and it won’t be long before it might surpass them.

Features

  1. It is an end-to-end framework with “out of the box” support to develop Enterprise Application. The Angular CLI happens to have one of the best command-line tools in all of JavaScript.
  2. Angular is uniquely suited to enterprise-grade large codebase due to the separation of the template from styling and business logic.
  3. Built-in features like DOM sanitization make Angular the most secure front-end framework.
  4. While Google may not be backing Angular as some other tech giants back their frameworks, it does, however, release new features every now and then.
  5. Angular 9 has introduced a new rendering engine called Ivy, which reduces startup time, response time, and bundle size.

Vue.js

Vue JS

There was one thing that was common amongst all three of the frameworks we discussed before, and it was that they are all being backed by some huge tech giant, which ensures their continuous development and keeping them up to date. Vue.js, on the other hand, was created by an ex-Google engineer Evan You. You made the Vue.js by bringing together all the best parts of different JS frameworks that include view layer from AngularJS and virtual DOM from React. It is now considered one of the easiest frameworks that developers can use to work on front-end development and write SPA applications with minor effort.

Vue.JS can work as an end-to-end framework with routing having the capabilities of both, i.e., state management like Angular or a view layer like React.

Features

  1. Vue.js offers the best in class documentation and progressive app development. It helps you progressively modernize your codebase, especially if you have a large legacy JavaScript codebase.
  2. Vue.js is one of the few frameworks with equal support for both JavaScript and TypeScript.
  3. It offers reactive two-way data binding (like Angular) and Virtual DOM, Event Sourcing (like React). It comes with two other features, including an opinionated end-to-end framework and a view layer with state management.
  4. It is currently going under an overhaul and will return stronger than ever with Vue.js 3.0.

Next.js

Next JS

As we have established before that React is a very unopinionated framework where React-Core only offers the view layer. This left room for a framework that is based on React but is an end-to-end opinionated framework. That is where Next.js comes in, created by Tim Neutkens and a group of other engineers from a Dutch company called Zeit. Next.js is an end-to-end higher-level web framework on top of React and Node.js. It offers both static websites for desktop, mobile devices, and web as well as server-rendered.

Features

  1. Next.js was built with two of the most powerful JavaScript frameworks that are React and Node.js
  2. Like many others before it, you only need to learn Next.js once, and then you can utilize its versatility to develop for pretty much any platform you want.
  3. It offers server-side rendering with exceptional search engine optimization support and a quick startup.
  4. Next.js supports data fetching and built-in CSS support that is easy-to-use.

Express

Express JS

Express.js is perhaps the only JavaScript framework with minimalistic web framework Sinatra in mind. It was created by TJ Holowaychuk and appeared shortly after Node.js came to be. It is a minimalistic web framework to develop REST API and web application, which makes it extremely fast and less opinionated. Many other JavaScript frameworks have used express as a base.

Features

  1. Express.js is so minimalistic that it could be considered default JavaScript Server Side Framework.
  2. It is a complete application framework with everything from middleware to routing and template.
  3. Express.js offers robust routing.
  4. It also supports content negotiation.

Meteor

Meteor JS

Meteor happens to be the first isomorphic, and open-source full-stack JavaScript framework creating by a group of engineers in 2012. Meteor is wholly based on node.js and supports building end-to-end applications for all major platforms, including web, desktop, and mobile. Meteor also integrates well with front-end development frameworks like react etc.

Features

  1. Meteor offers full-stack framework for application development starting from the back-end and finishing till the front-end.
  2. While it does have its engine for front end development, most developers integrate meteor with other popular-front end development platforms like Angular, React, or Svelte.
  3. Like many other cross-platform frameworks, meteor also allows web development across all platforms, including web, desktop, and mobile.

Svelte

Svelte JS

Svelte was a groundbreaking idea ever since its inception, developed by a Guardian software engineer named Rich Harris. Svelte is a JavaScript framework with no framework-specific runtime. The main idea behind this creation was to use the svelte compiler, which would help compile the code that was framework specific to plain JavaScript or HTML and would be able to render the compiled code to the browser. While the concept was not new, it was a relatively unexplored field in front-end development. It also features first-class support of reactivity, which makes it faster with improved performance. Svelte must be one of the best front-end development frameworks in the market as of now.

Features

  1. Svelte is an unopinionated framework like React-core and is just a view layer.
  2. It does not need any framework-specific runtime, as it is a compile-time framework. Svelte also has the smallest bundle size.
  3. Svelte also happens to be a cross-platform framework suitable for all application development platforms.
  4. Svelte supports both server-side and client-side rendering with search engine optimization support.

Ember.js

Ember JS

Ember.js is a highly opinionated, end-to-end framework created by Yehuda Katz from Apple in 2012. It is inspired by the principle “Convention over Configuration” from Ruby on Rails. It happens to be a strictly backward compatible framework and has offered no significant changes ever since its inception. While other structures from that time have entirely vanished from the development community, ember stills stand due to its reliability and productive framework.

Features

  1. Highly cohesive end-to-end opinionated framework.
  2. Instead of just one tech company, ember is backed by many, including Yahoo, LinkedIn, and many more. Thus, not being limited to one corporation’s needs.
  3. Its data library is the best to access data across multiple sources at once.
  4. Ember has the best CLI among all the JavaScript frameworks out there, which helps ember to scaffold and generate all the necessary codes, including all dependencies, with the right structure.

Koa

Koa JS

Koa is a middleware framework created by TJ Holowaychuk, a core member of the Express.js team in 2013. For a middleware framework, Koa is very robust, expressive, modern, and lightweight. Another essential and distinguishing feature of Koa is that it is highly modular with tine core with no middleware.

Features

  1. Koa is lightweight with a tiny core and no out-of-the-box middleware bundle.
  2. As discussed before, it is modular in its architecture and offers pluggable middleware modules.
  3. Koa allows performing actions downstream as well as manipulating the response upstream with the help of a cascading middleware in a stack-like manner.
  4. When talking about performance, Koa outperforms express.js.

Endnote

While it is easy comparing all these frameworks based upon their features, but there can be no specific answers as to which one of these ten is the absolute best and the go-to solution for every problem. This is because there is not one. While they all perform somewhat similar functions, all of them have one or two features that are specific to them and gives them a competitive advantage over others. These powerful features make it challenging to choose one framework from all of these. At the end of the day, it melts down to the nature of your application. At that moment, the framework that suits your requirements the best is ultimately the best framework of these all.

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Author

Petar Petrov | Lead Software Engineer

Petar is a unique and extremely versatile software engineer with an immensely wide range of technologies he tackles within his day-to-day work. He is dubbed the fixer since computer code speaks to him like an open audiobook. Petar is the go-to person for when developers need advanced tips or high levels of individual contribution.