Industry

Exploring the Javascript Ocean

Tess O'Brien

Updated for 2019 - Diving into the JavaScript Ocean is as thrilling as the possibilities are endless, but with new frameworks popping up left and right it can be difficult to decide where to start. As Fuse IQ dives into that ocean with Drupal 8 and headless Drupal, I set out to learn more about these frameworks.  The waters were certainly rough as I attempted to figure out which frameworks were just floating by and which were here to stay. Now two years later, I think we have some answers around who is here to stay.  I've updated this post with new thoughts from the industry and our experience here at Fuse IQ.

React

The buzz around React has made it one of the fastest growing frameworks. In the years since I fist started looking into Javascript frameworks it has taken over as the most widely used framework and is showing no signs of slowing down.  

Developed by Facebook, React has gained attention from Netflix, Yahoo, Khan Academy and the New York Times. Of the new JavaScript frameworks React is one of the quickest. Quick learning time has made it a popular choice for developers.

React thinks about javascript differently. React has reimagined every element on a site as a component, which developers can then add custom code to very specific elements of the page, allowing sections to be updated without reloading the page. Take for example the isolations on Audible’s About Page. There is, however fear within the development community that mixing HTML and JavaScript in code goes against fundamental web standards of programming.

It is important to note that React is only a tool for making changes to the View aspect of programming. To use React as a full server side framework, it must be combined with Flux or Redux.  Therefore, React is perhaps best used as for performance tweaks to specific elements of a page.  One of its strengths lies in being about as useful in updating specific portions of legacy projects as brand new builds.

React is definitely worth the time to learn and as what was once new is becoming best practice, it is exciting to look at Object Oriented Programing from a new perspective.

Check out the Git Hub

Angular

AngularJS, with the backing of Google, was the first of these frameworks to pop up in 2010.  Since the release of Angular 2 - it has officially dropped the JS from its name.

As a full framework which interacts both with the server and the client, Angular has a much steeper learning curve than React.  This is compacted by Angular’s light documentation. It is worth mentioning that as an open source framework, Angular has a vibrant and growing community to help with questions.  

Angular's strength lies in it's speed and flexibility.  The framework manipulates the page DOM directly, instead of adding inner-html and relies not on change listeners, but JavaScript execution for data binding- both major factors in its speed.  Angular is rapidly becoming the framework of choice for Single Page Applications like CNN GoDevArt and even the Google Cast application. 

Companies look to Angular for large apps with many developers they are hoping to keep working all within the same framework.  

Check out the Git Hub

Vue

New to this list is Vue.  Developed by a former Google employee in 2014, Vue has seen rapid growth in the past few years.  The fastest of all of these frameworks to ramp up on, Vue is finding itself beginning to compete with React and Angular.

Like React, Vue allows you to work directly with components - allowing you to combine the UI and the behavior of the components from within a script.  Vue even allows the user to access pre-processors rather than classic CSS, making it ideal for working with Bootstrap.

If you are looking to pick something up quickly or have a young dev team, Vue is a great place to start.

Conclusion

Javascript isn’t going anywhere.  After years of talk about which frameworks will last, it is clear to see - React and Angular are far from a flash in the pan.  With more jobs requiring experience in these frameworks it is time to dive in and learn.  For companies looking to elevate their sites, these Frameworks are the first place you should explore.  In the words of Matt Mullenweg, leader of WordPress development: "learn JavaScript, deeply".

 

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