There's no denying that frontend developers are most likely to choose one of the top three frontend frameworks for their next application: React, Angular, or Vue. These three frameworks are just perfect for building complex user interfaces in modern web applications.
However, during the past few years, we saw a number of different frameworks emerge and capture the attention of many frontend developers. What are they? And which frameworks are the best choice for developers looking to expand their skill set in 2021?
Read this article to find out the pros and cons of the most popular frontend frameworks destined to blossom in 2021.
Most popular frontend frameworks in 2021
Created by Facebook, today React is managed by the tech giant as well as a massive community of software developers. You can use it as a foundation for single-page applications and more complex websites. It can even come in handy for mobile app development through React Native. Developers love React for its virtual Document Object Model (DOM) and excellent performance under pressure.
Popular apps built with React: Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Airbnb, Netflix.
Pros of React
- The virtual DOM improves the user experience and makes the developer's life easier by applying isolated components without any interference.
- React helps developers to save time by allowing them to reuse these components. Any upgrades of the system don't impact these components because they're isolated.
- React is easy to use – a good reason why it has become so popular.
- It has great documentation covering various topics – from basics to the internal mechanisms of React.
- There is an enormous ecosystem around React, providing plenty of open-source solutions for many custom requirements.
Cons of Reacts
- The library might take some time to learn despite its easy nature.
- It has the sole responsibility of managing UI components, but modern web applications are much more than that – you need to handle state management or routing using external libraries.
When to use React?
If you'd like to develop a single page or multipage applicant web application, React is a great choice. It's easy to start with and helps save time in delivering modern and attractive user interfaces.
This open-source web application framework is based on TypeScript. It was created by Google and was initially released in 2016, so it's the youngest of the top three frontend frameworks used today. Angular rose to prominence thanks to its two-way data binding feature. Moreover, it supports real-time synchronization between model and view. Developers use Angular for creating multi-page applications and progressive web apps (PWA).
Popular apps built with Angular: Upwork, Forbes, PayPal, JetBlue, Gmail.
Pros of Angular
- Being a complex framework, it provides solutions to a lot of common cases out-of-the-box.
- Angular is written in TypeScript, which encourages developers to use it, and helps to prevent bugs by adding type-safety.
- Fast and easy data binding that doesn't require too much work.
- It enforces a code structure and patterns known to backend developers.
- A huge and vibrant community that supports developers.
Cons of Angular
- It is large and complex by itself, so it’s not easy to learn. In fact, it scored the highest rank in the 2020 Stack Overflow survey as the most dreaded technologies out there.
- TypeScript can also be a challenge for a newcomer, as it brings another level of complexity to Angular.
When to use Angular?
Angular is a great fit for applications based in browsers because it allows updating content dynamically faster. If you're looking to create a dynamic web application, Angular is a good technology choice. It might also be a good idea to use it if you want to encourage backend developers to work on frontend code.
But if you're looking to create an app that has some special requirements which don't align with the resources Angular provides, better choose another framework. Avoid Angular if you have a small development team that isn't experienced in this technology.
Popular apps built with Vue: Behance, GitLab, WizzAir, Nintendo.
Pros of Vue
- It provides optional full support for TypeScript, which means easier coding.
- Vue is easy to learn thanks to its simple syntax.
- It offers detailed and extensive documentation that helps developers to learn it faster.
- Code reusability is another key benefit of Vue.
Cons of Vue
- It's surrounded by a relatively small community, even though it's evolving really fast. Still, don't count on getting the same support for you as you get with React.
- Because of that, Vue also has fewer components and plug-ins available at hand to make the development process easier.
When to use Vue?
If you're looking to build an attractive UI and need technology with flexible design structures, Vue is a good choice. However, if your team doesn't have much experience in Vue, it's better to pick another framework because you can't count on a lot of support from the community.
Popular apps built with Ember: Apple Music, PlayStation, LinkedIn.
Pros of Ember
- It offers extensive documentation that makes it more accessible to developers.
- It's surrounded by a skilled community ready to help you.
- Ember offers server-side rendering with features like data binding and URL support.
- It's fast and flexible.
- It's a framework that works well for enterprise applications and can support complex projects.
- It has features for writing less boilerplate code thanks to automatic filtering – this translates into fewer errors potentially made by the developer while writing it.
Cons of Ember
- Steep learning curve – It's relatively hard to learn despite the available documentation.
- Little to no customization. Developers find Ember hard to customize.
- While still popular, it’s considered a bit dated nowadays.
When to use Ember?
Ember comes in handy for single-page applications, as well as more ambitious web development projects like web apps that need to integrate complex functionalities. However, its decreasing popularity and the fact that it’s difficult to learn have to be considered as well.
Svelte uses a different and more radical approach compared to all of the above frameworks. Just like them, it also allows developers to compose complex user interfaces from separate independent components, but they’re transformed to functions making native DOM operations at the build time.
Svelte names itself “the magical disappearing UI framework” because it allows you to ship your component code without the overhead of the framework. Thanks to that, applications written in Svelte are tiny in size and high-performing while providing a good developer experience at the same time.
Popular apps built with Svelte: The New York Times, Rakuten, Avast, 1Password.
Pros of Svelte
- It's small and easy to learn.
- It's lightweight.
- Svelte has first-class support for server-side rendering (SSR).
- It has built-in support for easy and performant animations.
- The Svelte dev team is constantly experimenting with the latest frontend trends, adding new features that focus on performance and developer experience.
Cons of Svelte
- The community around Svelte is still relatively small.
When to use Svelte?
Svelte is a good choice for small apps, where performance is a must. It’s also good for quick prototyping and proofs-of-concept. However, small communities and lack of real-world examples of huge, client-heavy apps made with Svelte might prevent people from trying it on a professional level. But even if not for your next dream project, it’s still worth trying out in your free time. In some time, we might see a shift from frameworks to compilers in the frontend world!
Top frontend frameworks in 2021 - wrap up
I hope that this list makes it easier for you to choose your next frontend learning challenge. By picking the right technology, you get to expand your skill set with a framework that helps you become a part of more interesting projects – both today and in the future.
If you're looking for more information about growing your skills in the tech industry, keep a close eye on our blog. We’re happy to share our insights about up-and-coming technologies you should know to grow future-proof skills.
What are your thoughts on frontend development in 2021? Is anything missing in the above list that you think might be relevant? Feel free to share your opinions and questions in the comments!
PS if you're looking for a new job in IT, check out our Codete Career page with plenty of exciting opportunities for software developers.