Top 10 JavaScript UI Frameworks & Libraries for 2021

JavaScript today remains one of the most popular programming languages on the planet. Such popularity is guaranteed by the technological progress and the steady growth of the power of personal computers and mobile devices. Besides, web browsers are experiencing a rapid evolution. They have become multifunctional systems for performing a variety of tasks.

Thus, JavaScript has become a leader, because it allows you to implement an infinite number of browser solutions, from web front-end to complex browser calculations. At the moment, most applications are Web-oriented and have a UI layer written in JavaScript.

So let’s study the JavaScript UI frameworks and libraries that will frequently be in the search queries in the year 2021.

Angular

Angular is a free, open-source framework by Google that works for both desktop and mobile devices. It is an advanced modular framework for frontend development. To use it a developer simply imports the necessary Angular modules into his project.

Angular is known for its flexibility. This is why Angular 1.x versions are still relevant. However, many developers use Angular 2+ these days because of the framework’s MVC architecture, which has changed significantly towards a component-based architecture.

Anyone who wants to use Angular will have to face some difficulties when mastering this framework. So, to create Angular applications, it is necessary to use TypeScript. Despite the possible inconveniences, this state of affairs has its advantages. In particular, it increases the reliability of applications through advanced type control, which gives the programmer additional development tools.

Thus, the learning curve of Angular includes getting familiar with TypeScript. However, there are quite some reasons for using it:

  • it is cross-platform, it includes progressive web apps, native mobile apps, and desktop
  • it assures speed and performance
  • it has filters, two-way data binding, directives, and more
  • it has full support from Google and therefore a strong community of developers behind

Webix

The Webix UI library is an easy and fast UI library with numerous JS components. The main concepts of it are performance, design, and functionality. The library has 100+ widgets and ready-made SPA applications. It offers high-speed programming thanks to its simple and concise object-oriented code. Besides, Webix shows the best rendering speed according to the study of Bryntum specialists. The excellent material design is obtained out of the box, without the need for configuration and customization. All Webix widgets fit together perfectly, which saves a lot of working hours for the developers.

Webix is a good choice for both juniors and seniors, as it provides a quick learning process of material design and sophisticated implementation of modern UI development practices. However, Webix is not an ideal solution if you are developing a hybrid mobile application.

A list of nice Webix features includes:

  • complex widgets, or SPA applications for solving application problems
  • extra tools for developers, like Code Snippet, Skin Builder, Form Builder, and UI Designer
  • high-performance
  • short learning curve
  • templates library

React

We can’t but mention React in this overview, as it is enormously popular among front-end developers. It’s an open-source JavaScript library for building fast, interactive UIs. In the JavaScript world, React is the leader. This library uses the ideas of reactive programming, it introduces a lot of its concepts to frontend development.

However, to flexibly use React in the web projects development, it is necessary to learn a lot of additional tools. For example, Redux, MobX, Fluxy, Fluxible, refluxjs.

React is used by the likes of Netflix, Airbnb, Instagram, and the New York Times, to name a few.

Reasons for choosing React to power your next project include:

  • small API, which guarantees a short learning curve
  • stable and reusable components, that are a breeze to create and maintain using the API’s declarative syntax
  • strong community support
  • the library can render on the server using Node.js, and on mobile apps with React Native

Vue

Vue JS is a free and open-source progressive JavaScript framework. It uses a template syntax (like Angular) and relies on a component-based architecture (like React).

Being similar to Angular and React, Vue has come up with its advantages. When working with Vue, the component’s logic, layout, and styles are stored in a single file. In the same way, except for styles, project materials are stored in React. The interaction of components in Vue is provided by objects that store the properties and state of components. This approach was also used in React. Similar to Angular, developers mix HTML markup and JavaScript code. To integrate component data into the template, you need to use Vue directives. Such as v-bind or v-if.

Here are some of Vue’s strongest points:

  • developer-friendliness. If you know the languages of the web (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), the Vue docs are all you need to start building right away.
  • progressive integration. It easily scales from a library to a full-fledged framework.
  • small size and super-fast virtual DOM.
  • helpful community, which makes it a stable framework.
  • great documentation.

Sencha

Sencha Ext JS is described as the most comprehensive JavaScript framework for building data-intensive, cross-platform web and mobile applications for any modern device. Ext JS includes 140+ pre-integrated and tested high-performance UI components.

The components include an HTML5 calendar, grids, trees, lists, forms, menus, toolbars, and much more.

Ext JS is a reliable framework that comes with outstanding docs, tutorials, and support packages. Advantages of Ext JS are the following:

  • fast and smooth development. The integration between an enterprise framework and components and tools is seamless.
  • comprehensive set of secure components.
  • great design capabilities due to included integrated tools.
  • awesome unit and end-to-end testing tools with Sencha Test.
  • a layout manager. The display of data and content across different browsers and screen sizes is easily configured.
  • easy to achieve accessibility compliance with the Ext JS ARIA package.
  • a robust data package that decouples the UI components from the data layer.

Syncfusion

Syncfusion develops its widgets for everything. There are about 80 different controls to create anything the project may need. The library specializes in .NET, web, and mobile components for enterprise software including native Blazor and Xamarin, plus fast tools for Angular, React, & Vue. With Syncfusion, developers can move beyond simply coding applications to delivering real business innovation in the formats the customers may demand.

Here are some of the strong sides:

  • mobile widgets, that support AngularJS, AngluarJS 2, Aurelia, ReactJS
  • the code can be written in HTML+JS, TypeScript, PHP, ASP.NET, ASP Web Forms
  • mobile devices are integrated with Ionic and Xamarin framework
  • DashBoard package with a Whisywig report editor allows you to construct tables and graphs and link them to real data
  • short learning curve

Backbone.js

Backbone is a JavaScript framework based on an architecture similar to MVC. Backbone views can use different templating systems. For example, Mustache, Handlebars, jQuery. Third-party libraries can also be used in Backbone projects.

Backbone is an easy-to-use framework that allows you to quickly develop single-page applications. Among the auxiliary tools used in conjunction with Backbone.js, you can observe Chaplin, Marionette, Thorax. The Backbone library includes events, models, collections, views, and a router. If you need to develop an application that users belonging to different groups will work with, then you can use Backbone collections (arrays) to separate models.

Perhaps, Backbone cannot be a serious competitor for other front-end development tools. However, this framework enjoys some popularity among developers due to the features of the Backbone ecosystem:

  • a set of helper functions that assist you in writing cross-browser JS code
  • various templating systems
  • command-line tool to simplify the development process
  • Marionette, Thorax, and Chaplin libraries that help you to create applications with specific architectural solutions

SolidJS

SolidJS is a declarative UI library for building web applications, much like React, Angular, or Vue. It is built using brutally efficient fine-grained reactivity, an ephemeral component model, and the full expressiveness of JavaScript (TypeScript) and JSX. These are the 5 reasons you should be at least aware of SolidJS:

  • Its speed. Solid outpaces Inferno, LitHTML, Svelte, Vue 3.0, React, Angular. Solid is now the fastest on the server as well. Using the Isomorphic UI Benchmark it has pulled out in front of the competition.
  • Its size. When it comes to larger actual applications Solid has almost no overhead on components. Besides, it scales well.
  • Its fullness. The library has enough components to satisfy the needs of any project.
  • Its simplicity. Solid follows the same philosophy as React with unidirectional data flow, read/write segregation, and immutable interfaces. It just has a completely different implementation that forgoes using a Virtual DOM.

Svelte

Svelte was designed as a framework, but it is essentially a component framework, created to compile components at the build stage. Thanks to this approach, you can download only one bundle.js to the page for rendering the entire application. With Svelte, you write components using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. In the process of developing, the framework compiles them into small self-contained JavaScript modules. This ensures that the minimum amount of work is done by the browser, which makes the web application faster and writing code easier.

Important points about Svelte:

  • Beginner-friendliness. When using it, there is no need to manipulate the DOM. You also don’t need to understand the framework-specific state wrappers.
  • Backward compatibility. There is no problem integrating a widget built with a different framework to any application.
  • Code separation. It is efficient because the framework is built into a very small component.
  • Open-source community. Using the framework is free and a community of developers is always ready to assist.

Vaadin

Vaadin is a freely distributed framework for creating web applications and simple websites. All development is done in Java, but Java code is executed only on the server, while pure JavaScript is executed on the client’s side. You can use two main development models: server-side and client-side (browser). The framework allows you to develop multi-platform solutions.

The approach of the framework allows developers to fully create back-end and front-end in Java. Undoubtedly this framework will require developers to be more highly qualified and impose some restrictions on the system platform. But the elegant implementation of the UI library allows Java developers to create a UI layer themselves without involving front-end developers. This is a valuable competitive advantage.

Let’s look at some of the peculiarities:

  • supports all common browsers on both regular computers, mobile devices, and tablets
  • consists of a server API, a client API, a set of user interface components on both sides
  • provides a theme engine for the interface design, and a data model that allows you to link server components directly to data

Follow-up

No doubt UI frameworks and libraries facilitate the work of the developers significantly. They allow not only to save time and resources but learn the peculiarities of dealing with JavaScript. In the modern world, the situation often forces you to adapt quickly. JS libraries will come up handy in any project. All that is left is to make the right choice.

#JavaScript UI library for #cross-platform #web app development with 100+ #UI widgets and fully-featured #CSS / #HTML5 JavaScript controls. www.webix.com