Trends driving change in front-end development
Market authorities increasingly emphasize the potential held by multi-experience development platforms (MXDPs). The notion implies a combination of front-end development tools and backend for frontend design patterns. In a nutshell, MXDPs help build fit-for-purpose interconnected UXs for both web and mobile, alongside IoT, chatbots, digital twins, and AR/MR apps.
So, the trend is all the way about cross-platform support, convenient navigation, and utmost responsiveness. That being said, we can naturally speak of PWAs and SPAs as a big thing for web front-end development — today, tomorrow, and beyond.
Progressive web apps & single-page apps
Yep, SPAs and PWAs are here to stay — that’s established. Not new to the market, these kinds of apps are well-known for enabling seamless app-like experience. They build upon platform-specific patterns, thus performing consistently well under any network conditions. Also, the engineering process behind isn’t exhausting: one can simply use no-code tools.
The most popular frontend frameworks, arguably
So what’s so special about React, Vue, Angular.js? Why this kind of oligarchy within the market? Are they finally giving way to newer competitors? Let’s break it down to the anatomy of the giants called the best front-end frameworks.
Back to square one — Angular is probably the most iconic among the most popular front end frameworks for both web and mobile app engineering. It grounds on component-based architecture and enables building evergreen SPAs and multi-page web apps alike, so it’s a preferred choice for a large development community.
On the scene from 2009 to now and on, no surprise that Angular has a well-developed documentation and an impressively large coverage. Need we say, it underlies some Google platforms. Stack Overflow trends set the level of Angular worldwide usage around web developers as high as 20.39%.
Believed to be purpose-efficient, Angular bases on hierarchical dependency and enables creating well-managed, performance-added, and reusable enterprise-scale front end applications. For smaller projects it’s better to opt for an easier, more lightweight framework with lower entry barrier and better SEO adaptability.
As opposed to React, Angular supports two-way data binding. Meaning, one can synchronize the model and the view in real time, with all changes automatically appearing at both ends. To develop dynamic and versatile HTML content while programming Document Object Model (DOM) behaviors, engineers apply the directives feature.
Vue.js is an extremely popular frontend framework, we’ll give it that. Notably, around 40% of developers have Vue.js experience, at least of one project. Though it’s relatively new and doesn’t power tech giants’ platforms, it has a strong community for enabling the adopters to build SEO-effective SPAs or small-scale web apps from scratch.
With its rich feature set, — from bundling and two-way data binding to tree-shaking and beyond — Vue easily integrates with server pages. It tracks data variations and updates components in real time while demonstrating advanced performance powered by CDD architecture, virtual DOM, and two-way binding.
On top of being increasingly beginner-friendly due to comprehensible documentation and easy syntax, Vue is a conveniently fast and lightweight framework that compresses files to as little as 18 kilobytes. Sure, one can’t see past the lack of plugins, but other tools abound: testing, browser debugging tools, server renderer, state manager, and more.
Yet another giant, React has long emerged into the front-end framework market, becoming an open-source library back in 2013 and gaining millions of active adopters within their community. The framework has quite a name dropping list to its title, underpinning heavy-lifter platforms like Meta, Netflix, BBC, and more.
React’s top advantages, virtual DOM and one-way data binding capabilities, greatly lower the learning curve. Still, its JSX syntax and documentation might not be as easy as 1-2-3 to get to grips with. Not so much by application than in terms of engineering routines, React slightly contrasts to its competitors.
For a more detailed comparison of Angular and React read this article.
Fast updates, easy code migration — what else may one need, right? Nevertheless, prospective rivals are stepping on the giants’ toes. How exactly? Let’s get right into it now.
Debatably the best front end frameworks across newcomers
Meta frameworks have always been a thing. And, from what we see, Preact aims to be a lightweight alternative to React (4kb of gzipped bundle as opposed to 38kb). Unlike its heavier predecessor, Preact also boasts an elegantly small package of tools. In some 3kb of JS code, you have them all at hand. As for events, they are conveniently handled through Vanilla JS.
Learning Preact won’t be a big deal for those who’ve had experience with React. Actually, Preact’s reusable Components are easy to migrate across the frameworks, which makes the platform a perfect option for building sophisticated web applications.
Replacing older CSS must-haves, Bootstrap is now a top choice for styling web apps. What’s with its value proposition? First, as opposed to many other CSS frameworks, Bootstrap is easily adoptable — its community growth is truly far-reaching. Second, it’s highly responsive and is supported all across the major browsers.
From the application perspective, it enables developing fast, increasingly customizable websites with tons of addictive themes. Bootstrap’s Sass helps create modular architectures while importing only select components, with a large choice of pre-built ones. Extensible frontend toolkit, ready-made grids, and robust JS plugins — suits well for any average web project.
Most certainly, you know a thing or two about the emerging Svelte framework. Similarly to many newcoming competitors, it’s based on the component-driven development principle. Zooming in on its differentiators as opposed to, say, React, Svelte doesn't require full importing to the browser, just compiling. Meaning, components get bundled into a pre-built JS file.
No need in Virtual DOM for render changes — one should only use a dedicated DOM node. That being said, we may note extensive performance advantages, coupled with a decent compatibility with native HTML code. Also, in contrast to frameworks that impose a strict structure, Svelte takes substantially less code.
As Caleb Porzio, the framework’s creator, called it, Alpine.js is “a tap to close the hole between jQuery and React”. Being also similar to Angular and Vue, Alpine is much unlike them in terms of resource efficiency. The minimalist platform is really instrumental in customizing UI behavior, optimizing server-side web frameworks, and building highly responsive interfaces.
As we’ve got to the bottom of our overview, we should emphasize that using frameworks like React for building simple SPA and PWAs isn’t always in your best interest. Sometimes it just turns into a sort of investment trap, as development and update costs break through the ceiling. So, never leave things to chance — DYOR to consider the alternatives.
To tie it up in a bow, it’s not that the developer ecosystem newcomers quite take the market by storm. But, for sure, they get each year higher on the lists of the best front end frameworks, and their promise is far beyond simplifying complex routines associated with traditional tools.
So we call it a day now. Stick with us to never miss out on new trend arrivals.