With that being said, there are 3 frameworks that we would like to highlight. There are dozens of frameworks out there, but these are by far the most popular.
React was released by Facebook in 2013 and powers many of their products. It quickly gained popularity and is now one of the most popular frameworks among developers. Today it is used by hugely popular applications including Netflix, PayPal, BBC, Instagram, WhatsApp.
- The Virtual DOM: When changes are made to the DOM, a server must update the DOM trees of the entire document, which can be taxing. The developers behind React found a way to speed up these updates by using a “virtual” copy of the DOM. It updates changes made by the user without affecting the rest of the interface.
- Component Structure: React makes use of components, which allows code to be reused at any level. This greatly reduces development time and makes your applications more efficient.
- Unidirectional Data Flow: Thanks to downward data binding, changes made to the child element structure don’t end up affecting their parents.
- Open Source Library: React has a massive and thriving community, and many contributors that test, add features to the library, build tools, and provide support.
- High Pace of Development: React evolves at a very fast rate. It can be tough to keep up with all the latest updates.
- Poor Documentation: Related to the pace of development. Updates come out so fast that the documentation simply can’t keep up. There are portions of the official documentation that are out of date. This can make it challenging to troubleshoot problems.
Vue was developed by an ex-employee of google in 2014. Although it doesn’t have the backing of a large company like React, it has grown in popularity over the past few years among developers.
- Small File Size: Of the three frameworks we are talking about today, Vue is the smallest and can range from 18-21KB.
- Easy to Learn: Vue can be added to your file with a just a script tag, and doesn’t require any knowledge of npm, webpack, or babel. It is also structured in a simple way that makes it easy to track errors and understand.
- Improved Virtual DOM: Just like React, Vue uses a virtual DOM. But unlike React, the virtual DOM tracks which components are affected by changes. React has this capability as well, but it requires additional development time as it isn’t a default feature.
- Less of a Job Market: Angular and React are very marketable skills to have for employment. Vue is still growing and will likely be more attractive to employers in the coming years, but it isn’t there yet.
- Maintained by a Small Team: Vue is owned by an individual, and maintained by a small team, while other frameworks (like React and Angular) are owned by large companies and are able to provide more support.
- Large Community: Because of its age and status, Angular has a huge amount of support both by Google and the community.
- MVC framework: Angular is a Model-View-Controller framework, which means that as data in the model changes, so does the view. This reduces development time.
- Dependency injection: Dependencies define how different pieces of code interact. In many frameworks, dependencies are defined in the components themselves. Angular allows you to define dependencies separately, which makes components more flexible and easier to manage.
- Steep Learning Curve: Because Angular is so complex, it is challenging to learn. There are many ways to perform any task, which can cause confusion when learning the framework. It also has many versions which can add to the confusion.
- Performance: Angular is bulkier than other frameworks (although still relatively small) and isn’t quite as fast as React, Vue, and other newer frameworks.
Which Framework Should I Focus On?
This is a more challenging question to answer than might be expected. Each framework presents different benefits, challenges and setbacks. Angular is the oldest of these frameworks, and has good backing. The downside is that Angular can be challenging to learn. It has widespread acceptance in the industry. Learning Angular might be more challenge than it is worth. As React and Vue gain popularity, Angular is starting to be viewed as an aging framework, particularly because of performance drawbacks.
React is becoming incredibly popular, and the future of this framework looks bright. More companies are moving to React, and it has recently caught up to Angular in the job market. It is relatively easy to learn, and is excellent for new developers, startups, and larger companies. React is likely the safest framework to learn, and currently the most worthwhile.
Vue is arguably the best framework from a purely development standpoint. It is highly flexible and simple to learn. That being said, it doesn’t have the same backing or popularity as Angular or React. It is a risky choice as a framework to learn. It is very possible that in the coming years, Vue will become the most widely accepted framework, and there are a number of signs that point towards this being the case. It has recently gained support from a number of Chinese tech giants, and Vue plans on moving towards typescript. But it is also possible that Vue doesn’t break into the wider industry in the same way that React and Angular have.