The Ultimate Guide to JavaScript Frameworks

Calendar Icon

Publish date:

March 26, 2021

Updated on:

March 11, 2024

Clock Icon

Read time:


The Ultimate Guide to JavaScript Frameworks


In the simplest possible terms, a JavaScript framework is a foundation of code from which you can build your own services and applications. A framework exists to provide a skeleton from which you can build the things which will provide value to the user.

A framework should be the basis for good architecture, improved speed and performance, and introduce a design language that a team will share in the future. A well-chosen framework should promote code sharing and reuse from day one, as well as cutting the time to develop and test services by a significant factor.

If you want more information on the pros and cons of JavaScript development make sure to look into our article, but in short, the right Javascript framework should provide more value to your project than the mere sum of its components. Choosing an appropriate framework for the task is crucial to making this happen. Doing so will build a foundation to support your project at scale for a long time to come.

This framework foundation is an important choice for your project. It is a choice in which your top Javascript developers should be able to guide you. If you need help selecting the right company, tell us what you need. We can do the work for you and connect you with up to 5 companies within 72h that match your need- all for free.

We’ve compiled the most popular, effective, and widely used frameworks to create a comprehensive guide to the top JavaScript frameworks you should consider when approaching modern application development.

What to Look for in a JavaScript Framework

Before we look at the frameworks themselves, it’s important to clarify what we consider to be a high-quality JavaScript development framework. Depending on the project, some of these factors may matter more or less than others.

The core concepts we look at when evaluating a JavaScript framework are:

  • High-quality support that’s likely to last for some time
  • A sizeable and active community likely to continue development and help with issues
  • A modern, forward-looking architecture
  • Speed and performance that meets today’s expectations and requirements

If these are met and developers can glean secondary benefits from adopting the framework too, then it’s safe to say that the framework is worth considering for future projects and applications.

Front-End Frameworks


One of the most popular frameworks used professionally last year, ReactJS has won a reputation for creating interactive, rich, and robust user interfaces. Over the past seven years since its inception, React has gone from strength to strength, having ReactJS development companies creating user interfaces for some of the world’s most widely used applications.

Developers are migrating towards React as a result of the framework having a broad and reliable base of support. Weighing up the pros and cons of ReactJS development makes this modern framework a strong candidate for new projects in 2021.

Pros of ReactJS Development

  • SEO-Friendly: Indexers struggle to extract usable content from the densely packed code many frameworks produce. React’s technical solution avoids many of these problems, creating pages that are easy to find amongst the noise
  • Component Reuse: ReactJS uses encapsulated components designed to manage its own state. These are shared and reused commonly between projects and are freely available within the framework’s sizeable community
  • Virtual DOM: Rather than using the web’s current and inefficient DOM model, React creates a virtual DOM and serves more discrete front-end changes from that instead. A big improvement over the traditional approach
  • Scalability: React’s modular design makes it easier to scale than many other platforms. Components can be added and removed with relative ease, provided the architecture of the application supports it too
  • Thriving Community: With more than 1,400 contributors on Github and 150,000 stars, the React community is a large and valuable place to tap into for support and assistance

Cons of React JS Development

  • Constantly Shifting Tools: As a consequence of being at the leading edge of development, ReactJS often feels like it’s in a state of flux to developers. New features are introduced often, while old ones become rapidly depreciated
  • Lack of Convention: React has very few well-established conventions. Particularly when compared to more mature solutions such as jQuery
  • Steep Learning Curve: In large part due to the frameworks size, poor documentation, and ever-changing nature—it can be hard for new users to jump in and learn the ropes


Many developers with a depth of experience in JavaScript frameworks and front-end development will be more than familiar with Angular’s predecessor, AngularJS. AngularJS comes to the end of a period of long-term support later this year while Angular takes over where the previous framework left off.

Built on many of the same philosophies, Angular’s code has been re-written from the ground up with modernised design principles and a forward-looking build.

Featuring a component-based architecture amongst its many updates and changes, Angular is shifting Google’s flagship JavaScript framework in a highly positive direction.

Pros of Angular Development

  • Component-Based Architecture: Angular 2.0 adopts a component-based design to promote reusability
  • Code Generation: Angular generates highly optimised code for JavaScript virtual machines—making its output highly efficient
  • Server performance: Angular supports a wide range of features, including out of the box caching, to further improve server performance
  • 2-way data binding: A key feature to AngularJS, 2-way binding, provides a link between the model and view layers so that the changes in one layer reflect in both
  • Third-party integrations: Angular offers a rich collection of third party integrations to provide reactive and callback functionality
  • Extensive Community Support: With backing from Google and a large developer community surrounding it, Angular is well supported for future development

Cons of Angular Development

  • Typescript: In their latest framework, Angular’s focus has shifted from plain JavaScript to Microsoft’s Typescript. While Typescript is backwards compatible and offers many advantages, the change does still steepen the learning curve over a pure JavaScript framework
  • Heavyweight solution: Angular is an exceptionally large framework in comparison to its closest competitors. It may not be well-suited to smaller, more lightweight projects
  • Poor SEO: Due to accessibility issues, Angular struggles with SEO issues compared to other frameworks or using no framework at all
  • Costly migration: Migrating from AngularJS to Angular is a difficult and time-consuming translation. The two platforms are different enough that manual translations are required, costing a lot in development time and resources. For new projects, this may prove to be a sign of things to come in the distant future


A comparative newcomer amongst popular JavaScript frameworks, VueJS has already made a major impact in the market and proven that it has earned its place amongst industry leaders. Designed to be simple, fast, and inherently cross-platform—Vue is well-suited for fast-paced and consistently shifting development projects.

Pros of VueJS Development

  • Simplicity: Perhaps the framework’s strongest selling point, Vue is designed to make JavaScript development simple and fast. Developers familiar with React or Angular should pick up developing with Vue in no time at all. The framework prides itself on enabling developers to create more functionality with less code than ever before. Its single-file component system combines the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code of each component into single files to speed development even further
  • MVC Built-in: Another feature designed to speed up project work, Vue has a built-in MVC for quick configuration
  • Shallow learning curve: There’s no requirement to learn JSX or Typescript. Just easy to grasp HTML templates ready to plug in and build on
  • Small footprint: Vue has an impressively small size compared to related Frameworks. Barely a tenth of the size of Angular, this lightweight framework fits well in many spaces and small projects
  • Exceptionally well documented: Perhaps boasting the best documentation on the list, Vue is so well documented that even a beginner could get up and running in just a couple of hours

Cons of VueJS Development

  • Comparatively small community: Without the backing of a giant tech sponsor such as Facebook or Google, Vue does not have the same kind of reach and user base as other frameworks. As a result, the available community to lean on for improvements and support is considerably smaller than most
  • Limited pool of developers familiar with the framework: For similar reasons, the employment opportunities for developers with a passion for VueJS are somewhat limited. Few developers learn the details of the framework for professional application development

Despite this limited pool of developers, we can help you find the right team for your VueJS project or any other framework you need. If you need help selecting the right company, tell us what you need. We can do the work for you and connect you with up to 5 companies within 72h that match your need- all for free.


One of the more well-established frameworks on the list, EmberJS is a front-end framework that enjoys popularity in tech giants such as LinkedIn, Netflix, Twitch, and Microsoft. While the framework doesn’t have the same popularity amongst developers as some other options, the passionate community surrounding it is keeping EmberJS up to excellent standards.

Pros of EmberJS Development

  • Excellent tooling: Ember is most well known for its exceptional tools, providing a useful productivity boost for keen developers. Engineers can use the Ember command-line tool to generate components and controllers and install 3rd party dependencies too
  • Convention over Configuration Design: CoC ensures there’s little need for custom configuration before jumping into coding and building web applications. Ember uses sensible defaults that can be tweaked and modified later to meet a project’s specific requirements
  • Rich Documentation: Ember comes with highly detailed supporting documentation, ideal for newcomers and beginners
  • 2-way data binding: Similar to Angular, ember is one of the select few frameworks that currently supports 2-way data binding

Cons of EmberJS Development

  • Steep learning curve: Ember can be challenging to jump in and get started with, particularly coming from a background of Vue or React development
  • Heavyweight approach: EmberJS is more well-suited to large and complex applications than small, lightweight projects
  • Declining popularity: Ember has failed to attract developers away from some of the more popular frameworks in recent years. This hints at a potentially declining user base and a decrease in support in years to come

Back-end Frameworks


NodeJS is somewhat unique to our collection in that, technically speaking, it’s not purely a framework. Based on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine, Node is an event-driven runtime environment capable of asynchronous communication. Since its launch in 2009, NodeJS has proven itself in many scenarios to be a highly successful back-end technology.

Today, Node has gained a great deal of traction and support for its capabilities and wide adoption among successful web development companies.

Pros of NodeJS Development

  • Outright speed: When it comes to code execution, few technologies compete with Node in outright speed. Over the years, Google’s continued investment has seen the technology continue to excel; seeing steady improvement over time
  • Robust: Over a decade of use, Node’s stack is now very well-proven and widely adopted
  • Scalable: The lightweight nature of Node makes it a great choice for microservices. Designed to create large-scale applications as a suite of small packages, the lightweight design choice makes Node ideally suited to scaling up according to demand and functionality
  • Strong support: The community support and expertise in Node has grown and grown over time, and nowadays we have top NodeJS development firms rising from every corner. The framework’s support now extends into teams at major technology firms such as PayPal, Trello, and Uber
  • Non-blocking I/O: Nodes signature feature makes it capable of processing requests without any interruption or delay
  • Rich Ecosystem: The default package manager NPM serves as a marketplace for open-source JavaScript packages. Easy access to extensible tools has helped to advance Node in leaps and bounds over the years.

Cons of NodeJS Development

  • Performance bottlenecks: The signature non-blocking features of Node mean that CPU intensive tasks can introduce performance bottlenecks
  • Highly reliant on callbacks: The potential exists to continually extend the number of queued callback tasks. Callbacks nested within callbacks, sometimes multiple layers deep can result in code that introduces problems and becomes difficult to maintain
  • Poor tooling: Packages housed in the NPM registry can often be unreliable, poorly maintained, and badly documented—if documented at all. This puts the burden of testing and verification back on your project instead.


Express is designed to be an un-opinionated web framework for NodeJS. It’s designed to give engineers an extra level of freedom in the structure of their code. Maintained today by the NodeJS foundation, Express’s key advantage is in enabling rapid server-side coding.

The mission statement of the Express framework is to speed up and simplify development and debugging using NodeJS. Additional benefits such as server-side rendering allow even more efficiencies and improvements over those offered by ‘pure’ NodeJS development.

Pros of ExpressJS Development

  • Excellent community support: A highly mature framework—Express has a large community backing behind it
  • Fast-paced development: A signature feature of Express, the framework is designed to simplify and streamline web application development with NodeJS
  • Extensive documentation: Express boasts an impressive level of well-written documentation and a large supply of tutorials and resources to familiarise developers with its features
  • Excellent database integration: Designed to serve-up seamless database connectivity for services such as MySQL, MongoDB, and Redis
  • Shallow learning curve: Perhaps the easiest backend framework to get started and learn that we’ve come across so far. Both its syntax and structure are comparatively simple. You can get up and running with basic JavaScript and only a little knowledge of NodeJS

Cons of ExpressJS Development

  • Security: Application security is left entirely in the hands of the developer. Excellent if you have a deep background knowledge of the framework and technologies, not so great if you’re looking for a built-in and ready-to-run security solution
  • The un-opinionated structure can lack conventions: There isn’t a well-defined way of doing things in ExpressJS, something that beginners may struggle with more than veteran developers. Here, Express offers freedom and flexibility but also traps and pitfalls easy to fall into


Delivering blazing fast performance and flexible implementation, Gatsby offers excellent SEO and security in a back-end solution that compares favourably to any of its rivals. Based on React and GraphQL, Gatsby is a static site generator designed for high-performance and SEO-friendly solutions. Used by tech firms such as Airbnb, PayPal, and, Gatsby is rapidly emerging as a strong option for back-end development for small to mid-sized projects.

Pros of Gatsby Development

  • Performance: One of the most impressive features of the framework is its ability to deliver websites 2-3 times faster than comparable technology stacks
  • SEO Friendly: Static content generated by Gatsby is easily readable and indexed by search engines. Unlike other frameworks, Gatsby is a helpful boost to SEO rather than a hindrance
  • Progressive Web App (PWA) included: Gatsby converts your website into a fully-fledged PWA that enhances user experience
  • Support for multiple data sources: Gatsby can collect data from a wide variety of places such as WordPress, Drupal, Netlify, Contentful, Trello, and Stripe
  • High security: Without requiring server, database, or dependency connections, Gatsby offers a boost in implicit security for sensitive web apps
  • Plugin ecosystem: Gatsby’s architecture allows for plugins to achieve every task you can imagine. Analytics, sitemaps, caching, and optimisation can be added in just a few clicks

Cons of Gatsby Development

  • Poor scalability: Content-heavy websites at an enterprise scale may be better suited to another solution. Build time grows with content size, proving to be notably laggy in large scale solutions
  • More to learn: Despite the framework itself being relatively straightforward, its implementation does depend on knowing some details of React and GraphQL


Finding the frameworks which drive your solutions is about choosing the right qualities for the requirements that matter most.

Every project is different, and each has its own unusual quirks and competing priorities that shift and change on a regular schedule. Choosing the right framework can set you off on the right foot, get you building fast, create a scalable architecture, or provide an abundant community ready to solve problems when and as they happen. Once you have chosen your framework, read up on the best practices for hiring JavaScript developers.

All leading JavaScript engineers use the frameworks listed above to combat their day-to-day development challenges and come up with their own solutions.


Enjoyed the article?

Like it and let us know what you think, so we can create more content tailored to your interests.

Ian Deed

Linkedin Icon

Software developer, mobile application engineer, and writer helping companies to enhance their tech branding and improve the way they communicate with technical and non-technical audiences.

Leaning on years of experience and knowledge to understand technical communication that works from wordy jargon that doesn't.

More from this author

Join the community.