Highest Performing Web Framework Benchmarks
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is a Web Framework?
Choosing the best Web Framework
Web Framework Q&A
Modern web development has a lot of tools, libraries, and frameworks to fall back on. Capable of speeding up development time up to ten-fold, the resources developers have available to them can enable large-scale production with short turnaround and exceptional performance. How do we know which tool to choose for best results? Taking a look at the latest web framework benchmark results can help us pick between highly-capable alternatives based on their speed and capabilities.
Of course, simply because a framework is highly performing doesn’t mean it’s automatically the best option for development. As an indicator of what a web framework can do, performance is just one metric alongside reliability, its ecosystem, and other metrics that can help dictate what direction your organization should take.
Here, we’ve highlighted some of the best, most popular, and most relevant web frameworks for modern application development. Combining real-world results with lab-based performance metrics, we can help you choose the web technologies that will lead you to building highly productive services.
What is a Web Framework?
Simply, a web framework is a software resource aimed at supporting application development. Including everything from libraries and web APIs to external resources, these tools are critical to enabling developers to rapidly build, deploy, and maintain effective web apps.
For the developer, a primary role the framework plays is in taking care of the mundane plumbing, boilerplate code, and architecture essentials in a software solution. A high-quality framework will provide these elements to a project with reliability and performance already built-in.
The two types of web app frameworks we typically see today are split into those that are opinionated and those that are unopinionated.
An opinionated framework is one that provides everything necessary to take an application from initial idea through to deployment and maintenance. Opinionated frameworks are typically prescriptive about the way things are done, enabling greater speed of development at the cost of reduced flexibility and fewer customizations.
An unopinionated framework, in comparison, leaves more room for developer implementation, custom use-cases, and creativity in deployment. For example, a micro framework might only provide routing for its apps and not much else, leaving the developer free to implement the remainder of the app however they like.
In many cases, multiple unopinionated frameworks may be used in conjunction to provide the necessary functionality to build a fully featured web app.
To help understand key technologies and frameworks used for making web apps, we’ve collected together web framework benchmarks for today’s most popular and productive front and back-end frameworks.
Front-End Web Framework Benchmarks
A front-end development frameworks run inside the browser of a client machine. Largely responsible for the user experience and interface, the front-end framework plays a major role in how your app is going to be received by users.
For developers, the advantage of running client-side rather than server-side means there are fewer scalability and performance concerns in comparison to back-end technologies. The drawbacks primarily come from not knowing the capabilities or resources a client-side machine has—meaning the all-important user experience is subject to variation and change.
To tackle these drawbacks, DailyJS have put together a real-world performance comparison of front-end frameworks that takes a look at the relative performance between some of the most popular technologies today.
Leaning on Lighthouse Audit to produce performance scores of front-end frameworks, we’ve collected the performance scores of some of the most popular frameworks available today to put a value metric on front-end web framework benchmarks and compare solutions fairly. Here, we take a look at lighthouse performance score in addition to the number of lines of code necessary to produce a real-world application.
While AngularJS is a largely depreciated technology, there are a vast number of projects out there still using the framework. With the migration to modern Angular being risky and expensive, it’s worth looking at the benchmark performance of AngularJS to decide whether the investment is one worth making
- Lighthouse Score: 63
- Lines of Code: 2145
As an aging and discontinued technology with many more modern replacements available, it’s perhaps unsurprising that AngularJS comes last in our front-end performance scores and joint-first in the number of lines of code needed to construct a real-world application.
- Lighthouse Score: 82
- Lines of Code: 2145
As a refined and modernized tool, a 30% improvement in performance, while notable, isn’t a surprising result. What’s more surprising is the identical lines of code required to produce a comparable web app. Whether or not it’s worth migrating to Angular from AngularJS is likely to be less about the 30% extra performance and more about the tooling, time, expertise, and resources available.
Meta’s web development tool is one of the most popular available today. Widely acclaimed for productivity and performance, it’s interesting to note how the technology stacks up against comparable frameworks. Notably, React is a tool that is often used in conjunction with another tool to provide stateful back-end functionality to produce complete web apps. Here, React is combined with MobX to produce the most performant app possible.
- Lighthouse Score: 82
- Lines of Code: 1917
Notably, React matches Angular precisely on performance while requiring fewer lines of code to produce a comparable web app.
A framework that boasts performance and approachability as key amongst its merits, Vue.js is designed to be versatile and productive in building single-page apps.
- Lighthouse Score: 86
- Lines of Code: 2076
With a performance score that beats Angular and React, Vue has good reason to boast about its performance. When it comes to lines of code needed to build a real-world application, the framework splits the two previous frameworks almost down the middle.
- Lighthouse Score: 99
- Lines of Code: 1057
Leaning on modern technologies, Svelte delivers on its promise of performance and boilerplate-free components to score amongst the highest performing front-end frameworks on our list.
Back-End Web Frameworks
Benchmark results for back-end development frameworks are, in some ways, more critical and more revealing for developers. Running server-side code, the performance of back-end frameworks has a direct and substantial impact on scalability in web apps. As a result, small improvements in latency and performance can have substantial consequences on usability and scalability.
To analyze the performance of today’s most popular back-end frameworks we take a look at the results of the benchmarker’s online comparison tool. Specifically, we’re interested in each framework’s average latency, the amount of time the technology needs to respond in the average case; P90 latency, the slowest response of traffic in the slowest 10%; and the number of requests per second each technology can handle.
1. Ruby on Rails
Consistently amongst the top 10 most loved web frameworks, Ruby on Rails is a mature and capable codebase for building web apps. At over 17 years old and with over six thousand contributors, Rails has been used in some of the world’s biggest web app deployments for very good reason.
- Average Latency(ms): 168,871
- P90 Latency(ms): 522,724
- Requests/second: 3,785
In benchmark tests, Rails doesn’t shine as the most performant or capable option among more modern competitors. It may be able to make up this difference within teams by being a familiar and well-understood entity, however.
A Python-based object-oriented framework for building web apps, sweetly-named CherryPy provides remarkable productivity and stability for teams. The framework’s documentation boasts outstanding scalability in its design and performance as key to its architecture.
- Average Latency(ms): 13,239
- P90 Latency(ms): 22,665
- Requests/second: 7,931
Remarkably, the framework’s performance claims hold up well in benchmark testing. CherryPy delivers results that place it in joint 3rd amongst our frameworks and alongside much weightier options when it comes to deployment.
A mature and capable PHP web application framework, Symfony is another solution designed with performance and reusability in mind. First released in 2005, Symfony is a component-based framework that prides itself on an extensive and supportive community, in addition to the resources and tools it can offer to developers.
- Average Latency(ms): 62,987
- P90 Latency(ms): 93,536
- Requests/second: 4,216
Far from the most performant framework on our list, Symfony does hold its own next to the competition. Notably more performant than Ruby, it’s a solution well worth considering for most use cases despite its middle-of-the-road performance stats.
Self-billed as “the PHP framework for web artisans”, Laravel is a framework targetting strong design credentials and attractive architecture when it comes to software development. Featuring extensive amounts of plugins and add-ons, the framework is built to enable a wide range of highly customizable front-end solutions.
- Average Latency(ms): 149,163
- P90 Latency(ms): 169,333
- Requests/second: 1,706
While design credentials are paramount to Laravel apps, performance is somewhat lacking behind the competition.
A Python-based framework build for rapid development and clean design—Django is a highly popular tool amongst today’s web developers. Scalability and security are listed as key amongst the framework’s top concerns, only second and third behind performance.
- Average Latency(ms): 14,626
- P90 Latency(ms): 25,607
- Requests/second: 7,944
Where it matters, in real-world application development, Django’s performance claims hold up well. The framework is joint third, alongside CherryPy, as the most performant back-end technology we’ve tested here.
A back-end framework building on Node.js, Express is an unopinionated framework built to provide a robust set of features to developers. The goals of ExpressJS are to provide an additional layer of web application features without impacting the performance or functionality of Node.JS underneath.
- Average Latency(ms): 10,486
- P90 Latency(ms): 14,690
- Requests/second: 24,644
Our benchmark results show Express meets the goals and objectives set out for the framework in an exceptional way. The second most highly performant framework we’ve looked at, Express can be considered a key route to accessing scalability and performance in future web apps.
An application framework for the Java Platform, Spring is comparatively more opinionated on its implementation but by no means less performant. Considered a ‘heavyweight’ solution by developers, Spring is capable of deploying a wide range of applications from microservices to fully-fledged cloud and web apps.
- Average Latency(ms): 3,259
- P90 Latency(ms): 4,721
- Requests/second: 77,375
Spring’s results, when it comes to benchmark testing, speak for themselves. By far the most performant, responsive, and scalable solution that we’ve analyzed, here Spring is a heavyweight approach capable of achieving an astonishing amount with remarkable performance for teams.
Choosing the best Web Framework
Comparing results of web framework benchmark tests can easily lead you to prefer one solution over another. It’s even possible to be blinded by the benchmarks into considering little else at all. This is a dangerous route to go down, however.
To fully analyze these results, you need to put them into context and give them due consideration. In short, web framework benchmark results are only a small part of a much bigger picture. Consider the technologies you use today, the expertise you’ve already invested in for your organization, and the potential changes in direction and scope that might come in the future.
On top of outright performance, you should also be thinking about security, reliability, ecosystem, and community of any framework or technology you consider bringing into your firm. Doing this, with an expert professional can help you make a choice that considers all factors alongside your performance consideration and make a decision that has a lasting positive impact on your organization.
Web Framework Q&A
Which is the fastest web framework?
In benchmark tests, Spring has shown to be the fastest back-end web framework currently available to developers. When it comes to front-end development, Svelte is a framework that delivers remarkable performance for teams that few competing options can hope to match.
In truth, many of the most popular and productive frameworks including React, Vue, Spring, Angular, Django, and Express are performant and fast enough to be considered almost interchangeable in most cases.
For all but the most niche use cases that require exceptional and uncompromising performance, the outright speed differences between all the leading frameworks aren’t likely to be the defining factor in your web apps. Fast enough, scalable enough, and robust enough are difficult metrics to pin down, but the majority of projects can use any of these options and be reasonably assured that they’re relying on a highly performant tool.
What web framework is most used?
React.JS has recently overtaken jQuery to become the most used web framework amongst software developers. In 2021, React had a 40% market share over jQuery’s 34%—marking a successful and unlikely coup by Meta’s framework.
Both frameworks came in a comfortable 10% higher than the next-nearest competitor Express.js at just under 24%. From there the margins get closer as Angular, Vue, and ASP.NET core follow close behind within just a few percent of each other.
With React continuing to dominate modern web development, it’s highly likely that the framework will retain its place at the top of the tree for the next year or two. React’s toppling of jQuery may well start a trend that sees younger, more modern, and forward-looking frameworks take the reigns from the mature tools that grew in popularity with the rise of web 1.0.