Frameworks have become an essential part of web development, as the standards of web applications are always rising, so does the complexity of the technology needed. It’s completely unreasonable to reinvent the wheel for such complex technologies -assuming that you can reinvent all that. That’s why using frameworks endorsed by thousands of developers around the world is a very sensible approach for building rich and interactive web applications.
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From RESTful APIs to complete MVC frameworks, here are some of the most powerful backend frameworks in 2018 that you might be interested in.
Thanks to the skyrocketing popularity of Node.js, Express is quickly becoming one of the most trending frameworks nowadays. It is used by Accenture, IBM and Uber and many other companies, and it’s also being used in other frameworks such as Kraken, Sails, and Loopback.
Express prides itself as a minimal, fast and unopinionated frameworks. It provides some core framework functionalities without obscuring the features of Node and leverages the powerful performance of the asynchronous Node.js. It’s also quite flexible and supports full applications as well as REST API as well. Perhaps the biggest drawback of Express is the fact that there’s no defined way of doing things, at least for beginners.
Django is a Model-View-Template framework that uses Python for web development. It’s used by some of the big names such as Google, Youtube, and Instagram. Django boasts its batteries-included feature, which is the bunch of features such as authentication and messaging that Django comes bundled with. It follows the Convention Over Configuration pattern and the DRY pattern as well. Security in Django is a serious topic and Django either provides techniques and tools for developers to build a secure website, or implements the security features in the framework itself like preventing code execution in the template layer.
Rails is a Model-View-Controller framework that uses Ruby and it’s a popular framework that is loved by many developers. Rails is used by Airbnb, GitHub, Hulu, and Shopify. Rails is a beginner friendly framework, and although the fact that there’s a lot of magic behind the curtains in this framework is debated over pros and cons, it helps beginners get started with web development quite easily. There are many useful gems for rails, which are library-like dependencies that extend the functionalities of your application and helps you develop even faster and more efficiently. The Rails community is quite strong and friendly, and there are many tutorials, screencasts, and resources that can help you become a rails expert in no time.
The main disadvantage of rails lies in the fact that they take quite some effort to deploy and run in a production environment, and the learning curve of rails becomes really steep once you dive deeper into the framework to unravel the magic behind it.
Laravel is a Model-View-Controller framework that uses PHP, which is one of the most famous languages of the web. It’s relatively young compared to other frameworks on this list.
Laravel comes with API support out of the box and it also possesses a decent amount of packages that could extend its reach. Laracasts is a screencasts tutorials website with over a thousand video on PHP, Laravel and frontend technologies in the Laravel ecosystem that could be considered to be a beginner’s heaven. In terms of performance, however, Laravel doesn’t compare to Django or Express, which might be a drawback for heavy projects.
Spring is a Model-View-Controller framework that uses Java, the all-time popular language. It’s used by websites like Wix, TicketMaster, and BillGuard. Spring possess a lot of sister projects that boost its performance and let you scale your business easily. The fact that it uses Java, a strongly typed language, is a serious pro for many web developers. The learning curve might be quite steep tho, especially if you don’t know Java.
Angular was developed by Google, and it’s used by Google, Microsoft, and Paypal.
React is not a framework, it’s a frontend library, but many developers consider it a framework and it’s usually compared in that context. React was the first to adopt the component-based architecture that Angular and Vue and many other frameworks started to adopt later on. React’s virtual dom makes the dom manipulation much faster and it’s quite easy to pick up, especially thanks to its JSX syntax. React could be used server side or client side. It was developed and maintained by Facebook and it’s used by Facebook and Instagram.
Vue.js is the new rising star, it started as an individual project, and quickly grew into becoming one of the most trending JS frameworks out there. There are many cool things about Vue, first, it’s a progressive framework, which means that if you have an existing project, you can adopt Vue for one portion of the project and everything would work just fine. Second, it also brings along the component architecture to play, and the Vue ecosystem can help you build complete frontend applications. Some people are wary of using Vue since it’s not supported by a big company like Facebook or Google, but that’s quickly changing as big names are starting to invest in Vue.
Backbone is an extremely light frontend framework that’s fit for building rich Single-Page applications. It follows an MV* pattern and partly implements the MVC design. Backbone only has one core dependency which is the Underscore library, and it has a rich ecosystem, that when added to Mustache and Marionette, will allow you to build complete client-side applications.
Don’t be scared to pick up a framework and start working on it, it will certainly give you an insight about how things are done and you’ll find many similarities between frameworks, even across different languages in the same category. Remember that big companies are always migrating and trying new stuff all the time, so there’s no such thing as a dead end.