Robert Johns | 26 Jan, 2024
Fact checked by Jim Markus

Want To Level Up In Web Development? Check Out These Web Frameworks

In this article, I'll explore the 10 best web development frameworks in 2024.

Whether you want to land a job as a web developer, enhance your portfolio, or build your skills, modern web development has become hugely dependent on web development frameworks.

But what is a web development framework anyway?

If you're new to the concept, don't worry. I'll introduce the idea of a web development framework before diving into our list of the top 10 web development frameworks.

If you're in a hurry, here's the TL-DR: A web development framework is a set of tools and pre-written code that helps developers build and manage websites more efficiently.

Put simply, they're kind of awesome and ideal for web developers like you and me!

Plus, when you consider that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average salary of more than $85K for web developers, getting to grips with web development frameworks can be rewarding.

Now, if you're ready, let's dive in to explore these web development frameworks. To keep things neat, we'll divide our list into front-end and back-end frameworks. Let's go!

What Is A Web Development Framework?

If you’re new to web development or you're fresh off a web development course, start here! 

Let’s start with the very basics: what is a web development framework?

Web development frameworks are a type of software framework that can help you develop websites, web apps, web services, web APIs, and web resources.

The idea here is to provide a standardized method for building and deploying your web apps by automating the most common actions you need to perform for web development.

Does that make sense? Kind of? Okay, how about ELI5?

Sure! Imagine you want to build a house.

You wouldn’t want to start from scratch, right? I mean, who wants to dig up clay to make bricks or cut down trees to get wood? 

So, it makes more sense to start with a kit that has all the basic parts you need, like bricks, wood, and glass. This kit is like a web development framework.

In web development, rather than building a website or app from nothing, a web development framework gives you the basic parts. 

These are pre-made pieces of code that do common things most websites need, like showing pictures or letting people log in.

I like to think of it like building with blocks, where each block is a piece of code that does something special. 

You can then put these blocks together to make your website, which is much easier and faster than trying to create each block yourself in your favorite web development IDE.

Plus, because many people use the same frameworks, it's like having a team of friends who help you build your house who can give you advice or help you if you get stuck.

So, in a nutshell, a web development framework is like a big box of building blocks for making websites. It makes things easier and faster, and you have a lot of friends to help you along the way!

Let’s now look at some key aspects of these web development tools:

  • Pre-written Code: Frameworks provide a structure for web applications so you don't have to code from scratch, including basic functions for managing data and displaying it on web pages.
  • Libraries and Tools: They often come with libraries for database access, templating frameworks, and session management, and they often promote code reuse.
  • Security Features: Frameworks also offer security features to protect against threats like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and others.
  • Efficiency and Speed: By providing a structured environment, frameworks can make the development process faster and more efficient. 
  • MVC Architecture: Many frameworks follow the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern, which separates the data model with business rules (Model), the user interface (View), and the user input (Controller).
  • Community and Support: Most web development frameworks have strong communities and support. This means there’s a wealth of documentation, forums, and third-party tools available.

Great. Now that we have the basics let’s look at the most popular web frameworks in 2024.

To keep things simple, we’ll look at this from two perspectives: back-end and front-end.

The Best Backend Frameworks for Web Development

Let's get things started with the best frameworks for backend web development. 

Whether you're looking for the simplicity of Node.js, Python for rapid development, or Ruby's convention-over-configuration philosophy, we've got you covered.

Or maybe you want to take advantage of PHP's elegant syntax or Java's enterprise-grade robustness; again, no problem!

I've tried to include a range of web development frameworks with varying strengths and pros, so whatever you choose, you'll be ready to create powerful, scalable, and efficient server-side applications.

1. Express

ExpressWhat it's best for: creating web applications and RESTful APIs quickly and easily with Node.js.

Let's start things off with Express.js! This is a minimal and flexible Node.js web application framework that provides a robust set of features for web and mobile applications.

I find Express.js incredibly efficient for building server-side applications, especially when creating RESTful APIs. Its minimalist nature allows for the quick and easy setup of servers, making it a go-to for many Node.js developers.

For me, one of the major strengths of Express.js is its simplicity, coupled with its powerful routing and middleware capabilities. Plus, it's unopinionated, which is perfect if you like control over your applications.

In general, Express is ideal for designing complex functionalities with less code and more flexibility.

The middleware in Express.js also helps to process requests and responses, making it a breeze to implement functionalities like parsing incoming requests or setting up cookies.

Express.js doesn't enforce strict conventions; it also offers me the freedom to structure my application as I see fit.

This flexibility is particularly great for projects that require a custom setup or integration with other tools and libraries.

You also get the added versatility of compatibility with other frameworks like Socket.io for real-time web applications.

The fact that Express.js is lightweight and integrates seamlessly with databases like MongoDB also makes it great for building fast, scalable network applications.

It's also a part of the MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, Node.js) and MERN (MongoDB, Express.js, React Node.js) stacks, both of which are hugely popular for full-stack development.

In my opinion, if you're a web developer who wants to dive into backend development with JavaScript, Express is an excellent choice.

2. Django

DjangoWhat it's best for: rapidly developing robust and scalable data-driven web applications with a "batteries-included" approach.

Now, depending on where you stand on the Flask vs Django debate, you may or may not agree with me choosing Django! They're both great options, so let's not start a flame war!

Plus, if it's good enough for companies like Instagram, it must be pretty good!

Django is a high-level Python web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.

Known for its "batteries-included" philosophy, I really like that Django comes packed with a huge range of features that are essential for web development out of the box.

One of the aspects I particularly appreciate about Django is its emphasis on automating as much as possible.

This is visible with its powerful Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) layer, which simplifies database interactions, and its robust migration system for evolving your database schema without much hassle.

Django's built-in admin interface is another highlight. To me, this can be a game-changer for developers, as it provides a ready-to-use UI for managing your site's data — think of it as a powerful tool for rapid prototyping and an asset for less technical users to manage site content.

Django is also highly regarded for its security features, as it helps developers like you and me to avoid common security mistakes by providing a framework that has been engineered to "do the right things" to protect the website automatically.

Yep, this means you get protection against CSRF, SQL injection, and XSS, making it a trustworthy choice for projects where security is paramount.

Django's template engine, URL routing, and authentication mechanisms are all built with the same overarching goal of simplifying and accelerating web development. These features, combined with Django's adherence to the DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) principle, boost development speed without sacrificing code quality.

In general, this web development framework's scalability and versatility make it a popular choice for small projects and complex, high-traffic sites like Instagram and Pinterest.

Plus, its strong community and wealth of third-party packages mean you can extend its functionality to fit virtually any project requirement.

If you've just finished up with a Python course and you're curious about web development, definitely consider Django.

3. Rails

RailsWhat it's best for: fast development of high-quality, maintainable web applications with Ruby.

Rails (or Ruby on Rails) is an extremely productive and popular web application framework written in Ruby. It's known for its 'Convention over Configuration' philosophy and its 'Don't Repeat Yourself' principle, both of which streamline the development process.

I have a soft spot for Rails, as it was part of my final year project during my undergraduate studies, but what I find particularly impressive about Rails is how it simplifies and speeds up the development of web applications.

This is largely thanks to a rich set of conventions and defaults that eliminate the need for boilerplate code. Rails allows you to get an application up and running with minimal fuss and more focus on the unique aspects of your project.

It's no wonder that GitHub, Airbnb, Hulu, and Microsoft include Rails in their tech stacks.

Rails is also famous for its full-stack nature, covering both front-end and back-end development.

This includes everything from the presentation layer (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) to the database interactions. This integrated approach means that you can build a complete application with Rails alone without needing to juggle multiple different frameworks or languages.

This is a major plus in my book, as it can be super helpful to stay focused on a single framework ecosystem rather than having to bolt together lots of different libraries and frameworks.

One of the key features of Rails is its active record ORM, which simplifies database interactions. This makes it easier to create, retrieve, update, and delete database records without writing SQL queries, leading to more readable and maintainable code.

Another major advantage of Rails is its vast and vibrant community. Plus, there's a rich ecosystem of gems (Rails plugins) for adding functionalities to your Rails applications. I don't know why, but since the Marvel movies, I have always thought of infinity stones when I think of Rails' gems!

Anyway, this level of community support, along with extensive libraries and plugins, makes Rails a powerful tool for building complex web applications efficiently.

Rails also places a strong emphasis on testing as it comes with a built-in testing framework that encourages test-driven development (TDD) from the get-go. I really appreciate this focus on TDD, as it helps me to build more reliable and bug-free applications.

If you're new to TDD, I'd highly encourage giving it a go!

Whether you're a beginner looking to get started in web development or an experienced developer seeking efficiency and convention, Rails offers a compelling framework.

4. Laravel

LaravelWhat it's best for: creating modern full-stack web applications quickly with PHP.

Laravel is a modern PHP framework that's known for its elegant syntax and robust features, making it a favorite among developers for web application development. We even use Laravel here at hackr.io!

Something that really stands out to me is that Laravel is much loved for its ability to simplify tasks common in PHP projects, like authentication, routing, sessions, and caching.

Another striking feature of Laravel is its elegant and expressive syntax, designed to make the development process not only easier but also more enjoyable.

I can attest to this, as Laravel does a good job of taking the pain out of development by easing common tasks, which is a significant boon for developers.

Eloquent ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) in Laravel is another standout feature. This provides an advanced implementation of the active record pattern, making it super easy to interact with database objects and relationships using expressive, intuitive syntax.

Laravel also comes with its own lightweight templating engine called Blade, which is intuitive and helps create amazing layouts with its control structures.

As you'd expect, this is designed to work seamlessly with typical PHP code, and it offers a range of benefits like template inheritance and data formatting.

Something else I like is that Laravel is built with testing in mind. That's because it's integrated with PHPUnit for unit testing and has a range of convenient helper methods allowing for expressive testing of applications.

This emphasis on testing ensures that your application is as bug-free as possible. Sounds good to me!

This web development framework also includes a wide range of tools and features to help with tasks like queues, real-time events, and scheduled jobs, making it highly suitable for building modern, real-time web applications. 

If you're fresh off a PHP course and looking to flex your web dev muscles, I'd highly encourage you to check out Laravel.

5. Spring

SpringWhat it's best for: building complex, enterprise-level applications and microservices in Java.

To round out our list of back-end frameworks, let's take a look at the popular Java framework, Spring.

If you're unfamiliar with it, Spring is a powerful and versatile open-source application framework for the Java platform. Plus, being Java, it's cross-platform.

One of its stand-out features is dependency injection. This might sound complicated, but really, it's just a design pattern where objects don't create their dependencies themselves but instead have them provided by an external source (like the Spring Framework).

The idea here is to have more modular, testable, and maintainable code.

The core principle of the Spring framework is to make Java enterprise development easier and more efficient. Sounds good, right?

For me, what stands out most about Spring is its comprehensive infrastructure support for developing robust Java applications.

It really simplifies Java EE development, making it more accessible and manageable for newer Java developers who might be fresh off a Java course.

Spring does this with its inversion of control (IoC) container, which manages Java objects called beans through dependency injection.

I know, I know, lots of terminology, but really, it's all fairly simple, and IoC just means that the framework takes control of managing the creation and life cycle of objects, rather than the objects managing their creation and dependencies.

The goal here is to promote loose coupling and flexibility in the application's architecture.

Spring's modularity is also a major plus. With a collection of sub-frameworks, like Spring MVC for web applications, Spring Boot for microservices, and Spring Data for data access, it's easy to use these independently or together, depending on your Java project's needs.

As you can imagine, this makes Spring incredibly flexible.

Another key aspect of Spring is its aspect-oriented programming (AOP) support, which separates cross-cutting concerns (like logging and security) from the business logic.

This is awesome, as it not only makes the code cleaner but also easier to maintain and scale.

I should also mention Spring Boot, a project within the Spring ecosystem, as this simplifies the setup and development of new Spring applications by providing a range of pre-configured setups and conventions. This means you can have a stand-alone, production-grade application up and running in no time.

The Best Frontend Frameworks For Web Development

Okay, now let's dive into the best front-end frameworks for web development with some fresh updates for 2024.

Whether you want to create a structured, enterprise-level application with TypeScript or want the flexibility of JavaScript's leading library, I've got you covered with these client-side frameworks.

I've chosen to focus on JS frameworks for this section, as I believe they're probably the best options for working in the front end in 2024.

Whatever your preference, I've included a range of frameworks that cover a variety of approaches, so you'll be all set to create dynamic, responsive, and user-friendly client-side applications.

6. Angular

AngularWhat it's best for: developing large-scale, high-performance, and enterprise-level applications with a complete solution.

Let's kick things off with Angular. If you didn't already know, this is a powerful, open-source web application from Google that's used by tech giants like PayPal.

As one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks, I really like using Angular when I need a comprehensive way to build efficient and sophisticated single-page applications (SPAs).

Angularjs also stands out for its rich set of features like two-way data binding, form handling, routing, and dependency injection, all of which streamline the development process and improve productivity.

Unlike libraries that focus on the view layer, Angular provides a complete framework, including tools for testing, developing, and deploying applications.

I'm also a big fan of the fact that it adopts TypeScript to ensure consistent code, enhanced readability, and robust type-checking. Sure, it takes some time to learn, but there are lots of great TypeScript courses available if you're new to the language.

To me, the security benefits are really worthwhile, especially if you're working on a large JavaScript project and you want to migrate over to TypeScript.

Angular's component-based architecture allows for reusable code and efficient development practices. This framework is favored in enterprise-scale applications due to its scalability, maintainability, and a strong emphasis on testing and best coding practices.

With so many plus points, it's no surprise that there are many great Angular courses for learning how to use this JS framework.

7. React

ReactWhat it's best for: building dynamic and interactive user interfaces for web and mobile applications.

Okay, okay, before you say it, I know React is a JS library, not a framework!

But for most web developers, this distinction does not matter, and many see it as one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks! Even massive tech giants like Uber have React in their tech stack!

It's also one of my favorite libraries for web development, so I have a soft spot for it!

Trust me, if you cut your teeth writing HTML, CSS, and AJAX code for web development before the emergence of JavaScript and JS frameworks, you'll understand why I like it so much!

That said, React is ideal for building user interfaces and is well-liked for its efficiency and flexibility in creating interactive and complex web applications.

Developed by Facebook, React focuses on building reusable components that manage state, which leads to more predictable code that's easier to debug.

You also have the option to use TypeScript if you want extra security, and this is something I tend to do when building React projects.

At the core, it uses a virtual DOM to improve performance, updating only parts of the page that need to change without refreshing the entire view.

This makes React ideal for dynamic applications with high user interaction.

React can also be combined with other libraries like Redux for state management, making it a versatile choice for front-end development.

React also has strong community support, a rich ecosystem, and widespread adoption, cementing its status as a global go-to tool for web developers.

And being so incredibly popular, there are lots of great React courses available to learn how to use it.

8. Vue

Vue.jsWhat it's best for: creating highly adaptable user interfaces and single-page applications with a more approachable learning curve.

Vue.js is another JavaScript framework renowned for its simplicity and flexibility, and it's often used for building user interfaces and single-page applications.

Designed to be incremental in its adoption, Vue can be integrated into developers' existing projects in a piecemeal way. I like this because it gives you the option to see how you like Vue before making a major commitment to using it for development.

That said, if you prefer, you can use it to build complex applications from the ground up!

Vue's core library focuses on the view layer, making it easy to pick up and integrate with other libraries or existing projects.

It's also well-suited to sophisticated SPAs when combined with supporting libraries. Check out a Vue.js course if this is something you're intrigued by.

Its data binding and reactive components offer an efficient and straightforward way to manage the application state and build dynamic user interfaces.

Vue also offers a rich ecosystem, including Vue Router for routing, Vuex for state management, and Vue CLI for project scaffolding.

This makes it a comprehensive solution for developers seeking a balance between performance, flexibility, and ease of use.

9. Svelte

SvelteWhat it's best for: creating highly efficient, reactive web applications with less boilerplate and direct DOM manipulation.

Svelte is a relatively new JavaScript framework that stands out for its unique approach and efficiency, particularly in building highly reactive user interfaces and single-page applications (SPAs).

For me, what really sets Svelte apart is its compile-time magic. Unlike other frameworks that rely on a virtual DOM to update the browser's DOM, Svelte shifts much of the heavy lifting to the compile stage, generating highly optimized vanilla JavaScript.

This results in faster runtime performance and less code bloat, making your applications leaner and more efficient.

For developers, this means a delightful and streamlined experience. You get to write less code, as Svelte intelligently understands the minimal amount of JavaScript needed to create your app. This leads to more readable and maintainable codebases, especially for complex projects.

Svelte's syntax is straightforward and easy to grasp, especially for those already familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It's a joy to use for creating dynamic user interfaces, as it makes reactivity and state management simpler and more intuitive.

Moreover, Svelte offers a growing ecosystem, including SvelteKit for building server-side rendered applications and various community-contributed libraries and tools. Its rising popularity is a testament to its capability to balance performance, simplicity, and developer experience.

If you're intrigued by a framework that rethinks the traditional approach and offers a more direct and efficient way to build web applications, exploring Svelte is highly recommended. It's an excellent choice for those seeking a modern, innovative, and productive way to develop web apps.

10. Next.js

Next JSWhat it's best for: developing server-rendered React applications with improved SEO and performance.

To round things off, let's look at Next.js, a powerful and versatile framework for building modern web applications, especially known for its seamless integration with React.

One of the standout features of Next.js is its support for server-side rendering (SSR) and static site generation (SSG), which are pivotal for improving the performance and SEO of web applications.

This makes Next.js an ideal choice for projects where search engine visibility and fast load times are crucial.

Next.js takes the robustness of React and enhances it with additional capabilities like automatic code splitting, which speeds up page loads by only loading the JavaScript needed for rendering the current view.

This results in a smoother and more efficient user experience.

This JS framework is also designed to be user-friendly, offering a zero-config setup that lets developers get up and running quickly. This ease of setup, combined with its powerful features, makes Next.js both accessible for beginners and robust enough for complex enterprise applications.

Another major advantage of Next.js is its rich ecosystem and community support. Features like built-in CSS and Sass support, API routes to build API endpoints within Next.js apps, and a wide range of plugins and integrations make it a comprehensive solution for full-stack development.

Whether you're building a small static website, a large e-commerce site, or anything in between, Next.js offers a scalable, performant, and enjoyable development experience. For developers looking to harness the power of React with enhanced capabilities for real-world web applications, diving into Next.js is a great choice

Wrapping Up: The Best Web Development Frameworks

So there you have it, the 10 best web development frameworks in 2024.

Whether you’re looking to land a job as a web developer, enhance your portfolio, or boost your skills, web development frameworks are one of the best ways to stay ahead of the curve in modern web development.

Even if you're new to the world of web development frameworks, I hope you now have a better idea of what they are and why they're so useful.

Which one is your favorite? And are there any others you'd like to see us include on our list of web development frameworks? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to sharpen up your web development skills? Check out:

Dr. Angela Yu's Complete Web Development Bootcamp

 

References

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022, 15-1254 Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers [Internet]. [updated 2021 Mar 31; cited 2024 Jan 15]. Available from: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151254.htm

By Robert Johns

Technical Editor for Hackr.io | 15+ Years in Python, Java, SQL, C++, C#, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, .NET, MATLAB, HTML & CSS, and more... 10+ Years in Networking, Cloud, APIs, Linux | 5+ Years in Data Science | 2x PhDs in Structural & Blast Engineering

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D W

For backend frameworks, don't forget Vely for C programming language. I know people didn't used to associate C with web development. Vely is a web framework for C, and a good one at that. It's really a C code generator, but you can write any C code you like, which I do just minimally. It's at vely.dev. Anyway, just thought it would be interesting to mention it, since the performance blows anything else out of the water.

8 months ago