JavaScript was created in 1995 by Brendan Eich, a Netscape programmer, in just 10 days. The road was bumpy, but currently, according to StackOverflow’s developers’ survey, it’s the most used programming language for the eighth year in a row.

Although it is possible to build full web applications from scratch, in most cases it consumes too much time and budget, and makes the application very hard to maintain. JavaScript framework is a collection of libraries, a toolset, that is structured with a particular context and provides a template that handles common programming patterns. By using rules and guidelines imposed by the framework, developers can deliver complex applications more efficiently.

There are a huge number of JavaScript frameworks. To find the best framework among all these options is a daunting task, especially when you’re a beginner.

1. React

In 2011, the Facebook team invented a JS library as a response to the need to maintain the quickly evolving traffic for its services. In 2013, it turned into a project called React. From this time it became the most popular open-source JavaScript framework and has been used by industry leaders such as Netflix or PayPal. In 2020, React npm package had 4x more downloads than Vue.js (its closest competitor) and was used by 4 out of 5 front-end developers.


  • Efficient performance due to Virtual Document Object Model(DOM) usage,
  • One-way data binding,
  • Can be easily combined with many other JS libraries,
  • JSX syntax,
  • Reusable components.

When to use:

React isn’t the best choice for developers that don’t know pure JavaScript code well enough yet. It’s go-to when it comes to cross-platform small or medium business applications. 

2. Angular

In October 2010, a side project of a Google employee Misko Hevery came into the market as AngularJS. It quickly became the most popular JavaScript MVC framework. Since it was a small internal project, it wasn’t prepared for the growing improvement demands. As a response, the core team at Google decided to rewrite the whole project and released Angular 2.0 (Angular2+) in 2016.


  • Two-way data binding,
  • Built-in directives and dependency injection,
  • TypeScript support,
  • Modularity and component-oriented.

When to use:

Since Angular is quite complex and has a high entry threshold, it’s recommended when building enterprise or large web applications.

3. Vue

Vue.js, a progressive JavaScript framework, was initially released in February 2014 by Evan You – the person that has been working for Google with AngularJS. His main goal was to “extract the part that he liked about Angular and build something lightweight”. It is considered to be the most friendly for beginners, since it has well-elaborated documentation, a strong community, an extensive choice of tools, and has a much simpler concept than Angular.


  • Two-way data binding,
  • Developer-friendly syntax,
  • Is good for SEO,
  • Small bundle size,
  • Enhanced TypeScript support for 3.0.

When to use:

Vue could be the best option if you’re looking to create a quick prototype or a relatively small single-page application.

4. Svelte

Svelte was initially introduced in 2016 and since then its popularity has been increasing – around 10-15% of frontend developers declared using it. It’s considered one of the fastest front-end frameworks and its main goal was to enable developers to accomplish projects with much less code. Svelte should be considered more as a compiler than a framework – it has no virtual DOM.


  • No virtual DOM,
  • Is good for SEO,
  • Optimized and lightweight,
  • Reach built-in API and modules.

When to use:

Because Svelte is relatively immature and has no big community built around yet, and its tooling is limited at this point, it is an ideal option for small app projects.

5. Ember

Ember is considered a stable MVC open-source framework. It was released in 2011. It is known for its well-organized community, which results in a big amount of add-ons and a rich package ecosystem.


  • Two-way data binding,
  • Supports TypeScript,
  • Built-in testing and debugging tools,
  • Convention over configuration – well-defined practices,
  • Consistent documentation.

When to use:

Since Ember might be tough to master it’s recommended for large-scale apps – web or mobile apps. It also might be too heavy for small apps.

6. Preact

Preact is a JavaScript library known as a fast lightweight (3KB!) alternative to React.  It was developed with the main goal of providing a JS framework that’s small in size and yet offers the same API and features of a framework like React. It was warmly adopted by a community that has developed plenty of plugins


  • Fastest virtual DOM,
  • Is compatible with React API,
  • Understanding the codebase should take no more than a few hours,
  • Lightweight.

When to use:

If you’re going to build a small web app that is going to do one thing very well – Preact might be your choice.


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Choosing the top JavaScript framework for you

When it comes to front-end web development, you will unavoidably use JavaScript. Apart from the framework features, consider your needs in terms of the project requirements – documentation, used backend technologies, or user interface complexity. Each project is different, therefore the technology you choose should be based on your needs. Likewise, each framework has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and you have to choose whether one offers the capabilities you want.