JavaScript Frameworks Comparison Primer: Ember, Angular and React

JavaScript Frameworks Comparison Primer: Ember, Angular and React

If you use the web, you’ve come across JavaScript. The coding language is present in just about every website and mobile application out there, handling functions such as animation and asynchronous requests.

JavaScript Framework Comparison: Ember Angular React

JavaScript Frameworks such as Ember, AngularJS and React are being used to put the frontend code puzzle together better and faster than ever.

As a developer, writing front end code includes tools such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. In my previous post, I outlined these various front end developments tools and advances underway.  For JavaScript, you’ll likely use one of many available open-source frameworks that provide the structure for building applications. Frameworks contain templates and constructors with predefined functionality to help organize fields and build the layers of an application.

When it comes to selecting a framework, developers have their preferences. And they tend to get pretty religious about their choices. Without starting a holy war, let’s take a look at three of the most popular frameworks – Ember.js, AngularJS and React.

Ember, currently in release 2.3.0, is often used in large, ambitious web applications. Ember promotes ES205 syntax and relies on a straightforward API, but you must follow the framework’s strict coding rules, such as how to name files, or you’re bound to get into trouble. If you adhere to the rules, everything should work nicely right out of the box.

One of the coolest aspects of working with Ember is its release cycle. You get new versions every six weeks, which means bugs are fixed quickly and you needn’t wait forever for new features. If you discover a bug in the framework, you can share it on the GitHub open-source developer community, and chances are it will be fixed in the next release or two.

Ember does have a couple of downsides: It requires a steep learning curve, and because of its rigid coding structure, it’s hard to break out of the mold and do something different.

Created by Google, Angular has considerable financial power behind it, with many developers to support it. Angular was all the rage a couple of years ago and is now in release 1.5. Version 2.0 is currently in beta, which means it’s not quite ready for production, so use it at your own risk. Stick with 1.5 for business-critical projects.

Angular is more flexible and easier to learn than Ember, but it has some design and performance issues that release 2.0 addresses. Angular is also pushing developers to use TypeScript, which you can think of as JavaScript on steroids. TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript created by Microsoft, and is increasingly popular for coding large applications.

If you plan to work with Angular 2.0, you must learn Typescript. But once you do, you’ll be able to easily switch an application developed in 1.5 to the new release because Angular 2.0 comes with an easy-to-follow migration guide.

React is the cool new kid on the block. Created by Facebook to develop application interfaces, it has generated a lot of hype over the past year. Because it handles only interfaces, it’s not really a complete framework. But you can combine it with projects built on Angular, Ember and – theoretically – any other framework.

Because of all the hype, it has an active community. Everybody wants to work with React, and that’s a good thing because the community has built numerous plug-and-play components that are easy to integrate. Say you need a video player, you can build and integrate it with other systems.

The focus on interfaces makes React easier for beginners. If you know JavaScript, you should be able to work with it – and you don’t need to adhere to a set API, as with Angular and Ember.

In future blogs, will delve deeper into each platform.