ReactJS, AngularJS or EmberJS – Choosing a Right JavaScript Framework for a Project

Most of our clients are already familiar with JavaScript – a lightweight cross-platform   programming language used to create modern interactive designs and complex dynamic objects. Still, the mention of the JavaScript framework we recommend makes them confused. As we want to make the logic behind the provided solutions clear and justified, we have set out to briefly explain why developers need a JS framework and how the most popular JS frameworks differ.

Why Use a Framework?

First of all, frameworks give structure to the code and make it organised. In addition, frameworks have multiple pre-built functions and ready solutions, which allow to avoid hundreds of coding lines. This allows to complete a project in a much shorter term. In addition, most frameworks are open-source technologies, which means that they are supported by large online communities (at least the most popular ones), have adopted documentation, and are regularly tested and debugged.

There are hundreds of JavaScript frameworks, but it is always safer to choose the most popular ones, considering the availability of active communities and long-term support. AngularJS, EmberJS and ReactJS are three great options to choose from. Since it is not easy to migrate from one JavaScript framework to another, it is worth considering the benefits and the drawbacks of each technology from the very beginning.

AngularJS

AngularJS is a Google product released in 2009, which makes it the oldest JavaScript framework. It is a complete solution with a Model-View-Controller architecture, declarative programming style and strong feature set. AngularJS provides simple routing, intuitive alteration and straightforward UI design. Directives of AngularJS allow adding special behavior to parts of the DOM, thus, facilitating extension of HTML. Another great feature is dependency injection, which allows adding services to the modules or injection of mock data into components for testing.

A two-way data binding seems to be simultaneously the most appreciated and the most detested feature of AngularJS. On the one hand, it significantly reduces the amount of code needed for the creation of dynamic views; on the other hand, it hurts performance and complicates debugging.

Other drawbacks of AngularJS are its slow speed for pages with many interactive elements, complex third-party integration and the complexity of directives API.

EmberJS

EmberJS is another popular open-source framework used for creating client-side web applications. It has superior performance characteristics and works well with large application ecosystems. EmberJS supports two-way binding and server-side rendering. The major peculiarity of EmberJS is rooted in its guiding principle “convention over configuration”. This means that the framework can automatically infer the configuration and generate the resulting code letting developers avoid much of the routine work. EmberJS minimizes DOM and relies upon dynamic building of HTML document using a fully-fledged templating mechanism.

All these advantages come with some obvious drawbacks of the framework. In particular, EmberJS is the heaviest and the most opinionated framework of the three. Its steep learning curve is further complicated by a wealth of outdated tutorials circulating the net and a relatively small community.

ReactJS

ReactJS is a JavaScript library developed and powered by Facebook. It has proven to be efficient for large scale high traffic applications such as Facebook, Instagram, BBC and Netflix. ReactJS assures faster updates creating and synchronising minimal lists of update portions. It has easy learning API and interface and is great for debugging. The technology has a component-based architecture making a code highly reusable. Other benefits of ReactJS are React Native library and server-side rendering, which allows to solve SEO and performance issues. In addition, React has a JSX, a JavaScript extension syntax that allows to quote HTML and use HTML tag syntax to render subcomponents.

Despite all these benefits, ReactJS is essentially a library, not a full framework. It is focused on a View in the Model-View-Controller paradigm, while routing, data fetching and state management need to be tackled with the help of third parties. In addition, the absence of templates and the use of Components for the UI generation may be confusing for programmers who do not specialize in React.

What Javascript Framework to Choose?

As it has been mentioned, AngularJS, EmberJS and ReactJS are all good choices for your web applications in terms of communities and support. AngularJS is the most popular of the three, but it is used mostly for single page applications considering some performance reasons. EmberJS is an all-tools-included solution, but it is heavy and takes long to learn, so it is suitable rather for big long-term projects. ReactJS is lightweight and is great for building UI for large-scale dynamic applications, but this solution is not a one-stop-shop and you will have to look for other solutions to use with it. Knowing the peculiarities of each framework, you can decide which will be better for your project. Agiliway has experts and active projects in all the three frameworks and is ready to help you develop your web application using the technology you prefer.