React supports a reactive approach and a functional programming paradigm. While using React, it is necessary to understand a component-based architecture, JSX, and unidirectional data flow. Flux implements the unidirectional data flow.
React-based applications have multiple components.
For communication between components – either Flux or a similar JS library can be used. React also introduced special objects, state, and props. Using the state and props objects, you can simply pass data from a component to the layout (using the state object) or from a parent component to a child component (using the props object).
React prompted the development of additional tools to reach high flexibility. For example, instead of Flux, MobX, Redux, Fluxy, Fluxible, or RefluxJS – this list is not exhaustive. The same goes for HTTP libraries: React works well with jQuery AJAX, fetch API, Superagent, and Axios, to name a few.
Even though flexibility is an advantage, React has issues because of its flexibility. When there are many additional libraries to choose from, you face the dilemma of what exactly you should use with React – wasting a lot of time trying to figure out the best options. Basically, a solid development workflow is missing in React.
React tries to set industry standards. For example, Redux is considered the best and only library for enterprise-level React apps. At the same time, Redux can seriously slow down development performance. Redux complicates your work while implementing a new feature and have to change too many things throughout the entire app. Bringing us back to the same dilemma: should we choose a simpler library?
Building your own workflow with React is quite difficult compared to other JS frameworks. Most of the other frameworks have plenty of inbuilt tools to help you with this.
The React ecosystem is comprised of:
- React library itself plus React-DOM for DOM manipulation.
- React-router for implementing routes.
- React Create App, a command line interface to set up a React project rapidly.
- Axios and Redux-based libraries, JS libraries to let you organize communication with the backend.
- React Developer Tools for Chrome and Firefox browsers.
- React Native for development of native mobile applications for iOS and Android.
- React library scheme
Angular ( Angular 2 and higher)
Angular changed it from a Model-View-MVC Architecture to a component-based architecture. Angular has become very modular. If previously, you could insert a link to the AngularJS library in the main HTML file, now you can install separate modules. You can avoid installing some Angular modules, for example, @angular/forms or @angular/http, if you don’t need them. This Angular flexibility is commendable. With the newest version of Angular coming up, here are the new features in Angular 9.
- Added undecorated class migration schematic in the core.
- The form ControlName also accepts a number in the form
- Now allow selector-less directives as base classes in View Engine in the compiler.
- Added support selector-less directive as base classes in Ivy and also made the Ivy compiler the default for ngc.
- Convert all ngtsc diagnostics to ts.Diagnostics
While building an application with Angular, you break your app up into multiple components with nested, or child, components. Each Angular component is broken into three files. The business logic for a component is written in the main file, whereas the layout and styles related to this component are written in the other two files.
Apart from Angular components, you have to get used to services, the dependency injection framework (React doesn’t have dependency injection), and directives (special HTML attributes). In the simplest terms, Angular has a prescribed way to design frontend apps, unlike React. Angular has a couple of additional challenges. You need to use TypeScript to ensure type safety in Angular apps which could be unpleasant to work with.
Angular’s ecosystem includes:
- Series of modules that you can selectively install for Angular projects: @angular/common, @angular/compiler, @angular/core, @angular/forms, @angular/http, @angular/platform-browser, @angular/platform-browser-dynamic, @angular/router, and @angular/upgrade.
- Angular command line interface for quick project setup.
- Zone.js, a JS library used to implement zones, otherwise called execution context, in Angular apps.
- RxJS and the observable pattern for asynchronous communication with server-side apps.
- Angular Augury, a special Chrome extension used for debugging Angular apps.
- Angular Universal, a project aimed at creating server-side apps with Angular.
- NativeScript, a mobile framework for developing native mobile applications for iOS and Android platforms.
Check our extensive comparison on this.
Vue library might look like a mix of Angular and React. Evan You, the creator of Vue, borrowed concepts from Angular and React. Vue lets you store component logic and layouts along with stylesheets in one file. That’s how React works without stylesheets. To let Vue components talk to each other, it uses props and state objects. This approach existed in React before Vue adopted it.
One of the reasons why Vue is worth considering instead of React is because of the Redux library – it is often used in large-scale React applications. As explained in the React section, when a React+Redux app grows bigger, you’ll spend a lot of time applying small changes to multiple files instead of actually working on features. The Vuex library – a Flux-like state management tool designed for Vue – seems less unwieldy than Redux.
One of the downsides of Vue is that it’s still much less popular than either React or Angular. As a result, Vue has far fewer ready solutions, so you may have to think about creating your own solutions to solve various issues.
The VueJS ecosystem consists of:
- Vue as a view library.
- Vue-loader for components.
- Vuex, a dedicated library for managing application state with Vue; Vuex is close in concept to Flux.
- Vue.js devtools for Chrome and Firefox.
- Axios and vue-resource for communication between Vue and the backend.
- Nuxt.js, a project tailored to creating server-side applications with Vue; Nuxt.js is basically a competitor to Angular Universal.
- Weex, a JS library that supports Vue syntax and is used for mobile development.
The bottom line: Vue is extremely close in terms of its workflow to other frameworks. We might opt for Vue because it is less complicated than React and Angular 2+. On the other hand, having a solid framework (Angular) or a solid choice of libraries (React and its ecosystem) outweighs simplicity by a huge margin when developing enterprise-level apps.
Ember framework scheme:
Every part of Ember has a narrow focus. For example, Ember helpers are used to manipulate data before rendering them to the screen. Ember components are used to store logic for the app, and various buttons to manipulate the view are stored in components.
One of Ember’s best features is its command line interface tool. The Ember CLI helps you be very productive: you can not only create new projects with ready setups, but also create components, controllers, and other project files from the terminal using automatic generation – and even install third-party dependencies.
The EmberJS ecosystem includes:
- The actual Ember.js library and Ember Data, a data management library.
- Ember server for development environments, built into the framework.
- Handlebars, a template engine designed specifically for Ember applications.
- Ember CLI, a highly advanced command line interface tool for quick prototyping and managing Ember dependencies.
- Ember Inspector, a development tool for Chrome and Firefox.
- Ember Observer, public storage where various addons are stored. Ember addons are used for Ember apps to implement generic functionalities.
The bottom line: The Ember framework is prescriptive and is a direct competitor to Angular. You can even consider Ember the equivalent of Ruby on Rails for the browser. It feels, though, that Ember is very underrated. If you need a cutting-edge framework to develop complex client-side apps, Ember is close to the best and only choice.
Backbone’s architecture consists of the following parts:
- Backbone.View, the view part of Backbone apps; Backbone views implement component logic (how model data is rendered to the browser) similarly to a Controller in MVC; you can bind views and models so that the view will change whenever model data is altered. Backbone view can use a third-party templating engines like Mustache and Underscore.js.
- Backbone.Model let us structure app data, change data via set/get methods, listen for events, and validate data.
- Backbone.Collection, which are simply arrays of similar models; for example, if your app has different types of users, each user type will be represented by a separate model, and all user models can be iterated over in Backbone collections (arrays).
- Backbone.Events, a class that lets us implement and use events, both custom and built-in, and bind various events to Backbone models, collections, routes, and views.
- Backbone.Router, an interface that maps URLs to different components of an app; Backbone’s router depends on the history object to work with browser history.
- Backbone REST, a simple API that we can use to synchronize the frontend and backend – more specifically, to request persistent model data and collections from the server.
- Backbone gives us a basic structure made of the components listed above.
The BackboneJS ecosystem contains:
- The Backbone library, which consists of events, models, collections, views, and router; Backbone views aren’t necessary if you’re using Marionette.
- Underscore’s microtemplating engine for Backbone templates; instead of it, you can use other template engines such as Mustache and jQuery-tmpl.
- BackPlug, an online repository with a lot of ready solutions (Backbone plugins) tailored for Backbone-based apps.
- Backbone generator, a CLI for creating Backbone apps.
- Marionette, Thorax, and Chaplin – JS libraries that allow you to develop a more advanced architecture for Backbone apps.
The bottom line: Backbone is a relatively easy framework that implements many things for quick development of SPAs. But to use Backbone to the fullest extent, you’ll have to choose additional tools: Marionette, Thorax, or Chaplin; Handlebars or Mustache; etc. In most cases, however, the Backbone, Marionette, and Mustache bundle will do the job. You should also understand the MVC architecture at a high level to get the most out of Backbone.
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