For nearly twenty years most software applications are web based. From web sites to enterprise software systems, applications comprise a web tier and enables access to functionalities via a web browser. Web application developers are therefore offered with a rich set of tools and techniques for accomplishing their development tasks. In most cases applications developers make use of web application development frameworks, which speed up their development tasks and ease the production of well-structured and less error prone applications. For example, they accelerate development through enabling developers to configure part of the application rather than code it from scratch. Furthermore, they provide readily available support for popular programming patterns like the MVC (Model View Controller).
Numerous web application development frameworks have emerged in the last two decades. They support different programming languages and platforms and have been advancing in line with the evolution of the architecture and the programming patterns of web applications. Given the wide variety of available options it’s important for developers to understand the merit and need for the various frameworks, along with their pros and cons. In following paragraphs, we present seven of the most popular frameworks, which are widely used by developers as we speak.
Angular is one of the most popular frameworks for web application development, which is used by giant companies like Google, Microsoft, and Paypal. The main value proposition of this framework lies in its flexibility and the rich set of functionalities that it offers. For example, it provides handy programming features like dependency injection, while support Typescript that makes it appropriate for large scale applications. Likewise, it provides template syntax and command-line support for quick prototyping. Developers take advantage of Angular in order to improve their productivity and speed of application development, both for enterprise-scale solutions and for conventional web applications with dynamic content.
Django is a nearly fifteen years old framework for web development, which supports many thousands of web projects. It is still one of the most popular frameworks, thanks to its ability to support novel solutions to web application development problems and thanks to the fact that it is constantly improving. It is based on Python, a programming language that it has a growing popularity and very good momentum. Django is flexible, scalable and applicable to almost all web development problems. Indeed, it is used for the development of small-scale applications and proofs-of-concept, but also in large scale applications alike. Over the years, its community has grown significantly, and its documentation has greatly improved. That’s why it is still one of the top choices when it comes to developing web applications.
The Ruby language emerged more than fifteen years ago, as a prominent way for developing web applications. Its penetration in web sites is currently impressive. Based on the Ruby language, the Ruby on Rails framework remains a popular option for web application development. The framework is known for its ability to solve complex development issues and comes with a rich set of libraries that boost developers’ productivity. It also provides excellent test automation features, which lead to good code quality. Ruby on Rails is used by major web sites and marketplaces like Airbnb and Groupon.
In addition to the above-listed frameworks, there are many more notable mentions like Symfony and React. The available frameworks cover all tastes and needs, through support for different programming languages, development platforms, and programming styles. There is certainly not a one size fits all solution. Developers are in most cases free to make their own choice. Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that all these frameworks have a quite significant learning curve. Hence, prior to investing in one of them, developers must make sure that the selected framework will serve their needs across a series of projects. Overall, we are living in exciting times with a lot of freedom and plenty of choices. Web application frameworks empower developers in this direction.
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