21 min readUpdated Dec 7, 2023

Choosing the best JavaScript framework for your next project

Choosing the best JavaScript framework for your next project
Tooba JamalTooba Jamal

The State of Developer Ecosystem 2022 report revealed that 65% of developers are using JavaScript, making it the most popular language. JavaScript also claims the spot of most popular primary language with 34%.

Of all the JavaScript developers 80% use at least one JavaScript framework. Though there are thousands of JavaScript frameworks available, only a small subset of them is being used by developers. The popularity of frameworks depends upon several factors,  including: ease of use, relevancy, security, and flexibility. As more developers adopt a framework, a larger community is formed around it giving rise to its popularity.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best JavaScript frameworks. We'll also summarize the key points from each section into a comparison chart so that it's easy for you to pick the best framework based on your needs and a few key considerations.

What are JavaScript frameworks and why do we need them?

A JavaScript framework provides a supporting structure that we can use to build JavaScript applications. The structure offers a set of libraries and tools to aid the development and extension of an application's functionalities. Developing the same features in vanilla JavaScript yields equal results. However, a framework speeds up and simplifies the development process by providing built-in APIs, functions, and libraries. While frameworks offer flexibility, a good understanding of JavaScript fundamentals is essential to leverage their potential.

As mentioned above, most of the developers use frameworks which means famous frameworks have a huge community. A community offers help and support along the development journey.

Frameworks often provide cross-browser compatibility and security which offers an added advantage, helping developers focus on high-level functionalities.

In summary, JavaScript frameworks act as accelerators streamlining the development process with added advantages. These advantages make them an essential part of a developer's toolkit.

12 Best JavaScript frameworks

Frontend JavaScript frameworks

A frontend framework simplifies the development of client-side applications. The most prominent advantages of using frontend frameworks include reusable components, state management, and simplified event handling. There are hundreds of frontend frameworks available in JavaScript, here are some of the most popular:


React is an open source frontend JavaScript framework developed by Facebook. 81.8% of survey respondents of the State of JavaScript survey use React for frontend development. It is a component-based framework specifically designed for single-page applications also known as SPAs.

Key features:

  • JSX: JSX is an acronym for JavaScript XML which allows writing HTML in React components. JSX doesn't need creating or appending elements in the Document Object Model. Instead, we just need to write HTML and the elements get created by React itself.
  • Virtual DOM: Virtual DOM is a copy of real DOM which gets updated whenever there is a change in application. Virtual DOM then compares itself with real DOM and only updates the changed part in real DOM. Since virtual DOM doesn't directly update the HTML structure, it improves the overall performance of the React application.
  • One-way data binding: Data flows in one direction in a React application that is, from top to bottom. This means that a state change in parent component will trigger a change in child component. However, a state change in a child component won't automatically trigger an update.


  • Reusable components: React application consists of many components with separate logic. All the components can be reused multiple times which makes a React application easy to maintain.
  • Developer support: React has a wide community of developers that plays a vital role in providing support and training resources to other developers. Additionally, its backing by Meta further enhances the strength of developer support.
  • Server-side rendering support: Server-side rendering or SSR allows rendering a webpage on the server which improves page load speed and search engine optimization.
  • Stable ecosystem: It's worth noting that React maintains a stable framework with infrequent changes. This ensures a seamless and reliable experience for developers.


  • Needs third-party libraries: React can only handle the development and rendering of the UI components. Extra functionalities like routing, global state management, data fetching etc. require third-party libraries.
  • Difficult to get started: React’s reliance on JSX for HTML embedding and Webpack can create a steeper learning curve for beginners compared to other frontend frameworks.

Use cases and applications

React is a versatile framework, widely used for the development of single page applications. Common use cases include complex and dynamic UIs, as well as mobile and realtime web applications. Famous companies using React include:

  • Facebook: The clean UI structure you see on your Facebook feed is built using React. React keeps the sidebar, posts from friends, and new post input separated.
  • Instagram: Like Facebook, Instagram is also built using React for the frontend. Component-based architecture makes Instagram fast and smooth to reload.
  • Netflix: Netflix chose React to develop its UI because of its efficient performance and modularity.

Google Angular

Developed by Google, Angular is an open source TypeScript-based JavaScript framework. According to the State of JS survey, over 50% of respondents have Angular in their toolkit. Angular also offers a component-based architecture for the development of SPAs.

Key features:

  • Two-way data binding: Two-way data binding refers to automatic UI changes when a data model is changed. This keeps developers from writing extra code to reflect data model changes to the UI.
  • Angular module: Angular encapsulates related components, services, directives, and pipes together making it easier to maintain large applications.
  • Built-in routing and forms: Angular offers a built-in routing system and forms frameworks. This allows better control over form validation and routing.
  • Dependency injection: Angular's dependency injection system offers easier object creation and management. Dependency injection allows enhanced code reusability and loosely coupled components.


  • Reusable components: Like React, Angular also offers a component-based architecture which improves the application performance.
  • Server-side rendering support: Angular applications support server-side rendering or SSR which provides optimized SEO support.
  • Large community and ecosystem: Angular is backed by Google and has an active community of developers offering developer support, resources, tutorials, and additional libraries.


  • Steep learning curve: Angular takes longer to get used to, especially for developers who aren't familiar with Typescript. Angular has way more aspects to unfold as compared to other frontend frameworks.
  • Frequently evolving ecosystem: Angular is always under development to provide an improved developer experience. While a rapidly changing ecosystem resolves bugs, it is also challenging for developers to stay up to date.

Use cases and applications

Angular can be used to develop single-page applications (SPAs) and progressive web applications (PWAs). Companies using Angular include:

  • Google: Google uses Angular for a number of its services including Gmail.
  • Upwork: Upwork application is built using Angular including payment gateways and in-app conversation.


Vue is another one of the most popular frontend JavaScript frameworks. Vue is a progressive framework meaning, Vue provides core features and allows developers to choose additional modules as needed. This allows developers to start from the basics and add features as the application grows. 46.2% of respondents of the State of JavaScript survey have Vue under their belt, showcasing the framework's prevalence among JavaScript developers.

Key features:

  • Virtual DOM: Like React, Vue also uses Virtual DOM which makes it time and performance efficient.
  • Reactive: Vue is a reactive framework that automatically updates the UI when data changes.
  • Animations/transitions: Vue provides two built-in components that help apply animations or transitions to your HTML based on data/ state changes.


  • Easy to learn: Vue doesn’t necessarily require a build tool and offers a syntax that resembles HTML. This makes Vue easier to learn as compared to other frameworks like React and Angular.
  • Reusable components: Vue applications are component-based. Each component contains its own logic which can be used to develop a complex UI.


  • Lack of enterprise backing: Vue is a community driven project and is maintained by a developer community. Vue is not backed by any enterprise like React and Angular.
  • Lack of plugins: Vue may not provide as extensive a range of plugins as other frameworks. This requires developers to write their own plugins which might be time consuming.

Use cases and applications:

Vue can be used to develop component-based single-page applications. Companies using Vue include:

Comparative overview of frontend JavaScript frameworks

Feature React Angular Vue
Developer experience Easy to learn, large community Steep learning curve, large community Easy to learn, growing community
Performance Virtual DOM, High Real DOM, Moderate Virtual DOM, High
SEO Server-side rendering support Server-side rendering support Server-side rendering support
Ecosystem Mature ecosystem Mature ecosystem Growing ecosystem

Backend JavaScript frameworks

A backend framework facilitates the development of server-side/backend applications. Server-side logic includes creating and running servers, handling client requests, database interaction, and authentication. Like frontend frameworks, there are many backend frameworks available in JavaScript. Some of outperform others and are loved by the developer community – let’s take a look at some of the most popular.


Express is the most popular backend JavaScript framework. According to a Statistics and Data study, Express is among the top five most popular backend frameworks in all languages. Express simplies the backend application development with a robust set of features including routing, middleware, error handling, and templating.

Key features:

  • MVC architecture: Even though Express is not inherently an MVC framework, it does support MVC architecture. This allows dividing a large application into smaller parts, making the application more manageable.
  • Middleware integration: The middleware functionality of Express allows adding important functionalities in Express projects using third-party API or your own logic For example, JSON middleware parses input data into JSON format, and authentication middleware authenticates a user.


  • Easy to learn: Express is built on top of JavaScript, and it provides an easier syntax to use several NodeJS features compared to working with raw NodeJS.
  • Template engines: Express supports several template engines including EJS, Handlebars, and Pug. This allows Express to render dynamic HTML pages along with static files.
  • Supportive community: Express has a large developer community offering support to other developers. The Express Google group also has a large library of 5000 posts focusing on discussions within the Express ecosystem. These posts reflect the community engagement in support of other developers.


  • Need for third-party libraries: Express provides limited built-in features that are closely connected to web development. This requires developers to use third-party libraries for extra functionalities.
  • Unopinionated nature: Express doesn't have a defined structured way of doing things. This might make it challenging for developers to master it.

Use cases and applications

Express is useful in developing APIs and backend mobile and web servers. Companies using Express include:

  • Yandex: Yandex uses Express on their backend.
  • Accenture: Accenture uses Express to build its API and share data among stakeholders.


Fastify is a lightweight backend JavaScript framework built on top of Express. It offers a vast plugin architecture, low overhead, and a responsive user experience. Fastify is also known as one of the fastest backend frameworks when it comes to requests per second, latency, and memory usage.

Key features:

  • Schema based: Fastify recommends using JSON schema for the validation and serialization of routes. Using other schema is not prohibited but might not yield the best results.
  • Error handling: Fastify offers a built-in ‘setErrorHandler()’ function for error handling. Custom errors can also be defined using plugins.
  • Logging: Fastify uses Pino for logging ensuring cost-effective logs.


  • Fast speed: As the name suggests, Fastify is a high-speed backend framework.
  • Scalability: Multiple features in Fastify support scalability including modular architecture and horizontal scalability. Scalability makes it an ideal choice for larger projects.


  • Steep learning curve: While Fastify offers advantages such as fast speed and scalability, some developers find it difficult to learn due to limited resources available for developer support.
  • Lack of templating engine: Fastify doesn't offer built-in support for templating engines. A plugin must be used for templating.

Use cases and applications

Fastify can be used to build fast and scalable APIs and server-side applications. Companies using Fastify include:

  • Future Foundary: Future Foundary uses Fastify for backend production.
  • Joggr: Joggr uses Fastify for a fast and low-overhead responsive application.


Nest is a progressive backend JavaScript framework. Nest was designed to be efficient, and scalable and supports the development of enterprise-scale web applications. Nest is built on top of Express offering a higher level of abstraction.

Key features:

  • TypeScript support: Though Nest allows developers to code in JavaScript, it also supports TypeScript.
  • CLI tool: The Nest CLI allows easier setup and development of robust applications using simple CLI commands.
  • Modular architecture: Nest supports modular architecture. This allows dividing a larger application into smaller modules ensuring maintainability and scalability.
  • Microservices: Nest natively supports microservices allowing the development of robust microservices.


  • Scalability and maintainability: Modular architecture makes Nest applications easier to scale and maintain compared to basic Node applications.
  • Improved testing: Nest uses dependency injections which allows easier testing of code in isolation.


  • Steep learning curve: Nest has similar architectural patterns as Angular. Therefore it has a steep learning curve, especially for developers who are unfamiliar with Angular.
  • High overhead: Nest offers a robust set of features but it also imposes performance overhead as compared to lightweight frameworks if not optimized properly.
  • Not suitable for small projects: Adherence to modular architecture and enterprise-scale applications best practices add a lot of boilerplate code in Nest applications. This might not be needed for smaller projects.

Use cases and applications

NestJS is suitable for developing large server-side applications. Companies using NestJS include:

  • Adidas: Adidas uses NestJS to build its e-commerce platform and marketing automation platform.
  • Ricoh: Ricoh has adopted NestJS because of its scalability and maintainability.

Comparative overview of backend JavaScript frameworks

Feature Express Fastify Nest
Developer experience Easy to learn, large community Steep learning curve, moderate community Steep learning curve, growing community
Performance Moderate High Moderate
Architecture MVC Plug-in based Modular
Ecosystem Mature ecosystem Growing ecosystem Growing ecosystem

Fullstack JavaScript frameworks

Fullstack frameworks handle both the frontend and backend logic of a JavaScript application. These frameworks offer a consistent approach to connecting the frontend, backend and database together. Below is the list of the most popular fullstack JavaScript frameworks.


Meteor is a fullstack JavaScript framework which allows easy development of backend web servers with its straightforward API. Meteor also provides built-in support for realtime features.

Key features:

  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC) system: Meteor's RPC API methods allow easy frontend and backend integration.
  • Built-in accounts: Meteor offers built-in login and account packages not requiring developers to build their own authentication system.
  • Pub/Sub method: Meteor offers Pub/Sub methods allowing easier development of realtime features.
  • Hot code reloading: Code changes are automatically reflected in the browser without having to refresh the application.


  • Easy to learn: Meteor has a straightforward API which makes it easier to learn.
  • Improved performance: Meteor's support for realtime features and hot code reloading make it a highly performant framework.


  • MongoDB dependency: Meteor is primarily designed to support MongoDB and requires third-party packages to work with other databases.
  • Lack of community support: As compared to other JavaScript frameworks, Meteor has an inactive community. The Meteor discord channel has only 280 members while the Slack channel has been deactivated.

Use cases and applications

Meteor.js is useful in developing server-side applications including realtime features such as chat and data updates. Companies using Meteor.js include:


Developed by Vercel, Next allows the development of fullstack applications with React-based frontend and Node for the backend environment. 48.6% of respondents of the State of JavaScript survey have NextJS in their toolkit.

Key features:

  • Server-side rendering: Next offers server-side rendering or SSR which improves performance and SEO of applications.
  • Static site generation (SSG): NextJS also offers static site generation which generates HTML on build time, further improving the performance.
  • Routing: Next has a built-in routing system, eliminating the need for third-party libraries.


  • Improved SEO: Next applications have improved SEO making them easy to be indexed on search engines.
  • Quick development: With built-in robust features, Next reduces the development time of production-ready applications.
  • Improved performance: Server-side rendering, static site generation and other features improve fullstack website performance and speed.


  • No built-in state management: Next doesn't offer a built-in state management which requires developers to use third-party libraries for that.
  • Difficult to learn: Next can be difficult to learn as it requires a different set of concepts to develop a fullstack application.

Use cases and applications

Next can be used to develop a wide variety of applications including static sites, e-commerce platforms, enterprise applications and more. Companies using Next include:


Nuxt is built on top of Vue which enables the development of fullstack applications with ease. Over 20% of respondents of the State of JavaScript survey have Nuxt under their belt as a fullstack JavaScript framework.

Key features:

  • Static site generation (SSG): Nuxt provides support for SSR which improves application performance and SEO.
  • Static site generation (SSG): Nuxt also offers rendering of HTML pages on build time to further improve application performance.
  • Built-in routing: Nuxt has a built-in routing system providing a simpler approach for routing applications.


  • Easy to use: Nuxt provides easier implementation of Vue.js making the development process quicker.
  • Performance: Server-side rendering, static site generation and other features allow the development of high-performing applications.


  • Server strain: Nuxt applications can cause server strain in case of higher traffic which degrades application performance.
  • Smaller community: Nuxt has a smaller community of developers providing limited resources and support.

Use cases and applications

Nuxt is primarily used for the development of single page applications (SPAs). But it can also be used for other types of applications like e-commerce platforms or static sites. Trivago magazine website is built in Nuxt.

Comparative overview of fullstack JavaScript frameworks

Feature Meteor Next Nuxt
Developer experience Easy to learn, lack of active community Steep learning curve, large community Easy to learn, smaller community
Performance Moderate High High
Architecture MVC SSR, SSG SSR, SSG
Ecosystem Growing ecosystem Large ecosystem Growing ecosystem

Realtime JavaScript frameworks

A realtime framework provides functions to simplify the development of realtime features in an application. Realtime features include channel Publish/Subscribe, information flow, client-server interaction etc. Some of the many realtime JavaScript frameworks outperform others because of their straightforward API, scalability, and reliability. Those frameworks include:


Ably stands as a robust platform which provides a full suite of functionality designed for seamless integration of realtime features into your applications, be it server-to-client or client-to-client communication. The Ably API suite offers a straightforward API for the development of highly reliable and scalable realtime applications, making it adaptable for use in any circumstance and in conjunction with various frameworks.

Key features:

  • Pub/Sub messaging: Ably's Pub/ Sub messaging allows adding realtime features from asynchronous conversations to realtime updates.
  • Streaming data sources: Ably offers a variety of realtime data streams that developers can use to develop realtime data applications.
  • Push Notifications: Ably uses Apple's Push Notification service (APNs) and Google's Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) to deliver push notifications to devices.

How it works

  • Easy to use: Ably has a straightforward API and developers only need to create instances to develop realtime features. The API can easily be integrated with other frameworks and libraries like React, Vue, or Express. Ably applications scale horizontally, according to application requirements and provide a highly reliable infrastructure. With robust scalability and reliability, Ably also provides message delivery guarantees so subscribers never lose data even in case of disconnection.

Comprehensive guide on how to use Ably with JavaScript.

Use cases and applications

Ably is useful in realtime features development including realtime chat, live data streaming, and realtime notifications. Companies using Ably include:

  • HubSpot: With Ably, HubSpot is able to provide a real-time experience to 128,000 customers while saving 60% in upfront costs.
  • MobyMax: MobyMax is a learning management system that uses Ably to allow live experiences for students and teachers.


Socket.IO is a realtime JavaScript framework that enables realtime client-server communication. Socket.IO is built on top of WebSockets, event-driven and compatible with older browsers and environments.

Key features:

  • Automatic reconnection: In case of connection interruption between client and server, Socket.IO automatically reconnects.
  • Old browser support: Socket.IO uses HTTP long-polling as a fallback mechanism allowing it to work on older browsers as well.
  • Packet buffering: Socket.IO offers packet buffering which is sent to the client when a connection is reestablished after an interruption, ensuring that no data is lost.


  • Cross-platform: Socket.IO supports a variety of platforms including mobile, desktop, and web including older browsers.
  • Scalability: Socket.IO is highly scalable and can handle high traffic volumes and connections.


  • Security: Socket.IO is vulnerable to security attacks as it doesn't provide end-to-end encryption.
  • No message guarantee: Socket.IO lacks mechanisms for a message guarantee allowing a possibility of data loss.

Use cases and applications

Socket.IO allows the development of all the realtime features like chat applications, live data dashboards, and collaborative editing. Trello uses Socket.IO for realtime browser updates.


Sails is a realtime JavaScript framework built on top of Express. Sails offers built-in realtime communication support and a flexible routing system.

Key features:

  • ORM (Object Relational Mapping): Sails allows data access from any database by providing a simple data access layer.
  • Auto-generate REST APIs: Sails allows generating REST APIs using a simple `sails generate api dentist` command.
  • WebSockets support: Sails allows realtime feature development using WebSockets without having to write additional code.


  • Fullstack framework: Sails allows a complete development environment for web applications including realtime features.
  • Easy to use: Sails allows easier development of applications with its high-level API.


  • Small community: Sails lacks a vibrant community and online resources. Issues on GitHub take longer to get addressed as well.
  • Slow performance: Sails is known for its slow performance as compared to other frameworks. This makes it less suitable for high traffic applications.

Use cases and applications

Sails is suitable for building fullstack applications, APIs, mobile or web applications with realtime features. According to some online sources the following companies use Sails:

  • Anybot: A platform to create custom AI bots.
  • The Canero Group: A real estate brokerage and development company.

Comparative overview of realtime JavaScript frameworks

Feature Ably Socket.IO Sails
Developer experience Easy to learn, dedicated support Easy to learn, large community Easy to learn, large community
Performance High High Moderate
Architecture Pub/Sub, supports message queues Pub/Sub, event-driven MVC
Reliability Distributed network, fallback mechanism Event acknowledgment, fallback mechanism WebSocket integration, no fallback mechanism

How to choose the best JavaScript framework?

Navigating the vast ecosystem of JavaScript frameworks can be overwhelming, especially for developers who are new to frameworks or do not have a strict tech stack requirement. Here are few considerations to help you pick the best framework for your next project.

Project requirements

Having a sense of possible complexities and requirements is crucial for picking the best framework. Project requirements might include size, complexity, nature of the project (frontend/ backend etc.), and performance. For example, if you need a fast backend server you might consider using Fastify, however, if you want an easier integration of realtime features you can pick Ably.

Community support and documentation

A vibrant and supportive community is invaluable for assistance and support during the development process. There is barely any developer who doesn't run into strange bugs during development and communities help solve those bugs. For example, React and Express have a large network of developers however, Meteor lacks it.

Common limitations

Every framework has its limitations and knowing them saves you a lot of time and cost in the long run. For example, Socket.IO provides a fallback mechanism but Sails doesn't. Compare framework limitations with your project requirements before making a decision.


The ability of a framework to adapt to changing requirements and accommodate other technologies is another important consideration. There are frameworks that support only a certain frontend or backend technology.


We hope this article served as a comprehensive guide for picking the best JavaScript framework based on your needs. By exploring some of the most popular frameworks and what makes them shine, you should be better equipped for thoughtful framework selection.

We'd love to hear about your experiences and see what JavaScript frameworks you pick for your next project and why - share your projects with us on X (Twitter) or Reddit.

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