Which Single Page Application Framework Best Fits Your Project's Needs?     

Which Single Page Application Framework Best Fits Your Project's Needs?

Here you are now: you've finally made up your mind! You'll build your first highly interactive SPA! Somehow similar to native mobile and desktop apps, adapted so deliver your users a desktop-like experience. And as quickly as possible, needless to add. So, which single page application framework will you go with?

That is the question!

And there's no such thing as “the best JavaScript framework” fit for the job, only “the best-suited one for your own project's needs”. So first, you need to get those goals of yours clearly defined!

Then, with your list of project requirements and goals that you've set at hand, go through the short list of top 5 single-page application frameworks here below.

And they range from the most popular to the fastest growing JavaScript framework to the easiest one to learn and to use, to the lightest one... and the list can go on.

In short: my selection here includes the best framework for each set of needs, in terms of SPA features, that you might have.

Shall we dive in?
 

But Why Precisely a JavaScript Framework for Building Your SPA?

It's pretty obvious:
 

  • because you want it built fast (right?)
     
  • because modern JavaScript frameworks are being constantly enhanced with superpowers for helping them to cope with server-side rendering specific to SPAs (thus your users won't get welcomed into your app via a discouraging page featuring a loading bar, but via a fully populated page instead)
     
  • because server-side rendering makes all the difference in terms of SEO: browsers won't be striving with the burden of rendering pages, thus content gets instantly accessible
     
  • because JavaScript frameworks inject raw HTML and JavaScript with... superpowers
     
  • because they have an ideally well-structured, easy to maintain codebase 
     
  • because they're built specifically for handling an overload of dynamic interactions on the server side: take them as your handiest toolkit for building an ideally interactive user interface for your single-page app 
     

Wrapping up:

A JavaScript framework (unlike plain JavaScript) makes the quickest solution for you to create and supercharge your future app with all those dynamic elements that you have in mind, without having to worry about code maintenance.

And there's more!

Another hard-to-resist-to feature of many of the most popular JavaScript frameworks out there is the MVC design pattern that they apply. One which will guarantee you a:

  • reusable
  • maintainable
  • conveniently scalable

… code to work with.
 

AngularJS

How could have I not placed AngularJS on the very top of my list here, since it's the most widely used single page application framework after all?

AngularJS: Which Single Page Application Framework Best Fits Your Project's Needs? 

Have you ever wondered why?

These are some of the key features that turn it into such a tempting option for any developer who's planning to build a feature-rich single page web application:
 

  1. it makes a holistic solution as an SPA framework: from routing to communicating with the web servers (and so on) it all happens right there, inside the framework; no additional packages are required for you to get your fully functional single-page app up and running in no time!
     
  2. it implements a two-way data binding: and this is a definitory feature for AngularJS; basically, whenever a user interacts with the app's interface, inserting his/her input, the view and the model get automatically synchronized, while the logic in the model triggers the DOM's update
     
  3. it infuses old-style HTML with super features so that you, as a developer, get to create all your interactive elements, all the dynamic content to be included in your UI, with great ease
     
  4. … and extending HTML's basic powers is surprisingly simple: just rely on the standard AngularJS directive (or come up with your own custom-built one) and upload it to any div.
     
  5. it “spoils” you with an easy to maintain, neatly organized codebase 
     
  6. it's the most popular SPA framework out there, therefore both the app's development and testing processes get a major boost
     
  7. it also puts at your disposal an entire ecosystem for developing apps (Angular CLI): a handy tool for sketching your future apps + a solution for developing mobile web apps injected with high performance (Angular Mobile)
     

ReactJS: A Powerful Single Page Application Framework 

Is it a large-scale single-page app, featuring a complex UI and supercharged with... high performance that you're planning to build? Then ReactJS is the framework that will turn your great idea into the next big thing!

ReactJS: Which Single Page Application Framework Best Fits Your Project's Needs? 

In this respect, what examples more “powerful” than Facebook and Instagram, themselves, both powered by ReactJS, could you think of?

Way ahead of its time, when it was first released, a revolutionary (not to say “disruptive”) technology, ReactJS quickly set itself apart from the other JavaScript frameworks and turned into an “influencer”. 

And some of its most “copied” concepts have been:

  • its component-based architecture, an unexpected alternative to the widely adopted MVC pattern and the separation of concerns; practically ReactJs' components enable developers to use them anyway it suited them, across their apps 
     
  • … this way, the simplified codebase became far more accessible, while the once strictly separated view and other parts of the app got brought together
     
  • the concept of virtual DOM, which is how ReactJS handles the view, updating it whenever needed  

Note: still, there is a shortcoming to using ReactJS, a single page application framework built with high performance in mind. It's a view library by nature!

Yes, it's built to power extremely dynamic user interfaces, yet for client-side routing, for loading data from a back-end server, you'll need to look for an outside library (maintained by the same team, of course).
 

Ember.js

Now here's another JS framework riding the tide as a single page development framework and gaining more and more popularity among developers!

Ember.js: Which Single Page Application Framework Best Fits Your Project's Needs? 

Ember.js's strategy for keeping itself in the “premier league” is to play 2 of its major “rivals'” winning cards:

  1. Angular's two-way data binding 
  2. React's server-side rendering of DOM (via ts Fastboot.js)

With the model and the view perfectly synchronized and the issue of performance, posed by highly dynamic UIs, solved, Ember.js has a bright future ahead.

So, do consider it as you're looking for the SPA framework that best fits your project's needs! It's being constantly enhanced with superpowers, so be ready to seize and to turn its potential into the best “fuel” for your web app!
 

Backbone.js

We've reached most lightweight single page application framework from my list!

Lightweight, yet feature-rich!

Backbone.js: Which Single Page Application Framework Best Fits Your Project's Needs? 

And there are other truly tempting features deriving from its ideal... “weight”:

  1. it's a lot more simple
  2. it's ideally flexible
  3. therefore, it's easier to learn, as well
  4. it comes in a small size package

If big players in the web arena, such as Walmart, Pinterest, Delicious and Foursquare have seen the potential in this JavaScript framework, it can't be for no reason!

Therefore, if it's flexibility that you're craving for when you're developing your single page web app, then Backbone is the one!

It brings in just the “bare necessities”, enabling you to build anything right on top of it: just write down your custom code or supercharge it with the extra functionality that you need by integrating it with a third-party JS framework!
 

Vue.js: The Minimalistic SPA Framework With Great Potential

That's right, it writes “extreme minimalism” all over this JavaScript framework!

Vue.js: Which Single Page Application Framework Best Fits Your Project's Needs? 

And what does this mean for you, the app developer?

  1. that you get to use selective modules, as needed
  2. that it “spoils” you with an ideally simple API

Moreover, Vue.js, the newest SPA framework to join the “league”, is a single page application framework that uses:

  • the MVVM design pattern
  • the two data binding method for applying changes to view and model
     

End of the list! I sure hope this selection will help you narrow down your choices and that the info I've inserted in here is “enlightening” enough for you to... easily identify that single page application development framework that's perfectly suited for your project!