Top 10 frameworks for single page application development

You’ve heard about single page application development.. right? Yup, that’s definitely the hottest thing in web development (at least the UI part of it anyway).

Single Page Application Development Frameworks – the great big list

The phenomenal rise of JavaScript has extended its reach to nearly every type of application environment ranging from server-side scripts to client side interactivity, desktop applications to mobile devices and much more. Every now and then a new framework or library comes along that explores the language’s capability in a unique and new environment. Robust frameworks and libraries further ease development by abstracting numerous challenges and wheel reinvention related to a particular or a range of platforms. The rising demand and deployability of HTML, CSS and JS applications on desktop and mobile devices through frameworks like Node.js, Chrome Apps and PhoneGap has led to a phenomenal increase in single page applications that ease interactivity through dynamic DOM update and minimized page reloads. However, single page application development requires powerful frameworks that can handle the grand application architectures required for rich web apps. So what are the top 10 frameworks for frontend single page application development? While we don’t use all of them – doesn’t mean that we can’t list them out here for all ye Googlers.

1.    AngularJs – the grand daddy, no?

Since its introduction by Google, it has turned out to be the most used and most deployed framework for major single page application development frameworks on the web. With a steep learning curve and MVC architecture, this is clearly one of the few powerful frameworks on the web. The enormous amount of built-in functionality allow users to control and design their application for nearly every kind of environment or task they could think of. It not only reduces code but also allows applications to be easily maintained and scaled over time and varying architectures.

2. Backbone

The legacy single page application development framework with less than 800 lines of code is still the programmer’s favorite for most applications as it provides the necessary flexibility through its MVC model while also supporting collections that allow for variations to program architecture. By significantly reducing data tie-ups to the DOM, Backbone allows developers to create structural code that can be easily modified to reflect changes in the DOM. Along with the Underscore library, Backbone manages to handle even the most complex application quite gracefully.

3. React

Introduced by Facebook and heavily used in Instagram, React is a powerful library that can handle most type of applications – can we really call it a single page application development framework? Along with Flux (ReactJs’s application pattern for building user interfaces) React establishes a firm code base through web components to build web applications that could function wonderfully even in large-scale, constrained or high resource consuming environments. Developers often use additional frameworks like swagger for API’s and others to further extend its functionality. However, as described in numerous instances React is only the V in MVC.

4. Knockout

Unlike most single page application development frameworks, Knockout employs an MVVM approach to application architecture that allows developers to better organize code. It also allows the app to remain in sync with the server while putting in necessary mechanisms to build large single page web applications like the ones created with Angular and Backbone. The scalable front-end architecture allows developers to design apps that can easily scale up or down depending on their user base. However, Knockout often requires a bunch of other libraries like RequireJs, DurandalJS, PagerJs to create a full-fledged single page application development framework that most developers don’t like.

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