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5 Best JavaScript Libraries for Web Development

 

JQuery, React, Angular. Developers easily speak in terms of these concepts, while these notions may remain a mystery to the customer. In this article, we suggest to look into the following issues together:

  • What is JavaScript?
  • What is a library?
  • What is it used for in web development?
  • Which libraries are most popular among developers?

 

We will tell you about five most interesting and useful JavaScript libraries actively used by web developers.

 

JavaScript

For quite a while JavaScript has steadily taken leading positions among the most popular and widely used programming languages.

 

earth

 

Why Is JavaScript So Popular?

The entire front end (code responsible for the user interface operation) is written in JavaScript.

Actually, JavaScript is a script language used to create interactive elements on web pages. JavaScript may be used for any actions with a menu, pictures, forms and other elements that are available on the website: creating, checking, moving, etc.

The backend (code responsible for the server operation) may be coded in various languages, but the frontend will be developed using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and JavaScript language.

 

What Is a Library?

This is a set of subprograms, functions, and other elements that are employed to facilitate and speed up the development process.

In simple words, it offers the developer a set of ready-made solutions for the specific set task.

The developers need libraries when they need to create a site with more complicated functionality.

In order to avoid wasting time writing a complex code in pure language (vanilla JavaScript), it is more reasonable to use ready-made solutions. And basically, such solutions are of quite a decent quality. And anything that does not suit the developer in terms of quality or functionality can be rewritten and adapted in accordance with the terms of a specific project.

Due to the fact that the JavaScript language is widely used, its scope of application is extending as well:  quite recently it has been started to be used for back-end coding.

Correspondingly, the language has gathered a large community of developers about it, and, accordingly, the number of new JavaScript libraries is also growing.

 

Useful Libraries

books

 

jQuery

It firmly holds the garland among the best js libraries, although it has begun to lose its popularity recently.

 

graph

Source

 

jQuery Pros:

  • jQuery allows reducing the time for creating new functions due to plugins used.
  • jQuery appeared more than 10 years ago when developers faced a serious challenge in providing code compatibility with different existing browsers. The tool made the developers’ lives much easier as it allowed developing one code for all browsers, but not for each one separately. Thus, the development time was reduced significantly.

Nowadays, browsers are becoming “smarter”, and many developers give up using jQuery in certain cases. Often the complicated apps are initially developed for the latest browser versions only.

  • jQuery has relatively low learning curve, for this reason it is used in many simple sites and web apps.
  • jQuery versions are, as a rule, compatible. Accordingly, it is possible to use any ready-made solutions created by those who have ever used the library.
  • another advantage is the available detailed documentation and developed community around jQuery.

 

jQuery Cons:

  • jQuery has some definite weight, and its use will slow down loading of website or web application.
  • if the ready-made solutions are not available the developer will need additional time and efforts to write the corresponding code.

 

React

It appeared relatively recently (presented by Facebook specialists in 2013), but has already found its followers and has become the subject of numerous discussions and conversations.

According to SimilarTech React is used on 93, 980 websites.

 

React Pros:

  • React uses Shadow DOM (Document Object Model): any changes in the site or app components are made therein (it serves as an intermediate layer between the web-page and real DOM). In this case, changing one component does not affect the rest. Accordingly, the pages are updated quickly, and UI elements are more dynamic. This means the user’s interaction with the site or the application runs more active.
  • React allows reusing the parts of the already existing code. This reduces considerably the development time.
  • React is open source: this means the library is open to any improvements and solutions on the part of the developers interested. And thus it can continuously develop and extend.
  • React is recommended to be used for SPA (single-page web app or website).

Such apps and sites use single HTML document for all pages and AJAX technology.

This technology allows the page to be dynamic (means to respond to the user’s actions, to interact with him/her), while the page is not re-loaded but updated through AJAX.

As a result due to smooth updating without any delays, the user has a comfortable feeling as if interacting with the mobile apps on the phone.

 

example

 

It is not recommended to use React just because it is now on everyone’s lips. You should consider how much it is really required since its use  involves certain disadvantages:

  • React is heavy (accordingly, when you load a website or an application, there will be a delay, which clearly does not please a modern user spoiled with high speeds).
  • React is quite complicated, and it takes a long time to study.
  • If the site is developed using React, it is not always ideally indexed by browsers (of course, the possibility does exist to make certain changes and amendments anytime they are necessary, but this will require additional time and effort).
  • For this very reason, React is often used for sites that do not need indexing (for example, for pages with private internal information of an enterprise or personal data).

Speaking of the top JavaScript libraries, it would be unfair not to mention Angular.

It is widely used by many developers and its functions are similar to those performed with React. Therefore we have not included Angular into the present list of javascript libraries, but we simply have no right to ignore Angular, which, according to the above mentioned SimilarTech, is used on 508,427 websites.

In addition to the two above items, here we should also mention a fairly convenient and popular Vue.js, but it is a framework (a set of libraries), and this is a “different league”.

 

example2

 

Lodash

Lodash is intended to facilitate handling the objects,  arrays of data, digits, strings: their creation, combining, changing, conversion to various formats, sorting, filtering, etc.

 

Lodash Pros:

  • high-speed cross-browser library: eliminates issues of compatibility with various browsers irrespective of the version. Due to this Lodash is used practically in every major project.
  • provides for the possibility to import for usage the required function (module) only, but not the complete library.

 

Lodash Cons:

  • Lodash is rather heavy. Therefore, it is recommended to  consider carefully, what is more reasonable:
  • to spend some time on coding, but not to burden the site with a library,

or

  • to spare some time and to use a ready-made solution, but to accept that the page will load slower.

D3.js

It accelerates and facilitates data visualization.

 

D3.js Pros:

  • D3.js offers a wide variety of visualization variants. Go to examples of use of D3.js to see the way the finished solution looks like.
  • D3.js allows adding interactivity of various level of complexity to visualization.
  • One should not be a developer to realize that using ready-made solutions for visualization reduces significantly the time required to create a finished product.

 

D3.js Cons:

  • the key disadvantage is a rather steep learning curve. The non-experienced developer will need the certain time to learn to create complex interactive visualization variants.

 

Chart.js

It has its own specific nature and allows creating various diagrams and graphs: line diagrams, histograms, area diagrams, and others.

Chart.js is easy to use, and its official website provides rather detailed documentation. So, the developer will not have any difficulties in mastering Chart.js.

 

Chart.js Pros:

  • Chart.js is easy to use, and its official website provides rather detailed documentation. So, the developer will not have any difficulties in mastering Chart.js.

 

Chart.js Cons:

  • It allows creating the basic chart forms only. The more complex forms will require some other tools.
  • It does not provide for interactivity: charts look like ordinary static illustrations.

 

example 3

 

As you can see, the usage range of libraries varies from creating a user interface in general to specific tasks that are not common to all applications.

JavaScript libraries list grows almost every day and the number of followers and opponents of some or other technology expands in parallel.

Often the use of the tool depends on personal preferences and the developer’s experience. This is quite logical, since the use of the library should, first of all, lead to simplifying and accelerating the development process.

IMPORTANT:

Remember that each library has some weight and with the new tools added the site or application becomes heavier, and, correspondingly, it also takes longer to load.

As promised, we talked about five popular JavaScript libraries, and at the end of the article we offer you our traditional bonus: Umbrella IT always gives the customers more than it promised.

 

present

 

Three.js

In this article, we will not write much about the bonus.

Just visit the site Three.js and you will immediately see what it is intended for.

 

Three.js Pros:

  • Three.js is useful, in case you need 3D animation for your website or application. Besides, the site provides a sufficient number of usage examples to inspire you.
  • Easily compatible with other javascript libraries.
  • Easily integrated into the already existing code of the website or application.

 

Three.js Cons:

  • key disadvantages are related to the insufficient documentation and community support. This aggravates working with the library for the inexperienced developer.

 

Our team welcomes you and your smart ideas to turn them into reality! Contact Umbrella IT right now!

 

Photo: Shutterstock.com


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