We are living interesting times in which each new framework tries to add its own grain of sand. Frameworks such as Angular try to make a complex frontend framework into something manageable. React Native among others try to offer a platform for writing both mobile and web applications. And there are also options such as Meteor that try to close the gap between backend and frontend and provide a single framework for both.
After mentioning these general trends, we are now going to look into the most noteworthy frontend and backend frameworks.
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Created by Google, Angular has quickly become the most popular client framework thanks to its innovative ideas. It uses directives similar to HTML tags which Angular manages itself. It has been specifically designed for complex projects: it provides tools for managing dependencies, models, controllers and routing.
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Published in 2013 with the backing of Facebook, React is becoming popular at a spectacular speed. It is unavoidable to compare it to Angular: unlike Google’s solution, React is more heavily focused on the user interface and representing changes in the application status efficiently. It has been designed to enable combinations with other libraries such as routers or Flex for model management.
Published in 2013 by Google, Polymer is a component-oriented library. The idea is to create websites from reusable elements so that you can compose applications from blocks without having to master their internal operation. In this way, HTML is extended in a natural manner.
While Angular is intended for comprehensive development, Polymer focuses on the presentation layer and can be integrated with other frameworks such as Angular2.
Now, let’s talk about backend. Even though Ericsson’s language, Erlang, is turning 30 next year, its extraordinary virtual machine specialized in mass scalability and tolerance to system failures is having a new lease of life in web backends. Members of the Ruby community have created Elixir. With a more friendly syntaxis than Erlang, this language smooths out the learning curve without compromising maximum platform utilization.
Elixir’s most promising web framework is Phoenix. Version 1.0.0 was published three months ago with spectacular performance results. This is a very promising proposal for project backends with growth aspirations.
The world of Scala
Over the last few years, very promising new languages have been born into the world of Java. They run on its virtual machine and can reuse libraries created in Java. First, we have Clojure. You only have to watch its creator’s conferences to realize that this Lisp is worth your while. And then there is Scala. A functional language, Scala also allows you to program in the traditional imperative fashion. This may reduce the learning curve, and it explores the enthusiasm of a large number of Java developers who are looking for a more expressive language.
Even though Scala is not restricted to the web, it has very powerful backend frameworks such as Play and Akka.
Haskell and its environment
So, the web of the future may not be built with Haskell, but it will definitely be created by someone who knows about Haskell. For the strong-hearted developers among you, you can read directly from the source, Learn You a Haskell. We should also mention two web frameworks: Yesod for complex applications, and Scotty for smaller projects, maybe an API.
And we couldn’t forget the usual suspects
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We developers love to be optimistic and talk about a new language or framework which, so it has been foretold, will solve all our problems. However, we must remember that often the best way of creating the web of the future is to build on existing work and past lessons.
Mature backend frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, Django for Python and Symfony on PHP (version 3.0 was released this week) have shown to be sufficiently solid and flexible to result in successful projects. Their advantages have been maximized; their weak points have been tempered under fire; and there are countless communities with very experienced members.
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