The web has simplified our lives to a great extent, which has been further boosted with the introduction of cloud services. But what about the technologies that made this possible? Well, with the entry of top web development frameworks, the programming languages used to build such life-saving web applications gained a complete overhaul.
Now, web frameworks play a crucial role in speeding up web app development lifecycle, making a web developer’s life so much easier. Apart from that, most popular web frameworks come with a host of additional features that do most of the heavy lifting throughout the development process, all the developer needs to do is write the important stuff. The goal behind this write-up is to shed some light on the top 15 web app development frameworks available right now that boost developer’s productivity.
Top Web Development Frameworks
Web development frameworks are mighty tools that can turn your average web developer into a powerful and strong web developer. Wondering why?
It’s because by using a web development framework, you get access to a wide range of features that not only help you reduce your app’s time to market but also give you the necessary tools to optimize your app’s overall performance.
Without any further delay, let’s jump right into our healthy list of web application frameworks, which we’ve curated for all of our readers.
Best Frameworks for Front End Web Development
The front end of any web application is the presentation layer that’s responsible for presenting the visual part of the web application with all the visual elements and managing the user input/output. With the front end being the face of the web application, modern front-end development frameworks help developers ensure that the web application looks appealing and feels responsive. We have listed some of the best frameworks for front end web development below –
- Developed By: Jordan Walke
- Github Stars: 160k
- Github Folks: 31.8k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/facebook/react/
- Website Link: https://reactjs.org/
- Latest Version: 17.0.1
- Websites and Applications Built With React: Asaana, Codecademy, Netflix, New York Times
You’re absolutely correct about that, but the fact that React is easily among the best tool to create UIs for applications, especially for web applications, makes it a compelling entry to this list.
And also, if it helps, a lot of developers consider React as a framework, so there’s that. Built by Facebook, React helps web developers create rich and interactive UIs by implementing a modular approach by allowing each module(aka component) to be controlled independently.
React is also declarative, which enables the web developer to automatically update the view when the state changes in the application. But keep in mind, you’d need to use additional state management libraries and routing with React. Redux and React Router to the rescue!
- Developed By: Ryan Dahl
- Github Stars: 75.2k
- Github Folks: 18.7k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/nodejs/node
- Website Link: https://nodejs.org/en/
- Latest Version: Node v15. 3.0
- Websites and Applications Built With Node.js: Uber, Trello, Medium, Ebay
Built on Chrome’s supercharged V8 engine, you can expect the same speed to be available in Node.js as well.Node.js uses an event-driven architecture that is capable of asynchronous I/O to improve throughput and real-time communication between operations.
With Node.js, web developers can also build fast and responsive Web Servers that can conveniently scale to growing demands without diving deeper into the code. Node.js’ package manager also offers a vast collection of libraries that should provide plenty of power and features to help you build a diverse range of web applications.
- Developed By: Misko Hevery
- Github Stars: 68.4k
- Github Folks: 18.1k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/angular/angular
- Website Link: https://angular.io/
- Latest Version: Angular 9
- Websites and Applications Built With Angular: Upwork, Paypal, Freelancer, jetBlue
Built by the same team that gave the world AngularJS along with the developers at Google in 2016, Angular was built from the ground up to become one of the best frameworks for front end web development. If you’re wondering why then let us explain it to you.
Angular lets you develop for all mainstream platforms, including mobile, web, and desktop.
Angular excels at building single-page web applications that involve collecting data and processing it, but you can also build all sorts of applications with it. One of its key areas of focus is to ensure blazing fast execution with the best possible performance, resulting in a faster and smoother user experience.
- Developed By: Evan You
- Github Stars: 176k
- Github Folks: 27.4k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/vuejs/vue
- Website Link: https://vuejs.org/
- Websites and Applications Built With Vue: Gitlab, Behance, 9 GAG, Nintendo
Instead of using the more traditional architectural pattern MVC, Vue uses what you call Model-View-ViewModel(MVVM), to create high-performant applications.
The framework also has a nifty collection of supporting libraries that can enhance your web application with features like manageable routing, support for server-side rendering, RxJS integration, and more.
- Developed By: Yehuda Katz
- Github Stars: 21.7k
- Github Folks: 4.2k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/emberjs/ember.js
- Website Link: https://emberjs.com/
- Websites and Applications Built With Ember: Linkedin, Ted, Twitch
Emberjs, or Ember, as most people like to call it, is an open-source web development framework created by Yehuda Katz in 2011. Ember’s focus on offering several vital features such as scalability, out-of-the-box availability of crucial web development tools, and reliability make it an enterprise-grade web development framework.
Some of the key features provided by Ember – Support for dynamic routing, a powerful build pipeline, built-in application testing, and its high-performance Glimmer renderer.
Ember also offers hundreds of curated add-ons that can help you in adding a host of new features to your web applications. Not only that, but Ember’s software stack can also assist you in improving the entire web application development process with its host of useful tools like Ember CLI, Ember Inspector, Ember Data, Liquid Fire, and more. Netflix, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Apple are just some of the world-renowned companies that are using Ember.
- Developed By: Jeremy Ashkenas
- Github Stars: 27.7k
- Github Folks: 5.6k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/jashkenas/backbone/
- Website Link: https://backbonejs.org/
- Websites and Applications Built With Backbone: Foursquare, Soundcloud, AirBnb, Hulu
Jeremy Ashkenas created the web development framework Backbone in 2010 to provide developers with a tool to structure web applications with the Model-View-Collections architecture. Backbone’s ability to allow developers to create web applications involving complex server-side processing and large single-page applications by passing the information through the API makes it one of the top web development frameworks.
Other features of Backbone include seamless integration with RESTful APIs, URL routing, and a sizeable collection of extensions. Surprisingly enough, all the information required for learning Backbone is laid out on their website in a very structured way, making it easy for newbies to start developing with Backbone.
- Developed By: Meteor Software
- Github Stars: 42.1k
- Github Folks: 5.2k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/meteor/meteor
- Website Link: https://www.meteor.com/
- Websites and Applications Built With Meteor: Accenture, Policy Bazaar, Apify, Chaser
Meteor, being one of the top web development frameworks with support for cross-platform development, makes building web apps for mobiles, desktops, and the web, a breeze.
Built to be an isomorphic framework, web developers can use Meteor for creating full-scale applications for both client-side and server-side.
Key highlights of the Meteor –
- Smooth integration capabilities with various other frameworks
- Hot-pushing code updates
- MongoDB support
- And, support for many front-end web development frameworks like Vue, Angular, and Blaze.
- Developed By: John Resig
- Github Stars: 54.3k
- Github Folks: 19.7k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/jquery
- Website Link: https://jquery.com/
Websites and Applications Built With jQuery: Microsoft, Businnes Insider, Baidu
Due to its extremely high popularity among the web developer community, jQuery has secured its place as one of the top web development frameworks in 2020.
One of its key distinguishing factors is its cross-browser support, regardless of what browser you use, jQuery can effortlessly handle the inconsistencies with different browsers and provide a consistent interface every time.
Other noteworthy features of jQuery include – HTML, DOM, and CSS manipulation, AJAX support, JSON parsing, support for various effects and animations, and more.
- Language: Various.NET Languages
- Developed By: Microsoft
- Website Link: https://dotnet.microsoft.com/apps/aspnet
- Websites and Applications Built With ASP.NET: Stackoverflow, GoDaddy, Visual Studio
Built with a range of .NET programming languages, Microsoft’s open-source web application development framework ASP.NET was first launched in 2002. Released as the successor to it’s popular Microsoft Active Server Pages, ASP.NET has seen radical changes over the years to become one of the top web backend frameworks. Now, web developers can use ASP.NET to build a plethora of modern full-stack web applications, REST APIs, solutions that rely on real-time client and server communication, and microservices that are both high-performance and fast. By extending Microsoft’s .NET framework, ASP.NET equips modern web developers with an arsenal of tools and libraries to build responsive web applications.
ASP.NET is also a fully cross-platform web development framework that allows for building highly scalable applications for multiple platforms without hassle. For those concerned with the security in ASP.NET, it comes with out-of-the-box support for enterprise-grade authentication protocols, protection against threats like Cross-Site Scripting(XSS), Cross-Site Request Forgery(CSRF), and a built-in user database for implementing external as well as multi-factor user authentication. There’s also an active community of thousands of developers to find answers to those puzzling questions in an instant.
Best Backend Frameworks for Web Development
Backend or server-side development, as it’s commonly referred to, is the backbone of any web application as it manages the working of the entire web application. Backend frameworks allow developers to build parts of the application that run on servers and require a front end layer to access. Some of our best picks for the top web development frameworks are listed below:
- Language: Python
- Developed By: Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison
- Github Stars: 54k
- Github Folks: 23.3k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/django/django
- Website Link: https://www.djangoproject.com/
- Latest Version: 3.1.4
- Websites and Applications Built With Django: Disqus, Dropbox, Pinterest, National Geographic
Django is one of the most popular web frameworks for Python. It was created by Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison as an open-source server-side framework back in 2003, and saw its first public release in 2005.
Django incorporates the MVC pattern we discussed earlier along with an Object Relational Mapper(ORM). Django was created with the idea of allowing developers to rapidly create extensible code and applications that could later be seamlessly plugged into other projects with minimal modifications.
Other notable features offered by Django – Template engine, built-in web server, unit testing capabilities, scalability, versatility, and a bunch of helpful bundled applications, such as an authentication system, tools for RSS and Atom feeds, and a number of other security focussed applications.
Some of the many popular platforms using Django are Instagram, Mozilla, Pinterest, National Geographic, and Disqus.
- Language: Python
- Developed By: Armin Ronacher
- Github Stars: 53k
- Github Folks: 14k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/pallets/flask
- Website Link: https://palletsprojects.com/p/flask/
- Latest Version: Flask 1.1.2
- Websites and Applications Built With Flask: Reddit, Airflow, PythonAnywhere
While we’re on the topic of minimal frameworks, let us shed some light on Flask. Flask is a WSGI micro framework that is written in Python to enable web developers to create lightweight and robust web applications.
It all started as an April Fool’s joke but was later turned into something more usable for modern web programming. Being a micro framework at its core, Flask relies on the Jinja template engine and Werkzeug WSGI toolkit.
Flask offers a broad collection of extensions that add support for various features, making it truly modular. Some of its key features include RESTful request dispatching, integrated unit testing, support for standard security measures such as XSS, CSRF, and much more.
Flask’s micro nature is what makes it suitable for rapidly creating prototypes to transform ideas from paper into a practical system that can either be later perfected or discarded.
Ruby on Rails
- Developed By: David Heinemeier Hansson
- Github Stars: 47.k
- Github Folks: 18.9k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/rails/rails
- Website Link: https://rubyonrails.org/
- Latest Version: 184.108.40.206
- Websites and Applications Built With Ruby on Rails: Twitter, Slideshare, Basecamp, Shopify
Rails or Ruby on Rails, as it is more commonly known, is one of the best backend frameworks for web development. Released in 2004, Ruby on Rails emphasizes the Model-View-Controller programming pattern, which essentially breaks down your application into three separate layers, each with their unique purpose.
For web developers, the open-source framework Ruby on Rails is like one package that does it all, as it comes with pretty much everything that you would need to create powerful database-powered web applications.
Rails’ popularity can be seen in platforms like Airbnb, Twitch, SoundCloud, Hulu, GitHub, and hundreds more.
Rails is also one of those programming languages that put convention over configuration, giving you that extra bit of flexibility. In case you like what you see here, you’d be happy to know that Rails is a reasonably beginner-friendly web development framework with an enormous yet welcoming community to help you find support.
- Language: PHP
- Developed By: Taylor Otwell
- Github Stars: 62.8k
- Github Folks: 19.9k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/laravel/laravel
- Website Link: https://laravel.com/
- Latest Version: Laravel 8.0
- Websites and Applications Built With Laravel: Creative Spaces,Laravel Snippets, Startups.co, Bookstack
Released in 2011, Laravel is one of the most popular web frameworks for PHP application development. The framework was originally created to provide better security features like authentication and authorization, which a competitor framework CodeIgniter lacked at the time.
Laravel emphasizes the MVC architecture pattern along with the focus on writing expressive and elegant syntax. Some of Laravel’s distinguishing features include query builder, bundle packaging system, the Blade templating engine, built-in unit testing capabilities, reverse routing, restful controllers, and so much more.
Laravel also boasts of a vast ecosystem of first-party packages that enhance, but most importantly add to the versatility of Laravel by adding new functionality, making Laravel an easy choice for a plethora of tasks and domains. For people new to Laravel, we recommend visiting their website and checking out their Laracasts, it’s a podcast series that covers various topics from Laravel for beginners, plus there’s also an awesome community that a majority of development platforms have.
- Developed By: TJ Holowaychuk, StrongLoop
- Github Stars: 51k
- Github Folks: 8.5k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/expressjs/express
- Website Link: https://expressjs.com/
- Latest Version: 4.17
- Websites and Applications Built With Express: MySpace, Storify, Countly, Ghost, IBM, Fox Sports
Expressjs or Express is an open-source backend web application development framework for Node.js. Express is among the go-to frameworks for creating web applications and APIs using Nodejs.
Express aims to deliver fast and extremely responsive single-page applications, websites, and APIs with a minimalistic footprint. If you’ve ever heard about the MEAN stack, you’d know how much of a crucial role it plays in developing full-stack web applications along with MongoDB and the other members.
Some of the key highlights of Express – Strong routing capabilities, HTTP helpers, support for template engines, dedicated executable to quickly generate applications, and much more.
It’s features like these that make Express one of the top web application frameworks.
- Language: Java
- Developed By: Rod Johnson
- Github Stars: 40.5k
- Github Folks: 27.9k
- GitHub Link: https://github.com/spring-projects/spring-framework
- Website Link: https://spring.io/projects/spring-framework
- Websites and Applications Built With Spring: Trivago, Intuit
If your project requires you to use Java for building a web application, Spring might be a good option for your project needs. Considered as one of the top web development frameworks for Java, Pivotal Software’s Spring is often the go-to framework for a majority of web developers using Java. Although it is primarily used for building Java applications, you can use Spring extensions to build web applications.
Web developers looking to use Spring for building robust and high-performance web applications should start with either Spring Web MVC API or Spring WebFlux API. Regardless of API, Spring also comes with a host of features that significantly simplify web development, such as MVC implementation, transaction management capabilities, inversion of control container, integration with numerous services, baked-in testing capabilities, data access mechanisms, and much more.
Programming languages have come a long way now. No longer do application developers have to spend long periods to code everything with core programming languages. Modern web developers now have access to a plethora of web application development frameworks that can eliminate the redundancy and most of the hassles that were involved in working with core programming languages.
These powerful web development frameworks also offer a wide range of additional features that not only increase developer’s productivity but also provide tools to enhance the overall application with better responsiveness and security.