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Today we will explore what features ReactJS offers and its history. In addition, with the developers of The Frontend Company, we will discuss the essential topic of why people do choose other technologies. Then, of course, we go through other good front-end frameworks that you can use instead of React.
History of this front-end technology
Internet technologies and online sales have had a significant impact on the web development industry. In the 2000s, websites were designed with one principle «Don't judge a book by its cover». It has changed with the development of front-end frameworks and libraries. Now web projects are built with great attention to detail, animation, layout, and performance.
The creators first showed and announced ReactJS in 2013. Since then, it became clear that this tool lets you implement lots of solutions into projects, provides products with high speed, and has a friendly interface.
ReactJS's features were first used in Facebook's social networking news feed. Since the company had no suitable React alternatives from 2011-2013, they had to make a matching technology on their own.
The hallmark of this tool is the virtual DOM. It is a lightweight abstraction of the DOM that can be updated without affecting the DOM itself. As a result, it provides the project with excellent functionality and makes the platform stable. An essential quality when a website or web application receives a lot of traffic regularly and the platform needs to be as stable as possible.
Advantages and disadvantages of React.js
Despite the tremendous support from Facebook, a loyal, and active community, statistics, and positive feedback from developers, people are still interested in React alternatives. It is totally fine. Let's see in which situations such a decision is reasonable.
When you should and when you shouldn't use ReactJS?
Cases when it's suitable for you to use ReactJS:
- creation of an interactive and sleek user interface;
- limited time for building a web project (due to the reuse of code, you can significantly shorten the time it takes to develop a site or app);
- the need for solid technology that can handle a large traffic flow;
- the development of apps and websites that will scale in the future;
- little time to find qualified programmers.
Cases when it's suitable for you to use React alternatives:
- you want to avoid dealing with some problems, in particular with the state library;
- you want to try another front-end framework;
- you do not have a chance to look for a qualified ReactJS developer for a long time.
Characteristics of the best React alternatives
If you decide to search for React alternatives, you must understand why you need them. Don't rush in with your head just for the new tool. Play big, but do not forget about rationality. You probably don't want to spend money on redesigning your project or solving critical issues related to functionality, safety, etc.
What characteristics should have worthy React alternatives?
- They have excellent documentation, clear and stable architecture.
- Have a friendly community of developers (making it easier to hire coders for your project).
- Provide web project security, exceptional performance, and smooth running.
- Allow you to create an excellent-looking interface design without sacrificing the quality of the user experience.
- Have many additional tools, add-ons and are compatible with third-party libraries.
The Frontend Company team has chosen 5 excellent React alternatives that meet many of these characteristics. We are 100% sure that the right technology choice is half of the project's success. That's why next, we've collected those tools that we consider as a suitable alternative for ReactJS.
Angular: a stable framework based on TypeScript
The second and later versions of Angular were built in the TypeScript (TS) programming language. The decision to change the language took the technology down different paths. However, Angular's no JS prefix has not affected on the tool's popularity and distribution. Now, the technology has almost 80,000 stars on GitHub.
The developer of Angular CLI is Google Corporation. Thanks to this fact, the framework has the massive support of excellent programmers, and regular updates are released. The last stable release of the tool was at the end of September 2021.
- Because Angular is based on the TS programming language, coders can check type validity during compilation. Not all React alternatives allow you to do the same.
- Due to its more strict structure, this framework allows you to avoid many critical errors in the early stages of creating a web project.
- Due to the modular structure, programmers can split one module into several files. Then, just as quickly, put them together.
- Large enough community of coders.
- Angular provides the possibility of reactive programming.
- CLI system makes it much easier for programmers to write source code.
- In this framework, you can add a component for two-way data binding. You can do this using the syntax [()], where round brackets are responsible for event binding, and square brackets are used for property binding. This solution significantly reduces the amount of written source code.
- Moreover, this tool provides excellent performance for web projects and allows experts to use the large ecosystem.
- Suitable for the development of large corporate web apps and websites.
- Since Angular has Dependency Injection (DI) mechanisms, it makes testing and substituting dependencies so easy.
- This technology is difficult to learn. Unlike the previously mentioned React alternatives, the learning curve here is more complex.
- The CLI documentation is not well-defined. You need to read your documentation for each new version and be prepared for an ever-changing API (Application Programming Interface).
Vue.js: a framework for fast UI building
Vue.js was developed by one of Google's programmers, Evan You. Since Facebook was only in the early stages of developing ReactJS in 2013, coders needed another handy instrument. At that time, one of the most promising React alternatives was the You's project.
Unlike its more complex counterparts, Vue allows you to create user interfaces quickly. Since the new tool worked on the Model-View-ViewModel pattern, many have found it highly suitable and beneficial for different front-end tasks.
Today, Vue.js is among the most active opponents of ReactJS and has an incredible 190,000 stars on GitHub. Between these two frameworks is a fierce battle for the first place in the 2020s. According to some statistics, Vue is far behind its competitor and ranks below. In others, however, React is placed at the top.
- This JS library can be used for projects of any complexity and in any industry.
- Since this tool has a large community of developers, it is pretty easy to find a specialist to work with.
- The average salary for Vue.js specialists in the U.S. is $115,000.
- Here is reactive programming capability, making it less complicated for coders to work on many web projects.
- Vue.js provides users with a great UX because the tool is lightweight and enables excellent performance.
- Although compared to other React alternatives, this tool is quite popular; it does not have a massive global spread.
- The MVVM pattern can cause difficulties with components. The downside of JS libraries is that they do not have a strict structure like front-end frameworks.
- Vue cannot be called the most flexible tool on the market, so programmers will lack flexibility in some cases.
Ember.js: a JS web framework with open-source
One of the creators of the tool is Yehuda Katz. Many developers enjoy reading his blog about Ember and the framework's features. Another important figure for the development of the technology is the programmer Tom Dale. According to the latest information, the core team of Ember's coders includes 10 people.
Like some other React alternatives from this list, Ember has no corporate support. On the one hand, this ensures independent development of the tool, but on the other hand, it slows down the possibilities of the technology and its distribution worldwide.
Ember.js philosophy is based on four main ideas. The creators did their best to provide the technology to build a good product out of the box. Also, the programmers' focus was on making sure that the instrument helps with complex problem-solving exactly on the client-side. The two other ideas were to follow future trends and to work stable without stagnation.
- The main feature of Ember.js is the SCA (Service Component Architecture) pattern. This structure improves it for coders to develop scalable web applications. Especially single-page ones.
- The framework provides two-way data binding, like Angular. It allows you to see changes in the model immediately. For this reason, Ember.js is great for developing Single-Page Applications (SPAs).
- Besides SPAs, this framework is also suitable for creating mobile and web applications with different tasks. The advantage of such projects will be that they will not lose in functionality, performance, and interface design.
- It is a well-managed solution, which also provides fast enough development of web projects.
- Because of the high level of integration and difficulties with learning compared to other React alternatives, Ember is still not widespread. Therefore, it won't be easy to find a qualified expert.
- Ember.js updates are not released as often as coders would like, and the current web development market situation requires. Technologies evolve too quickly, so programmers must keep their fingers on the pulse.
- Relatively poor documentation, which is regularly criticized on the internet. Other React alternatives have slightly fewer problems with that.
Backbone is considered one of the easiest and most user-friendly tools among web developers. This technology is a JS library suitable for building different categories of projects. Even though the library does not have many ready-made structures, it is still counted as one of the most successful React alternatives.
The core of the problem is that this JS library looks a lot like AngularJS. As you know, this framework is already outdated enough, and devs have switched to Angular 2+ or other technology. Additionally, updates to Backbone come out less often than we would like. Backbone last received an official update in 2019. In this sense, some other React alternatives are more fastidious.
Still, in structure terms, the tool is straightforward. It utilizes an imperative programming style. At the same time, developers can easily use third-party solutions to increase the functionality of finished projects.
- The work of this technology is based on the Model-View-Presenter (MVP) pattern, which is an alternative to the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern. Such architecture allows you to create great user interfaces.
- Like Ember.js, this technology is suitable for developing mobile and web applications.
- One of the outstanding advantages of this framework is the ability to synchronize back-end and front-end projects. This feature was the support of REST API.
- Since it's a lightweight solution, coders can't do without add-ons. Fortunately, more than 100 working extensions are available to coders.
- This instrument is easy to learn. In contrast to React alternatives like Ember or Angular, professionals can faster learn the technology and start building web products.
- You won't have any problems with documentation. This tool has clear documentation that makes it much easier to interact with Backbone.js.
- It is a lightweight technology, so the coder will have to load Underscore.js and jQuery. Without them, it's impossible to create a perfect web application or other projects.
- Backbone does not have a large enough fan community. For this reason, it is a bit difficult to use this and other React tools. It takes longer for companies to find a qualified person. Also, coders have no one to ask for advice if something happens and look for solutions to many problems.
- Since this is a JS-based library rather than a framework, programmers need to do a better job of working out the structure of the project. Without it, serious complications can arise in the later stages of development. In the most critical situations, projects have to be rebuilt or seriously reworked.
jQuery: a non-obvious solution among React alternatives
The AVA.codes team wanted to wrap up the list of React alternatives with jQuery today. Yes, it is not a full-fledged framework. However, according to Statista, jQuery ranks second among the most used web frameworks in 2021. So, the experts think the tool is convenient and indispensable for building web products.
Third, the syntax of this tool is designed to make it possible to navigate through the document with maximum ease. And fourth, it provides the ability to create your own plugins over the JS library. It positively affects the creation of advanced effects and the creation of thematic widgets.
Resig didn't like the fact that he was using code from other professionals. So, he thought about building his project. That's a rather unusual development story of one of the most successful React alternatives.
- jQuery has a simple architecture that allows developers to create cross-platform projects and not do unnecessary work.
- The creators of this tool have developed many plugins that help make the most suitable web product.
- There is less mess in the code created with jQuery.
- This tool makes working with the DOM as convenient and easy as possible. Programmers write fewer pieces of source code than some other React alternatives require.
- You can add AJAX functionality to the application.
- Thanks to jQuery, HTTP requests are simplified.
- You cannot create mobile applications with this tool. The mobile version of the technology is not functional enough for this purpose.
- Developers shouldn't use jQuery for large web projects. The finished product will be bigger than its competitors will.
- Despite some advantages, this framework provides web projects with less performance than other React alternatives on this list.
These were all React alternatives for today. We hope that you have found the tool that helps you with your web project development. No? Then still think about building a web project based on ReactJS. Book a call with our Managing Partner, Viktoria, and get the most detailed consultation.