Best JavaScript Libraries and Frameworks to Learn in 2023

10 Best JavaScript Libraries and Frameworks to Learn in 2024

Are you looking for a JS library or framework but don’t know where to start?

Then this article is for you!

In this article, we are going to talk about the best JavaScript libraries and frameworks to learn in 2024 and their use cases. You will equally have a glimpse of the most popular JS libraries and frameworks. And you will indeed even discover a few that you may have never heard of.

This list is intended to serve as an introduction for beginners. At the end of this article, you will have an idea of ​​what exists and why you should use these JavaScript libraries and frameworks. It is the responsibility of the developer to know which library or framework is best suited for the situation.

Let’s discover without further delay the best JavaScript frameworks and libraries!

Related: 11 JavaScript project ideas for beginners.

​What is the difference between a library and a framework?

A library fulfills one or more functionalities thanks to reusable pieces of code. By using a library, you reuse code that other developers have already implemented.

A framework is a set of libraries that allow you to do more things.

​What are JavaScript libraries?

As stated earlier, a JavaScript library is a reusable piece of code that often has a primary use case.

A library can consist of several functions/objects/methods/components, depending on the language.

For example, React.JS is a library because React needs ReactDOM and many other libraries to work.

​What are JavaScript frameworks?

A framework offers a more comprehensive set of features for your project.

In JavaScript, frameworks consist of several libraries and provide you with many methods such as routing, animations, rendering, or even graphic components.

For example, Angular is considered a framework because, with it, you have everything you need.

​List of JavaScript libraries

Let’s start with the libraries!

​1. jQuery

Even in the modern JavaScript era, jQuery remains one of the most used libraries.

It was created in 2006 by John Resig and is present everywhere on the Internet. By some estimates, over 77.7% of all known websites use jQuery.

That’s hundreds of millions of websites.

​What is jQuery?

jQuery is a library used primarily for Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation.

The DOM is a tree structure that represents all the elements of an HTML page.

jQuery is the historic JavaScript library that all web developers who have been coding since before 2015 know. It arrived as an alternative to vanilla JavaScript and its overly long syntax.

jQuery, therefore, makes it possible to interact with the elements of a web page in a much more efficient and optimized way than normal JS.

The library is still present on most websites and I use it myself to interact with web pages via the console of the web browser I use.

The jQuery library can select DOM elements, create animations, handle events, and add, modify, and remove nodes. Its goal is to be extensible, simple, and clear to use.

It takes care of all cross-browser incompatibilities and promotes the separation of HTML and JavaScript.

​Should I learn jQuery in 2023?

Some developers insist that jQuery is no longer needed. The JavaScript language has evolved a lot and the need for jQuery is much less present. Before, we used it everywhere and all the time. Today, it is just as easy to use “Vanilla” JavaScript.

Also when using a more complete library or framework, the use of jQuery is no longer necessary. And even worse, jQuery’s event handling can interfere with that of your favorite framework.

As a new web developer, you should at least learn the basics of jQuery. You will most certainly come across older codebases that use jQuery, and jQuery sometimes comes in handy in other scenarios.

​2. Underscore and Lodash

In 2009, Jeremy Ashkenas created Underscore.

Underscore is a library that consists of more than a hundred functions. These functions will help you manipulate JavaScript objects.

One of Underscore’s most powerful features is its functional programming aids. For instance, map, filter and reduce are among the most popular.

Functional programming is a programming paradigm that avoids state change and data mutation. Functional Programming has become increasingly popular over the past few years.

In 2012, Lodash had its first release. John-David Dalton created this library for the purpose of improving Underscore.

In the process, Lodash became an Underscore overlay with more features and better documentation. Today, most developers have switched from Underscore to Lodash.

Some fear that Lodash is no longer needed due to the evolution of JavaScript.

As JavaScript standard has evolved, newer versions have included some of the utilities you could only get from external libraries like Lodash and Underscore.

​3. D3.js

D3.js is a JavaScript library for data visualization.

This library was developed in 2011 from a previous project called Protovis in order to make it more expressive than its predecessor and more in line with current web standards.

The creators of D3.js are Mike Bostock, Jeff Heer, and Vadim Ogievetsky

D3.js is a great tool for creating custom visualizations. It can be something as simple as a bar chart or as complex as a 3D surface plot.

The library has a powerful API that uses selectors, like those found in jQuery. After selecting an element in the DOM, you can perform all sorts of transitions and manipulations on it.

If you intend to do visualization, whatever it is, this is the JS library to look at!

​4. React

In March 2013, Jordan Walke released React while working at Facebook. Since then, React has become one of the most popular front-end libraries and is used in hundreds of thousands of websites worldwide.

React (or React.js as it’s sometimes called) is an open-source library maintained by Facebook.

It is used to create small or large-scale web applications and is particularly useful for creating interactive websites. Its slogan is “A JavaScript Library For Building User Interfaces”.

React is sometimes called Single Page Application (SPA). This term refers to web applications that can fit on a single web page and do not require constant refreshes from the web browser. Content is dynamically loaded when needed using JavaScript.

React uses JSX, an XML-like syntax that combines JavaScript and HTML.

It is a full-fledged JavaScript language. Some new developers may find JSX a bit weird at first because it mixes HTML, CSS, and JS in the same pieces of code (components).

However, after working with it for a while, you will realize how beneficial it is. For example, JSX makes it easy to embed JavaScript expressions directly into your HTML.

React has a lot going for it, and it’s a library you shouldn’t miss if you’re interested in front-end web development.

React works on the principle of “reactivity”, you can imagine this concept by imagining an Excel or Google Sheets table, when you modify a cell, the other cells that depend on it update directly.

React is also very popular for the component systems (components) it offers developers, with which you can develop independent UI elements such as buttons that you can then reuse in your different projects or share with other developers.

This equally means that you can use components from other developers!

In addition to developing ultra-optimized websites by following all the latest industry standards, you can also develop mobile, desktop, VR, and AR applications and much more!

​5. Glimmer.js

Glimmer.js is a relative newcomer to the JavaScript library ecosystem.

It was developed by the same people who created Ember.js and was released in early 2017.

Glimmer.js was built by the Ember team as an answer to developers who wanted something smaller and lighter than Ember.js.

As discussed during the EmberConf 2017 keynote, Tom Dale heard some of the criticism leveled at Ember.js and was inspired to build Glimmer.js.

Glimmer.js Intro by Tom Dale

Glimmer.js features lighter components and reduced size, and it uses the robust Ember CLI.

It can be used with Ember.js as a component, it can work standalone or be added as a web component to an existing application.

​List of Javascript frameworks

We will now look at JavaScript frameworks.

​6. Bootstrap

Bootstrap is an open-source front-end framework that helps you design websites.

It was originally named Twitter Blueprint and was developed by Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton while working at Twitter. Its first initial version dates from 2011.

Bootstrap’s greatest strength is how easily non-designers can build quality websites quickly. Not to mention that Bootstrap makes it easy to create responsive designs (websites that dynamically adjust according to the screen size of the device used: tablets, mobile phones, etc.).

It offers a number of CSS styles, icons, components, and JavaScript plugins. These plugins include a lot of common things that you might use when building a website. These include pop-ups, drop-downs, alerts, and buttons, to name a few.

Bootstrap has come under some criticism. One of them is due to its popularity, many websites built with Bootstrap look very similar, which makes it more difficult to create a unique website.

If you’re starting to learn web development but aren’t interested in the design aspect, take a look at Bootstrap.

​7. Angular and AngularJS

AngularJS, also known as AngularJS 1.x, is an open-source JavaScript framework created and maintained by Google. Its first version dates from 2010.

AngularJS is a front-end framework that helps you build web applications. It is also a SPA framework similar to React or Ember.js.

AngularJS uses “directives” which can be inserted into the HTML to give more functionality to the application.

Angular, sometimes known as Angular 2+, is an open-source TypeScript-based front-end framework. This is a complete rewrite of AngularJS. It is more modular, it recommends the use of TypeScript and simpler expression syntax.

At first, many people feared that Google would abandon Angular 1 when Angular 2+ was released. Fortunately, it seems that the two projects are maintained.

​8. Ember.js

Ember.js is an open-source JavaScript framework that was originally released in 2011 by Yehuda Katz. It was initially known as SproutCore 2.0 before being known as Ember.js.

This construction tool offers everything you need to get started.

Do you need a router? It is integrated.

Do you need tests? It is also integrated.

Need to work with data from a back end? There is Ember Data.

Ember.js follows many of the same principles as Ruby on Rails. It is very flexible and prefers conventions to configuration.

​9. Aurelia

Aurelia is a front-end, open-source framework created by Rob Eisenberg. Aurelia 1.0 was first released in 2016.

Aurelia allows you to build SPAs like React, Angular, and Ember.js. It is powerful and composable. You can use one or all of its different modules to build your application. It also offers a route system.

Aurelia is a very avant-garde framework. It uses a lot of new ECMAScript features and encourages you to write your code using these new features.

​10. Vue.js

Vue.js is an open-source JavaScript framework originally created by Evan You in 2014 while working for Google. Since then, Vue.js has evolved a lot. It has been rewritten and refined to become an excellent choice for building SPAs.

One of Vue’s greatest strengths is its progressiveness. In other words, you can gradually add Vue to your application. Unlike AngularJS and Ember, you can easily combine Vue in your projects.

Some of its features include components, templates, and transitions along with a focus on responsiveness.

Reactivity happens when you change or update any of Vue’s JavaScript objects. This has the effect of updating Vue’s models. Vue.js uses what is called a Shadow DOM which helps to render the page quickly.

​Other JS Libraries and Frameworks

In addition to the main frameworks we have seen in this article, there are many more or less popular alternatives.

Learning one or the other therefore comes down to choosing according to what you want to do or the job offers that interest you if you are looking for a job as a developer.

Here is a list of some JS libs and frameworks you may come across:

  • Ext.js
  • Meteor
  • Mithril
  • Polymer
  • Backbone.js

​Still more JS libraries and frameworks

You now know the main frameworks and libraries in JavaScript!

There are many more JavaScript projects to help developers build better apps, but you’ll find the best of 2023 above.

When new developers ask me which tool to choose, I tell them to start with a library like React and go from there.

After learning the basics (HTML, JavaScript, and CSS), you become open to a lot of alternatives.

However, don’t try to do everything at once: choose an easy library or framework and master it. You don’t need to learn them all. You just need to learn at least one “thoroughly” in order to create your first complex projects or find your first job.

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