The Javascript Libraries/packages worth you spend time to know (part 1)

Recently I searched for the most popular programming languages, and I am surprised seeing that JavaScript is still the #1 languages in the list. Although I am a .NET developer, but I have been using JavaScript for many years. My original thought was that only OOP languages like c, c++,Java, c#, etc are called “Programming language”, because all these languages are high-leve, strongly typed, object-oriented, they share a strong, well-defined libraries out-of-box can be used, and they all run on server-side and can be used against multiple-purpose, they are called “advanced programming language”.  the languages like JavaScript is only “low level” language, it is weakly typed, doesn’t have rich built-in libraries, and its main purpose is manipulate HTML, which is used by none “Programmer”. However things seems changed completely since the introduction of Node.js. Since I learnt node.js few years ago, these original “thought” changed me completely.

What makes the JavaScript so powerful in recent years? the answer is Libraries. because JavaScript is open-source, tons of libraries, engines based on JavaScript were built in an amazing speed. Just because the simplicity, weakly typed, prototype-based of the JavaScript, the Libraries build on top of it can be really powerful. Here is a list of JavaScript Libraries: List of JavaScript libraries, on top of these libraries, there are lots of JavaScript packages can help you to achieve more quickly and easily. These packages pack some reusable commonly used functionality together and provide an easy-to-use interface and document for any JavaScript programmer in the open source community.

Here are the most popular JavaScript Libraries/Framework (2017-2018) worth you spend time to know it.

1. ReactJS and React Native

ReactJS is obviously the most popular and fastest grown library. It was originally developed by Facebook, and published to open source in 2013. It is used for building user interfaces specifically for single page applications. The benefit of React is it can be used to create large web applications which can change data, without reloading the page. It is fast, scalable, and simple. It works only on user interfaces in application, so it can be worked with a combination of other JavaScript Libraries, such as AngularJS, Node.js, or ASP.NET MVC.

React Native library were announced in 2015, which provides the react architecture to native mobile applications for iOS and Andriod. It enable user with JavaScript background can build mobile application for iOS and Andriod with one shared code base, but build native iOS and Andriod application. More important, according some analysis and comparisons, the performance of React Native apps are as good as the apps build by using C++/Swift in iOS and Java in Andriod. It is a great choice for cross-mobile-platform, high performance, limited-budget apps.

2. Angular JS

Compare with ReactJS, angular has been around for many years, angular is a much fuller featured framework compared with react. the set up code for angular is a little verbose. even through i was a big fan of Angular, I have almost completely abandon it since I started to use React, since React can do pretty much anything Angular can do, and having the advantage of performance, easy to use, quick to setup, easy to implement, and big time saver. Here I am not going to spend time on Angular, from my opinion the only reason you will adopt Angular over React is because you already well-educated in Angular and don’t have big learning curve, and is well deep-dived in the angular community.

3. Meteor

Meteor is a cross-platform, open source JavaScript library wirtten using node.js. it allows for rapid prototyping and produces cross-platform code (android, iOs, Web). It integrated with MongoDB and uses the Distributed Data Protocol and Publish-subscribe pattern to automatically propagate data changes to clients without requiring the developer to write any synchronization code.

4. Knockout

Knockout is the first JavaScript framework I learnt to build dynamic data two-way data binding web pages. It was so powerful and easy to learn that it quickly earn a large number of developers. It is implemented in the Model-View-ViewModel pattern, so it clearly separate Damian data, view component, and data to be displayed.

Compared with angularjs and react, knockout is like a lightweight angularjs. It doesn’t have lots of features like routing, etc, but it can be achieved by using third party libraries. From the performance perspective, knockout is the slowest From this speed comparison between angular, react, and knockout . It may not necessary to learn knockout at this time since we have much better options, but it is still a very good lightweight library, especially good for the web site only need a dynamic loading pages for existing sites, or built on top of mvc with only a few pages need asynchronous data loading.

5. Vue.js

Vue is another framework has been gaining rapid progress in the recent years. It adopt the advantage of both react and angular, providing similar roles as the react – playing the V in MVC model. It need to work with other libraries together as a Full-stack JavaScript framework. Because it works in the “view layer” only, it makes it can be easily integrated into other projects/libraries.

Compared with AngularJs, Vue is one-way data binding, and AngularJs is two-way data binding. One-way binding give the developer more controls on how the DOM object is updated, which in turn will increase the performance.

Up coming next

In the next part, I will talk about the JavaScript packages which are very helpful to avoid you to re-invent the wheel.