A web development framework, also known as a web application framework or simply a web framework, is a software platform that simplifies the web development process and makes it easier to build a functional website.
Web application frameworks provide an extensive array of code libraries, pre-written components, design templates, and entire software templates. Using these tools one can develop robust and secure web service APIs (Application Programming Interface) and other resources.
You can think of a web application framework as a pre-built structure that manages the most common and repetitive processes associated with developing a website.
Kinds Of Web Frameworks: Frontend & Backend Web Frameworks
There are two major components to any website:
- The Part that is visible to the users is called frontend or client-side frameworks.
- This behind-the-scenes part is responsible for the background functioning of the websites and is known as the backend or the server-side framework.
1. Frontend Web Development Frameworks
Frontend web framework offers pre-written reusable design templates, code snippets, widgets, and is responsible for managing user interactions.
React, Vue, Ember, Bootstrap, Angular are a few front-end frameworks.
2. Backend Web Development Frameworks
Easy database connectivity & manipulation, user authorization, encryption, third-party API integration, reusable components, are some of the benefits of using backend frameworks.
Django, Ruby On Rails, Spring, Express, ASP.NET Core are a few backend frameworks.
Why Should You Use Web Frameworks?
Today, web development frameworks have become an important part of building a website.
And there are many good reasons behind their popularity. Some of them are:
- Web application frameworks help you build robust and interactive web applications.
- Integrated web frameworks support the development of both the frontend and the backend.
- With increased and better user interaction the chances of the success of your website improve dramatically.
- They help in reducing and simplifying the web development and maintenance processes.
- As the code of these frameworks is thoroughly tested by millions of coders, you can easily avoid common pitfalls, errors, bugs, and security lapses.
- The overall programming process becomes ordered and systemized.
- A web framework effectively takes care of all the background details such as data binding and configuration settings.
Advantages Of Using Frameworks
1. Reduces Code Length
A general task can keep you involved for hours or days with many lines of code. A great web development framework would eliminate the need to write a lot of repetitive code, allowing developers to:
- Focus on the unique needs of the client.
- Build websites and applications much quicker.
- Deliver more productivity in the same timeframe.
2. Reinforces Security
A web framework takes many months to be developed and released. Any updates and patches are regularly released to make them less vulnerable. Most popular frameworks also have a strong support team or developer community.
With such advanced support and security features, you can rest assured knowing that there are experts to take care of if an issue does arise.
3. Eases Debugging & Application Maintenance
Most frameworks have the dedicated support of a strong community of developers. They are quick to respond to any problem that you may encounter while using the framework.
Most popular web application frameworks are open-source and available for free. Since most of the templates and website functionality are already present, the development is faster.
The per-unit cost of development reduces dramatically due to these two reasons alone. It also helps in the quick delivery of projects.
Classification Of Framework Architectures
1. Model View Controller (MVC)
The MVC model is an architectural pattern that separates an application into three main logical components – Model, View, and Controller.
- Model: It includes all the data, its schema, and related logic.
- View: Presents data to the user and handles user interaction.
- Controller: An interface between Model and View components that also contains the business logic.
The MVC separates the business logic and presentation layer with the backend data being managed by the Model. It allows for fast development, easy testing, and full control over your HTML and URL structure.
- * Easy for even novices to learn, get support, and receive guidance.
- * Support parallel development of the multiple components or modules.
- * SEO-friendly URLs and webpages.
- * Uses the Front Controller design pattern to process web application requests through a single controller.
- * MVC is challenging to implement with a modern UI.
- * Parallel development requires many programmers to be dedicated to the same project.
- * The business logic on the controller requires extensive maintenance.
2. Model-View-View-Model (MVV)
The MVVM- also known as the Model-View-Binder architecture model – is used by popular modern frameworks such as VueJS and KnockoutJS.It was primarily designed to develop software applications but was later adapted for the web.
The model-view of the MVVM is similar to that of the MVC. The view model is defined as a bridge between the View and Model and acts as the business logic.
MVVM manages the data from the underlying model to make data management very easy.
- * Enhance the reusability of code.
- * All modules are independently improving the testability of each layer.
- * Makes project files maintainable and easy to make changes.
- * This design pattern is not ideal for small projects.
- * If the data binding logic is too complex, the application debugging becomes challenging.
3. Push-based vs. Pull-based Models
a) Push-Based Models
The work or user queries are “pushed” to the server, which has no choice in the matter. These architectures are also known as event-driven or action-based frameworks. The data (Model) is constructed and given to the View layer by the Controllers with the help of session or application scope global variables.
- * Incoming data is streamed to all users and integrated systems.
- * The simpler systems use the push model to serve their core purpose of real-time alerts.
- * A hard-coded list of addresses is required to send requests.
- * Load balancing is challenging.
Some examples are Ruby on Rails, Spring MVC, Django, Sails.js, and CodeIgniter.
b) Pull-Based Models
In this architecture, the server actively requests work, usually through an intermediary. They are commonly known as component-based systems.
- * These systems support work distribution.
- * The pull-based systems use an intermediary and can keep the identity of the client and the server confidential.
- * Very difficult to receive the response at the right time.
Some examples are Tapestry, JBoss, Micro, Lift, Wicket, and Java Server Faces.
Some common frameworks – like struts, Play, and RIFE – use both push-based and pull-based application controller calls.
4. Three-Tier Organization
The classical three-tier architecture is used to organize applications into three logical and physical computing tiers: the presentation tier; the application tier; and the data tier.
The Three Tiers
- Application Tier– It is where the data is processed and is commonly called the logic or the middle tier. It acts as the glue between the presentation and data tiers.
- Data-Tier– This is where the data associated with the application is stored and managed in databases and data files. It is also known as the data access tier or the backend.
- Improved scalability and data integrity.
- Ability to update the technology stack of one tier, without affecting others.
- A more complex model with more interface points.
- A separate proxy server may be required.
Most Popular Web Development Frameworks
Web application frameworks have now been considered vital for the development and maintenance of functional & dynamic websites. With many frameworks available in the market, choosing the right one is a tough call.
The major criteria for choosing the right web development framework are-
- Popularity and industry adoption
- Scope for future enhancements
- Available tools
- Ease of use
1. Ruby on Rails (Backend)
On the market since 2004, Ruby on Rails has become one of the most popular backend web development frameworks. The major reasons for its popularity are that it is a free & open-source platform and has a large community of developers.
Key Features Of Ruby on Rails
- Faster development compared to Java frameworks.
- A powerful, robust, and the large library is known as Active Record.
- Very less configuration files are required for deployment.
- A simple testing tool, RSpec, allows for easy testing.
- Project deployment is automated with just a one-time setup.
- Ruby is one of the simplest and easiest programming languages to master.
- Most popular applications include GitHub, Airbnb, Shopify, SoundCloud, and Basecamp.
2. Laravel (Backend)
Laravel is presently one of the most popular open-source backend frameworks that use PHP as its programming language. The MVC architecture allows faster development and easy maintenance. Laravel has a large number of packages with built-in API support.
Key Features Of Laravel
- Its great tutorial website Laracasts Has thousands of tutorials, videos, and sample code.
- The built-in Object-Relational Mapper (ORM) with PHP Active Record implementation allows writing database queries directly in PHP.
- The template engine lets developers create simple yet appealing designs.
- The framework manages application security using hashed and salted passwords.
- Most popular applications includeWatchseries, Creative Spaces, Deltanet Travel, MyRank, Laracasts, and Neighbourhood Lender.
3. Django (Backend+Frontend)
One of the most popular and rapidly growing web frameworks is Django. It is one of the reasons that the Python programming language has become spread widely into the web development community. With Python as its native language, it is well suited for the development of projects requiring AI/ML components and capabilities.
Key Features Of Django
- Develop complex, highly scalable, and data-driven web applications easily and quickly.
- “Convention over Configuration” and “DRY” design patterns are frequently used.
- Automatically checks for and flags security issues and risks.
- Helps in the development of SEO-friendly web applications.
- Most popular applications include youtube, Pinterest, Spotify, Disqus, and Instagram.
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4. ASP.NET (Backend)
ASP.NET is one of the oldest and most popular web development frameworks. The successor of the classical ASP, the ASP.Net framework was launched in 2002. Since 2015, it is an open-source framework that is used for creating dynamic applications for the web, PCs, and Mobile.
Since its launch, ASP.Net has proven to be a formidable framework with the might of Microsoft behind it. The ASP.Net Core was introduced in 2016 and made it more secure, productive, robust, and faster.
Key Features Of ASP.NET
- ASP.NET Core supports the Razor page for building server-side rendered apps.
- Supports asynchronous development and execution for improved app performance.
- Most popular applications include Microsoft applications, GoDaddy, TacoBell, MarketWatch, GettyImages, and StackOverflow.
5. Express.Js (Backend)
Key Features Of Express
- Robust application with minimalistic design and extensive capabilities.
- Great support for debugging and routing.
- Support for development of web service APIs and microservices.
- Most popular applications include PayPal, Coursera, MuleSoft, Myntra, FreeCodeCamp, and Accenture.
6. Spring Boot (Backend)
Spring framework is an open-source Java platform available since 2003. Being open-source allows the developer community to add many side projects boosting its security, performance, scalability, and efficiency. Being a Java framework, it can be challenging to learn, master, and work with.
Key Features Of Spring
- Spring framework enables developers to develop enterprise-class applications using POJOs (Plain Old Java Objects).
- The full power of a strong and diverse language such as Java is available for developers.
- Testing an application written with Spring is simple.
- It provides convenient API management.
- Most popular applications include: Websites like Wix, TicketMaster, and BillGuard are users of this framework.
7. Angular (Frontend)
Its ability to work with cross-platform and client-side frameworks makes it popular among big and small tech companies. Angular promotes code consistency by using HTML, TypeScript, and CSS in addition to varied web development tools.
Key Features Of Angular
- Complex and large web applications can be developed.
- Reduces the development time by using boilerplate coding patterns.
- Encourages code and component reusability
- Improves application scalability by reusing code.
- Most popular applications include PayPal, Upwork, Netflix, and lego.
8. Ember (Frontend)
Web developers use this framework to build single-page and dynamic client-side applications. It is considered to be the most popular web framework but is also used to develop desktop and mobile applications.
Key Features Of Ember
- Provides two-way data binding
- Heavily inspired by Angular and React.
- The community of developers is an ever-expanding one.
- Most popular applications include Heroku, Google, Netflix, and Microsoft.
9. Meteor (Frontend & Backend)
Meteor is an incredibly fast web application framework. Using Meteor, you could launch an MVP web development application or product in just 3 to 4 weeks.
Meteor uses Galaxy as its cloud platform to simplify scaling, deployment, and monitoring needs. It also supports instant prototyping and provides cross-platform code for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and Web.
Key Features Of Meteor
- Allows you to use a single language for an entire product including frontend and backend.
- It is easy to learn.
- Most popular applications include Telescope, Pathable, Maestro, Any. Run, HaggleMate, Rocket.Chat, and Welshpool.
10. Vue.Js (Frontend)
Its flexible design structure and TypeScript support have drawn the attention of several web development companies – large and small.
Key Features Of Vue JS
- It makes web scaffolding and prototyping easier.
- Being flexible allows the developer to integrate multiple third-party solutions.
- Most popular applications include Nintendo, Gitlab, Netlify, Wizzair, 9GAG, Behance, and Chess.
11. Backbone.Js (Frontend)
Key Features Of BackboneJS
- It reduces complications and increases functionality.
- Code in BackboneJSis cleaner, nicer, and easily maintainable.
- Most popular applications include Trello, Foursquare, Airbnb, Flowdock, Groupon, and Hulu.
12. React (Frontend)
Key Features Of React
- Heavy-load applications also perform smoothly due to React’s VDOM or Virtual Document Object Model.
- Most users daily use a React application in the form of Facebook, Instagram, or applications from the Meta family.
- One-way data-binding leaves little room for errors.
- Most popular applications include Facebook, Facebook Ads, Instagram, Netflix, Skype, Instacart, Salesforce, Flipboard, Dropbox, and Asana.
13. Flask (Backend)
Unlike other frameworks, Flask runs on a web server instead of the user’s browser. It is a WSGI (Web Server Gateway Interface) framework written in Python. The core of Flask is simple and lacks a database abstraction layer, form validation, and components. Since there are not many tools and libraries, it is often categorized as a microframework.
Key Features Of Flask
- A flexible and highly lightweight framework.
- It comes with a default set of APIs with innovative functionalities.
- Built-in development server with an interactive debugger.
- Most popular applications include Redhat, Reddit, and Mailgun.
As is apparent, there is a host of web development frameworks to choose from. Each framework offers a unique set of features best-suited for some applications and environments. Some frameworks can be used to develop applications for all types.
Frequently Asked Questions about Web Development Frameworks
All the above-discussed frameworks are highly popular and extensively used for web development. However, Django and Angular are the most popular among them due to their proven capabilities to build dynamic web applications.
Ruby on Rails and Django are the fastest web development frameworks because they allow easy migration and database integration.
Express JS is considered to be the fastest backend framework. It is used for developing REST APIs and dynamic applications.
Ruby on Rails and Django could be an Ideal framework to start learning