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2024 trends in framework development

Discover 2024's hottest framework trends! Who are the new comers; what are the most wanted evolutions? How AI will revolutionize frameworks?
2024 frameworks
Summary

In the ever-evolving world of web development, staying abreast of the latest frameworks and trends is essential for developers seeking to create cutting-edge applications. As we step into 2024, the landscape of web frameworks continues to witness both the emergence of new players and the evolution of established giants. In this article, we’ll delve into the top frameworks of 2024, highlighting their features, concerns, and ongoing developments.

Emerging Frameworks

Svelte

Svelte is a front-end framew developed by Rich Harris, a graphics editor at The New York Times. The objective of Svelte is creating a more efficient and modern approach to building web applications. The primary goal behind Svelte is to shift much of the work traditionally done at runtime (in the browser) to compile time. This innovative approach results in applications that are faster and more lightweight because the framework itself ‘disappears’ after compilation.

Svelte objectives can be summarized in 5 points:

  • Improve Performance: By compiling components to highly optimized vanilla JavaScript at build time, Svelte reduces the need for a virtual DOM diffing algorithm, leading to faster initial loads and updates.
  • Simplify Development: Svelte aims to simplify the development process by using straightforward HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, making it more accessible to developers without the need to learn complex framework-specific concepts.
  • Reduce Boilerplate: It strives to minimize the amount of boilerplate code developers have to write, allowing them to achieve more with fewer lines of code.
  • Enhance Reactivity: Svelte introduces a reactive programming model that makes state management simpler and more intuitive, enhancing the development experience and reducing bugs. Svelte’s reactivity model is arguably easier to use than React’s or Vue’s.
  • Optimize Bundle Size: By compiling away the framework itself and only including the necessary code to run the application, Svelte applications often have smaller bundle sizes compared to those built with other front-end frameworks, leading to faster loading times.

Here are some examples of well-known companies that have used Svelte in their projects or products:

  • Spotify: Known for its music streaming service, Spotify has used Svelte for certain web projects, leveraging its efficient updating mechanism to provide a smooth user experience.
  • Rakuten: A global leader in internet services, including e-commerce and fintech, Rakuten has utilized Svelte in parts of its web applications, attracted by its fast performance and compact bundle sizes.

Also worth mentioning is Sveltekit, a project that allows for building full-stack applications based on Svelte front-ends.

SolidJS:

SolidJS, developed by Ryan Carniato, is a declarative JavaScript-based front-end framework for building user interfaces. It shares some conceptual similarities with React, especially in terms of its component-based architecture, but it differentiates itself in key areas, primarily through its commitment to reactivity and performance. SolidJS’s design philosophy and architecture aim to provide an optimal balance between developer experience and application efficiency, with several distinctive features and objectives:

  • Fine-Grained Reactivity: At the heart of SolidJS is a fine-grained reactivity system. Unlike virtual DOM-based frameworks that rely on diffing to update the UI, SolidJS tracks dependencies at a granular level, ensuring that only the exact components that depend on changed state are updated. This leads to more efficient updates and better performance.
  • Compilation Step: Similar to Svelte, SolidJS employs a compile-time step that optimizes the code before it reaches the browser. This process converts JSX (the syntax used for templating in SolidJS, similar to React) into highly optimized, imperative code that directly manipulates the DOM when state changes, eliminating the need for a virtual DOM layer.
  • Simplicity and Familiarity: Despite its unique reactivity model, SolidJS offers a development experience that is familiar to those who have worked with React and other component-based libraries. It uses JSX for templating and has hooks-like constructs for managing side effects, state, and lifecycle events, making the transition for developers smoother.
  • Performance: One of the main objectives of SolidJS is to provide top-tier performance. Its reactive system and compile-time optimizations are designed to make SolidJS applications incredibly fast, both in terms of initial load and runtime efficiency.
  • Size Efficiency: SolidJS is also focused on keeping both the library size and the resulting application bundle sizes small, contributing to faster load times and improved overall application performance.
  • Server-Side Rendering (SSR): SolidJS supports SSR out of the box, allowing for fast initial renders and improved SEO. Its architecture is designed to accommodate pre-rendering, making it a strong candidate for building applications that need to be both performant and SEO-friendly.
  • Ecosystem and Tooling: Although younger than ecosystems surrounding older frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue, SolidJS has been steadily growing its ecosystem, offering libraries and tools for state management, routing, and more. The community support and resources available to developers are continuously expanding.

Here are some well-known companies and projects that have used SolidJS:

  • Netflix: The streaming giant has explored using SolidJS for certain internal tools and possibly user-facing applications, drawn by its performance benefits and efficient state management.

Adobe: Known for its creative software suite, Adobe has utilized SolidJS in projects that require high performance and reactive state management, taking advantage of Solid’s fine-grained reactivity for complex UIs.

 

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Remix:

Remix is a relatively new full-stack web framework that emerged with a strong emphasis on enhancing both developer experience and web application performance, particularly for React developers. Remix is built on React and aims to leverage the web’s traditional strengths while bringing a fresh perspective to modern web development practices. It has quickly gained attention for its unique approach to routing, data loading, and integration with various backends.

Below discover the core objectives & features of Remix

  • Enhanced Data Fetching: One of the hallmark features of Remix is its approach to data fetching. Unlike traditional SPA (Single Page Application) frameworks that fetch data client-side, Remix allows developers to load data on the server for each route. This server-side data fetching enables faster page loads, improves SEO, and enhances the overall user experience by displaying content more quickly.
  • Nested Routing: Remix embraces a nested routing model, similar to how web pages have historically worked. This model allows data and UI to be structured according to the URL’s hierarchy, simplifying data management and component rendering based on the route.
  • Optimized for Performance: Remix is designed with performance in mind, from server-side rendering (SSR) to intelligent JavaScript bundling and loading. By sending minimal JavaScript to the client and utilizing progressive enhancement techniques, Remix applications can start fast and stay fast, providing an optimal experience for users on all types of devices.
  • Built for the Edge: Remix is engineered to be edge-ready, meaning it’s designed to run on edge networks for even faster global performance. By deploying directly to edge servers, Remix applications benefit from reduced latency and improved scalability.
  • Full-Stack Capabilities: Remix focuses on full-stack development, but it uses an approach that many front-end developers will find relatable because it integrates so tightly with front-end frameworks.. It provides a seamless experience for integrating with various backends and APIs, whether you’re working with serverless functions, traditional servers, or headless CMSs.
  • First-Class TypeScript Support: Remix offers excellent support for TypeScript, enabling developers to benefit from strong typing throughout their application, from routes to data fetching functions.
  • Focus on Web Fundamentals: Remix encourages developers to leverage the web’s fundamentals, including links, forms, and standard HTTP methods. This approach not only improves performance but also enhances accessibility and ensures applications work well with browsers’ built-in features.

Remix places a strong emphasis on developer experience, providing features like fast refresh, comprehensive documentation, and an active community. Its ecosystem is growing, with an increasing number of plugins, integrations, and resources available to help developers build robust web applications efficiently.

Here are some examples of companies and projects that have used Remix:

  • Otter.ai: A company specializing in AI-driven transcription services, Otter.ai has explored using Remix for its public-facing website.

The Preact Team: While not a company, the team behind the Preact JavaScript library (a lightweight alternative to React) has shown interest in Remix for building fast, lightweight web applications, especially given Remix’s compatibility with multiple frontend frameworks

 

Astro:

Astro has quickly captured the interest of developers looking for efficient, modern solutions to build faster web applications. Astro’s approach is distinct, focusing on delivering an optimal user experience through its innovative static site generation (SSG) techniques and component-based architecture, all while keeping performance at the forefront of its design principles. Unlike Remix, Astro is not tied to React and can be used with a variety of front-end frameworks. Though primarily used as a front-end framework, it does support developing back-end API routes.

Here are the main objectives of Astro:

  • Partial Hydration: Astro introduces the concept of partial hydration, which is central to its performance ethos. Unlike traditional frameworks that hydrate the entire application, Astro allows developers to hydrate individual components on demand. This means that users download only the JavaScript necessary for the interactive parts of the page, significantly reducing load times and improving site performance.
  • Component-Island Architecture: Building on partial hydration, Astro’s “island architecture” enables developers to build websites as a collection of independent, interactive components (islands) on an otherwise static page. This approach allows for highly interactive user experiences without the overhead of a full JavaScript framework, blending the best of static sites with dynamic, client-side interactivity.
  • Framework Agnostic: One of Astro’s standout features is its framework-agnostic approach to components. Developers can write components in their favorite UI framework (React, Vue, Svelte, Preact, etc.) and use them within Astro. This interoperability encourages the use of the best tool for the job and eases integration into existing projects or workflows.
  • Optimized for SEO and Performance: By default, Astro generates static HTML at build time, ensuring that sites are fast to load and SEO-friendly. The framework takes performance optimization further with features like automatic image optimization, lazy-loading, and built-in support for modern CSS and JavaScript features, all aimed at improving the Core Web Vitals.
  • Server-Side Rendering (SSR) and Static Site Generation (SSG): Astro supports both SSR and SSG, allowing developers to choose the best approach for their project. Whether building a fully static site, a server-rendered application, or a hybrid, Astro provides the flexibility and tools needed for modern web development.
  • Developer Experience: Astro places a strong emphasis on developer experience, offering a straightforward setup, fast build times, and an integrated development server with hot module replacement. Its file-based routing system and markdown support make it easy to get a site up and running quickly.
  • Ecosystem and Community: Since its launch, Astro has seen rapid growth in its ecosystem and community. With an increasing number of plugins, integrations, and community-contributed components, developers have access to a wealth of resources to extend Astro’s functionality and streamline their development process.

 

The web development landscape is constantly evolving, and established frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.js continue to adapt and improve to meet the changing needs of developers and users alike. Each of these frameworks has seen significant updates and shifts in focus over the years, driven by a commitment to enhance performance, developer experience, and capabilities. Here’s an overview of their evolution and current objectives:

 

Evolution of Established Frameworks

React

Over the years, React has introduced several significant updates, including Hooks (in version 16.8), which allowed for state and other React features in functional components, and Concurrent Mode (experimental), aimed at improving app responsiveness and performance.

  • Performance Improvements: Ongoing efforts to enhance performance, including server components, suspense, and concurrent features.
  • Developer Experience: Simplifying the API and making it more intuitive, particularly with the adoption of hooks and the gradual shift away from class components.
  • Concurrent UI: Enabling new patterns for data fetching and state management to build more responsive and high-performing applications.
  • Ecosystem and Tooling Support: Enhancing the surrounding ecosystem with improvements to tools like React DevTools, and better integration with testing and build tools.

Here are some well-known companies and projects that use React:

  • Facebook (Meta): As the creator of React, Meta uses it extensively across its various products, including the Facebook social media platform, Instagram, and WhatsApp web applications.
  • Airbnb: Known for its online marketplace for lodging and tourism experiences, Airbnb uses React to build dynamic, responsive, and user-friendly web interfaces.
  • Uber: The ride-sharing and logistics services company uses React for its web applications, including the Uber web interface, to provide a smooth, efficient service booking experience.

 

Next.js

Next.js, which is maintained by the hosting service Vercel, also merits mentioning here. Next.js is a framework built on top of React. It includes its own file-based router to make it relatively easy to start a new React project. It also includes its own server, for which you can even write custom API routes. So, although primarily focused on the front-end,, Next.js could be used for full-stack projects.

  • Easier data-fetching: Previously, Next.js required the developer to specify which data was used for SSG (static site generation) and what would be fetched dynamically. Recently, Next.js has merged these concepts together in the easier-to-use getData() function.
  • Server components: Previously, only full pages were rendered on the server-side. So, if some server-side data was needed, it would either have to be fetched on the page components and then passed down through all the other components until it reached where it needed, or it would have to be fetched asynchronously after page load through an HTTP request. Now, individual components can be rendered on the server-side, improving performance and allowing for application logic to be more clearly encapsulated.
  • Lazy-loading: Next.js has added support for lazy-loading certain page elements via the React.lazy library.
  • Layouts: Next.js has also added better support for maintaining multiple page layouts, which can be nested or changed on particular routes.
  • Performance: Next.js has improved caching and performance, particularly regarding assets like images and fonts. Vercel is also developing a new compiler called Turbopack that will make it faster to develop in Next.js.

Angular

Angular has embraced a regular release cycle, with major updates released every six months, bringing performance improvements, stricter type checking, improved developer tools, and more.

  • Performance and Scalability: Continuous improvements in rendering speed, bundle size optimization, and scalability for large applications.
  • Enhanced Developer Experience: Efforts to simplify the Angular development process, including better error messages, improved documentation, and more intuitive APIs.
  • Modern Web Standards: Embracing modern web capabilities like Web Components, Service Workers for PWA (Progressive Web Apps), and improved SSR (Server-Side Rendering) support.
  • Ivy Renderer: The introduction and ongoing enhancements of the Ivy renderer aim to reduce bundle sizes, improve rendering performance, and allow for more advanced compilation techniques.

Here are some well-known companies and projects that use Angular, demonstrating its wide adoption across various industries:

  • Google: As the creator of Angular, Google uses the framework for several of its services, including Google Ads, Google Cloud Platform, and YouTube TV, leveraging Angular’s capabilities for complex web applications that require scalable, maintainable codebases.
  • Microsoft: Microsoft utilizes Angular for various applications and services. For example, the Microsoft Office and Xbox teams have used Angular for parts of their web experiences, benefiting from its strong typing and development tools.
  • PayPal: Known for its online payment system, PayPal has chosen Angular for developing several of its web applications, valuing the framework’s comprehensive nature and its ability to facilitate complex financial transactions securely and efficiently.

Vue.js

Vue 3, released in 2020, introduced the Composition API, providing a more flexible and reusable way to structure components, and significantly improved performance with a smaller bundle size and faster rendering through the reactivity system overhaul.

  • Performance: With Vue 3’s Composition API, the framework focuses on improving performance and making it easier for developers to manage application state and logic in a scalable way.
  • Improved TypeScript Support: Vue 3 enhances TypeScript support, making it more accessible to TypeScript users and encouraging type safety within Vue applications.
  • Ecosystem Development: Continual development of the Vue ecosystem, including official libraries (like Vue Router and Vuex) and tooling (Vue CLI, Vite), to provide a cohesive development experience.
  • Optimization and Flexibility: Further optimizations for both the core library and the tooling around Vue to ensure applications are fast, and the developer experience is flexible and efficient.

 

Ruby on Rails 

Ruby is a dynamic, open-source programming language known for its simplicity and productivity. It was created by Yukihiro Matsumoto (Matz) in the mid-1990s with the goal of making programming enjoyable and increasing developer productivity. Rails is an open-source full-stack web development framework built on top of the Ruby language. It first launched in 2003, making it one of the more mature frameworks on this list. Nonetheless, Rails 7.0 (launched in 2021) and Rails 7.1 (2023) have continued bringing new innovations to the framework.

  • Hotwire: Rails now embraces its own default approach to JavaScript, called Hotwire. Hotwire avoids writing long JavaScript files or communicating via JSON and instead relies on sending HTML snippets from the server to the front-end. The result is generally significantly more concise than with more complex front-end frameworks. Of course, developers can instead still opt to use React, Vue, or Angular with Rails, and the bundlers have also gotten faster through the js-bundling gem and bundlers like Vite.
  • Stimulus: Similarly, Rails developers now often use the Stimulus JavaScript framework to write better-organized JS code. Stimulus is quite lightweight and easy to learn, so it is better thought of as an organizational pattern for vanilla JavaScript than a full alternative to something like React.
  • Database-based Caching and Background Jobs: In the past, developers generally opted to use Redis, a “real-time database”, to manage both caching and background jobs. In Rails 7.1, it is now possible to manage both directly in a SQL database. As a result, it is now possible to remove Redis as a dependency in many Rails projects to save costs.
  • Authentication: Previously, most Rails developers opted for the devise gem to run user sign-in/sign-up. Now, Rails has introduced more built-in authentication features, so many developers are opting either to build their own authentication approach or to use the authentication-zero gem to help them with the boilerplate.
  • Performance Enhancements: Over the years, Ruby on Rails has undergone significant performance improvements, with each new version introducing optimizations to speed up application development and execution. Additionally, Ruby performance is currently going through something of a renaissance with the introduction of “just-in-time compilers”, including YJIT, which will hopefully eventually become a default choice for Rails applications.
  • Modularization: Rails has become more modular, allowing developers to use only the components they need for their specific projects. This has led to more flexibility and better resource management.
  • Enhanced Security: With each update, Ruby on Rails has strengthened its security features, providing developers with better tools to protect their applications against vulnerabilities and cyber threats.
  • Support for Modern Practices: The framework has adapted to embrace modern development practices such as microservices architecture, API-driven development, and containerization, making it relevant in today’s software landscape.
  • Community Contributions: The vibrant Ruby on Rails community continues to contribute to its evolution by creating new gems, sharing best practices, and providing valuable feedback for further improvements.

There are even further “advanced” areas of Rails improvements, including primary composite keys, multiple-database support, and new deployment options via Docker.

Here are some well-known companies using Ruby on Rails:

  • GitHub: The popular version control platform utilizes Rails for its core functionality, providing a user-friendly platform for developers.
  • Twitch: The interactive streaming service for gamers leverages Rails to power its website and manage the dynamic interactions between broadcasters and viewers.

 

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Framework Concerns and Ongoing Developments:

In the ever-evolving landscape of web development, frameworks play a crucial role in shaping the way developers build and deliver applications. However, as technology advances and user expectations evolve, frameworks must address a variety of concerns and adapt to ongoing developments to remain relevant and effective.

Here’s a quick overview of the framework concerns and ongoing developments shaping the future of web development:

  • Security: Framework communities prioritize security, implementing measures to mitigate common vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), and injection attacks. Continuous security audits and updates are integral to maintaining robust frameworks.
  • Accessibility: Accessibility will always be an important topic for web projects, and the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) provide a clear standard for compliance. Unfortunately, in the past, many JavaScript-based frameworks, including React and Vue, undervalued accessibility and introduced accessibility bugs with their routers and other components that degraded web experiences for people with varied needs. The major front-end frameworks have all received updates in recent years that make it significantly easier to build accessible experiences, particularly as regards keyboard navigation and screen reader compatibility. TypeScript, for example, can even now help spot common accessibility bugs (like missing alt tags on images) in React projects. But, the responsibility remains on developers to check WCAG guidelines and to test their projects using a mix of automated testing and user testing (when possible). It’s also important to research the accessibility implications of external libraries, particularly when they are new, as many JavaScript packages do, sadly, have a variety of accessibility bugs. This is certainly an area where the developer community can do better moving forward.
  • Low-code Development: The rise of low-code and no-code platforms reshapes web development, empowering citizen developers to create applications without extensive coding knowledge. Frameworks explore integrations and features to facilitate low-code development while maintaining flexibility and scalability.
  • AI Integration: Frameworks explore integrating artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to enhance user experiences, automate tasks, and provide personalized content. AI-driven features like predictive analytics and smart recommendations improve user engagement and satisfaction.
  • Web Assembly (WASM): Adoption of Web Assembly enables building high-performance, cross-platform web applications with languages like Rust, C, and C++. Frameworks integrate WASM support to optimize performance, enable new features, and leverage existing codebases for web development. WASM remains a fairly niche technology for projects with an unusually high degree of front-end complexity, so it won’t be relevant for the majority of developers.
  • Progressive Web Apps (PWA): Frameworks emphasize PWA support, enabling web applications to offer native app-like experiences, including offline access, push notifications, and device hardware integration. Enhanced PWA capabilities improve user engagement and retention.
  • Containerization and Microservices: Frameworks adapt to modern deployment architectures, emphasizing containerization and microservices. Integration with container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes streamlines deployment, scaling, and management of web applications in distributed environments.
  • Data Privacy and Compliance: Frameworks address data privacy concerns and regulatory compliance requirements like GDPR and CCPA. Built-in features for data encryption, user consent management, and audit trails help developers build compliant applications.
  • Internationalization (i18n) and Localization (l10n): Frameworks prioritize internationalization and localization support, enabling applications to adapt to diverse languages, cultures, and regions. Built-in tools and libraries simplify the process of translating and localizing content.
  • Performance Optimization: Continuous performance optimization efforts focus on reducing load times, improving rendering efficiency, and minimizing resource consumption. Techniques like code splitting, lazy loading, and server-side rendering enhance application performance and user experience.

In conclusion, the framework landscape in 2024 is characterized by innovation, performance optimization, and a relentless focus on user experience and accessibility. Whether you’re exploring emerging frameworks or leveraging the capabilities of established ones, staying informed about the latest trends and developments is crucial for navigating the dynamic world of web development.

 

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