May 11, 2023
min read

The Best JavaScript Framework to Learn

Luis Minvielle

When the Greek mastermind Heraclitus, millennia ago, claimed that “the only constant is change,” he certainly pepped up Star Wars creator George Lucas to perpetually re-do shots crucial to the canon storyline or even paved the way for grocery stores to mark up vegetable prices by the week. 

Still, it tells off that if he spat out that aphorism, he certainly didn’t know much about JavaScript, maybe the internet’s most conspicuous constant. 

Since its inception right before Y2K, this scripting language has become a staple and a perennial force in web development. Specific investigations point out that more than two-thirds of the almost 30 million programmers worldwide today resort to JavaScript, making it the most-used programming language on the globe. With figures hinting that one in every fifty workers in Germany is a programmer, a very high benchmark even for Europe, chances are that, if you’re a German worker… you’re using JavaScript, as striking as it sounds.

To stay relevant in this vibrant ecosystem, developers must keep up with the most momentous JavaScript cat paws — such as the JS frameworks. Because when it comes to creating scalable and interactive web applications in 2023, JavaScript frameworks are an absolute necessity for today's frontend web developers.

Which frameworks should you focus on in 2023? Let's dive into a detailed comparison of the current top JavaScript frameworks, considering crucial factors such as adoption rate, industry usage, and specific use cases, with a particular emphasis on retention rates.

The most noteworthy JavaScript frameworks in 2023

According to the State of JavaScript 2022 survey, an authoritative take on the unfolding conversations around JavaScript, Solid, Svelte, Qwik, React, Vue.js, and Alpine.JS continue to dominate the landscape as of 2023, each offering unique strengths and securing a place in developers' toolkits. In a nutshell, each framework is:

  • Solid: A declarative and reactive framework that compiles to efficient DOM operations
  • Svelte: A compiler that transforms components into vanilla JavaScript
  • Qwik: A framework that leverages WebAssembly to deliver fast and lightweight web apps — and an up-and-rising newcomer
  • React: A library for building user interfaces with components and hooks
  • Vue.js: A progressive framework for building reactive and scalable web apps
  • Alpine.js: A minimal framework that adds reactivity to HTML elements

Comparing frameworks

When considering which framework to learn next, job opportunities, pay scales, and industry demand often top the list of considerations. Understanding these frameworks' adoption and retention rates of these frameworks can help developers make informed decisions. The State of JavaScript survey not only collects retention data but also gathers usage data, as shown in the following table:

Framework Retention in 2022 (%) Retention in 2021 (%) Usage in 2022 (%) Years since release as of 2023
Solid 91 90 6 3
Svelte 90 90 21 7
Qwik 85 0 2 2
React 83 84 82 10
Vue.js 77 80 46 9
Alpine.JS 76 76 6 3

Adoption rates provide insights into how widely a framework is being utilised, while retention rates indicate the likelihood of developers continuing to use the framework in future projects. React and Vue.js, for instance, have demonstrated high adoption and retention rates, indicating a robust and active community. However, emerging frameworks such as Solid and Qwik show promising retention rates, suggesting that developers find these new tools valuable and are likely to continue using them.

Industry usage

Major companies' adoption of these JavaScript frameworks underscores their relevance in the tech industry. For example, React is the framework of choice for heavyweights like Facebook, Instagram, and Airbnb. React is one of the highest-paid programming languages, with its developers earning approximately €65,000 yearly. 

But if you look to the East, React loses steam. Tech giants such as Alibaba and Xiaomi prefer Vue.js. Some notable global companies, such as GitLab, Adobe, Nintendo, and Grammarly, also use Vue.js. Even Google allegedly used it for their Careers page. Anecdotal evidence proposes it’s prevalent in China and Asia, where it has a large developer community and support. In Germany, though, Vue.js developers earn €56,400 on average, considerably under the React benchmark.

Svelte, on the other hand, is used by both traditional and up-and-coming organisations, such as The New York Times (which used it to back up a story outlining how Brits voted in 2017), GoDaddy, 1Password, Figma, and Rich Harris's — the framework’s creator — very own Vercel, who hired him two years ago. It is also gaining traction in the web development industry, offering a fast and straightforward way to create web apps.

Svelte is also your wallet’s heartthrob: In Germany, its developers tend to have the highest frontend average salary, at €66,800. Moreover, it’s a student’s darling: According to the same State of JavaScript survey from 2022, more than 60% of respondents had a positive attitude toward Svelte, even if less than 20% claimed they knew how to handle it. Such a positive response, marked by the “I want to learn” vote, is only matched by well-established frameworks like Angular or React.

Alpine.js — “jQuery for the modern web” — is used on projects that value simplicity and minimalism. It is mainly used to add interactivity to static websites or enhance existing web apps.

Solid and Qwik are still relatively new frameworks that have yet to be widely adopted by major companies or industries., the headless CRM many startups have adopted, uses Qwik for quicker load times. For its part, cybersecurity company Cloudflare and even Vercel support Solid.

Examining industry trends, we see that tech startups, e-commerce, and social media platforms often favour React and Vue.js due to their scalability and robustness.

Framework Companies Use Cases
Svelte The New York Times Interactive graphics
Svelte IBM Data visualisation
React Facebook Creating user-friendly social networking and beyond…
React Airbnb Making a friendly travel platform and selling breakfast cereal if necessary
React Netflix Loading webpages on low-performance TVs
Vue.js Alibaba E-commerce

Please remember that companies may use multiple frameworks for different projects or applications, and the specific use cases listed here may not be the only ones. But it’s at least curious to learn that the open-source IBM department (!) recommends Svelte.

Strengths and use cases

Each framework has unique strengths and ideal use cases. React, renowned for its virtual DOM and component-based architecture, excels in large-scale applications. Vue.js, with its gentle learning curve and flexibility, is a viable choice for a broad range of projects, from simple websites to complex applications.

The emerging frameworks, Solid and Qwik, offer intriguing benefits. Solid's granular reactivity without needing a virtual DOM results in performance improvements. At the same time, Qwik stands out with its emphasis on simplicity and speed, making it suitable for smaller, performance-intensive applications. So if you need to develop a quick, lightweight frontend to your award-winning image-generating AI (we’re looking at you, Midjourney), you can rely on Qwik and plug in the API directing towards your brawny application.

Libraries and pairing

A framework also lies in its ecosystem. React’s extensive library support, including Redux and MobX, makes it a versatile tool for various applications. Vue.js also offers a comprehensive solution with its Vuex library for state management. Solid and Qwik ecosystems are still in their formative stages, but compatibility with existing JavaScript libraries is promising.

Emerging frameworks: Solid and Qwik

Solid's fine-grained reactivity model and Qwik's focus on simplicity and speed offer a fresh perspective on JavaScript development. As developers continue to explore these frameworks, the demand for and adoption of Solid and Qwik are projected to rise throughout 2023 and beyond. The possibility of these frameworks shaping the future of JavaScript development is exciting and worth watching.

The real-world experience of developers can sometimes paint a different picture than statistics alone. Anecdotal evidence from discussions among developers suggests that job market demand often favours the more established frameworks like React, Vue.js, and Angular. However, there's an exciting trend of developers experimenting with newer frameworks like Svelte and subsequently transitioning to Vue.js, indicating a continuous search for optimised solutions.

A significant aspect contributing to Vue's popularity among this crowd is its Composition API, which developers find appealing due to its ease in sharing functions and objects across the codebase, thus improving code reusability. The Composition API, an alternative to Vue's Options API, facilitates more flexible and organised code, especially for larger applications.

Frameworks overview: what’s next?

React and Vue.js dominate the JavaScript landscape due to their robust ecosystems, high adoption rates, and vast opportunities. However, Solid and Qwik are emerging as serious contenders.

Solid's performance-focused approach and Qwik's simplicity capture developers' attention, and their increasing retention rates indicate a promising future. While these emerging frameworks are still growing their ecosystems and adoption rates, their innovative features make them worth considering for any developer planning their learning path in 2023.

Framework Usage Chart

Despite the perceived dominance of React in the job market, many developers appreciate Vue.js for its simplicity, cleanliness, and ease of use, mainly when used with TypeScript and its Composition API. A significant advantage Vue.js has is its highly opinionated structure, which makes the codebase easier to understand and navigate, contrasting with React's flexibility which can sometimes lead to confusing code structures.

However, Vue's lesser TypeScript support is a noteworthy critique compared to React. Nevertheless, the developer experience with Vue, particularly with the Composition API, appears positive overall. The question of which framework to choose often boils down to personal preference, project requirements, the specific challenges a developer wants to tackle, and the wallet’s perspective.

Conclusion, or, console.log(“In conclusion...”);

The JavaScript landscape continues to evolve, with new frameworks emerging and existing ones constantly improving. The dynamism of this field makes it both challenging and exciting for developers.

In such a vibrant environment, continuous learning becomes not just an option but a necessity. As a developer, your ability to adapt and learn is the key to staying relevant. Exploring different frameworks will enhance your skillset and provide you with a more in-depth understanding of the possibilities in JavaScript development.

Ultimately, choosing which JavaScript framework to learn in 2023 will depend on your goals, project requirements, and the challenges you wish to tackle. Whether it's the established robustness of React and Vue.js, or the emerging potential of Solid and Qwik, the opportunities for growth and development are abundant.

Remember, the best framework often suits your needs and helps you grow as a developer. So, explore, experiment, and embrace the learning journey in 2023.

The Best JavaScript Framework to Learn

May 11, 2023
min read

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