Digital transformation has been or is actively being undertaken by every business regardless of the industry. Today, during this transformation, the primary focus becomes creating products with the most positive user experience as it often determines the overall popularity of a solution.
Regardless of how complex operations are "under the hood" of a particular software, it should appear extremely user-friendly in regular use. Only in such cases will a website, desktop, or mobile application, or any other solution be revisited time and again.
This principle is at the core of many incredibly popular services today. Netflix, Spotify, and other streaming services, Twitter (aka X), Facebook, and other social networks, ChatGPT, DALL-E, and other neural networks appear straightforward and user-friendly, yet they execute very complex operations.
All these services, as well as the software that the Focus21 team methodically works on, are so user-friendly not just due to thoughtful UX, but also because of the use of cutting-edge frontend frameworks. We will delve deeper into the most interesting ones for 2023 in this article.
A frontend framework is a set of tools that simplify the creation of the user interface for any software, regardless of its type. If you imagine a specific programming language as a shovel, the framework, in this case, is akin to a full-fledged excavator.
One of the simplest frontend frameworks to learn and subsequently use, developed by Meta (formerly Facebook) and actively used by Netflix. A key feature of this open-source tool is its exceptional functionality with the document object model (DOM).
We utilized React in the creation of the TAS Platform. It's the perfect tool for designing single-page web applications and progressive web apps (PWAs). React allows for easy reuse of components, facilitating collaborative development. It's highly stable due to its virtual DOM, and it's also advanced and continually evolving.
The active development of React is both its strength and its challenge, as it complicates the learning curve for newcomers who need to understand both the old and new syntax. This framework is essentially only usable for interface solutions. Additionally, websites created using React are not always adequately indexed by search engines.
No list of top frontend frameworks is complete without mentioning Angular. It was developed by Google to bridge the gap between the growing demands of the tech market and traditional paradigms. Its unique two-way data binding feature sets it apart from the more popular React.
Angular is excellent for web development, be it for traditional multi-page projects or progressive web apps. BMW actively employs it for their projects, and it's used in developing interfaces for Xbox. The framework supports component reusability, code minimization, and much more.
However, unlike React, Angular has a steeper learning curve. There's an abundance of current documentation for it, but it's often neither clear nor straightforward. In the end, it's an overly intricate solution for small projects, making it a tool often chosen for more complex and large-scale tasks.
Vue is an extremely user-friendly framework, devoid of most of Angular's complexities. It offers a virtual DOM, a component-based approach, and two-way binding. It's a versatile tool capable of addressing a wide range of tasks, suitable for both simple and large-scale, high-traffic projects.
When Vue was developed, the main focus was on optimizing software for solving intricate tasks with minimal resources. Nevertheless, it didn't gain immense popularity in Silicon Valley. Its demand mainly grows in the Asian market, where it's utilized by projects like Alibaba and by companies like Xiaomi.
Drawbacks of Vue include the insufficient stability of components and a less-developed developer community, leading to limited support for newcomers. Moreover, libraries for this framework are often developed in China, meaning they're not translated into English, causing comprehension challenges in North America and Europe.
One of the newest frontend frameworks, Svelte is steadily gaining popularity. Unlike React and Vue, it reflects all developer-made changes during the compilation phase rather than in the browser. Additionally, it enables writing code that updates the Document Object Model (DOM) in sync with the application's state.
The main advantage of Svelte over other frontend frameworks is its optimization, which stands out, especially when compared to Angular and React. It's easy to use and scale. However, due to its relatively lower popularity, lack of support, and weak community activity, it isn't often chosen for large projects.
A user-friendly framework, some consider Preact as a potential alternative to React. It's incredibly compact and optimized, yet essentially offers the same modern API as React. It's often compared to React due to their similar syntax and the compatibility of many elements. Even libraries designed for React work with Preact.
Because of its impeccable optimization, Preact is used by companies like IKEA, Bing, and Uber. It allows for writing less code, ensures faster app loading times, is perfect for PWAs (Progressive Web Apps), and seamlessly integrates into any system for building small software fragments. However, since it isn't promoted by Meta (formerly Facebook), the majority of the community leans towards React.
In the end, there's no definitive answer as to which frontend framework to use for software development during a digital business transformation, regardless of its direction. The specific decision is made by senior developers and other Focus21 specialists during a joint discovery phase with clients.