There are hundreds of programming languages and web development frameworks. This article will guide you about the 12 best web development frameworks and help you choose the right one for you.
The objective of web development frameworks is to support the development of applications, services, and APIs.
Developers select a framework which they find best suited for them. It can be a difficult change to overcome if you have to start working on a new framework amidst your career.
Having so many options to choose from makes it even more confusing.
You could be a student selecting the right web development framework, or an experienced developer who needs to work on a new project.
Either way, there are a few things you need to consider when selecting a framework.
You may have a short amount of time if you have to start working on a new project. Students, on the other hand, may have plenty of time to learn the new framework.
Every framework, to some extent, is different from others. It may have a naming convention and structure of its own. Some frameworks need you to fix even the tiniest of bugs.
In any case, you would know better if you have enough time to learn a new web development framework.
A framework is a big software which needs maintenance. Check the date when the last update of the framework was released. It tells you if this framework will exist in the future or not. You don’t want to learn a framework that has no future.
You know your budget well. Some frameworks may require you to purchase it while most are free. Another thing you should know firsthand is if its license is open source or not.
Some frameworks will let you create an entire application but won’t allow to distribute it commercially.
Documentation of web development frameworks includes all guidelines that a beginner to the advanced developer can need. Documentations make it easy for you to learn the new environment; otherwise you will be wandering from one forum to another for help.
Look for a framework which has explained every topic with examples, sample codes, snippets, and tutorials.
A community is the biggest support software can ask for. You will often find the need to interact with the community especially when you are a newbie.
A robust community ensures that every question is answered and every bug is solved.
Visit community forums of the framework before you select one of the web development frameworks for you.
A client usually demands strong security when working on a sensitive project. You should know which web development frameworks offer the best of security and the reasons behind it.
There is no framework entirely vulnerable to attacks.
There are, however, some platforms which are considered more secure than others.
If you are looking for a framework to work on a project, then make sure you know the exact deadline, budget, and hosting requirements of the client.
Some web development frameworks are very easy and fast. On the other hand, some frameworks cover every basic detail and use their own conventions which can be time-consuming.
Moreover, you should know the hosting requirements of your client. There are frameworks like CakePHP that would easily work on shared hosting.
If the client is planning to work on a dedicated hosting only then you can go with frameworks like Django and Ruby on Rails.
MVC (Model View Controller) is an architectural pattern used for development. There are numerous other architectural patterns but MVC is the most popular among them. MVC gives you development tools and unique functionality.
Today’s most web development frameworks are based on MVC.
CMS (Content Management System) is a ready-made application that you can modify according to your requirements.
CMS is fast and easy; however, it gives you a typical functionality and restricts what you can do.
You have to choose whether you need a CMS or MVC web development framework. Here’s an article to help you decide between MVC and CMS.
Now that you know the factors to make an informed decision, here are 12 web development frameworks that are currently considered best in the world.
ASP.Net uses language C#. You can develop apps in both MVC and Web Forms. Developers now prefer ASP.NET MVC and consider Web Forms outdated.
ASP.NET is a product of Microsoft developed in 2002. Its MVC version was released in 2016. This web development framework supports all three big operating systems – Windows, Linux, and macOS.
As per the stats of trends.builtwith, over 29 million sites are powered by ASP.NET.
Another great thing about this web development framework is its freedom to develop and deploy applications and websites. You don’t have to pay anything to utilize this framework.
You can download it free from their website. There are some tools like Visual Studio Team Editions and Professional Edition that will require you purchase them.
ASP.NET has a great documentation with tutorials that covers every detail. This framework won’t be very hard to learn if you already have familiarity with C language.
ASP.NET has an active community with 60,000 developers and 3,700 companies contributing to it. You will see its members creating new threads and answering them every few minutes.
As of 2019, Microsoft has updated it 22 times, and its latest version ASP.NET Core MVC 2.1.1 was released on 18 June 2018.
There has never been any noteworthy vulnerability in this framework, and big sites like Stack Overflow, GoDaddy, Raygun are still based on ASP.NET.
Ruby is a language and Rails one of its frameworks. Ruby on Rails also supports MVC development pattern. It came out in 2005, and today it powers over 1 million websites. Some of its most prominent users include:
Ruby on Rails is an open source web development framework and it’s free to develop and deploy any project. Its features enable rapid web application development which also reduces the cost of the project.
You will find well-composed documentation of Ruby on Rails on its website. It takes you from installing the rails to advanced level.
Code Fellow describes Rails as a comparatively hard web development framework to learn because it has its own conceptual requirements. The author also mentioned that there are a lot of tools and concepts to learn.
Just like any other big web development framework, RoR has an active community on Stack Overflow to guide on your problems.
Ruby on Rails has released 15 updates since 2005 when came out in the market. Its latest version Ruby on Rails v5.2.2 was released on April 30, 2019.
According to Ruby Garage, Ruby on Rails is a highly secure framework. It includes many built-in security tools to prevent threats.
On the other hand, CVE Details has listed about 76 security vulnerabilities of Ruby on Rails. Nonetheless, it was last updated in 2017 and most of the issues are disputed.
It was first released in 2011. As of 2019, over 100 thousand websites are running on Laravel.
Credits to SimilarTech
Laravel is free only for personal use. You will need to purchase its license for commercial projects. You will need to email them for Non-Commercial license. It offers a free trial version before you purchase its commercial license.
Laravel has clean and thorough documentation for new learners. It also explains advanced concepts for more experienced users.
This web development framework will be easier to learn for newcomers because of the video tutorials it offers on Laracasts.
CodersEye mentioned that Laravel is the most used framework of 2019. It is also the most searched web development framework for PHP projects.
Laravel has a large community supporting each other and its growing rapidly. You will find its community members to be active as a thread is created and answered every few hours on Laravel’s forum.
It was also pointed out on Quora by Marcelo Canina that Laravel has the largest community of all PHP frameworks on Github.
Laravel has released new version 16 times in the last 8 years. Its latest update is Laravel 5.8 that was made public on February 26, 2019.
Taking its stats into consideration, it is safe to assume that Laravel isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
While some claim Laravel is the most secured framework of PHP, CVE Details has pointed 4 non-disputable vulnerabilities in the last 2 years.
Google developed it by in 2012.
Angular JS currently powers over 3 million websites. Its usage has skyrocketed in the past 5 years as shown in the graph below.
Usage Statistics of Angular JS by Trend.Builtwith
According to LibScore, most popular websites using Angular JS include:
Angular JS is licensed under MIT License and is free to use for all users. You can develop any application in this web development framework and distribute it commercially.
An experienced developer may have no difficulty at all, but it will be a bit confusing for new developers entering the field.
Googles released the latest version Angular JS 1.7.7 on February 4, 2019. There is another release Angular JS 2.0 which is a beta version.
Till now, no one has been able to identify any security vulnerability in Angular JS. There had been few bugs which were fixed in new releases.
It uses Java EE platform and there are extensions available to build web applications. The Spring framework is open source. According to a report of Zero Turnaround, Spring MVC is the second most favorite component of this framework.
Spring MVC framework is free to use for everyone. You can create and deploy your work without having to purchase any license.
On the other hand, you should also know it is not the fastest web framework and it takes time to build an application.
This framework uses a strong language like Java and there are different opinions on ease of learning of Spring framework.
Some developers say that it uses Plain Old Java Objects which makes the framework easier to learn. But, this also means you need to have prior interaction with Java language.
You will find its documentation explaining every detail a new user should.
They have also provided a list of tags to use when asking a question on Stack Overflow. This makes it easier for their engineers to ensure no question goes unanswered.
Latest Spring framework 5.1 was released on September 21, 2018. Its developers have released 6 updates since the time of its production in 2003.
Java language is considered a strong and secure language. Many developers opt for Java when they need to develop a secure application depsite the fact that this attribute is more depended on the programming.
That being said, CVE details have pointed 7 security vulnerabilities of Spring framework in the last 3 years.
Symfony web development framework is open source and free to use for everyone. You can develop and deploy your application with this framework under the terms of MIT License.
Symfony is a set of PHP components – it won’t be very difficult to learn as most developers possess at least the basic know-how of PHP.
Comparing Laravel and Symfony, a developer on Quora stated that Symfony is more complex but not so overwhelmingly.
Over 600,000 developers and 30,000 contributors from 120 countries are a part of the robust Symfony community. You will find active community members of this web development framework on:
Symfony has been updated 23 times since 2007. The latest stable version, Symfony 4.3, will be published in May 2019.
CVE Details has listed 27 security vulnerabilities of Symfony on their site in 7 years. All old bugs are fixed with new versions so we can’t conclude that this framework is unreliable.
Yii is also a PHP web application framework. It is open source, cross-platform, MVC, and object-oriented. Its first formal version was released in December 2008.
There are almost 250, 000 live websites built on Yii. Trends Builtwith stats conclude that its use significantly escalated in the past 3 years.
Documentation guide of Yii is just as good as other most popular web development frameworks. Yii is considered an easy framework to learn. It will take around 1 week to learn if you know the basics of PHP and Object Oriented Programming.
On the community forum of Yii framework, a member stated that he found Yii easier to learn compared to Laravel. He also added that Yii’s documentation is more straightforward and easier to understand.
You will find communities of all frameworks on Stack Overflow including Yii’s. This framework also has its own active community forum.
Members post queries almost every day and the community always responds to them. Yii has also introduced a badge system to promote more activities.
Yii has released 50 updates since 2008. Its latest version was released on January 30, 2019. They fixed all discovered threats with every release.
CVE Details has been able to find and publish only 5 security vulnerabilities since the creation of this web development framework.
WordPress is a Content Management System based on PHP and MySql. It was initially released in 2005 and most it powers over 75 million sites which make 26.4% of the entire web. Another amazing fact is that, WordPress is the most most used content management systems. Some of the most notable names these sites include:
WordPress is open source and free for all users. It is distributed under the GNU General Public License.
There are many free WordPress themes available online. There are also Premium themes that you can purchase and modify as per your requirements.
WordPress is probably the easiest web development framework to learn. It doesn’t even require you to have prior knowledge of a programming language.
You can easily learn WordPress development within a week. Documentation of WordPress is divided into categories which makes it easier to understand.
WordPress has the largest and most active community in all frameworks. WordPress has an official community forum of its own where a query is answered every few minutes.
This web development framework has released 34 updates since its initial release in 2003. Its latest version WordPress 5.1 Betty was released on February 21, 2019.
There have been issues of WordPress sites getting hacked in the past. Nonetheless, Most of such threats were limited to WordPress 3.0.
According to Kista, there is nothing to worry about if you keep your WordPress site up to date and use a secure password.
CVE Details has also published list 286 recorded security vulnerabilities of WordPress.
Joomla is also a Content Management System like WordPress written PHP and uses object-oriented programming. It is built on MVC web application framework. Some of the most popular Joomla sites include:
Joomla is an open source web development framework and you can use it for free. It also offers premium features for which you have to purchase one of its subscriptions.
Joomla has created a user-friendly documentation that comprises of 7,940 articles. Each article is explained comprehensively with screenshots to make it easy to learn. It is also available in many other languages.
Joomla has an official community forum of its own. You will find the latest news regarding Joomla here. This forum is active enough that a query is answered every few hours.
Joomla has been updated 16 times since its initial release in 2007. Its latest version is Joomla 3.9.3 which was released on 12 February 2019.
No Content Management System is 100% secure.
Same is the case with Joomla. CVE Details has identified 127 security vulnerabilities. Most of these threats have already been fixed with new updates.
Drupal is also a Content Management System framework written in PHP. Over 1 million websites are running on Drupal which makes around 2.3% of the entire web. Some famous Drupal websites include:
Drupal is open source and absolutely free. There is no license required even to use it commercially. Just like WordPress, it is also distributed under the GNU General Public License.
Drupal is a Content Management System framework and they are usually easy to learn. However, compared to WordPress, one might consider it a bit complex.
Its documentation is also comprehensive but could have been better. Non-technical newcomers might find themselves a bit lost.
Drupal also has a large community and none of your queries will ever go unanswered on its forum. This web development framework also has a forum of its own and doesn’t just rely on Stack Overflow.
Its community is so active that a query is answered every few minutes here.
Drupal has released 4 major updates since 2010. Its latest version Drupal 8 was released on January 17, 2019.
CVE Details has identified and published 173 security vulnerabilities of this web development framework from 2002 to 2018.
Meteor is an open source and free web development platform. It is distributed under the terms of MIT License.
Its documentation is very user-friendly and comprehensive. They have used images and code snippets to make it easier to learn.
Meteor has a well-maintained community forum. It has a notable number of members that are active and always respond to queries.
Meteor JS framework was first released in 2012. Its latest stable version is Meteor 1.8 and it was released on October 5, 2018.
There hasn’t been any reported security issue of this web development framework. It is considered more secure than traditional client-server REST-based framework. CVE Details has also listed only 1 security vulnerability.
Flask is a micro web development framework. It is written in Python language and was released in 2010. This framework is extremely flexible and its tools create sites faster than most frameworks. Some big names using Flask include:
It is licensed under terms of BSD License and it is free to use. You can create and distribute your application and don’t need to purchase any license or subscription.
Flask has a detailed documentation. Newcomers will have no problem understanding it. Every minor detail is discussed with screenshots and images.
Flask has an active community in GitHub to support you with every query. It is not as active other most popular web development frameworks but queries are always answered.
It is considered one of the young most popular web development technologies as it was initially released in 2010. Its latest version, Flask 1.0.2, was released on May 2, 2018.
CVE Details has mentioned only 1 security vulnerability in Flask oidc Project and that was also recorded in 2016.
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