10 Popular Web Frameworks for Web App Development in 2021

by Jigar Mistry
10 most popular web frameworks for development in 2020

Websites have become imperative for businesses in this evolving world for creating a prominent online existence. Creating sophisticated and intuitive websites is the best way to attract new users. The right web framework can assist you in the development of such web applications and websites.

To make it easy for you to choose the top web frameworks, we have made a list of some of the most popular web frameworks that you can use to make web development hassle-free.

But why are web development frameworks necessary? They help in increasing your web traffic and make the developing and maintaining process much quicker and easier. Several development frameworks also provide added features like extensive libraries, access to external databases, pre-designed templates and themes, unit testing, and security.

We will look at more such features in detail to understand why you should use frameworks.

In this blog, we will be looking at the most in-demand web development frameworks of 2021. Some of the most loved frameworks are Ruby on Rails, Django, Meteor, and Vue, to name a few. Most developers find them extremely productive and useful.

But before we discuss their features, let’s first understand what a web framework is and what is the difference between frontend and backend frameworks.

With the rise in the standards of web applications, it is absolutely irrational to recreate such refined techniques.  Also, web developers have to keep an eye on the latest trends relevant to the best frameworks for web development.

What is a web framework?

What is web application framework?

A web framework is a software platform for developing web applications and websites. It has a collection of libraries and modules that support the development process. You are able to create customizable web apps by altering the existing components.

Web development frameworks can be used for the development of web services, web APIs (Application Programming Interface) and other web resources. 

Web application frameworks offer a wide range of pre-written components, code snippets, and whole application templates. We can alter these functions by supplementary code, thus enabling us to create application-specific software specifically designed to assist our needs.

This allows you to focus entirely on your app, taking care of all the background details like data binding and configuration efficiently.

They facilitate a starting point, and with the aid of existing supportive features, developers can save a lot of programming time. Many development frameworks also have standardized coding practices and conventions for code structures, which systemize the developers’ programming process and avoid errors and bugs.

There are generally two types of development frameworks – client side and server side frameworks. While client side frameworks are used for dealing with the user interface, a server side framework works in the background to ensure the smooth functioning of the website. Here are some major differences between the two types of frameworks.

Front-end FrameworksBack-end Frameworks
The frontend is the part of the website visible to the users.Backend refers to the background functioning of the sites.
Also known as client-side frameworksAlso known as Server side frameworks
Involves UI-UX designing, SEO optimization, performance and scalability enhancing, creating reusable templatesInvolves database management, security, URL routing, designing site architecture, the server handling
Frontend Languages – HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQueryBackend Languages – Python, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, .NET
Frontend Frameworks – React, Vue, BootStrap, Ember, AngularBackend frameworks – Django, Ruby On Rails, Express, Spring, ASP.NET Core
Front end frameworks provide pre-written code snippets, reusable templates, integrable elements and manage user interactionDatabase manipulation, user authorization, privacy encryptions, reusable components are some benefits of using backend frameworks

Classification of Framework Architectures

The architecture of a framework defines the relation between the different components of the framework. The architecture decides how the various layers will interact with each other. It is important to use a well-understood architecture as it largely defines how your application functions. 

There is generally the View layer, which deals with the visual elements of a site and the Model layer which holds the application logic and data. Some common architectures that are used by web application frameworks are the MVC and MVVM.

  • Model View Controller

    Many frameworks for web apps work on Model View Controller (MVC) models. To split data models with business standards from the user interface, most of the frameworks adopt the MVC architecture. It is a good practice as it usually fosters code reuse, modularized code, and permits various interfaces.

    The model allows varied views to be exhibited in web applications, namely, web service interfaces for remote applications and web pages for individuals.

  • Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM)

    Frameworks, such as KnockoutJS and VueJS use the Model-View-ViewModel or the Model-View-Binder architecture model. In this architecture, the view layer acts as a controller and converts the data objects from the Model layer into manageable components. Since the View layer handles all the user requests directly, the data binding is much more straightforward.

  • Push-based vs Pull-based

    Generally, MVC frameworks observe a push-based architecture, also known as ‘action-based.’ These types of frameworks adopt actions that do the necessary processing and then accordingly ‘push’ the data to a view layer to furnish the outcome.  Some examples of frameworks are Spring MVC, Symfony, Ruby on Rails, Sails.js, Django, CodeIgniter, and Diamond.

    Another option to this architecture is ‘pull-based,’ also termed as ‘component-based.’  This is a kind of framework that starts with the view layer, which in turn can ‘pull’ outcomes from diverse controllers as required.  Some examples of pull-based architectures are JBoss, Tapestry, Lift, Wicket, Micro, and JavaServer Faces.

    Web development frameworks like Struts, ZK, Play, and RIFE use both push-based and pull-based application controller calls.

  • Three-tier organization

    The three-tier organization applications are well-regulated in three physical tiers: application, database, and client-side.  This database is usually a relational database.

    The application possesses business logic that runs on a server and corresponds with the client utilizing HTTP.  The client uses a web browser that runs the HTML code developed by the application layer.

Now that you are acquainted with the different kinds of framework architectures, there are plenty of web development frameworks available for you to select from. To help you get onboard the most used frameworks, we have assembled a list of the ten most popular web development frameworks in 2021.

popular web frameworks

A framework has become critical for the development and maintenance of websites. With a lot of choices available, it becomes extremely difficult to decide on one. Here we have curated a list of the best libraries and frameworks along with their numerous features that are used today for ease of development.

  1. Ruby on Rails

    Ruby on rails Framework

    Ruby on Rails is a dynamic web application framework, perfect for developing a high-speed application. Discovered by David Heinemeier Hansson, Ruby on Rails applications are generally ten times faster than classic Java frameworks.

    Furthermore, Rails comprises everything that is needed to form a database-driven web application, utilizing the MVC pattern. Websites that have incorporated Ruby on Rails are GitHub, Basecamp, Twitter, Airbnb, GroupOn, Shopify, Hulu, to name a few. Not only this, but you can also explore top companies that use Ruby on Rails for their websites and apps.


  2. Laravel

    Laravel Framework

    Simple, elegant, and readable are the USPs of Larval. Taylor Otwell developed Laravel in 2011. Similar to other contemporary development frameworks, it functions on an MVC architectural model that uses PHP.

    Laravel has API support and contains a good quantity of packages that could expand its reach. Laracasts is a tutorial website with thousands of videos on Laravel, PHP, and frontend technologies in the ecosystem of Laravel. 

    Laravel includes a lot of features such as dependency injection, server side rendering It is proving to be the best framework for websites like Neighbourhood, Travel, Deltanet, Lender, and many more.


  3. Django

    Django web app framework

    Django is one of the reliable backend development frameworks that aid in developing a robust web application. It uses ‘Convention over Configuration,’ as well as DRY pattern.  Django provides tools and techniques to developers for building a safe website, implementing the security features in the framework for best web development. 

    It is perfect when competing with fast-moving deadlines and the challenging requirements of veteran web developers. The Django applications are tremendously scalable, fast, versatile, and secure. The companies that use Django are Pinterest, Disqus, YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, and other popular giants.


  4. ASP.NET

    ASP.net Framework

    A framework that is immensely helpful to build dynamic web applications for PC and mobiles is ASP.NET. Microsoft invented it to let programmers build vibrant websites, applications, and services. 

    Asp.net Core is a novel version of Asp.net and is renowned for its speed, productivity, and power.  It is a high-performing and lightweight framework in web development with the use of .NET.  Some famous companies using ASP.NET are TacoBell, GettyImages, StackOverflow, to name a few.


  5. Express

    Express Framework

    Express is an open-source web framework that supplies a variety of features for mobile and web development.  It is considered one of the best backend web development frameworks as it is a minimal, flexible, topmost framework for web development on Node.js. It functions on Java, one of the major programming languages, for building up backend web applications.

    It is preferred by web developers all across the globe.  Additionally, Express helps develop competent APIs. It is one of the significant Express components of the mean software bundle. Companies using Express for their projects are MuleSoft, Accenture, Myntra, Uber, Myspace, etc.


  6. Spring

    Spring web Framework

    The Spring Framework, invented by Pivotal Software, is the most popular web development framework for the Java platform.  You can form simple, flexible, and fast JVM-based applications and systems with the Spring framework.

    Though it does not oblige any precise programming pattern, it has gained popularity in the Java Community, with the addition of the Enterprise JavaBeans model.  A Java application can utilize its main features, but the extensions help in forming web apps on top of the Java Enterprise Edition platform.

    The developers mainly use Spring for creating high-performing and vigorous web applications. Companies that utilize Spring are Deleokorea, Intuit, Zalando, MIT, and Zillow, to name a few.


  7. Angular

    Angular web framework

    Angular is one of the best front-end web development frameworks for developers. It is a TypeScript-based, open-source web app framework managed by Google Angular Team. You can use Angular to construct vast, high-functioning web applications.

    Numerous web apps are built with the assistance of Angular as its applications are much easy to maintain.  Websites that use Angular are Upwork, Lego, PayPal, Netflix, etc.


  8. Ember

    Ember web framework

    Ember.js is an open-source JavaScript framework based on the model-view-view-model (MVVM) architecture pattern. It aids web developers to form extensible single-page web applications by utilizing general idioms and advanced practices.

    Though mainly considered the best web framework, it also supports building mobile and desktop applications. A noteworthy example of Ember desktop application is Apple Music, an attribute of the iTunes desktop app.

    The Ember community of developers is ever-expanding, and new releases and features are added frequently.  Heroku, Microsoft, Netflix, and Google utilize this framework entirely on a regular basis.


  9. Meteor

    Meteor Framework

    MeteorJS or Meteor is a framework that can create real-time web and mobile apps quickly. It supports instant prototyping and yields cross-platform code for iOS, Android, and Web. Galaxy, its cloud platform, exceptionally simplifies scaling, deployment, and monitoring.

    According to Builtwith, there are currently 19,913 websites using Meteor.  Some of them are WishPool, HaggleMate, and Telescope.


  10. Vue

    Vue Framework

    Vue.js is the most high-performing lightweight JavaScript library of UI components. You can build dynamic UIs and Single Page Applications extremely fast using Vue. It provides a lot of components that can assist you in developing a seamless user interface.

    Vue is a flexible framework that allows you to integrate multiple third-party solutions. It also employs both one-way and two-way data binding. You can effortlessly apply this open-source framework to amplify applications. Companies using this framework for their projects are Gitlab, Behance, Grammarly, 9GAG, to name a few.

These top frameworks have different uses and benefits. It is important to identify your ideal fit instead of going with whichever is on the top. For building simple, lightweight client-side applications, we suggest using Vue. For dynamic web apps and single-page applications, React would be a better choice. You can also use React Native for developing highly performative mobile apps.     

Meteor is a good choice for building cross-platform hybrid apps. You should opt for Ruby on Rails if you want increased productivity and work under short deadlines. Angular is a complete solution for high-functioning robust applications built using JavaScript or you can use Django for Python-based complex websites and apps.

On the plus side, Django and Angular both support server side rendering. Use the Spring framework if you prefer working with Java and want to develop rich, testable web apps.

We recommend using Express for creating REST APIs for mobile and web applications using Node.JS. ASP.NET is a lightweight solution for you if you want to build fast and responsive mobile and desktop apps using .NET, while Laravel is better for database-driven sites such as blogs or eCommerce apps.

Finally, you should go for Ember if you want a complete client-side application framework with data management and testing.  So now that you know which are the most popular frameworks, let’s talk about why frameworks are important. Why do we even need to use them? 

Why Should You Use Web Frameworks?

A web development framework is not absolutely necessary for building a web application. But it surely provides tools that can simplify the process and makes it hassle-free. Using a framework is a good practice as developing, testing and maintaining web apps becomes almost impossible without it. 

Let us discuss some features of the best web application frameworks that make it a useful development tool for developers.

  1. Simplifies Programming Languages

    Frameworks are sometimes necessary for working with complicated programming languages as they can provide understandable and integrable functions. Working with JavaScript, for example, would require writing huge lines of code for maintaining data consistency throughout the app. But frameworks like React do this automatically.

    Similarly, they can automate a lot of other tasks by providing built-in functions that would be complicated for us. All major languages have multiple frameworks for different usage needs. They also are a great way to explore and learn a new language. Just understanding the basic programming concepts of the language, you can start coding in the framework.

  2. Optimizes Development Process

    Frameworks are a great way to bootstrap the development process. Developers working under a time constraint or a budget constraint should opt for popular open-source frameworks like mentioned above. We suggest using React or Vue for quickly developing client-side applications and Meteor or Ruby on Rails for developing MVPs(Minimum Value Products) overnight.

    You can develop custom applications within a short time, building up ready-made templates according to one’s needs. They also provide great flexibility to developers for experimenting and implementing creative solutions.     

  3. Reusability

    Another great thing about web development frameworks is reusability. It fosters the building of reusable components that can be integrated into other areas of the code and even in different projects.

    Reusability increases productivity, maintainability, and data consistency, especially in large applications with a huge developing team. Since the developers do not have to write everything from scratch, it gives them time to focus on the creation of the application logic. 

  4. Standardized Code Practices

    Most frameworks employ a specific code structure that has to be followed. This helps maintain uniformity throughout the application and streamlines the debugging process. It also makes the code simple and concise.

    It fosters the usage of standardized coding and designing practices. For example, many frameworks and libraries follow the Material Design Guidelines by Google. While this can be a hindrance for some developer’s flexibility, if you are a beginner or working in a huge team, having standardized practices ensures consistency and readability.

  5. Testing and Debugging

    Most frameworks provide in-built testing and debugging functions. With the code reusability and standard practices, your application is already better maintained and understandable.

    With features such as unit testing, code completion, simultaneous code editing, and more, maintaining and updating your app becomes extremely easy.    

  6. Community

    All of the well-known web application frameworks in this list have a huge community of developers to their name. With easy access to solutions and a huge amount of knowledge, working with frameworks comes with extensive support and guidance. 

    Plus, users have started developing numerous tools and libraries that assist in working with these frameworks. This means you have access to a world of additional features that extend the capabilities of already robust frameworks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the easiest web framework?

There are various frameworks that are obtainable to choose from. Some of them contain pre-packaged folders, files, and ways to get started quickly. These frameworks are Ruby in Rails with convention over configuration principle, Django with MVC web framework, JavaScript web framework ExpressJS, Angular.js with model-controller-view architecture, Laravel that values readability, elegance, and simplicity.

Which is the most popular web framework?

The web framework plays a crucial part in the arena of web app and development. The most popular or most used web frameworks for web development are Laravel – a PHP framework, Django – a Python Framework, Rails Framework, AngularJS Framework, Spring – a Java Framework, to name a few that facilitates a quick and effective setup, along with a flexible environment.

Why are frameworks useful?

Web development frameworks act as building blocks for websites and web applications. They provide multiple features that make client-side and server-side web development hassle-free. The most popular sites and apps use these frameworks for generating business. You can use the templates that the frameworks provide for cutting down the development time and libraries and additional tools help in optimizing performance and increasing web traffic.


Conclusion

A web framework acts as a crucial element in developing web applications, and these are some of the most well-known frameworks. Each of the frameworks in the available platform for web development has its characteristics and advantages.

Using these popular frameworks is highly recommended as it can speed up your development process. Along with these, you can also use some web development tools to assist you in the process. But it is important to choose the right framework for your project or you can get stuck with a robust framework like Ruby on Rails for developing a simple blogging site or a SPA.  

Therefore, selecting the best framework for web development must be based on a specific project’s features. We, at Monocubed, can help you find your ideal web framework by focusing on your business requirements and clients to avail higher traffic rates for your website. Our team of expert developers will assist you throughout the whole development process. 

Don’t forget to leave comments on your experience with the frameworks in this list. For more such development-related blogs, you may subscribe to our newsletter.

Author Bio

Jigar Mistry

Jigar Mistry

Jigar Mistry is the Founder of Monocubed and is the main curator and writer of the content found on this site. He has 14+ years of experience in the information technology industry. He always believes in quality, in terms of code and application.