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Top Trends in Javascript for 2018 and Beyond

by | Mar 5, 2018

Javascript development is changing quickly, especially over the past twelve months. 2017 was a year with a lot of action, changes, and new initiatives in front-end web development. The race to become the preferred Javascript framework has heated up, as more projects have begun to choose React or even Vue over Angular.

If you’re a Javascript developer, it’s worth taking a look at all the new trends that have emerged over the past year. Learning these new frameworks and integrations could be the key to getting your foot in the door on new innovative projects. Over time, they’ll become need-to-know, not just nice-to-know. So, let’s take a look at the top trends in Javascript to get you up to speed and ahead of the game.

Angular vs. React vs. Vue

Angular held the de facto spot as the go-to, enterprise ready Javascript framework for a long time. Backed by Google and supported by a diverse community, it was the dominant player in Javascript. It still is a major force, but its influence has waned in the wake of challengers over the past few years.

React is the new developer-favorite for front-end development, and as of 2017 it’s the dominant force in the ecosystem. There’s still strong demand for Angular development, but over the course of 2017, many projects chose React over Angular. React has backing from Facebook and its community has grown along with its popularity.

On the back of Angular’s decline has come increased interest in Vue, a new simple framework for Javascript development. The growth and changes created a lot of hype for Vue in 2017. It’s not as powerful as React, but the Vue team collaborates with the React team at Facebook, and they’re creating frameworks for different levels of complexity in web apps. Vue solves most of the problems developers need in an elegant way.

All three frameworks are solid choices for building web apps, and they each have advantages depending on the context they’re deployed in. For an in-depth look at the differences, check out Jens Neuhaus’s guide. In the future, knowing these various frameworks, especially React and Vue, is going to become important for working on new, innovative projects.

Next.js

Next.js is a minimalist framework for Javascript apps. It helps simplify the experience of deploying an app. When combined with React, you can get all the powerful React functionality while getting a similar simple experience as Vue in terms of tooling, code splitting, routing, etc.

Next.js works to make your Javascript run universally whether its on a server, computer, or mobile device. It helps create universal server-rendered applications with minimal code and learning curve. It’s definitely worth learning if you haven’t started already, especially since it plays nice with React to create powerful universal apps. 2018 will likely see continued growth for Next.js.

Reason

Facebook is using Reason in production to power the Messenger web app. Reason is a compile to Javascript language. It also includes a Reason React wrapper that allows you to write Reason code that compiles to React JS. Reason is a statically-typed, functional programming language that can power single page web apps. It allows you to write type safe code that plays nice with both JavaScript and OCaml.

This is definitely an emerging trend that bears watching (and maybe some experimentation with a side project) if you’re a Javascript dev.

GraphQL

Many consider GraphQL to be the replacement for REST APIs moving forward. However, REST and GraphQL don’t have to necessarily be competitors, and one isn’t “better” than the other for all applications.

GraphQL is a query language that allows developers to make more specific requests of the server and package these requests simply. GraphQL integrates with React through the Relay framework. It’s an important trend for server requests and APIs in Javascript moving forward, and it’s another language worth testing out.

Conclusion

We’ve only covered a few of the many emerging trends in Javascript and front-end web development in this article. Hopefully, you’ve found something new to test out or try to learn. Javascript is constantly changing, and it’s likely there will be new leading technologies by this time next year. Staying ahead of the curve is a challenge, but it’s important for developers who want to work at the top of their game on the most exciting projects.

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