And there is only one winner.
Many has fallen in the path, like Backbone or Sencha, leaving corpses: tons of legacy code that has to maintained. Others survive, like jQuery, that surprisingly still have a large community. Others, like Angular, does not seem to lift off as expected or promised.
It is possibly the oldest contestant alive. It was very popular because it fixed the interoperability between browsers, but applications were difficult to scale.
Nowadays, jQuery is not one of the mainstream, and it is not the best choice for most of the projects.
It is already in LTS mode, and it has been retired in favor of its big brother. There is no doubt that it was a great leap forward in the framework ecosystem, and some of us still miss it.
But, because it is not longer actively maintained, it is not longer a contestant.
It arrived to the world to compete with React. AngularJS was getting old, it had problems of performance, problems of robustness, and as React got better, many programmers looked to React with envious eyes. Angular modernized AngularJS to take advantage of the last improvements of ECMAScript 6, and tried to fulfill the promises to compete effectively with React.
The most highlighted difficulty of Angular is its heavy learning curve. It requires a lot of concepts, not everything is straightforwards, and it has lots of dead ends. Learning Angular well is hard: it has inherited the learning curve from AngularJS, but with new difficulties, like RxJS or the hierarchical dependency injection.
But the biggest problem of Angular is fragmentation and version upgrade. It is very hard to upgrade the version; it is so difficult that users do not risk upgrading its applications. It can be seen in the npm website.
Vue was the answer for many developers that need something more performant than AngularJS, but more stable and easy to use than Angular. Vue in its template system is very close to the original Angular, keeping the simplicity of AngularJS, but at the same time, it gained some power from React.
In theory, this issue is solved in version 3. But blaming others for one’s own mistakes did not sit well with the community.
It is a growing contestant in the war, and it is giving big promises. It claims that its main strength is the translation of the components to an imperative language, which, according to them, it is better than the declarative taken by React.
There is no doubt that it is more simple to use, but the translation to imperative, and the resulting component, is not as easy to predict as it seems. SvelteJS is not able to detect correctly changes in some cases. When this happens, the state can be corrupted and views are not updated correctly. This issue raises so many concerns that it is difficult to justify any project in SvelteJS, like in the old days with VueJS.
Well, technically it is not a framework, although it is. StencilJS allows writing a component, and translate it to other frameworks. Nowadays, it translates components to Angular, React, Vue and WebComponents components.
But, there is something curious with this class. It is really similar to another thing, right?
You have probably not heard about it, but it is the one who made me create this post. Mitosis is the latest framework created by Misko Hevery, the creator of Angular. That is right, Misko has created another framework after Angular.
Mitosis has the same purpose as StencilJS, it translates its components to numerous frameworks. And by the way, does the code resemble to any other framework?
It is one of the oldest modern frameworks, with more than 10 years in the npm repository. Although it has changed a lot, it still has compatibility with most of the previous versions. And all the changes have been to the better. Some say that React with hooks has created an even better framework.
And the winner is…
JSX. Ok, React, but not React itself, but the philosophy behind. React is itself a library, but that can be replaced by many others, like Preact or React Native. But if you look carefully, StencilJS or Mitosis are very similar to React, and it is not a coincidence, it is because:
«The best framework is the one that removes itself from the user code.»
So, with no doubt, React is the winner of the framework war.
Because it is not a framework inside the user code.
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