Top 10 Most Popular JavaScript Libraries to Use in 2021

Md Kamaruzzaman
Oct 17 · 9 min read

A curated list of the most popular JavaScript libraries to boost your productivity

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Photo by Nikolay Tarashchenko on Unsplash

JavaScript is the ‘Lingua Franca’ of the Web. It is also the second most popular programming language in the world, just behind Python.

If the current trend continues, JavaScript will soon overtake Python as the most popular programming language. One of the Key features of JavaScript is it has a tiny Standard library. To supplement it, JavaScript has millions of libraries (packages). JavaScript package manager NPM ecosystem is one of the most popular and vibrant package manager ecosystems in the Software Development industry.

As a JavaScript developer, you should have a good idea about the most important and useful JavaScript libraries and use them instead of reinventing the wheel. What are the most popular JavaScript libraries?

Here I am listing the 10 most popular JavaScript libraries based on the following features:

  • The number of downloads.
  • The number of dependent projects.
  • Number of GitHub stars

Please note that this list is about libraries and not about frameworks. Also, I am listing libraries across the whole stack: Front-end and Back-end.

1. Lodash

Whether you are developing a Front-end or Back-end applications in JavaScript, you will feel the need for a common Utility library. Lodash is by far the most widely used common JavaScript Utility library. It provides utility functions for common programming tasks using the functional programming paradigm. It is built upon the popular JavaScript library underscore.js. It makes JavaScript coding easier and cleaner.

Main Features

  • Common functions to iterate arrays, objects, and strings.
  • Manipulate and test numbers and values.
  • Create composite functions.
  • Advanced functional programming features.

Popularity

With 36 million weekly downloads and around 123.9k dependent packages, Lodash is by far the most influential and pervasive JavaScript library:

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Source: npmjs

With 46.8k stars, it is also one of the most popular JavaScript libraries in GitHub and the third most starred library in this list:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save lodash

Link

2. Chalk

Console output is one of the most used JavaScript debugging techniques in Front-end and Back-end development alike. If you want to make your console groovy and colorful, JavaScript library Chalk can be very handy. With the slogan “Terminal string styling done right” it helps styling console output simply and quickly. It has an expressive and highly performant API.

Main Features

  • Supports 256 colors and True Colors.
  • Auto-detects color support.
  • It is clean and focused.
  • It can nest styles.

Popularity

With around 60 millions weekly downloads and 61k dependent packages, chalk is one of the most downloaded JavaScript libraries:

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Source: npmjs

With 15.2k stars, it is also one of the most popular JavaScript libraries in GitHub:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save chalk

Link

3. React

JavaScript is the programming language of the Web. In modern times, JavaScript libraries and frameworks are in pole position to develop Front-end Web applications. Among all JavaScript libraries and frameworks, one library stands head and shoulder above others: React. It is a disruptive JavaScript library for building User interface using one-way data flow and Component-based UI development. If you plan to use a modern JavaScript library for your awesome User Interface, you can use React.

Main Features

  • It is a Component-based library for the View layer.
  • It supports one-way data binding.
  • It offers the functional programming paradigm in Front-end development.
  • It can be used to develop User Interface for Web, Desktop, Mobile.

Popularity

With 8 million weekly downloads and around 63.8k dependent packages, react is by far the most popular and influential Client-Side JavaScript library:

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Source: npmjs

With 157k stars, it is one of the most starred GitHub projects in the entire software development industry:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save react

Link

4. Debug

Many JavaScript developers use console.log to debug JavaScript applications, especially in the Browser. Debug is the much better alternative to debugging JavaScript applications. It is a small utility library to debug JavaScript applications in both Browser and Node.js. It also allows toggling the debug output for different parts of the application module as well as the module as a whole

Main Features

  • Offers a decorated version of console.error.
  • Assign a different color to a different namespace.
  • Supports many standard formatter.
  • The debugger is extendable.

Popularity

With 76 million weekly downloads and 36.5k dependent packages, debug is the most downloaded library in this list:

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Source: npmjs

With 9.1k stars, it is also a trendy JavaScript library in GitHub:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save debug

Link

5. Commander

Command Line Interface is an important feature in Back-end software development. Inspired by Ruby’s commander, Commander.js is a library that provides a complete command-line interface solution for Server-Side JavaScript.

Main Features

  • Advanced Command Line options.
  • Fluent API.
  • Automated and custom help.
  • Custom event listener.
  • Asynchronous support.

Popularity

With 46 million weekly downloads and approx. 47k dependent packages, commander is one of the most popular Node.js libraries:

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Source: npmjs

With 18.9k stars, it is also one of the most popular Node.js libraries in GitHub:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save commander

Link

6. Request

HTTP is by far the most used application Protocol in Business application development and modern Web development. If you are developing a Front-end application, you will need an HTTP client. Request is the most widely used HTTP client in the JavaScript landscape. It will give you the simplest way to make HTTP calls with many advanced and powerful features.

Main Features

  • It supports streaming and Async/Await.
  • HTTP Authentication.
  • Custom HTTP headers.
  • OAuth Signing.
  • TLS/SSL protocol support.

Popularity

With 21 million weekly downloads and 50.6k dependent packages, request is one of the most dependent upon JavaScript library:

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Source: npmjs

It has 24.8k GitHub stars, and it is among the most popular JavaScript project in GitHub:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save request

Link

7. Async

JavaScript is the programming language that is built on the Asynchronous programming paradigm. As a JavaScript developer, you will feel the need for a common utility library for asynchronous functionality. Although there exist many libraries that support asynchronous functionalities, I find Async the best among the lot. It is a common utility library offering powerful functions to work with Asynchronous JavaScript.

Main Features

  • Asynchronous collection functions.
  • Asynchronous control flow.
  • Asynchronous Utilities.
  • Support both Node.js and Browser.

Popularity

With 31 million weekly downloads and 30.3k dependent packages, async is the most popular asynchronous Utility library in JavaScript:

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Source: npmjs

It also has 26.8k GitHub stars and one of the most popular JavaScript Utility library in GitHub:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save async

Link

8. Express

If you are using JavaScript for Server Side development, you may need to implement an HTTP Server. Express is the most well-known and most used HTTP Server implementation in JavaScript. It is mainly used to develop Web Applications and REST API. It is a minimalistic, speedy, and less-opinionated library. There are many JavaScript Web Framework built upon Express.

Main Features

  • It offers middleware, routing, template.
  • It supports content negotiation.
  • Very fast and high performant.
  • It has HTTP helpers for redirection, caching.

Popularity

With14 million weekly downloads and 46.6k dependent packages, request is one of the most popular Server-Side JavaScript libraries:

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Source: npmjs

With 50.5k stars, it is the second most popular GitHub library in this list:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save express

Link

9. Moment

As a software developer, we need to handle date and time. In JavaScript, in general, and in earlier versions in particular, the support for date and time was too little. There are many date/time libraries in JavaScript to support date and time in JavaScript. Moment is by far the most popular date and time library in JavaScript. This library provides excellent support to handle date and time in JavaScript.

Main Features

  • parse date and time.
  • validate the date and time.
  • format date and time
  • manipulate date and time.

Popularity

With 15 million weekly downloads and 46.7k dependent packages, Moment is one of the most popular JavaScript libraries:

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Source: npmjs

With 45k stars, it is the fourth most popular GitHub library in this list:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save moment

Link

10. Fs-extra

If you work with Back-end JavaScript, you have to deal with the file system. Unfortunately, the file system functionalities offered in Node.js is minimal. Fs-extra is the library that offers additional and advanced methods to deal with the file systems. It should be a drop-in replacement for the Node.js native file system library fs.

Main Features

  • Advanced and additional file system methods.
  • Prevents EMFILE error.
  • Drop-in replacement for fs.
  • Make including mkdirp, rimraf, ncp packages redundant.
  • Support Sync, Async, and Async/Await.

Popularity

With 33 million weekly downloads and 37.9k dependent packages, fs-extra is one of the most popular Server-Side JavaScript libraries:

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Source: npmjs

It is also a popular JavaScript library in GitHub:

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Source: GitHub

Installation

npm i --save fs-extra

Link

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