As they say, there are as many JavaScript frameworks and libraries as there are stars in the Milky Way. The number of JS frameworks is huge - we could not agree more!

However, it is less than 300 billion, by far. Fortunately, you do not have to spend your whole life searching for the top JavaScript framework for your projects.

Performance, speed, or popularity? What are the most vital characteristics that developers seek in the tech stack? There could hardly be a single reason why certain frameworks rise, while others become the thing of the past.

What you can do is to observe the driving directions within the front-end landscape. So let’s dive into the top JavaScript trends to watch in 2021.

1. React stays on top

Did you know that React is used by 4 out of 5 front-end developers in 2020?

In 2011, React library came into life because of Facebook’s need to maintain the quickly evolving traffic for its services. The early-stage prototype for React was called FaxJS. It was not yet such a robust, efficient, and convenient library for developing user interfaces.

React back in 2011: Fax js

Source: FaxJs on GitHub

Later, in 2013, React library turned into an open-source project also maintained by Facebook. Through the collective effort of its maintainers, React is the center of top JavaScript developer libraries. It is used by many industry leaders, including Pinterest, WhatsApp, Reddit, Netflix, etc.

You may also like: How to Create a PWA with React 📱 Progressive Web Apps Guide

In 2020, React npm package had 4x more downloads than its nearest rival, Vue.js. You can find the JavaScript frameworks’ adoption trends on the graph below.

JavaScript frameworks' trends: top npm packages

Source: npm trends

2020 was marked by the first React release that did not add new features. Instead, this version enabled gradual upgrades and facilitated embedding React into other technologies.

Further reading: React App Development: UI, Styling, State Management, Testing

Also, the React team introduced some experimental features like concurrency and zero-bundle-size server components. For now, these technologies are under development, so do not hurry with implementing them into production. However, you can explore these features as they may become a huge milestone for JavaScript framework trends.

The concurrent mode is expected to become a part of the stable release in mid-2021. This mode will make it possible to defer your changes from appearing on screens. It much differs from the React approach we had before.

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Our team monitors the state of React passionately and expects 2021 to be a great year for React developers. If you want to boost your efficiency, scoop the best practices and tools for React development in our tech article.

2. Vue continues to evolve

Sometimes, it can be hard for a developer to choose between Vue.js and React for a project. In Codica, we use both of these frameworks for different tasks that occur during custom software development.

In 2020, we saw the long-awaited major release of Vue.js – 3.0. It brings boosted apps’ performance, smaller bundle sizes, and enhanced TypeScript support. Also, the Vue team released the Composition API that facilitates work with large-scale projects. The 2.7 Vue release will become LTS with a 1.5 years maintenance lifespan.

Let’s learn more about the Vue enhancements that will affect trends in JS frameworks in 2021.

Increased performance

The performance comparison between Vue 3 and Vue 2 indicates significant improvements, namely:

  • Up to 41% smaller bundle size;
  • Up to 55% quicker initial rendering;
  • Up to 133% faster updates;
  • Up to 54% less memory usage.

How did Vue 3 get such amazing results? The latest Vue release follows the approach of ‘compiler-informed virtual DOM’. The template compiler quickly renders the static content in a more efficient way and also can flatten the template’s dynamic nodes.

Vue 3, as one of the most powerful JavaScript trends, provides programmers with the following choice. Is it better for your project to get performance optimization and type binding by the compiler? Or would you better monitor the rendering manually?

Large-scale support

Before the third release, Vue was well-suited mostly for small projects. For example, Codica team successfully used Vue for the front-end part of our time-tracking Slack bot.

But the Composition API built in Vue 3 makes it easier to organize and reuse the code that is a must for big projects. It deals with such problems as unclear component origin, namespace clashes, and performance lags. Thus, it improves readability and type-checking and complies with the latest trends in JavaScript.

TypeScript integration

New virtual DOM and Composition API are compatible with TypeScript, one of the most important JavaScript trends. Vue 3 is built with TypeScript providing bundled type declarations.

Layered modules

Vue core has seen an architecture shift to the corpus of decoupled modules, following the JavaScript framework trends. Due to that, the framework got improved maintainability and introduced tree-shaking that reduces up to 50% of the runtime size.

Thus, Vue still holds its significant place in JavaScript frameworks’ popularity. Also, it continues to offer developers a straightforward and flexible way to build web apps.

3. TypeScript is growing rapidly

TypeScript growing popularity (2017-2020)

Source: The State of the Octoverse | GitHub

TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript, released by Microsoft in 2012. The idea of its creation comes from the fact that JS does not restrict the types of objects. As the name of this language suggests, it supports optional types that JS lacks for. TypeScript also adds enums to facilitate code organization.

The solution from Microsoft is not the only one presented on the market. However, the latest State of JS survey shows that TypeScript is the most used language here.

TypeScript as a leading JavaScript subset

TypeScript took the JavaScript syntax and semantics. And it brought some extra features that JavaScript developers were longing for. TypeScript boosts developer productivity and makes it easier to maintain growing codebases.

Let’s review the main advantages of TypeScript as one of the most powerful JavaScript trends.

Advantages of TypeScript

  • Optional static typing
    TypeScript is based on the structural, or ‘duck’, typing. Using TypeScript, you can create complex types by combining existing ones. For that purpose, you can use unions or generics. Also, TypeScript supports interfaces.

  • Early bug detection
    TypeScript can lower the number of program errors by highlighting unexpected behavior. And it happens at compile-time, not during the execution, like in JavaScript itself. That is how TypeScript manages to generate more efficient code.

Further reading: Advantages of Test Driven Development

  • Large-scale solutions support
    JavaScript was not made for creating large, complex systems that the modern Web abounds with. To get that, TypeScript borrowed some object-oriented features like interfaces, generics, and modules.

  • Wide adoption
    TypeScript is supported by top JavaScript libraries and frameworks. Also, TypeScript compiles to readable and standard-based JavaScript.

  • Easy onboarding
    For those who are familiar with Javascript, switching to TypeScript is not so challenging.

That is why TypeScript became the second most loved language in 2020, according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey. The JS trends indicate that the popularity of this technology will continue to grow in 2021.

The most loved languages in 2020 by Stack Overflow

So, the wide reception of TypeScript is one of the most influential recent JavaScript trends. However, it has its downsides too. The TypeScript code needs to be compiled into the regular JavaScript code to be executed by the browsers. When working on small projects, this delay can be significant. So in these cases, JavaScript still works better.

You may also like: Top Programming Languages to Shape Software Development in 2021

4. Web components as building blocks of the Web

No one can predict JavaScript frameworks’ popularity five years from now. But web components can be used in any popular framework or even in plain JavaScript.

That is why these building blocks of modern web apps are called framework-independent or agnostic web components. They facilitate web development and reduce the time and costs needed to build an application.

But what makes this concept so popular among other JavaScript trends, and how does it work? It is based on the following specifications:

  • Custom Elements allow developers to create new autonomous HTML tags with fully-customizable behavior.
  • Shadow DOM makes it possible to encapsulate DOM subtrees to the web elements.
  • ES Modules determine how to include JavaScript modules and reuse them in other JS documents.
  • HTML Template provides the way to create markup fragments that do not affect the page load by being instantiated at runtime.

When speaking about the JavaScript latest trends, web components are the crowd-pleasers.

But why so? Let’s discover the benefits of implementing web components as one of the top JavaScript trends to watch in 2021.

Advantages of web components

  • Interoperability and flexibility
    A web component is a platform-independent concept that can be used in all major browsers, as it relies on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript only. Web components have good support from the most popular JavaScript libraries and frameworks.

Web components' browser support

Source: webcomponents.org

  • Reusability and encapsulation
    Web components depend on the native browser model implementation. That allows components reuse across any JavaScript application. Also, Shadow DOM enables your custom styling not to bleed out.

  • Mobile enhancement
    Progressive web apps are gaining momentum now. Thus, PWA development became a must for businesses that want to engage with their mobile customers efficiently. That is where web components could be of great help due to their small bundle size and quick runtime.

Codica Team has vast experience of work with the PWA technology. And right now we are looking for an experienced React developer to help us build complex custom marketplaces and SaaS platforms with mobile-first experience in mind.

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5. GraphQL is capturing data management

GraphQL is a query language released by Facebook in 2015. This data management tool provides a flexible syntax for querying data from both the back-end and front-end. Nowadays, it is used by many popular companies like GitHub, Pinterest, Coursera, Shopify, and many more.

In 2020, GraphQL had the highest interest among all technologies that programmers are aware of. 89.6% of programmers who have heard about this language want to study it.

However, the leader in providing data management is still Redux that is used by 67% of developers. But JS trends show that this technology is losing satisfaction among programmers.

Front-end data layer tools by usage: State of JS

Why is developers’ satisfaction with Redux decreasing? The thing is, Redux often is quite verbose and requires too much boilerplate. Also, it is not so good at managing cached data for applications.

But nowadays, there is a variety of highly popular JavaScript frameworks and libraries that get the most out of data management. Also, a great share of all Internet usage comes from mobile devices that makes efficient data loading a must.

The reason for GraphQL creation was Facebook’s need to increase the performance of data calls within their apps. And GraphQL did that job great.

Let’s discuss what benefits GraphQL as one of the most significant JavaScript trends for 2021 brings.

Advantages of GraphQL

  • Faster data retrieval
    REST approach deals with individual URLs that require combining multiple endpoints in the API request. But GraphQL collects data under a single endpoint. So to retrieve the needed data, programmers will need to perform just one API call.

RESTful vs. GraphQL

Source: Medium

  • Boosted query efficiency
    The name of the language suggests that it uses graphs to define the data on the server. Such a graph-based scheme allows delivering the data in packages rather than through multiple API calls.

  • Customized requests
    GraphQL supports arguments for each field and nested object, including scalar fields. This strong typing feature comes from the abstraction principle. In such a way, we reduce complexity and focus on the essential information.

All these benefits can make it possible for GraphQL to replace the RESTful approach. And for now, it certainly represents one of the top JavaScript trends to watch in 2021.

6. Component-based architecture rocks

Component-based architecture decomposes the design into logical or functional elements. These elements embody well-known interfaces like methods, properties, and events.

Component-based architecture strives to enhance component reuse. The components are self-deployable binary units that encapsulate functionality.

Speaking of the latest JS trends and front-end development in general, we could not omit to tell about an open-source platform called Bit. It is a great tool for sharing, storing, and organizing web components from any project. It helps increase code reusability and collaborate on separate components.

Also, Bit can be used to implement the atomic design as one of the latest JavaScript trends. Atomic design is composed of 5 levels, as described in the picture below.

Atomic design explained

Source: Atomic Design | Brad Frost

The atomic approach in design is one of the JavaScript latest trends. It helps create consistent and scalable systems due to their modularity.

Further reading: 12 Leading UI/UX Design Trends to Dominate in 2021

Advantages of component-based architecture

Ease of deployment When you need to roll out a new version, you do not need to replace the whole system. Everything that relates to the specific component is declared within its class.

Reduced cost You can integrate third-party components and also divide the software costs across different apps.

Ease of development Components use interfaces that help not to affect other parts of the application. The thing is, one level of architecture (the view in most cases) contains the logic, design, and helper functions.

So why do you need to implement a component-based approach being one of the recent JavaScript trends? Opting for components, you can use the parts of code developed by your team for another project or by the whole open-source community.

7. Svelte is growing by leaps and bounds

Svelte is a front-end framework that relies on component-based architecture. The first version of this framework was written in JavaScript and released in 2016. But the third version that came out in 2019 uses TypeScript, another example of popular JS trends as of 2021.

Since the release of the TypeScript version, this framework has brought so much interest in the developers’ community. Svelte is used by 15% of JavaScript developers. However, it is the framework that satisfies most programmers.

JavaScript framework trends by State of JS

Svelte is a lightweight framework that helps build robust web apps. Unlike React and Vue that convert applications into Vanilla JS code during runtime, Svelte performs it during build time. Svelte acts as a compiler that allows running apps in browsers without an abstraction layer. Let’s discuss what is so special about Svelte, one of the JS trends in 2021 you cannot ignore.

Advantages of Svelte

  • Built-in reactiveness
    We have heard that React is reactive. But Svelte finds another source of reactiveness other than React’s virtual DOM. The thing is, all components in the Svelte app can have a state. As soon as you change the state of a component, the DOM gets updated.

  • Enhanced performance
    Svelte shows great runtime performance. JavaScript data trends also show that this framework is especially good for small- and medium-sized projects.

  • Compact syntax
    The syntax of Svelte is straightforward and readable. Also, Svelte applications do not need much boilerplate.

As for now, Svelte cannot compete with the top used JavaScript frameworks by popularity. But the latest trends indicate that the usage of Svelte will continue to expand. And who knows what JavaScript frameworks will set the JS trends in the near five years.

By the way, right now Codica Team is in search of an experienced React developer to work on custom marketplaces and SaaS products with us. If you love React and want to build complex web products from scratch, welcome to our team! Check the position details and apply now!

Top JavaScript frameworks and libraries to watch for in 2021

Front-end frameworks

  • Next.js. React-based framework that is well-suited for server-rendered single-page apps. It supports hybrid static rendering, smart bundling, and route prefetching. Also, it comes with great TypeScript and SEO support.
  • Nuxt.js. It can be described as a Next.js on Vue. However, it is a framework that has its benefits. For example, it deals well with building universal apps that can be executed on both the front-end and back-end sides. Also, it has fine meta tags managing that boosts SEO.
  • Gatsby. React-powered framework for building e-commerce platforms, landings, blogs, and progressive web applications. It provides programmers with code and data splitting by having GraphQL under the hood. Also, it is good in terms of velocity, safety, and SEO practices.

Related reading: Top 10 Online Marketplace Trends to Watch out for in 2021

  • VuePress. Static site generator developed by the creator of Vue, Evan You. It facilitates technical documentation handling. Using VuePress, you can get a pre-rendered SEO-friendly SPA with the use of just two commands. Also, you can use Vue components in your VuePress applications.

You may also like: The Power of CSS Processors in Web Applications Development

Back-end frameworks

  • Nest.js. Node.js framework is powered by TypeScript. It is well-suited for the development of robust and scalable back-end apps of all kinds. It catches the best ideas from object-oriented, functional, and reactive programming. Its architecture provides code modularity, testability, and maintainability.
  • Express.js. Node.js framework, primarily used for building RESTful API servers. It offers support of I/O request handling. Also, Express comes with a collection of tools and middleware modules to facilitate the development process. Also, it is easy to configure and scale.
  • Fastify. It provides a speedy and low overhead alternative for the previous framework. Fastify features encapsulated plugins, hooks, and decorators that facilitate code reusability and decoupling. Also, it supports TypeScript, one of the most important current JS trends.
  • Socket.io. It contains a Node.js server and JavaScript client API. Socket.io well-suits chat development. Socket.io can boast of auto-connection, disconnection detection, multiplexing, and arbitrary channel support.

Libraries

  • LitElement. Fast and lightweight library for sharing components across projects and developing a UI design system.
  • Date-fns. Modern date utility library for browsers and Node.js. It is more lightweight than the Moment library.
  • RxJS. Powerful library for creating functional, asynchronous, and event-based programs by using observable sequences.
  • Yup. Expressive JavaScript schema builder for validation that comes with TypeScript support.
  • Agenda.js. Low overhead library for job scheduling in Node.js backed by MongoDB.
  • Bull. Fast and reliable Redis-based queue for Node.js. Also, it has its TypeScript-written brother BullMQ
  • Jest. Fast, safe, and well-documented library for building, running, and structuring tests.
  • Commander.js. Library for creating CLIs in Node.js inspired by the Commander library for Ruby programming language. It comes with TypeScript support.

Top JavaScript frameworks and libraries to watch in 2021

Conclusion

In 2021, we see that JavaScript is not going anywhere, and the TypeScript flavor of it is getting more and more popular. The landscape keeps on expanding, powered by the JavaScript latest trends. First, these are represented by the continuing popularity of React and Vue. Also, in 2021 we will see the rise of GraphQL, Svelte, and web components.

This article was aimed to shed light on what are the current trends in JavaScript. Also, we talked about the top JavaScript libraries and frameworks that will shape front-end development in 2021 and beyond.

Are you interested in implementing the latest JavaScript trends into reality? Join our team of passionate React developers, and work on complex web products from scratch with us. Learn more about our open positions and apply now!