Web Application Frameworks

Web Application Frameworks: The Basics

Considering the rich and broad functionality of the current breed of web apps, the notion of building one seems a little overwhelming. Regardless of how knowledgeable you are about the steps to follow, you must strictly adhere to them. The good news is that there are tools that make web application development a tad easier. One of those tools is a web application framework. In this post we’ll take a look at the different types of frameworks out there, the pros and cons of using them, and how they can help you develop a web application that conforms to the latest web standards.

What Exactly is a Web Application Framework?

Also known as web framework, it is basically a software that’s meant to aid in the development of web applications including web Application Programming Interface (API), web resources, and web services. Simply put, web application frameworks are bits of software that provide a means to build and run web apps. They lay out a standard way to develop and deploy web apps on the Internet.

Types of Web Application Frameworks

During the earliest days of the World Wide Web, all web applications were primarily built around servers. We still have those apps today and in fact they are highly secure because the entirety of their app logic is kept on the backend.

But as web standards start to advance, the app logic began to shift towards the client in order to ensure smarter interaction between the web app and its users. With logic on their side, clients are able to react quickly to user input. This makes web applications more responsive and easily navigable on any given device.

Server-side Frameworks

The architecture and rules of server-side frameworks allow you to build simple pages and different kinds of forms. Server-side frameworks deal with HTTP requests, URL mapping, database management, among others. They can boost security and create the output data to help simplify the development process.

Front end has evolved drastically over the years, but still its main task is to display an interface, and in the absence of app logic, any user interface (UI) / user experience (UX) is immaterial. This explains why server-side frameworks are very important.

Here are some of the most popular server-side web frameworks:

  • NET (C#)
  • Django (Python)
  • Express (JavaScript/Node.JS)
  • Ruby on Rails (Ruby)
  • Symfony (PHP)

Client-side Frameworks

These frameworks don’t handle the business logic like their server-side counterpart. They operate inside the browser, which means you can improve and apply new UIs. You can build different animated features with frontend and single-page apps.

Note that while your choice with server-side frameworks largely depends on the programming language that you’re most comfortable to use, you must take into account the specific capabilities of the various client-side frameworks. They differ in the range of functionalities supported so go for the one that suits the requirements of your web app.

Here are some examples of client-side frameworks:

  • AngularJs
  • Backbone
  • Bootstrap
  • EmberJS
  • VueJS
  • Reactjs
  • Semantic-UI

The Pros and Cons of Web Frameworks

For web developers, the most obvious advantages of using web frameworks include the fact that they are open source, include integration feature, have good level of support, efficient, and have high level of security.

Being open source, web application frameworks are cost-effective for developers and clients alike. You get cost savings without necessarily compromising quality. Then there is the integration feature which is arguably one of the most useful features of a web framework. It allows you to link other tools to the framework itself.

Another distinct advantage is efficiency since web frameworks allow developers to build websites and apps faster by eliminating the need to write repetitive code. A web application framework also comes with cutting-edge security features, along with a support team, so if an issue crops up you know it will be addressed by experts.

As for the drawbacks, the most significant is the degree of limitation when it comes to making tweaks to the web framework. This could be frustrating since virtually everything is very restrictive – from coding paradigms to designs. Another disadvantage is that you may find it tough to learn the programming language behind web application frameworks. You may learn the framework itself but the coding language behind it can be completely alien to you.

For most developers, the decision of whether to use a web framework or not ultimately boils down to their coding preferences. But for those who choose to leverage web frameworks, they find that the advantages generally outweigh the disadvantages.