Dev & Design

A Quick Guide: How to Choose Web Development Frameworks

With hundreds of web frameworks out there, choosing the correct one for any given project can be somewhat of a daunting task. So how exactly does one find the very best framework based on the requirements of the project?

A web application framework or web framework, is a bundle of software that is designed for the development of dynamic websites, web applications or web services. Repetitive activities can be simplified, and code can be reused with ease throughout the project.

Most frameworks offer predefined classes, functions and modules, allowing for rapid development for commonly used features, such as database access, authentication, mail forms, cache and other performance related issues as well as theming options.

There are primarily two types of coding styles with regards to web frameworks, namely Model-View-Controller (MVC), and Model View ViewModel (MVVM). Both of these share similarities, although often the MVC is based on server-side manipulations, and MVVM conversely are based on client-side interactions.

Choosing a Framework

There are no “correct” framework for any given project, it all depends on variables related to the individual job in question. It is of course important to choose a setup that allows the developers the necessary freedom and possibilities required, by that is often a highly subjective thing, based on the particular developer(s) attached to the development process.

Below are some key considerations to keep in mind when choosing a framework:

Do you really need a framework?

Not all projects calls for a web framework, and if you are considering using one, make sure that you can’t achieve the same results with WordPress for instance. You really don’t need a framework if all you need are caching, database, user control and content editing, as all of these things are available in WordPress or other CMS systems for both PHP, JS, ASP etc.

However, if you need plenty of extensibility, access to both server- and client-side manipulations, and are worried about scaling projects later on, going with a framework makes sense compared to choosing a CMS.

Remember, that a CMS is basically the result of a framework, with functionality already built in, allowing for front-end managing of the back-end.

Core Library

One of the main reasons for choosing any particular framework would have to be the contents of their respective core libraries. Depending on what your project requires, there are options for extremely lightweight systems, only providing the bare minimum in terms of routing and access, and at the other end, some libraries contain everything needed to create something similar to WordPress, or Facebook for that matter.

It is important that the developers at least have a say in what web development framework is used, as they will ultimately have the most knowledge of what libraries they need, and which functions they would prefer writing themselves.

What license is best for your project?

This is a relatively straight-forward thing to choose between, either you opt for the open-source route which usually has many different contributors and developers attached, and since the code base is free for all, there are often hundreds if not thousands of add-ons built by community members, allowing for rapid deployment and moderate customization.

At the other side of the field lies the commercial licenses, which promises a dedicated team of developers and supporters working daily on the framework, often offering help with integration and deployment. The commercial frameworks are often used by larger organizations and businesses, already pulling loads of traffic, needing the very best and streamlined features available (think Facebook, Instagram etc.)

Hosting Environment

If you are developing your own web project and thus have complete control over which hosting environment the project will ultimately work on, there are few considerations to keep in mind, however, if you are developing for clients, this can be key in determining the correct web development framework, since supported languages, even just versions vastly differ from hosts.

Choice of Programming Language

Another hugely important aspect, just briefly touched upon in previous paragraphs, has to do with the future of the programming language chosen. While PHP is one of the most widely used languages out there, it has several flaws and are often looked down upon by skilled developers due to its many issues. However, all of the popular languages will get the job done, and even if PHP has problems, it’s not like it will disappear completely within the next year.

One of the main reasons to choose a framework has to do with the speed of which you can develop, and if you have to learn a new programming language just to build a web application with the latest, hottest framework, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Guest Author : Mark Pedersen has more than 10 years experience working with developing e-commerce sites,maintaining and upgrading websites, consulting seo and app development. He is passionate about most consumer electronics and gadgets as well.

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