Top 8 JavaScript Libraries to Make Web Development Easy

Hermione at Pangea.ai
Mayank Wadhwa
Published: 14.10.2022

JavaScript comes with several useful libraries, making app and web development easier and more convenient for both new and experienced developers. That’s why, according to Statista, JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language in 2022.

However, with so many JavaScript libraries to choose from, it can be hard to determine which one’s best for your next project.

In this post, we’ve curated a list of the top JavaScript libraries that are commonly used in projects, plus nine not-so-common yet useful ones. We’ll be exploring the features they offer, and help your team choose the right one(s) for your next project.

Top 8 JavaScript Libraries

Based on the reliability and the functionalities they offer, here are the top eight JavaScript libraries we’ve handpicked to help make JavaScript development easier, convenient, and more impactful for you and your team

jQuery

Released by John Resig in 2006, jQuery is by far the most popular and prolific JavaScript library. It's primarily used for Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation. Using jQuery, developers can manage events, create animation effects, select and tweak DOM elements, parse JSON, develop Ajax apps, and more.

The syntax of jQuery is quite similar to that of CSS, which makes it easy to learn. In addition, there's a budding jQuery community. So, in case you or your developers run into problems, the answers can be found easily. jQuery is easy to use, highly flexible, and cross-platform compatible.

Drawbacks of jQuery

While jQuery is one of the most popular libraries, its requirement is being questioned. For instance, why need jQuery when you can do similar things using plain JavaScript? Also, jQuery is slower than CSS and is quite complex to debug.

An image of tiles with individual letters on them that spell

D3.js

Developed in 2011, D3.js is a JavaScript library that helps developers manipulate documents using data. Developers can bring data to life by creating immersive visualizations using CSS, SVG, and HTML — everything from simple bar charts to complex three-dimensional surface plots, everything is possible with D3.js.

D3.js comes with several reusable components, which makes creating visualizations easy. In addition, you can customize the visualizations the way you want. The community backing D3.js is pretty great. So, there'll always be some helping hands should your developers run into any problems.

Drawbacks of D3.js

D3.js has a steep learning curve and poor documentation, making it hard for new developers to master using the library.

While customizing visualizations is easy with D3.js, when it comes to creating visualizations, the developers might have a hard time. Also, it can be slow if large datasets are processed.

React.js

React.js is an open-source JavaScript library released in March 2013 by Jordan Walke. It's pretty popular and is being used by millions of websites across the Internet. With React.js, developers can comfortably create interactive web applications of any scale, small or large.

React.js comes with a virtual DOM, which helps developers create fast and modern solutions. It has several reusable components, which shortens and simplifies the development process. Also, React.js is easy to learn and has impeccable community support making it one of the top JavaScript libraries.

Drawbacks of React.js

React.js has a complex syntax because of JSX (a combination of JavaScript and HTML), and the documentation isn’t on the same level as the documentation of some other JavaScript libraries, making it hard for new developers to master it. Also, React.js is ever evolving, which, again, makes it more complex to keep up with.

TensorFlow

TensorFlow made it to our list of top JavaScript libraries because of the unique abilities it offers to developers. With TensorFlow, developers can build algorithms, develop machine learning (ML) models or run ML directly in the browsers.

This open-source JavaScript library makes tasks like data analysis, image recognition, and natural language processing sound pretty easy. In addition, TensorFlow ensures a secure environment and helps developers to enhance performance, especially if the end user has a GPU installed.

Drawbacks of TensorFlow.js

As TensorFlow is open-source, it gets regularly updated, which makes it hard for developers to keep up with the changes. Also, the developers can’t train ML models; they can only execute them, which is another downside.

Redux 

Created by Andrew Clark and Dan Abramov, Redux is the top JavaScript library for state management. It helps web developers ensure that different components, such as buttons or text fields, work and react properly.

This further ensures consistent app behavior across environments (server, native, or client). Also, Redux is easy to learn and debug and works with any UI layer increasing overall flexibility.

Drawbacks of Redux

As all components can access the data, Redux poses a security threat to the companies, especially the ones dealing with sensitive data. Also, Redux has high memory usage, which can be detrimental to the app's performance.

DOJO Toolkit

DOJO Toolkit is one of the top JavaScript libraries because it comes with language utilities, UI components, thousands of JavaScript modules (including several resources), and everything your developers need to craft a quality web application.

Because you or your developers can get all they need in one library, choosing this DOJO Toolkit can save you time and scale your development process.

Drawbacks of DOJO Toolkit

DOJO has a steep learning curve, probably because of the library's complex functions. Also, several modern-day frameworks, such as React.js, seem to be more reliable and functional than the DOJO Toolkit.

Backbone.js

Created by Jeremy Ashkenas in 2010, Backbone.js is a JavaScript library that offers a well-structured and organized way of developing single-page web applications. It helps simplify code and allows developers to structure JavaScript in an MVC paradigm keeping the client-side JavaScript code clean.

Furthermore, Backbone.js is lightweight, flexible, and has a vibrant community.

Drawbacks of Backbone.js

While several resources are available to learn Backbone.js, it takes time to master the inner workings, resulting in a longer development time. Also, unit testing Backbone.js Views is a complex and time-consuming process.

An image of a software developer writing code on a computer with a laptop on their side.

Polymer

Released by Google in 2013, Polymer is a library that makes creating reusable web components easy. Developers can use these web components to create single-page web apps, eCommerce apps, hybrid mobile apps, real-time web apps, and progressive web apps.

Polymer uses JavaScript and HTML, allowing developers to grasp the concepts better and develop web apps quickly.

Drawbacks of Polymer

While creating web components is easy, understanding the structure is pretty hard, which makes the development process slower.

Also, Polymer leads to poor performance in mobile devices and cannot be leveraged for developing large-scale applications.

Bonus JavaScript Libraries

Here are some not-so-popular yet useful JavaScript libraries to make JavaScript development even more convenient:

  • Algolia Places: It's a JavaScript library that helps include address search autocomplete functionality in websites or web apps for a better user experience.
  • Animate On Scroll (AOS): As the name says, AOS helps add animations when a web page is scrolled up or down.
  • Bideo.js: It helps add a video to a website's background (a pretty-looking feature).
  • Cleave.js: This JavaScript library helps format the website's text content and improve text-based content's readability.
  • Choreographer.js: It helps developers easily animate CSS, even the complex ones.
  • Leaflet: Leaflet is a JavaScript library that helps include high-performance maps to websites that load quickly.
  • Parsley: This JavaScript library is quite crucial as it helps add validations to all sorts of forms on a website ensuring correct data is being entered and captured.
  • MathJax: This JavaScript library comes in handy when you want to display math notations across different browsers.
  • TaffyDB: This JavaScript library offers database functionality that developers can include in their projects and improve how data is handled inside JavaScript.

If you’re curious to learn more about JavaScript frameworks, refer to this detailed guide prepared by Pangea.

Wrapping Up 

Now that you know which JavaScript libraries are the most reliable, you can help your development team make an informed decision and ensure that your next JavaScript project is a success.

To ensure this, you’ll need experienced JavaScript developers to help you out. If you don’t have the resources to train your existing in-house ones, or if you just want someone to help you out, you can reach out to us — we can connect you with the best JavaScript development companies to turn your idea into reality.

FAQs:

Q1. How many libraries are in JavaScript?

In total, JavaScript has around 83 libraries. Libraries offer pre-built functionalities which developers can integrate into their code without having to program everything from scratch. This helps developers save time and effort and push the website or web apps faster into the market. 

Q2. What JavaScript library should I use?

While you can go for jQuery or React.js, considering their popularity and the features they offer, in practice, it depends on what your requirements are.

For instance, if you want to include data visualizations in your project, you can include D3.js; for auto-filling addresses, you can choose Algolia Places; for data analysis and ML, you can go for TensorFlow, and so on.

Q3. What are two types of JavaScript libraries?

JavaScript libraries are broadly categorized into eight types based on their use cases:

  • DOM Manipulation: Such libraries help create, remove or change elements from website documents. Example: jQuery
  • Maps: These libraries help include maps in websites or web apps. Example: Leaflet.
  • User Interface: Such libraries help with the front-end or UI. Example: React.js.
  • Charts: Such libraries help display data more creatively. Example: D3.js
  • UI Components: Such libraries help create and use UI components. Example: DOJO.
  • Animation: These libraries help with adding animations. Example: jQuery or AOS.
  • Data Handling: Such libraries help handle data more effectively. Example: D3.js.

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