Front-End JavaScript Development

Imagine for a second the fact that, five years ago, we already had frameworks like jQuery to play with, and while not as functional and feature rich as today – it was already possible to configure and play with the web in hardly imaginable ways.

Today, there are literally hundreds of thousands of frameworks available to anyone who is brave enough to learn something new. Yes, most of them play very tiny role in the collective evolution of web development, but even that tiny contribution counts.

Front-end is not just about HTML & CSS, it involves creativity just as much as it involves writing code in JavaScript, PHP, Python or any other programming language of your choice.

Have a look at my post on the top web programming languages in 2014 – if you’ve been following the trend, it will not be hard to see that most of those languages have held the top spot for over a decade.

PHP: The Good Parts

PHP: The Good Parts

I’m sure you know a lot of this stuff already, but it doesn’t hurt to refresh your memory and bask in a little bit of nostalgia from time to time. If you think that I didn’t mention your favorite framework because I hate you: surprisingly, you’d be right!

1. AuraJS

AuraJS Aura
It started out as a simple garage (metaphorically) project, and turned into a full-blown component framework that thousands of websites are powered by. AuraJS is built to be the framework that puts all of your components together, and builds them into a fully functional web application.

The best part is that it will work with your favorite MVC framework, and is actually encouraged to be used that way. Examples include Backbone, AngularJS and many more.

2. Kraken

Kraken is a lightweight, mobile-first boilerplate for front-end web developers. It has been developed with accessibility, functionality and performance in mind; so rest assured that it’s fast and reliable. It has Sass built inside of its eco-system, enabling to make changes on the fly.

It has all of the essentials that any mobile developer should need.

3. min.js

There isn’t very much to say about this framework, because it’s so damn minimal! Min.js is a super tiny JavaScript library to execute simple DOM querying and hooking event listeners.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <title>min.js DEMO</title>
    <script src="min.js"></script>
    <div id="demo">
        <a href="#">click for demo</a>
        $('#demo a').on('click', function (event) {
            alert("You just witnessed the demo of min.js!")

I put together a tiny demo piece to give you a better idea of what it does.

4. Reactive Coffee

Reactive Coffee
You can learn CoffeeScript rather quickly, in the end – it’s only JavaScript. Reactive Coffee is a library for building scalable web UIs, quickly and effectively. It has similarities with frameworks like AngularJS, making it easier to transition and get used to using.

I’m more amazed by the dedication that went into building this, than I am by anything else.

5. Responsive

Responsive Framework
Responsive web design is on the rise, and rightfully so; nobody likes to view a website on their mobile phone that is not responsive or compatible with their device. I hate when that happens.

Responsive was built with one thing in mind – simplicity. Web frameworks like Bootstrap are definitely a great resource, but often times – when we begin a new project, the last thing we need is to tinker with stuff that we’ll never use anyway.

6. scaleApp

scaleApp is a no dependencies, tiny front-end framework for building single/one page applications, and not just any applications, as you can easily build complex stuff without having to depend on any other frameworks.

You can grab plugins like MVC, or DOM to extend the functionality.

7. skelJS

skelJS is a lightweight frontend framework for building responsive sites and apps. Consisting of only a single JS file (weighing in at just 21kb as of this version), it gives designers and developers access to four powerful components:

  • CSS Grid System
  • Responsive Handler
  • CSS Shortcuts
  • Plugin System

Once again, a framework that focuses on the most important stuff, and instead of bundling everything together; offers the ability to integrate your own plugins for extra features. I’m digging this type of stuff.

8. Spine

Build Awesome Javascript MVC Applications Spine
Spine is written in CoffeeScript, but it doesn’t require of you to know CS in order to build with it. Itself, it’s a minimal MVC framework for building web applications in a well structured way. Spine stores and renders everything client-side, communicating with the server asynchronously.

9. Stapes.js

Stapes.js the Javascript MVC microframework that does just enough
Stapes is extremely lightweight, which makes it appealing to those front-end developers who’re looking to build mobile applications. Stapes can take care of class creation, custom events, and data methods. That’s pretty much all it does.

Minimal Frameworks for Front-End JavaScript Development

I think the trend was clear and obvious to see, majority of these are built to help out with simple web application development, while quite a few of these also focus on mobile development. (hence, minimal)

Yes, perhaps Backbone.js and others are also ‘minimal’ – but they’re not as near as minimal as these frameworks are.