Is a Frontend Framework Necessary?

So, you are wondering if a frontend framework is really necessary for frontend development. Well, I am here to tell you that it isn’t! However, depending on your project, it could be highly recommended.

In this article, we are going to break down the benefits of a frontend framework and when those benefits might not be necessary.

So without further ado, let’s jump in.

Benefits of Frontend frameworks

The only real benefit of a frontend framework is that they host a suite of pre-built solutions to make your development experience more manageable.

Although this sounds simple, it actually hosts a plethora of advantages when you are developing the frontend of your application.

1. Scalability

The first major advantage of utilizing a framework is that it helps ensure that your application is scalable.

As you write more and more code, you want to make sure that your code is organized in a way that it’s easy to understand what is going on. Luckily all major frameworks solve this issue for you. Frameworks like Vue and React make it extremely simple to share logic between files and compartmentalize your code. Functionality that was not natively supported in JavaScript in ES6.

In addition to compartmentalizing code, frameworks also generally feature a process in which they don’t execute code twice. This means code written in separate files is still called efficiently.

If you chose not to use a frontend framework, you would need to deal with these issues yourself.

2. Develop Software Faster

The second major advantage of frontend frameworks is that you can develop your application much faster with much fewer roadblocks.

Frontend frameworks handle common frontend issues like routing, state management, testing suites and build toolchains to help you build robust and advanced applications with minimal effort.

Without these tools, you would either need to find a way to write your applications without them or build them yourself. A silly thing to do when something already exists!

3. Easier To Read & Write

Additionally, JavaScript frameworks have certain best practices in place for how to write your code. This is beneficial in two ways:

First, you don’t need to plan out the methodologies of how you are going to write your code because it already exists. Second, you are going to find it easier to go back and read/modify your code because you understand how the framework works.

This brings us to our fourth point.

4. Easier Collaboration

Software written by a popular JavaScript framework like React, Angular, or Vue is much easier to collaborate on because there are tens of thousands of developers that are already familiar with these frameworks.

This is especially important for companies because you want your developers to be up to speed and productive as soon as possible. The more time developers need to spend to understand the codebase, the more money the company is wasting.

5. Fewer Bugs

Finally, utilizing frontend frameworks means there are way fewer bugs than if you tried to create advanced applications from scratch.

The major frontend frameworks were created by incredibly intelligent developers and tested by millions of others. Although no software is completely bug-free, we know that the top frameworks right now are really solid.

On the other hand, if you decide that you want to create an application from scratch, you’re on your own. You need to make your own design decisions and test all the bugs by yourself. Not recommended on a production-level application!

When Frontend Frameworks Are Not Necessary

Now I’m not saying that you need a frontend framework. Although there are a ton of benefits to using one, there are also reasons not to.

1. You’re Still Learning How To Code

If you are still learning how to code and don’t feel incredibly comfortable with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, I don’t recommend you use a frontend framework to learn.

Why? Well, simply because those frameworks can be a crutch and you will be a much worse developer if you can’t write pure JavaScript or an application without a framework.

Additionally, frameworks can be really confusing to learn if you don’t have solid JavaScript skills. When I learn new frameworks now, it is incredibly simple and I could pick up something like React or Vue in under a day. However, when I was first learning JavaScript, I was really struggling. Mainly because I didn’t know what was React and what was vanilla JS.

You can read more about this here.

2. You Need A Completely Custom Solution

Let me stop you right there and tell you – no. You do not need a completely custom solution. If you are Facebook or Google, then yes, you might.

In fact, that is why Google created Angular and Facebook created React. They were facing scalability issues and wanted something that could solve those problems.

Luckily for 99.9% of us, the solutions these giant companies come up with will also solve our problems.

But even if you did need a custom solution, that custom solution would probably end up being your own framework. So for large-scale applications, frameworks are almost necessary. At least, if you want to keep your sanity.

3. You Have A Really Simple App

If you have a super simple application, it might be overkill to use a framework. Frameworks are great for when you need to do something a bit more advanced but come with added weight or complexity to the app that you may not want for something basic.

Alternatively, you could try out something like Svelte for your basic apps. As it is super simple to learn and use while also compiling down to 100% efficient JavaScript!

Summary: Is a Frontend Framework Necessary?

No, a frontend framework is technically never necessary. Anything that can be achieved with a framework, can be achieved with pure JavaScript. However, you would be sacrificing a lot of time and simplicity that a frontend framework gives to you. Unless you’re still learning, building something small, or working for a goliath company, you’ll probably want to use a pre-built framework for your projects.

Already learned HTML, CSS & JavaScript and want to learn your first frontend framework? Check out this best-selling React course!

As always, happy coding!

Grant Darling

Grant is a full-stack / frontend software developer passionate about writing & coding. He has many years experience working in the tech industry both as a freelancer and as an employee.

The Code Bytes is all about providing people with honest information about programming. To learn more about Grant, read his about page!

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