“When you’re hot,” observed country singer Jerry Reed in the early ‘70s, “you’re hot.” An astute commentator on the human condition, Jerry also found the converse to be true: “When you’re not, you’re not.” On its face, it seems so obvious, right? But sometimes it takes a country song to set us straight on these things.
With the backing of tech heavyweight Facebook, the React framework almost cannot fail to be hot. Indeed, the statistics over the last couple of years bear this out: In both downloads per month and job listings, React is now the solid leader, overtaking even jQuery in the latter measure. The fact that it continues to be maintained by Facebook, rather than being thrown to the open-source community, lends it an aura of stability that other frameworks lack. However, Facebook’s sponsorship can be a two-edged sword: Facebook calls the shots with regard to licensing and development roadmap, and this doesn’t sit well with some in the development community. React’s continued success will depend in large part on how Facebook manages it.
Hot and Not: Angular
What to Look for in 2019
Ultimately, the choice of framework depends (or should depend) on the characteristics of the project and the availability of resources to support it. Is file size important? What about strict adherence to the model-view-controller (MVC) structure, which some frameworks enforce more rigidly than others? What’s the experience level of the developers? Is this a throwaway app, or something that will have a multi-year lifecycle with multiple releases? Are there constraints around licensing terms? And so on.
Project-driven framework choices will, in turn, depend on what types of projects are in vogue. The ol’ crystal ball is a bit cloudy on this point, but it seems likely that 2019 and beyond will see intense interest in apps (web, mobile, native desktop, and progressive) related to:
- Machine learning
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Big-data analytics
The “Hot” general-purpose frameworks going forward will be those that most easily support both the development and testing of these types of apps, or at least play well with the narrowly focused frameworks that do. It will be interesting to see which of the current crop of “Hot” frameworks will be able to keep the momentum going in the face of these demands, and whether new frameworks lurking in the shadows are ready to become “Hot” in their own right.