Assume you're constructing a house. You could do the foundation and framing yourself. You could do it, but it would take a long time. But if all of that was already done for you, it would save you a lot of time and effort — especially if it was done by a professional home builder.
Similar to building a house, software development involves a variety of tasks such as coding, designing, and testing. The process of coding requires syntax declaration, garbage collection, statements, exceptions, etc. All of these are tasks with low-level functionality and as such require a lot of time and effort on the part of the developer.
This is where frameworks come into the picture. They provide a basic underlying structure to the developer on which they can further build upon to complete tasks with low-level functionality within a minimal time frame thus allowing developers to focus more on tasks with high-level functionality.
For example - Chakra UI - It's a UI framework that allows developers to create beautiful products without having to spend a lot of time designing components from scratch.
What does a framework contain?
A software framework needs to be installed into a system. During the process of installation, it is necessary to keep in mind the system requirements. Once the installation is done, the framework creates a directory structure.
This directory structure contains folders that can have additional directories or files, classes, templates, test routines, etc.
Why do we use frameworks?
Software development is a complex process. It necessitates a variety of tasks, such as coding, designing, and testing. Only for the coding part, programmers had to deal with syntax, declarations, garbage collection, statements, exceptions, and other details.
Software frameworks make developers' lives easier by allowing them to control the entire software development process, or at least the majority of it, from a single platform.
Advantages of using frameworks
Frameworks are used by developers as a template to create websites as well as applications. Developers generally add code to a framework, then customise it for specific purposes. And this is not just it, frameworks provide a wide array of advantages to developers. Following is a rundown:
- Efficiency: Frameworks are sued by developers to create websites and applications. They add their own lines of code to fulfill their objectives Since a major part of their work has been done by somebody else hours’ work gets completed in a matter of minutes and the need to write a code that consists of thousands of lines gets eliminated and thus, as a result, the process of development becomes quick and effective.
- Security: A framework that is extensively used tends to have users who have put it to use long enough to gather the kind of knowledge that can prove beneficial in testing. These users can use the knowledge gained to detect security issues in the framework and help develop an ecosystem for the framework that can help others take advantage of a safe and secure environment.
- Standardisation of coding procedures: Frameworks help developers establish a standard procedure that can be followed throughout the development process of a project. With standardised coding practices in place, it becomes easier for organisation to help new developers who join them to get accustomed to procedures of coding and development.
- Reduces time spent on testing: The benefits of a robust and reliable application framework are especially noticeable during the testing phases. The test phase, which is often the most time-consuming and difficult task in the development lifecycle, can be supported by the right framework for the project with tools and resources to match.
- Community: A highly capable community is one of the most under-estimated advantages frameworks have to offer. A million developers all around put frameworks to extensive use day in and day. The developers thus gain expertise enough to sort out the issues that other developers might encounter. Another advantage that a strong community brings with itself is the knowledge of development pathways that are likely to prove more productive and worthwhile.
Types of frameworks
There are a large number of programming languages out there and each of these programming languages has different types of frameworks associated with them. Each framework has a specific set of problems it can solve.
These are the problems that come up at different points of time in the process of software development. These frameworks are used in various industries such as website development, data science, database management, and mobile applications.
Let us look at some of the popular software frameworks that are used today.
Web Application Frameworks
Web application frameworks or web frameworks facilitate the development of web applications by incorporating web services, web resources, and web APIs. There are various web frameworks for both the front end (the appearance of the web app) and the back end (how it works).
So, next time you react “Haha” on a meme that you find funny on your Facebook feed and the webpage does not reload, know that Vue is the framework that made it possible for you to have a seamless social media experience.
Some of the popular websites that use the Vue framework are:
Svelte has been adopted by a number of high-profile web companies including
- The New York Times
Django is a free and open-source back-end web application framework written in Python that provides an efficient way to build web applications. Rather than starting to build from scratch, Django enables developers to rapidly develop websites that are pragmatic, clean, feature-rich, and most importantly super secure.
Built by a team of experienced developers, Django takes care of web development so that developers can focus on writing applications without reinventing the wheel.
Large organizations actively use Django in their development. Some popular websites developed using Django are:
- National Geographic
Next is the back-end React framework that is used to develop a single-page JavaScipt application. The benefits of using this framework are dual: both on the user end as well on the end of the developer. Users have become digitally impatient when it comes to their interaction with websites and applications that fail to load within milliseconds. Next is the framework that comes in handy by providing a framework that enhances the speed as well as the performance of the website.
The Next framework has been adopted by a number of different websites such as:
Mobile Development frameworks
A mobile development framework (mobile app development framework) facilitates the creation of mobile applications for a particular environment, which can be native (platform-specific), hybrid (native back-end shell with web app front-end), or cross-platform (shared codebase for all).
Imagine being able to build both Android and iOS apps with a singular framework, how cool would it be? Well, with react, now you can do more with less.
Native mobile apps are the apps that are specifically created for an operating system either Android or iOS.
React Native came into being as a result of a Hackathon project that was aimed at solving the biggest problem of work duplication that had to be done as a result of maintaining two different sets of codes.
Following are the names of a few websites or companies that make use of React Native in their mobile applications:
- Uber Eats
It is made up of a reactive programming model with the conciseness and ease of use of the Kotlin programming language. It is completely declarative, so you can describe your user interface by calling a series of functions that will transform your data into a UI hierarchy.
Flutter is Google’s UI toolkit for building beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. It has an expressive and flexible UI and gives a native performance on iOS and Android platforms.
Some of the popular applications developed using Flutter are:
- Google Ads
Data Science Frameworks
Data science is a broad field concerned with the extraction of knowledge from data using statistics, scientific methods, algorithms, or systems. Today, data science is a blooming field, fueled in part by the possibilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
While Python is used for the vast majority of data science, data science frameworks such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, Apache Spark, and NumPy are becoming more popular. This guide will provide an overview of one such framework:
Apache Spark is used by over 3,000 companies, including industry leaders such as:
PyTorch is an open-source machine learning framework that accelerates the research and prototyping of the production deployment process.
PyTorch, which was created primarily by Facebook's AI research team, can be used with both Python and C++. PyTorch is a computer vision and natural language processing framework (NLP). Popular websites built with PyTorch include:
TensorFlow is a complete open-source machine learning (ML) framework. It has a robust, adaptable ecosystem of tools, libraries, and community resources that enable researchers to dive into machine learning and developers to quickly build and deploy ML-powered applications.
Popular users of PyTorch include (Source)
Before using frameworks for application development, it is a good idea to learn and develop coding skills by learning the nuances of a programming language. Otherwise, there is a risk of missing out on a valuable experience with the underlying technology in a framework.
For not-so-skilled programmers, it is critical to understand the code that powers the framework. This knowledge would help them deal with complex challenges and make them a more skilled developer overall.
Many front-end developers contribute to open-source frameworks to help the entire developer community. For example, Google developers create AngularJS and Polymer, both freely available to all front-end developers.
Many developers contribute to open-source libraries in order to help the front-end community.
The bottom line recommendation for programmers who want to use software frameworks for application development is to learn a new framework or programming language based on the requirements of the applications to be developed.