Top JavaScript libraries and frameworks part 1

by Janeth Kent Date: 06-05-2021 javascript

JavaScript libraries and frameworks make it easy to develop websites and applications with a wide variety of features and functionality, all with dynamic, flexible and engaging features. According to a 2020 StackOverflow survey, JavaScript remains the most widely used programming language (for the eighth year), with 67.7% of respondents using it.

Its versatility favours both back-end and front-end development, as well as testing. As a result, many JavaScript libraries and frameworks can be found that serve multiple purposes. Hence, it can be confusing for developers to choose the right one for your project.

But don't worry. In this article we have compiled a total of 40 JavaScript libraries and frameworks, along with their features, benefits and use cases. Stay tuned to learn more about them and decide which one is right for your project.


Table of contents

What are JavaScript libraries?


JavaScript libraries contain various functions, methods or objects to perform practical tasks in a web page or JS-based application.


Think of them like a library you go back to to read your favourite books. You can be an author and enjoy the books of other authors, gain a new perspective or idea and use it in your life.

Similarly, a JavaScript library has code or functions that developers can reuse and repurpose. One developer writes these codes, and other developers reuse the same code to perform a certain task, such as preparing a slideshow, instead of writing it from scratch. This saves them a lot of time and effort.

They are precisely the reason for the creation of JavaScript libraries, so you can find dozens of them for multiple use cases. Not only do they save you time, but they bring simplicity to the whole development process.


How to use JavaScript libraries


To use a JavaScript library in your application, add <script> to the <head> element using the src attribute that refers to the library's source path or URL.

Read the documentation for the JavaScript library you are going to use for more information and follow the steps there.


What are JavaScript libraries used for?

As mentioned above, JavaScript libraries are used to perform specific functions. There are about 83 of them, each created to serve some purpose, and we'll cover some of their uses in this section.

You can use JavaScript libraries to:


1. Data visualisation in maps and graphs

Data visualisation in applications is crucial for users to be able to see statistics clearly in the administration panel, dashboards, performance metrics and so on.

Presenting this data in graphs and maps helps you to analyse it easily and make informed business decisions.

Examples: Chart.js, Apexcharts, Algolia Places

2. DOM manipulation

The Document Object Model (DOM) represents a web page (a document) as objects and nodes that can be modified using JavaScript. You can change its content, style and structure.

Examples: jQuery, Umbrella JS

3. Data Management

With the huge amounts of data that companies handle on a daily basis, it is essential to handle and manage it properly. Using a JavaScript library makes it easier to manage a document by following its content while adding more interactivity.

Examples: D3.js

4. Database

Efficient database management is necessary to read, create, delete, edit and sort data. You can also use sophisticated queries, automatically create tables, synchronise and validate data, and much more.

Examples: TaffyDB, ActiveRecord.js

5. Forms

Use JS libraries to simplify form functions, including form validation, synchronisation, handling, conditional capabilities, field controls, layout transformation, and more.

Examples: wForms, LiveValidation, Validanguage, qForms

6. Animations

People love animations, and you can take advantage of them to make your website interactive and more engaging. Adding microinteractions and animations is easy using JavaScript libraries.

Examples include: Anime.js, JSTweener

7. Image effects

Users can add effects to images and make them stand out using JS libraries. Effects include blur, brighten, emboss, sharpen, grayscale, saturation, hue, tone, contrast adjustment, flip, invert, invert, reflect, etc.

Examples: ImageFX, Reflection.js

8. Fonts

Users can incorporate any typeface they wish to make their website more attractive depending on the type of content.

Examples: typeface.js

Maths and string functions

Adding mathematical expressions, date, time and strings can be complicated. For example, a date is made up of lots of formatting, slashes and dots to complicate things. The same goes for arrays and vectors.

Use JavaScript libraries to simplify these complexities in addition to effortlessly manipulating and handling URLs.

Examples: Date.js, Sylvester, JavaScript URL Library.

9. User interface and its components

You can provide a better user experience through web pages by making them more responsive and dynamic, decreasing the number of DOM operations, increasing page speed, etc.

Examples: ReactJS, Glimmer.js


And those are just the most common use cases. Other uses of JavaScript libraries include:

  • Creating a custom dialog box
  • Creating keyboard shortcuts
  • Platform switching
  • Creating rounded corners
  • Affecting data retrieval/AJAX
  • Aligning page layouts
  • Creating navigation and routing
  • Logging and debugging
  • And many more.

Most popular JavaScript libraries


jQuery is a classic JavaScript library that is fast, lightweight and feature-rich. It was created in 2006 by John Resig at BarCamp NYC. jQuery is free and open source software with an MIT license.

It makes things simpler for HTML document manipulation and traversal, animation, event handling and Ajax.

According to W3Techs, 77.6% of websites use jQuery (as of 23 February 2021).


- Has an easy-to-use, minimalist API.
- It uses CSS3 selectors to manipulate style properties and find elements.
- jQuery is lightweight, requiring only 30 kb to gzip and minify, and supports an AMD module.
- As its syntax is quite similar to CSS, it is easy to learn for beginners.
- Extensible with plugins.
- Versatility with an API that supports multiple browsers, including Chrome and Firefox.

Use cases:

- DOM manipulation with CSS selectors that use certain criteria to select a node in the DOM. These criteria include element names and their attributes (such as class and id).
- Selecting elements in the DOM using Sizzle (an open source, cross-browser selection engine).
- Creation of effects, events and animations.
- JSON parsing.
- Ajax application development.
- Feature detection.
- Controlling asynchronous processing with Promise and Deferred objects.


React.js (also known as ReactJS or React) is an open source JavaScript library. It was created in 2013 by Jordan Walke, who works at Facebook as a software engineer.

It is now MIT licensed, but was initially released under the Apache 2.0 license. React was designed to make interactive UI creations simple.

Just design a simple view for the individual states of your application. It will then efficiently render and update the appropriate component in response to data changes.


React code comprises components or entities that need to be rendered to a specific element in the DOM with the help of a React DOM library.
It uses a virtual DOM by creating an in-memory cache in a data structure, calculating the difference and updating the DOM of the screen in the browser efficiently.
Thanks to this selective rendering, application performance is increased while saving developers' efforts to recalculate page layout, CSS styles and render the entire page.
Uses lifecycle methods such as render and componentDidMount to allow code execution at specific points during the life of an entity.
Supports JavaScript XML (JSX) that combines both JS and HTML. Supports component rendering with nested elements, attributes, JS expressions and conditional statements.

Use cases:

- Serves as a basis for mobile or single page application development.
- Rendering a state to the DOM and managing it.
- Create effective user interfaces during the development of web applications and interactive sites.
- Easier debugging and testing.

Extra point: Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp use React.


Data-Driven Documents (D3) or D3.js is another famous JS library that developers use for data-driven document manipulation. It was released in 2011 under the BSD license.


- Emphasises web standards and gives you modern browser capabilities without being limited to a single framework.
- D3.js enables powerful data visualisations.
- It supports HTML, CSS and SVG.
- It takes a data-driven approach and applies it to manipulate the DOM.
- D3.js is fast and supports a large number of dynamic behaviours and datasets for animations and interaction.
- It reduces overhead, allowing for greater graphical complexity at high frame rates.

Use cases:

- To produce an interactive and dynamic data visualisation.
- To bind data to a DOM and perform a data-driven transformation on it. For example, you can generate HTML tables from an array of numbers and then create an SVG bar chart or a 3D surface chart using D3.js.
- Its functional code makes it reusable with a wide collection of modules.
- D3 provides several ways to mutate nodes such as changing styles or attributes using a declarative approach, adding, sorting or deleting nodes, changing text or HTML content, etc.
- To create animated transitions, sequence complex transitions using events, perform CSS3 transitions, etc.


Underscore is a JavaScript utility library that provides various functions for typical programming tasks. It was created in 2009 by Jeremy Askenas and released under an MIT license. It has now been superseded by Lodash.


- Its features are similar to Prototype.js (another popular utility library), but Underscore has a functional programming design rather than object prototype extensions.
- It has over 100 functions of 4 different types based on the types of data they manipulate. These are functions to manipulate:
- Objects
- Arrays
- Both objects and arrays
- Other functions
- Underscore is compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Edge, among others.

Use cases:

Supports functional helpers such as filters, maps, etc., along with specialised functions such as linking, fast indexing, JavaScript templating, quality testing, etc.


Lodash is also a JS utility library that makes it easy to work with numbers, arrays, strings, objects, etc. It was released in 2013 and also uses a functional programming design like Underscore.js.


- Helps you write maintainable and concise JavaScript code.
- Simplifies common tasks, such as mathematical operations, binding, choking, decorating, restricting, unchecking, etc.
- String functions, such as trimming, case-sensitive, case-sensitive, etc. are simpler.
- Create, modify, compress and sort arrays.
- Other operations on collection, object and sequence.

Use cases:

Its modular methods help you in:

- Iterating arrays, strings and objects.
- Creating composite functions.
- Manipulating and checking values.

Algolia Places

Algolia Places is a JavaScript library that provides an easy and distributed way to use address auto-completion on your site. It's an incredibly fast and wonderfully accurate tool that can help enhance the user experience of your site. Algolia Places leverages OpenStreetMap's impressive open source database to cover places all over the world.

For example, you can use it to increase conversions on your product page.


- Simplifies checks by filling in multiple entries simultaneously.
- You can use the country or city selector effortlessly.
- You can view results quickly by displaying link suggestions on a map in real time.
- Algolia Places can handle typing errors and displays results accordingly.
- It delivers results in milliseconds by directing all queries automatically to your nearest server.

Use cases:

- Allows you to incorporate a map to show a specific location which is quite useful.
- Allows you to use forms efficiently.


If you want to add animations to your site or app, Anime.js is one of the best JavaScript libraries you can find. It was released in 2019 and is lightweight with a powerful but simple API.


- Anime.js works with DOM attributes, CSS properties, SVG, CSS transforms and JS objects.
- It works with a wide range of browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, etc.
- Its source code is easy to decipher and use.
- Complex animation methods, such as overlay and step tracking, become easier.

Use cases:

- You can use Anime.js's staggering system on properties and timing.
- Create layered CSS transformations with multiple beats simultaneously on an HTML element.
- Synchronously play, pause, trigger, rewind and control events using Anime.js call and control functions.



Want to embed full screen videos in the background of your site? Try Bideo.js.


- Adding a video background is easy with this JavaScript library.
- This feature looks good on screens of different scales and sizes and works smoothly.
- Added videos can be resized depending on the browser used.
- Easy to implement using CSS/HTML.

Use cases:

- To add full screen background videos to a website.


Is your website or project related to the field of data analysis?

Do you need to present a lot of statistics?

Chart.js is an excellent JavaScript library to use.

Chart.js is a flexible and easy-to-use library for designers and developers who can add beautiful charts and graphs to their projects in no time. It is open source and has an MIT license.



- Elegant and simple to add basic charts and graphs.
- Results in responsive web pages.
- Light to load and easy to learn and apply.
- 8 different chart types.
- Great for beginners.
- Animation capabilities to make pages more interactive.

Use cases:

- Provide clear visual representations when using different data sets with the help of mixed chart types.
- Plots sparse and complex data sets on logarithmic, date, time or custom scales.


Do you want to add forms to your projects?

If so, Parsley can be useful for you. It is an easy but powerful JS library that you can use to validate forms.


- Intuitive DOM API takes inputs directly from HTML tags without the need to write a line of JS
- Dynamic form validation by detecting form modifications dynamically
- 12+ built-in validators, Ajax validator and other extensions
- You can override Parsley's default behaviour and provide a user interface and user experience centric experience
- Free, open source and super reliable that works with many browsers.

Use cases:

- Creating a simple form
- Performing complex validations
- Creating multi-step forms
- Validating multiple inputs
- Handling Ajax promises and requests
- Styling inputs to create exquisite floating error labels


Three.js can make your 3D design delightful. It uses WebGL to render scenes in modern browsers. Use other CSS3, CSS2 and SVH renderers if you use IE 10 or lower.


Compatible with Chrome 9+, Opera 15+, Firefox 4+, IE 11, Edge and Safari 5.1.
Supports JS features like typed arrays, Blob, Promise, URL API, Fetch, and more
You can create different geometry, objects, lights, shadows, loaders, materials, mathematical elements, textures, etc.

Use cases:

- To create a geometric cube, a sphere, etc.
- Creating a camera or scene


Google's open source JavaScript library - Polymer is used to build web applications using components.


A simple way to create custom elements.
Calculated properties.
Supports both unidirectional and bidirectional data binding.
Gesture events.

Use cases:

For creating interactive web applications with custom web components using JS, CSS and HTTP.
It is used by leading sites and services such as YouTube, Google Earth and Play, etc.


Digital vector created by freepik -

by Janeth Kent Date: 06-05-2021 javascript hits : 3372  
Janeth Kent

Janeth Kent

Licenciada en Bellas Artes y programadora por pasión. Cuando tengo un rato retoco fotos, edito vídeos y diseño cosas. El resto del tiempo escribo en MA-NO WEB DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT.


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