Gartner Research

The Client-Side JavaScript Landscape

Published: 29 March 2013

ID: G00247959

Analyst(s): Danny Brian


A large variety of JavaScript libraries and frameworks exist to help development teams build a new breed of applications for the Web browser. Navigating this landscape requires an understanding of the problems that are solved by different kinds of JavaScript offerings.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings



  • Requirements of the New Web
    • The New Web Requires JavaScript
  • Modern JavaScript
    • JavaScript and the Single-Page Application
    • Rich User Experiences
    • JavaScript Paradigms
    • JavaScript's Ecosystem
  • Segmenting the JavaScript Landscape
    • Coding Libraries
    • UI Libraries
    • Coding Frameworks
    • UI Frameworks
    • Complementary Segments
  • Evaluating the JavaScript Landscape
  • Clear Programming Models
    • The New Web Changes Application Architecture
    • Libraries Provide No Programming Model
    • Frameworks Prescribe Clear Practices
    • Summary of Programming Model Comparison
  • Application Style
    • Simple Desktop Web Apps
    • Visually Dynamic Applications
    • Complex Business Applications With Heavy Data Manipulation
    • Multichannel and Mobile Web Applications
    • Summary of Comparison by Application Style
  • Learning Curve for New JavaScript Programmers
    • Libraries Are Quirky but Not Difficult
    • Frameworks Are Intimidating but Provide Structure
    • UI Libraries and Frameworks Are Easy
    • Summary of Learning Curve Comparison
  • Rapid Development
    • Libraries Give Power for Certain Use Cases
    • JavaScript Frameworks Foster Fast, but Structured, Development
    • UI Libraries and Frameworks Provide Nearly Instant Functionality
    • Summary of Rapid Development Comparison
  • Tooling Support
    • Web Development Still Occurs in Simple Editors
    • Libraries Alone Require Black-Box Testing
    • Frameworks Encourage Unit Testing
    • Some UI Libraries and Frameworks Offer Solid Tooling
    • Summary of Tooling Support Comparison
  • Openness
    • Libraries Can Be Removed, but Why Would You?
    • Code Frameworks Have High Lock-In, but Componentization Makes Them Flexible
    • UI Libraries Are Easily Pluggable
    • UI Frameworks Bring A Lot Along for the Ride
    • Summary of Openness Comparison
  • Use a JavaScript Code Framework for Anything but the Smallest Applications
  • Evaluate JavaScript Offerings First on Their Programming Model
  • Use a JavaScript Library to Add Functionality to a Framework
  • Utilize a JavaScript UI Framework for Complex Business Applications
  • Learn JavaScript Paradigms, Regardless of the Programming Model That Is Utilized

The Details

  • The JavaScript Story
    • A Toy Language
    • Microsoft Drives Browser Innovation
    • The JavaScript Ecosystem Is Born


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