Expert tips on Choosing a Web Development Framework
Unless you want to re-invent the wheel every time you need to create a new web app, and write every line of code yourself, chances are you’ll be looking for a framework to work with. However, there’s no “one size fits all” concept when it comes to web development frameworks, as each is geared towards a certain usage scenario, so a framework that will be a good base for creating a forum or a blog might not be the ideal pick if you’re creating an online store. So, how do you pick the right one?
1. Assessing Your Needs
Clearly determining your needs and goals is the first step towards picking the right framework. As mentioned before, chances are you won’t find a framework that ticks all your boxes, but try to determine which ones gets the most ones right. To do so, determine under which of the three main categories your project fits: is it a content management system (CMS), a content management framework (CMF) or a web application framework?
Licensing is also an important factor to take into consideration. While you won’t have much to worry about if you are developing something for personal usage, you’ll want to make sure you’re not crossing any boundaries if you plan to commercialize your work. Most frameworks are pretty relaxed when it comes to licenses, but it’s important to check and make sure you’re on the safe side before starting work.
The main role of a framework is to allow you to get your custom code up and running as fast as possible, and it does so by providing you with a library of pre-written code for mundane tasks. Be that as it may, in an attempt to be more than they need to be, a lot of frameworks tend to be very restrictive about the pre-written code, giving the developer little to no control over it, or having it written in a programming language you may not be familiar with. Whichever the case, it will imply a learning curve that you’ll need to take into consideration.
Aside from picking a framework that’s flexible and permissive, you should also look for one that has a modular library, which allows you to swap out the parts you don’t need, and insert your own modules.
4. Community Support
New development frameworks pop up almost every day, and while newer ones may offer more features, older ones have the advantage of having a support community that can help you in case you run into a dead end. Depending on the complexity of your project and your skills, a newer and more feature-rich framework might be more suitable for smaller projects, but an older framework with great community support might prove to be a safer pick on the long run.
5. Ease of Deployment
The way a framework and the resulted app needs to be deployed is also important when choosing the framework. For starters, the type of hosting plays an important role in the process, as not all frameworks play nice with shared hosting, which is fairly popular choice of small businesses. Make sure your framework of choice is compatible with the hosting option before proceeding to avoid the extra costs of having to switch to a dedicated hosting plan, or to re-do the entire project.
6. Sustainability and Scalability
When opting for the best framework, don’t just think about here and now – consider the future as well. A certain framework might be the most convenient approach for the task at hand, but prove to be difficult to work with on the long run, when the need for scalability will arise. Choose the framework that brings both worlds together.