Choosing the right web application development platform can be the difference between a successful development process or a failed one. There is a lot to consider, including your experience and needs, and various frameworks come with different functions, features, and capabilities.
In this detailed guide, we’ll have a look at the top web app development platforms and help you choose the right one for your business.
What is a Web App Development Platform?
The right framework will be something that you can use with your skill level to fulfill all of your design needs. First, let’s talk about what a web app development framework is.
Basically, a development framework is a set of tools, or a platform, that supports the website in general. So, different frameworks will provide you with different website functionalities, along with a different guide for you to set up your website.
In the end though, all frameworks have a couple of things in common. First, they should all simplify your web design using previously-created frameworks and be able to compose codes that can be given to the correct handler. All of this will ensure that the design process is sped up and that you have a functional website in a much shorter amount of time.
The framework will provide you with all the tools you need to design your website, including codes, folders, and files.
All platforms do the same thing: help you build a website. But there are some important considerations when it comes to choosing the right one for your business.
What are your company’s objectives? You might have specific business objectives, which should be the primary thing you consider when choosing your framework.
Think about what you want your business to be and how it might grow. Your framework should be able to last for the long haul, so when you’re deciding which one you want, you’ll need to pick one that will continue to work for you over time.
If you need a platform that will grow with you, this is different from picking a framework that’s too large to begin with.
Your Experience and Expertise
A framework is meant to help you solve the problem of building your website. The whole point is to help you code everything once so that you don’t need to continue to do this with each new update you make. However, you do need to know how to use the tools.
That’s where a learning curve comes into play. Each framework will have its structure and its own code, which means there will be a learning curve when you first get started. Consider how long it might take you to learn and whether you’re willing to learn something more complex that may take you more time.
The whole point of creating your website is to interact with your customers. You want the user interface and user experience to be as good as possible, so remember that no matter how good the coding is on your end, the UI needs to be impressive.
Consider the technical side of your potential platform. Look at what the core features are and what the library is like before you make your choice.
You want to consider how your platform will be able to perform. This means considering how easy it will be to host and install, and whether you have the time and budget.
Suppose your budget is limited, for example. In that case, you may look into a framework that allows for shared hosting, while if you’re looking to save some time, try considering an option that provides you with more ease of configuration.
How to Choose a Framework?
You have a lot of options when it comes to your web app development framework, all of which will build your website, but not in the same way. Therefore, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you make your choice.
Beyond your experience and expertise, and even the experience of your customers, you need to think about what will work with your business.
Check that your vision aligns with what is available in your desire framework. Consider whether it has the capabilities to include the plugins, requirements, and user experience that you’re looking to create.
Don’t choose something that you’re not capable of managing, or that doesn’t have the technological requirements you had in mind.
If you don’t want something that scales because you don’t envision any scaling, you don’t need to spend the time and money getting something that won’t end up being useful to you.
What does your application framework absolutely need to have? One of the most significant things you’ll need is a framework that will protect your customer data. Whether your framework allows you to integrate security tools or has some already included, ensure that you have everything that caters to your needs.
This includes your performance needs. If you have a high-volume business, or a business that needs to run on a certain server, you need to think about which framework will help you the most.
You’re trying to build certain key features into your website that will match your company—so think about what features you will need and whether there’s some flexibility you’ll need in your framework.
Perhaps you’re looking for a framework that does just the basic things, or you want the option to add more features in the future.
If your developers aren’t experienced with a certain framework, or aren’t aware of the best practices in the framework, you might not want to choose a framework that’s too open-ended. This may lead to a situation where your team struggles to implement even common key features because the platform is so open-ended that it’s challenging to figure out.
In this case, consider whether your team would benefit from something easier to learn, or whether they have the experience to generally pick up on whatever framework you choose. Your team is the one helping you put everything together, after all.
You may be planning on working on the same web app development platform for years. If that’s the case, then you’ll want a framework that may require more time up front, but that will grow over time and provide the flexibility you need later.
By contrast, if you don’t plan on updating the app much or if you’re only creating a prototype, you don’t need something with huge scalability.
Web Application Development Platform Review
This popular platform turns HTML and CSS into impressive and dynamic content and many professionals use it to build robust, scalable and efficient web applications. It’s a framework for front-end development that is trusted by some of the top brands on the web today.
AngularJS is best for social media, ecommerce sites, travel apps, video streaming services, and customer reviews apps. As it’s supported by Google, you know it’s a strong and reliable platform.
2-Way Data Binding: AngularJS is designed to make data binding easier without requiring a developer. Any changes made in your model are visible immediately and vice-versa.
Responsive and Quick: AngularJS puts out responsive web applications and can be developed fairly quickly if you know the basics. Even if you don’t, it doesn’t take long to figure the system out.
HTML Templates: Even though it’s a very dynamic framework, AngularJS uses regular HTML templates that are easy to manipulate and extend. Workflow is enhanced and each template is easily reusable.
Difficult to Learn: Even though AngularJS is popular, the framework is not the easiest to learn. There isn’t much information about the framework available either, so you’ll need some time to figure it out before you can start developing.
This framework was built by Microsoft in 2002 and is their most popular framework. It’s scalable, easy to deploy and works by compiling both C# and VB.
It isn’t limited to programming languages scripting and includes editors and tools that are compatible with Windows, Linux, macOS, and Docker. The framework also has base libraries available.
There are a handful of popular websites that use ASP.NET including Microsoft, GoDaddy, Ancestry.com, and StackOverflow.
When it comes to what type of web applications you can develop on this platform, you’ll find that it’s ideal for mobile and desktop web apps.
Storage Customization: ASP.NET allows full storage customization. You get a complete say in where data is stored and how much of it is stored. There’s full separation between identity data and security implementation as your data storage capabilities are enhanced.
Speed: Web application development done through ASP.NET is fast. The framework is designed so that you can create a fully functional app using just the basics. As a result, you’re able to work quickly, which saves you both time and money.
Lacking in Security: Unfortunately, ASP.NET is known for having minimal security features in place. You won’t find email verification, username reminders, password reset, mobile verification, and password storage are all functions that most frameworks include, but ASP.NET lacks.
Windows Form: You might not care personally, but many users don’t like that ASP.NET follows Windows. Some developers have complained about ending up in awkward situations while developing their web app as the framework is much too similar to Windows.
Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is another open source framework, but it uses the Ruby coding language. As a model view controller framework, it’s equipped with several default structures such as web page, database, and web service.
Since being released in 2004, Ruby on Rails has been used by GitHub, Airbnb, Shopify, Hulu, Twitch, and Zendesk. It’s a very popular framework as it’s relatively easy to learn and has a very active community of users. In fact, it was initially touted as “startup technology”, famous for how fast it was to launch a website with it.
If you’re a startup, you can consider Ruby on Rails as it’s simplistic while allowing for a speedy development process. After all, time is of the essence when you’re just starting out.
Multiple Tools Available: Ruby on Rails comes equipped with a variety of tools available for developers. You can use any of the gems or libraries created in the user community to enhance your web application. Many are able to assist with debugging your program while others can help test it.
Adheres to Standards: Any application that is written using Ruby on Rails is expected to follow all web application development standards. The framework is very strict about adhering to the industry standards and expects all the developers using their framework to follow standards.
Fortunately, the adherence to standards makes Ruby on Rails easier to learn, makes your code easier to read, and minimizes how much code you have to write for your web app to function.
Large Community: There’s a pretty big community of developers that use Ruby on Rails, so you’ll never have a problem finding someone to help you. All these users contribute to the platform too, so you can take advantage of previously designed features and add them to your own application.
Not Very Flexible: There are a lot of default settings with Ruby on Rails. While this makes it quick and easy to use, it also greatly limits the amount of flexibility developers have.
Slow Performance Time: The larger your project, the longer you’ll have to wait for the system to boot up. Ruby on Rails isn’t known for its quick performance, but this is often overlooked because of the many features the framework offers.
Laravel is an open-source PHP framework that comes equipped with pre-installed and object-oriented libraries. It follows an MVC pattern and creates high-quality web applications. Currently, it holds the honor of being the most commonly used PHP framework, with a rough 25% of applications being developed with it.
Any developer who loves working with PHP will enjoy using Laravel and it’s especially great for e-commerce applications too. With an active community known as Laracasts, developers will be able to find solutions and answers to pretty much any issues.
Easy to Learn: All things considered, Laravel is a framework that is easy to learn. Its documentation is simple and easy, plus you’ll have multiple support options available should you need them.
Queue Management: Laravel lets you queue tasks so that any unnecessary ones are placed further back. Queuing important tasks improves response time, and it’s all done behind the scenes.
High Security: Laravel has an excellent security system, so your web application won’t be lacking. Web apps are robust and well protected unlike ASP.NET.
Not a Lot of Features: Laravel isn’t super great for large, complex websites because you’ll have to integrate multiple third-party features and tools.
Reusable Features: React.js uses many different components that each have their own logic, but the great news is that they’re easy to reuse. Since the components put out an HTML code that can be reused whenever, you can quickly develop and update your web app.
Poor Documentation: React.js is routinely updating its technology which, unfortunately, makes it very difficult to document. The best way to combat this is by writing your own instructions, but this can be time consuming and tedious.
Quickly Updated and Developed: While regular and fast updates may seem like an advantage, they can be considered a disadvantage in this case. React.js updates so regularly that developers often feel like they always have to relearn the framework.
Symfony is an open-source PHP framework that was first released in 2005. For most business web developers, it’s their go-to framework. Why? More than one person can work on developing a web app with Symfony and it creates web apps with a high performance. If you’re developing an enterprise web app, this should be your choice.
Symfony is one of the rare frameworks to be supported commercially and it’s a good thing because its creator that funds it, SensioLabs, is very involved in its development and reputation. With Symfony, you won’t find a framework that’s old, neglected and outdated. Instead, there are plenty of tutorials and they even host conferences globally. You’ll find a framework that’s well looked after with frequent updates.
Flexible: Symfony has a pretty flexible development model. It has multiple bundles and components that can be used to create a web app with very few dependencies. With fewer dependencies, your web app can be adapted and created to meet any challenge you need it to.
Reliable: Many major companies trust Symfony because it’s such a reliable framework. In fact, many other platforms are built using Symfony such as phpBB, Magento, and Drupal. Websites such as National Geographic, BlaBla Car, and Vogue use it as well.
Good Documentation: Unlike React.js, Symfony has such great documentation that they’re considered one of the best. All documentation is written clearly and has plenty of examples so that you don’t have to relearn the framework with each update.
Slow Performance: If you’re creating a web app where several users will be using it at once, Symfony isn’t a good choice. It has a rather slow load time and it only gets worse the more users are on your web app at a time.
Difficult to Learn: Symfony takes a while to learn. While it’s a very stable framework, you’ll spend a good portion of time simply trying to learn how it works before you can get started on development.
Strong and Reliable: Many top companies trust Node.js when it comes to developing their web apps. Sites like Trello, PayPal, Uber, and IBM all rely on Node.js and swear by it. You’ll be hard-pressed to find framework that gets such strong support.
Scalable: Node.js is a great base to build microservice architecture on and is incredibly scalable. The framework makes building on top of existing programs much easier while still being quick and responsive.
Questions to Ask Yourself
You’re looking to pick the best framework for your business, and have considered what your business needs and what you want your website platform to look like. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you make the decision.
How New Is the App Development Platform?
You want something that will work for you and your business. That means that you want a framework that will continue to last as long as your business does.
Check how long your framework has been around, because this is a good indication of how long your framework will last—not to mention that you’ll be able to see what other people have thought of it and how it has worked. Something too new might not have been tested as thoroughly, and could lack the support you might need when you have issues.
Granted, you also don’t want an option that’s been around for so long that it’s no longer useful either. Instead, look for a web application development platform that has been tested without being so old that it lacks the updates you need.
Is the Framework Free?
Check whether the platform is licensed because there might be a cost associated with you using it if it is. On the other hand, you may not have a problem paying if the framework has the tools and updates you need.
Of course, there might be free-to-use options, but they might have tools that require additional costs.
Is There a Lot of Maintenance?
Take a look at the platform over its entire lifetime. Consider how much time it’s been down or whether there’s a high percentage of time spent on maintenance. Even if the time it takes for set up is really short and the learning curve is relatively low, if the platform is down a lot or requires a lot of maintenance, it might not be worth it for you.
Can Your Staff Use It?
You want to get your website up and running as soon as possible, but all of that depends on whether your staff can actually use the platform, or whether they can learn it.
The platform might be easy to learn, but it could lack the tools that you actually need. Or the learning curve might stand steeper, but once your team learns it, they’ll be able to run with it. It depends on what you’re looking for and how much time you’re willing to wait before you have your website working.
You’ll also want to ensure that your staff has the experience to maintain it, and that you’re not choosing a platform that will cause more problems in the future.
Is There Help Available?
Check to see whether there’s any help available online for how to use your desired framework. You may have a very experienced development team, but if they’re learning to use a new system, you may need some help to get started.
A framework that’s too new or that doesn’t have a lot of help available online may be more difficult for you in the long term, especially if you can’t easily find solutions to common issues.
It’s essential to create a functional website for your business. That’s why you need to think about picking the right web application development platform to suit your needs. Think about what your team can do, and whether the platform has the features you’re looking for—and once you’ve picked your platform, you can start customizing it exactly as you want.
To take all the hassle off your shoulders, the best thing you can do is hire a web application developer like Ecodelogic. We have the expertise to take care of your project from start to finish so that you can focus on your other business processes. Call us today and ask us any questions about web app development platforms!