Top 12 Tools, Frameworks, and Libraries for Software Development in 2018

Apr 1, 2018 10:45:42 PM


 As the programming ecosystem proliferates, a number of frameworks, libraries, and tools are being introduced to simplify the software development cycle. They are not just trimming the lines of code, but, are reducing the time from prototype to production.

While there are plethora of options available, the pace of change is making many of these programming-aids obsolete, faster. However, there are a few that are here to stay and disrupt the software development system.

Here are a few programming tools, frameworks, and libraries that have defined their space in the programming world and have proven to be an inevitable part of it. They have evolved to ease developers’ life and are certainly going to change the way software development happens in the year 2018.

1. NodeJS

Nodejs, the javascript runtime framework built on Chrome V8 engine leads the list. It’s asynchronous, event-driven and based on non-blocking I/O model, which makes it the right fit for applications that are data intensive and render output to the users in real time.

Launched in 2009, this javascript framework for backend development is a part of various corporate software applications. Some of the popular names (amongst many) includes GoDaddy, Walmart, Yahoo, Netflix, Linkedin, Groupon etc.

  • NodeJS leverages javascript benefits. The Input/Output operations in Javascript are non-blocking, which makes it competent to handle multiple, concurrent events at a point. That is why, applications built with Nodejs uses less RAM, execute operations faster, and therefore is a primary choice for apps that include heavy I/O bound workflows, such as Single Page Applications, team collaboration apps, streaming apps etc.
  • The Node Package Manager (npm) helps to manage modules in projects by downloading packages, resolving dependencies, and installing command-line utilities. Thanks to its ever expanding community, npm is the largest ecosystem of open-source libraries in the world.
  • Javascript has been used for front-end development since its introduction. When Nodejs developers (for backend) collaborates with front-end developers, managing lines of code, spotting and fixing bugs become efficient.

For the incredible range of benefits that Nodejs comes integrated with, businesses are hiring Nodejs developers to raise the performance standards of software applications.

2. Angularjs

AngularJs is a structural framework, meant for building dynamic web pages. Introduced by Google in 2012, this javascript framework for front-end development is great for building Single Page Applications (SPAs).

  • With AngularJS, there is flexibility in development. Developers with expertise in HTML can use the language with new HTML syntax with new attributes (called directives) to extend functionality of web pages.
  • AngularJS is a MVC framework, where synchronization between the model and view happens with two way data binding. The changes made in the model data are immediately reflected in the view (and vice versa). This automated and immediate updations ascertains that the components if framework are updated all the times.
  • The AngularJS directives can be used to create reusable components. A component enables hiding complex DOM structure, CSS, and behaviour. That way, you can separately focus in how an application looks and how it works, separately.

Along with this, AngularJS brings in the benefit of client-side server validation, deep linking, DOM manipulation etc.

3. React

  • ReactJS is a javascript library by Facebook for building user interfaces (for web). With its launch in 2013, ReactJS outpowered its contenders in the row and one of the major reasons were the Virtual DOM. Instead of directly manipulating the DOM, ReactJS save two copies the changes made; one in the original DOM and another in Virtual DOM. Whenever a React component is changed, both the DOMs are compared and only the changes in the view are updated. This ensures that the changes in the view are rendered faster.

  • React Native is a javascript framework by Facebook for building mobile-friendly user interfaces. React Native enables building cross-platform native apps using Javascript that would have otherwise required Objective-C or Swift. Popular apps that are built using React Native showcase the acceptance that this JS framework for mobile app development have.

4. .NET Core

.NET Core is an open-source, next-gen .NET framework by Microsoft. If an application needs to run on multiple OS platforms (Windows, Linux, MacOS), then .NET is a good fit for it.

.NET Core proves to be a compatible choice for server-based applications when there is cross-platform app requirements, when there are high-performance and scalable systems, and involvement of Docker containers, microservices etc.

5. Spring

Spring is an open-source application framework for developing java enterprise applications. It offers an infrastructure that enables developing well-structured and easily-testable java applications, web applications, applets etc.

  • Spring is a dependency injection framework (Inversion of Control) that assigns dependencies to the object during runtime. When standalone programs start, the main program starts, create dependencies, and executes appropriate methods. This makes the code loosely coupled and thus easy to maintain.
  • Spring framework is built-in with templates for Hibernate, JPA, JDBC, JTA etc., saving developers from writing too much code.
  • Spring provides a consistent programming model, which is usable in any environment. There are web applications that don't even need high-end servers and can be run on a web container like jetty or Tomcat. Also, not all applications are server side applications. Spring provides application models that insulates application code from environment details like JNDI, making code less dependent on its run time context.

6. Django

Django is an open-source framework for web app development, written in Java. It follows the model-view-template (MVT) architectural pattern and is a fit for complex, database-driven applications.

Django, launched in 2005 is a part of well-known websites today, including Instagram, Nextdoor, BitBucket, Disqus, Pinterest, and more. The Python based framework supports reusability, rapid development, less code and low coupling. The main Django distribution includes a number of applications, which simplifies development to an extent. This includes an extensible authentication system, built-in mitigation for web attacks (like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, password cracking etc.). 

7. TensorFlow

Tensorflow is a machine learning framework by Google, meant for creating Deep Learning models. Deep Learning, a subclass of ML deals with Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) that makes a system learn and progressively improve with experiences. Tensorflow is based on computational graph, having a network of nodes. Each node is an operation, running some function, which could a simple mathematical calculation or a complex multivariate analytics.

While a number of brands are putting-in their trust in this ML framework (like Dropbox, Twitter, Uber, Intel etc.), Google itself utilizes the power of TensorFlow in many of its services. This includes Google Recognition, Google Search, Google Photos, etc. This mature framework is a part of small and large scale AI development projects.

“According to Stack Overflow survey results 2018, machine learning is one of the important trends in software development industry. Languages and frameworks associated with ML are on rise, and developers working in these areas are high in demand.” (Click to Tweet)

8. Xamarin

Cross platform native apps are the future of mobile app development, and Xamarin is one of them. Xamarin offers an edge over the proprietary and hybrid development models as it allows developing full-fledged mobile apps using single language, i.e. C#. Moreover, Xamarin offers a class library and runtime environment, which is similar to rest of the development platforms (iPhone, Android, and Windows).

  • Xamarin offers less complex environment for development, as compared to other native cross frameworks. When its about code sharing, cost saving, and ease at maintenance, Xamarin for cross platform native development proves to be a better option over hybrid apps. Less memory utilization, faster loading of datasets, less CPU time utilization are some of the benefits that Xamarin offers over hybrid app development.
  • As compared to other cross platform native development platforms in the market, Xamarin has the most stable and updated SDK. Also, Xamarin integrates well with Azure, which gives the benefit of developing advanced and secure cloud backend for the apps.

9. Spark

Spark is an open-source, micro framework, meant for creating web applications in Kotlin and Java. Spark was open-sourced in the year 2011 and its new version Spark 2.0 was launched for use in the year 2014, which was primarily centered on the Java 8 lambda philosophy.

The Java Virtual Machine (JVM), one of the biggest programming ecosystems has got a number of java web frameworks. However, java web development has always been cumbersome. For those who love JVM but don’t want the frameworks or verbose code, Spark is the solution.  

10. Cordova

Apache Cordova (formly Phonegap) is a hybrid app development framework that uses HTML, CSS, and Javascript for building mobile apps. It extend the features of HTML and Javascript so that they work in accordance to specific device. As a result, the application developed is neither native (as the layout rendering is done through web views, instead of native platform UI framework), nor it is a web app (as they are wrapped as mobile apps for distribution). Therefore, with Cordova, hybrid app development is possible, which saves time, effort, and cost with code sharing for multiple platforms.

There is a long list of tools, frameworks, and cloud services that are available to augment performance of Cordova. Some of the popular names include Visual Studio, Ionic, Framework7, Monaca, Mobiscroll etc. Considering the potential that Cordova brings in, the contributors to this framework are some of the tech-giants, including Adobe, Microsoft, Blackberry, IBM, Intel etc.

11. Hadoop

Hadoop is an open-source framework by Apache that stores and distributes large data sets across several servers, operating parallely. One if the major benefits of Hadoop over traditional RDBMS is its cost effective system for storing giant data sets.

The core of Apache Hadoop is Hadoop Distributed File System (the storage part) and Mapreduce Programming model (the processing part). Hadoop is written in Java, the widely used language by developers, which makes it easy for developers to handle tasks and process data efficiently. Hadoop’s MapReduce enables processing terabytes of data in minutes; it’s that fast!

12. Torch/ PyTorch

PyTorch is a machine learning library for Python. PyTorch is primarily created to overcome the challenges of its predecessor, Torch. Owing to the unwillingness of amongst developers to learn the language Lua, Torch was unable to experience the success that Tensorflow did, in spite of being into the mainstay for computer vision for years. It enables writing new neural layers in Python by using libraries and packages like Cython an Numba.

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The tools, frameworks, and libraries shared above are the most popular programming-aids amongst developers (globally), according to Stack Overflow Survey Results 2018.  


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Archna Oberoi

Written by Archna Oberoi

Content strategist by profession and blogger by passion, Archna is avid about updating herself with the freshest dose of technology and sharing them with the readers. Stay tuned here as she brings some trending stories from the tech-territory of mobile and web.