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Software development

JavaScript Frameworks

Some large-scale web applications are extremely complex. For their development, JavaScript (JS) cannot be used on its own to create a stable foundation and guarantee code quality and longevity. That's why MVC (model view-controler) frameworks are available to provide structure and guidance for the development of these applications.

Why rely on an MVC JS framework?

MVC JS frameworks are based on the model-view-controller design pattern and are designed to completely manage the user interface of a JavaScript application without reloading.

The best-known JavaScript frameworks include AngularJS, BackboneJS and EmberJS.

If all these solutions seem, on the face of it, to meet the needs encountered when developing web applications, what criteria should be used to select the most efficient among them?

When should you use them?

  1. Your application requires an asynchronous connection to the back-end.
  2. You use functionalities that do not require page reloads.
  3. Much of the visualization or data manipulation will take place in the browser (client-side) rather than on the server.
  4. You use numerous data modifications (buttons, events).

Comparison between Angular, Backbone and Ember

Selecting a JavaScript MVC Framework can be a complex task, as there are so many options to consider and so many factors to take into account. Check out to learn more about all the possible alternatives.


AngularJS is produced by Google and is rapidly gaining in popularity. One of its special features is the bi-directional binding between the view and the model. If data is modified, the view is updated. This considerably reduces the number of events, DOM manipulations and multiple Ajax calls. There is a real separation between the view and the controller, which is a significant advantage in terms of maintenance and testability.

Advantages :

  • Addiction injection;
  • Google support;
  • Integrated test framework;
  • Integrated with form validation;
  • Possibility of using directives;
  • Extremely easy to debug.

Disadvantages :

  • Large learning curve;
  • Data binding can be problematic for pages with large amounts of information;
  • Difficult to implement.


BackboneJS is lighter and simpler. This makes it easier to grasp, but its level of abstraction is lower.

As a result, views are linked to models to avoid Ajax calls in all directions. In this way, BackboneJS enables you to build a high-performance, easy-to-maintain single-page application.

Backbone is a simple framework based on the power of the two famous libraries $Jquery and _Underscore.js, to which it adds a list of events. Using 4 classes - Model/Collection, View, Router - it structures web applications.

Advantages :

  • Minimalist;
  • Flexible;
  • Large community, excellent support;
  • Easy-to-read source code.

Disadvantages :

  • Requires external dependencies;
  • Requires plugins to become as feature-rich as other MVC frameworks;
  • Limited and sometimes not structured enough.


EmberJS is a full-stack framework and therefore manages all application layers: router, controller, view and model. Ember is favored by developers who already have an object-oriented approach (Java, Ruby, etc.).

One of Ember's great strengths is databinding, not only at the view level, but also at the level of all objects. EmberJS is closer to AngularJS in terms of performance.

Advantages :

  • Rapid development;
  • Little configuration required;
  • Conventional configuration approach;
  • Enables much easier data synchronization with JSON API.

Disadvantages :

  • Difficult to learn;
  • Documentation not always up to date;
  • Very complex and cumbersome, which is a real disadvantage for a mobile application;
  • Decreasing number of users and weakening of the community.

Which one to choose?

Use Angular.js if:

  1. You want your MVC framework to be used in a complex application to ensure its reliability and stability;
  2. Your web application requires extensive testing to verify its functionality.

Use Backbone.js if:

  1. Your web application has uncertain requirements (scalability) or needs great flexibility for future development.
  2. You need to be able to easily change or remove parts of your application.
  3. You want to start with a minimalist solution to understand the fundamentals of MVC frameworks (MVP).

Use EmberJS if:

  1. You already have experience with Ruby and appreciate the help of its conventional configuration approach.
  2. You need a framework that helps you develop solutions and prototypes quickly.
  3. Your web application needs a framework to handle interaction with a JSON API with very little effort.

There is no definitive answer to this question:

"What's the best framework?"

In fact, each framework provides a different answer to the problem of developing an application, leaving developers to choose what suits them best.

The best advice I can give when choosing a framework is to test each one for a few days, to see which one best suits the team's needs (and developers).

In any case, Nixa can help you develop your applications, whatever you choose. In Montreal, Nixa is the web development company of choice for your Angular, Backbone or Ember projects.


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