What is a Framework and Why It’s Useful

Are you considering becoming a developer but stuck wondering, “what is a framework?”… well don’t fret! Programming can feel like a daunting subject to learn about, but it doesn’t have to be.

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What is a Framework?

In programming, the simplest way to think of a framework is as a helper. A programming framework helps provide the required supports and guides to speed up your development process and accomplish your goals.

In most cases, they will be in the form of libraries or components that allow you to jump right into the core of your task rather than starting from scratch each time.

Advantages of Using Programming Frameworks

Saving time

From creating reusable functions to implementing recyclable CSS classes, developers across the board are constantly trying to find clever ways to reduce the amount of code that they need to write. 

This constant desire to save time is one of the core reasons that coding frameworks have remained one of the most necessary tools to have in your arsenal.

These frameworks help supercharge your efficiency by placing the foundation for your project, allowing you to get started straight away rather than spend weeks laying the initial blocks required to get your code running. 

By choosing a suitable framework, you can focus on ensuring your code is efficient and structured while also being confident that you can meet any troublesome deadlines.

Code is more secure

With the rise in data privacy regulations and personal security, the need for writing secure code has become paramount in recent years. Fortunately, most programming frameworks are dedicated to ensuring that their code is as free of bugs as possible. 

Often, this means that a substantial amount of time and resources are devoted to maintaining the framework’s security and limiting the possibility of any attackers infiltrating the system.

On the other hand, when you do not use a framework, you will be entirely responsible for the security of your codebase. Naturally, this means that you will need to have your finger on the pulse for any potential vulnerabilities and fix them as quickly as possible to protect your users.

Simpler testing and debugging

While writing meaningful test cases and successfully debugging code remains a pain to most developers, frameworks often help to alleviate the stress. 

Generally, when writing code from scratch, you will need to test all functions and classes that you create, including all foundational data structures. However, frameworks prove that this does not have to be the case.

When you use a framework, you can be confident that its libraries and components are already thoroughly tested. Naturally, this means that you will only be testing a smaller section of code, which should make for easier debugging and more succinct test cases.

Avoids duplicate code

One thing that most junior developers often struggle with is discovering efficient ways not to repeat themselves. However, this often proves difficult, and it’s easy to catch yourself rewriting code each time you start a new project. Fortunately, this is another core area that programming frameworks can help solve.

One of the pivotal aspects of these frameworks is that they are reusable, which means that you barely need to write any setup code before you begin working on the project. This reduces the amount of time you spend rewriting the same portion of code and gives you more time to focus on your task.

Consistent code development with fewer bugs

While frameworks may excel in various projects, they often shine brightest when used by a large team. This is mainly because most frameworks tend to create a set of rules that are easy to understand and follow, which means that your entire project’s codebase will feel extremely familiar, regardless of who has written the code.

This level of consistency and familiarity provided by frameworks can be substantially helpful in a team where coding styles vary greatly. By simply following the framework’s rules, nobody on your team will be a passenger, as everyone should understand the codebase.

Clean and easily adaptable code

The most successful frameworks tend to place a considerable amount of focus on creating code that is easy to understand. 

While the definition of “clean code” varies depending on the framework, a substantial amount of emphasis is always placed on ensuring that any other user of the framework can comprehend the execution flow of your code and recognize the general purpose of your project.

Using a framework that prioritizes clean code can also be significant if you expect to share your code with others. Additionally, as most frameworks also aim to be adaptable and easy to change, they may be beneficial in cases where several people may need to make sweeping changes to your code, such as on open-source projects.

You can focus on writing code specific to the project

One of the main reasons most developers have become heavily attached to frameworks is that they allow you to write only project-specific code. Without a framework, you may need to set up new databases, rendering engines, URL handling, and much more each time you create a new project, which may take weeks.

Code can be easily extended

In some cases, you may find yourself in a scenario where a coding framework is beneficial but does not fulfill all your use cases. While it’s easy to feel that you may better implement your solutions from scratch when faced with such issues, this isn’t always the case.

Remember, most programming frameworks understand that there is no one-size-fits-all in software development and often allow you to extend their framework as you see fit. So, if you’re attached to a framework that does not satisfy all your requirements, explore how much you can extend its code before looking for other solutions.

The Types of Programming Frameworks

  1. Web application frameworks

Django:

Django stands out in the web development community by being a Python framework in a world vastly ruled by JavaScript. Django positions itself as a full-stack framework that encourages you to create scalable server-side applications for any project. Today, various companies use this framework, including Udemy, NASA, and Pinterest.

Ruby on Rails:

Although JavaScript and Python have grown far more popular in recent years, Ruby on Rails has remained one of the most concise ways of creating web applications. It’s packed with several features, but its stand-out feature emphasizes reduced repetition of code.

  1. Front end frameworks

React:

Since its release, React has taken the development community by storm as it allows you to build single-page applications right on the web. 

It often stands out for gifting users the ability to create beautiful interfaces and experiences for customers, making it a core framework to have in your arsenal. React is also used by companies like Netflix, Uber, Yahoo, Airbnb, Instagram, and much more.

Bootstrap:

Bootstrap has quickly become the go-to framework for developers attempting to launch responsive, mobile websites. This tool provides numerous templates and features for some of the most bothersome parts of front-end development, such as media queries, forms, buttons, and much more. 

So, if you find yourself regularly struggling in any of these areas, we highly recommend that you try out Bootstrap.

  1. Back end frameworks

Express JS:

Few JavaScript backend frameworks can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Express. Its ability to create server-side applications also makes it stand out in the world of JS, making it an obvious choice if you’re more familiar with other languages such as PHP. Express is also great for working directly with Node.js and crafting rapid APIs, so we recommend diving deeper into this framework if this interests you.

Laravel:

Although Python and JavaScript have grown extremely popular in recent years, PHP remains the backbone of the web, with as much as 75% of all web pages using it to power their sites. That volume makes Laravel a crucial tool you can learn, as it’s has carved out its space as the de-facto PHP framework.

In addition to exceptional maintenance and deployment features, Laravel also offers a full suite of features, including built-in authentication, caching, database access, and much more, making it one of the most capable backend frameworks you can use today.

  1. Mobile development frameworks

React Native:

React Native chiefly builds off the successes of its web framework sister, React, by allowing you to use JavaScript to create user interfaces for mobile platforms such as iOS and Android. 

Today, dozens of top-tier companies employ React Native solutions, including Meta, Microsoft, Discord, and much more.

Flutter:

Flutter has quickly sprouted to become one of the most popular mobile development frameworks by allowing you to create multi-platform apps from a single codebase. Meaning that once you construct your Flutter app, you can run it on iOS and Android devices, as well as on macOS, Linux, and Windows PCs.

  1. Data science frameworks

TensorFlow:

TensorFlow is a deep learning tool that allows analysts to produce effective dataflow graphs and other core algorithms for their machine learning models. By doing so, data experts can focus on the overall structure of their application without being bogged down by complex machine learning algorithms.

PyTorch:

PyTorch is an open-source data science framework used mainly for building deep learning data models. This makes it a crucial tool for dealing with Natural Language Processing (NLP) or image recognition. As a data scientist, PyTorch also offers seamless debugging and straightforward APIs that you can plug into your other applications.

  1. Content management frameworks

WordPress:

With over 400 million websites relying on WordPress to serve their content, it’s an understatement to say that it’s the world’s most popular content management framework. 

It stands out from its competitors by offering a wide range of services for websites, regardless of your needs. WordPress is also chock-full of features, such as SEO optimization, responsive designs, and thousands of templates to suit your needs.

Wix:

Wix is one of the most effortless solutions for building websites and managing content, as it offers a quick and easy way to kickstart a webpage without writing a single line of code. 

Wix powers an impressive authentication system, over 500 free templates, and free hosting for all customers, making it a strong choice for small businesses and blogs hoping to build an online presence.

What Makes a Good Framework?

The realm of software frameworks is vast, and you will likely have various options that fit the needs of your application, regardless of whether you’re working on a mobile app or building machine learning models. 

Naturally, this makes picking the correct framework pivotal to your progress, as if the framework runs into problems in the future, then your application may be heavily affected.

Fortunately, there are various criteria that you can use to judge a framework before making your choice, including:

  1. Strength of its community.
  2. The level of support the framework has. 
  3. How extensive the framework’s documentation is. 
  4. The level of security the framework provides. 

Framework vs. Library: What’s the Difference?

If you speak to developers, you may quickly find that they often interchange “framework” and “library .” While both are reusable blocks of code you may use to speed up your development and solve various issues, and each is implemented slightly differently.

Generally, libraries are plugged into your application to help in a problem area. For example, you may use a library to help you create an error message for your mobile application. 

On the other hand, frameworks tend to be the pillars on which your application stands, which means that your app cannot function without certain sections of the framework being present.

Begin Your Programming Journey with Coding Dojo

Starting your programming journey can be difficult, and with the array of choices that the software engineering world provides, it’s easy to get nervous about missing the first step. However, it does not have to be this way.

Coding Dojo bootcamp tutors have guided over 8,000 students towards countless software engineering opportunities by helping them understand there is no limit to their potential. Our curriculum stands out from other boot camps by providing a compelling triple-stack system, equipping you with everything you need to create your applications and build spectacular platforms. 

If you would like to learn more about how Coding Dojo works, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our tutors will be delighted to answer any questions.

Conclusion

So, “what is a framework?”

Now you know a little more, and how they can make your coding life much easier.

Knowing the various types of frameworks in programming is only the first step in supercharging your programming output.

Before you pick a framework, you should compare it with others and consider its impact on your project. Using framework properly allows you to develop faster, save time, and deliver a fantastic product to your client.

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