Choosing a web framework to learn

Choosing a web framework to learn

I've seen the question asked in many places many times: "should I learn Angular, React, Vue, Ember...?"

My answer to that question is that, for most people, it probably doesn't matter.

I may not be a revered web developer by any means, so please take it with a grain of salt; but of course, it does matter, otherwise I wouldn't be talking about it, right? Well, you're right; saying it doesn't matter is hyperbolic. But there's truth to it, too. People who ask which framework to learn are likely looking for an objectively "correct" answer to the question, and realistically - and probably obvious to some - it's completely subjective.

So here's what I think:
Which framework best suits you depends on what you want to accomplish.

I know, I know, I'm echoing sentiments that have been said many times. But it deserves being said again. Ask yourself; Do you need something that is prevalent in the enterprise world? Angular and React may be your best choice. Do you want to play around? You can probably justify picking any of the frameworks. Do you have a project with specific design needs? You'll have to research which framework offers the features you need, considering things like state management and routing.

However, I think it's important to consider more than learning a new framework. Sometimes, you may be better off familiarizing yourself with more general aspects of web development. Since a lot of the frameworks are built using JavaScript, I think learning about the language itself can have the most benefits, although that may not sound as glamorous as learning a new framework. I personally recommend reading You Don't Know JS by Kyle Simpson. This is a series of books that take a deep dive into JavaScript and can teach you about things you might have seen but don't understand yet; IIFEs (immediately invoked function expressions), hoisting, asynchronous JS via promises, callbacks (and callback hell) - it's a really good resource. It personally helped me understand a lot of JavaScript so that instead of having no idea what I'm doing half the time, I know just enough to get in trouble. Another good resource, especially for those less familiar with JavaScript, is Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke. This book has a great, no-assumptions about your previous knowledge approach, so it's great for beginners. There are plenty of others, of course, but those are the two I most strongly recommend.

The bottom line

While it's easy to get caught up in the storm of the newest framework fad, or whatever the trend may be in the future, it's important to understand the fundamentals. Learning about JavaScript itself can prepare you for a lot of things in your career as a web developer. It'll help you get a better handle on why some of the frameworks and libraries you'll use in the future do what they do, and maybe you'll even appreciate some things you may have taken for granted. As cliche as it sounds, a house is only as good as its foundation, so don't focus so much on the new things - get comfortable with the fundamentals.

Post cover photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash.