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SPEC Out Your Perfect JavaScript Framework

I'm extremely excited to announce that today, as an interactive companion to the JavaScript frameworks e-book I authored, we're releasing the online SPEC quiz to help you find the perfect JavaScript framework for your team. If you want to learn more about the story behind SPEC, along with how and why I developed the methodology, read on!


Even though it's always good to have options, everyone can think of a time when the sheer number of choices becomes overwhelming. Whether it's choosing a place to eat with family or picking out a color to paint a room in a new house, it's clear that adding more options doesn't make decision-making easier. Even in the software development field, where dozens of decisions can be made by a single team manager on any given day, companies find themselves gridlocked over the choice of what tools to use for their projects. This is nowhere more evident than in the current web development sphere. Driven by open source, this cheap and accessible market has been flooded with countless task runners, source control solutions, and most importantly, JavaScript frameworks. Since the JavaScript framework you choose will become the heart of your web application, it's vital that you pick the one most suited to your needs. That being said, with so many options to choose from - AngularJS, Angular, React, Vue.js, Knockout, Ember, Backbone, to name a small fraction - how can you make the right choice and keep your team moving forward at the same time? That's where the SPEC methodology and online quiz come in! The SPEC online quiz, designed to help you choose the perfect JavaScript framework for your team. The SPEC online quiz, designed to help you choose the perfect JavaScript framework for your team.

What Goes into Choosing a Framework

As I alluded to earlier, the SPEC online quiz was born out of a methodology put forth in my recently published e-book, "How to Choose the Best JavaScript Framework for Your Team." In the book, I go into detail about the roles JavaScript frameworks play in both the operation of your end-product and your team's development cycle. As it turns out, one of the most crucial factors in how effective a JavaScript framework will be for your team is the assessment of your "team culture." For example, some frameworks are easier to use for programmers more accustomed to object-oriented programming patterns. Some frameworks enforce project file structure and development tooling, which may be preferred for teams that like to focus on writing code. Conversely, other frameworks are virtually agnostic in concerns to this type of structure. These frameworks are ideal for the more independent team. To keep SPEC granular but general enough for anyone to use, I distilled the plethora of factors to 4 major concerns: speed, productivity, ecosystem, and compatibility. Speed and compatibility assess how frameworks will impact your end-product. Productivity gives insight to the level of workflow integration you want your tools to have. While the ecosystem concern also relates to the development cycle, it focuses more on the community surrounding a framework itself. Of course, any good developer or project manager would like to maximize effectiveness in all these areas. As we all know, you usually can't "have your cake and eat it, too." By encouraging teams to prioritize 4 broad yet important facets of their project, the SPEC method leads teams to inspect their processes. The most meaningful result of the SPEC method is actually what your team discovers about itself, not simply the JavaScript framework it chooses.

Learning More about Frameworks

Beyond the SPEC method's granular approach, there are innumerable factors that will be impacted by the JavaScript framework you choose. Fortunately, the vibrant JavaScript community has amassed data and resources which help in assessing the impact of a framework. These data sets and methodologies are the ones I used to assemble the SPEC method. If you'd like to read more about the framework performance and workflow data used to assemble the method, I invite you to take a look at the e-book for free! Inside the e-book, you'll also find detailed explanations of 5 of the currently most popular JavaScript frameworks: AngularJS, Angular, React, Vue.js, and Knockout. Each framework chapter includes a walk-through demonstrating how to use the Wijmo UI library interchangeably among frameworks. If you'd like to follow along with the framework-specific samples, you can always download a free evaluation copy of Wijmo which ships with support for all of these frameworks out-of-the-box. As a web developer, I've experienced firsthand the friction that can occur when making a decision as a team. While making these decisions is necessary, I hope that the SPEC methodology and online quiz help you decide on a JavaScript framework faster so you can get to the fun part: writing code! (In fact, the SPEC quiz itself was created using a JavaScript framework. Be on the lookout for a blog about that soon!)


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