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Top 9 Backend Frameworks all should use in 2021

Brandon Bawe
An avid web developer and blogger from Douala Cameroon.
・5 min read

Over the years we have seen many backend frameworks come and go. Nonetheless, other backend frameworks have also gained massive popularity among developers over the years. This article seeks to bring to you the top 10 backend frameworks that developers and big tech companies are using in 2021 so as to enable you make a wise choice when deciding on which backend framework to start learning next or to just have a heads-up on what frameworks most developers and companies are using for backend web development. The list is structured in decreasing order of popularity meaning I am going to start with the most popular ones. The listing criteria is based on the number of GitHub stars a framework has amassed (a fair criteria for gauging popularity if you ask me) and developer survey from multiple reliable sources. But before we begin, there is a big question we need to answer first. This question is.

What is a Framework?

This is a term that is often used in most tech related conversations. It is hard to have a conversation on backend development and not talk about a framework or two. Many people have defined it differently. According to Wikipedia, a framework is an abstraction in which common code providing generic functionality can be selectively overridden or specialized by user code providing specific functionality. At a high level, this basically means a framework is a set of tools put together to help you accomplish your job better and faster. With that out of the way, let's get to the main thing. Like I said earlier the listing will be done in increasing order of popularity so let's begin.

  1. Laravel

    Laravel a PHP framework for web artisans is the first on this list with a whooping 64.6k GitHub stars at the time of writing. It is actually kind of weird and wonderful that Laravel is topping the list as it is a PHP framework and there are multiple claims that PHP is an unpopular programming language or a language that is steadily loosing its popularity. Though this might be true to some extent, PHP is a good programming language which is still very relevant in web development(this is clearly evident in the popularity of Laravel). One thing I personally like about Laravel is how much it has to offer out of the box and its super easy to understand documentation which has helped me understand so much about Laravel in a short period of time. I started experimenting with Laravel barely two weeks ago after learning object-oriented PHP for about a month and I have made a minimalist blog and an MVP for a crowdfunding platform(you can check for the source code here. Thousands of companies are using laravel in their tech stack some of them include; Mastercard, 9GAG, BitPanda, E-Commerce and more.

  2. Django

    Django a python framework makes the list in second place with 56.6k stars on GitHub. It is a high-level , free and open-source Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. One beautiful thing about Django that has had developers singing its praises is that is ships with almost everything a developer need creating the least need for third-party plugins. It is one of the best framework for building large applications. Some companies that use Django are; Mozilla, Disqus, Pinterest and National Geographic.

  3. Flask

    Flask is a prominent microframework written in Python. It is micro in the sense that Flask aims to keep the core simple but extensible. For example Flask won’t make many decisions for you, such as what database to use. It initial release was in April of 2010 and since then it has stood the test of time. It has over 54.4k stars on GitHub as of April 2021. Some companies that use Flask are; LinkedIn and Pinterest.

  4. Spring Boot

    Spring is an MVC type framework written in Java which is one of the most popular programming languages ever. It has over 54.3k stars on GitHub. Spring has many sister projects that boost its performance and let you scale your business quickly. String might might have a steep learning curve especially if you don't know Java. Websites like TicketMaster, BillGuard and Wix all use this framework.

  5. Express

    Express.js or Express is a minimal, fast and flexible Node.js framework with robust features for mobile and web application development. It is an MVC(Model-View-Controller) type framework which separates application logic into three essential parts. It is arguably the most popular Node framework with over 52.6k stars on GitHub and it is often referred to as the de-facto framework for building apps on top of Node.js. Express has a relatively easy learning curve because it requires just a basic understanding of the Node.js environment. Express ships with some easy to use HTTP utility methods, functions, and middleware thereby enabling developers to quickly and easily write robust applications. Big tech companies like Uber, IBM and Twitter are deploying apps built with Express.js. Express offers some powerful features such high performance, myriad of HTTP helpers and better content negotiation that help to take backend development with Node.js to the next level.

  6. Ruby On Rails

    Ruby on Rails written in the Ruby programming language is a server-side, MVC type web application framework. The first version of ROR was released by David Heinemeier Hansson in 2004 and it is hard to find a web framework that hasn't been influenced by Ruby on Rails in a way. Ruby On Rails is free and open-source with more than 5,000 contributors and about 48.1k stars on GitHub. Some big companies using Ruby On Rails include; GitHub, SoundCloud, Airbnb and Twitch.

  7. Meteor

    Meteor is an open-source Node framework for seamlessly building and deploying Web, Mobile, and Desktop applications in Javascript. It was officially launched in 2012 and has since gained popularity among developers. It has about 42.4k stars on GitHub. Meteor is known for it's smooth running of data between client and server, which most apps with realtime functionalities require. Meteor.Js is used to create both mobile and web-based JavaScript applications. Meteor is easy to integrate with other frameworks and has extensive community support which is one the reasons it is a popular framework you should consider looking at.

  8. Nest

    Eighth on the list is Nest. It is a progressive Node framework for building efficient, reliable and scalable server-side applications helping developers create modular, highly scalable, and maintainable server-side web applications. It is also an MVC type framework. It has amassed over 35.4k GitHub star. One of Nest's greatest features is its native support for TypeScript, which lets you access optional static type-checking along with strong tooling for large apps and the latest ECMAScript features.

  9. Koa

    Last but obviously not the least on the list is Koa. Koa is a lightweight yet extremely powerful middleware framework built by the team behind Express. It is suitable for the development of potential web-based applications and APIs. It has over 31k stars on GitHub. One benefit of using Koa is that it’s quite similar to Express(it is often referred to as the lightweight version of Express).

Conclusion

There are many frameworks out there to explore, almost more than a man can count. This list was made mainly to give you insights on what's trending in the world of backend web development. To end this on a positive note, don't be afraid to explore, don't limit yourself to some particular technologies (don't be a technology freak) be open new things and above all choose wisely. Thanks for reading my article. Happy Easter πŸ§†πŸ₯š πŸ₯š.

Discussion (2)

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devlorenzo profile image
DevLorenzo

Top 9 Backend Frameworks Developers and big Tech Companies are using in 2021. -->
Top 9 Backend Frameworks that all will use in 2021 πŸš€

My cheap advice πŸ™ƒ

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brandonbawe profile image
Brandon Bawe Author

Thanks for the advice. I think that one is better. Let me update the post's title real quick 😊😊