10 Best JavaScript Libraries to Use in 2022

By | January 19, 2022
JavaScript Libraries

JavaScript, abbreviated as JS, is one of the most popular and widely used scripting languages for web development. Also, it is one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web (WWW).

The advent of Node.js has made it possible for web developers to carry out front-end and back-end development using only JavaScript. Thus, JavaScript has become one of the most preferred programming languages for web development.

Another major reason for the widespread popularity of JavaScript is its frameworks and libraries. A plethora of JavaScript frameworks and libraries are available that have made it possible to create responsive web applications quite effortlessly. However, it can be pretty hard to figure out which library is the right fit for your project.

Well, this article highlights some of the best and extensively used JavaScript libraries. You can easily pick a library that best meets the requirements of your project(s). But before discussing the best JS libraries, let us first help you understand what exactly a JavaScript library means and what it is used for.

What are JavaScript Libraries?

A JavaScript library is a collection of various JavaScript functions and methods. In other words, a JavaScript library contains pre-written JavaScript code to carry out several repetitive and complex tasks while developing JavaScript-based applications.

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It is like one developer develops the JavaScript code for performing a specific task, and other developers reuse that code in their projects instead of developing it from scratch. Therefore, using JavaScript libraries saves a lot of time and effort, and makes the web development process more efficient.

Best JavaScript Libraries to Use

Let us discuss some of the widely used JavaScript libraries.

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1. jQuery

jQuery is a feature-rich, fast, classic, and lightweight JavaScript library. This library makes it effortless to implement AJAX, animation, event-handling, and HTML document traversal and manipulation. Also, it offers a user-friendly API that is compatible with several popular browsers, such as Safari, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera.

This JavaScript library was designed by John Resig in 2006 at BarCamp NYC. Licensed under the MIT License, jQuery is open-source and free to use. jQuery is ideal for beginners to learn since its syntax is pretty similar to CSS.

Some of the salient features of jQuery are listed below:

  • DOM manipulation depends on CSS3 selectors. CSS3 selectors use element names and their attributes to select nodes in the DOM.
  • JSON parsing.
  • Ajax application development.
  • Element selection in DOM using Sizzle. Sizzle is an open-source multi-browser selector engine.
  • Deferred and Promise objects to control asynchronous processing.

2. React.js

React.js or React is a front-end open-source JavaScript library. It makes the development of user interfaces painless since it provides an array of UI components. It is ideal to use as a base for various mobile and single-page applications (SPAs).

Jordan Walke, a software engineer working at Facebook, designed React.js in 2013. This JavaScript library is maintained by Meta, formerly known as Facebook, and is licensed under the MIT license.

With React.js, you just need to create simple views for every state in your application. It will update and render the appropriate components when the data changes.

React uses JSX instead of using JavaScript for templating. JSX is simple JavaScript combined with HTML for rendering subcomponents. However, it is not necessary to use only JSX; developers can even use JavaScript.

Below are some of the key advantages of using React.js:

  • Makes debugging and testing easier.
  • Ideal for building single-page web applications and mobile applications.
  • Facilitates the creation of visually appealing user interfaces.

Social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, and the messaging app, Whatsapp, all use React.

3. D3.js

D3 stands for Data-Driven Documents. D3.js is yet another popular JavaScript library used for manipulating documents based on data. It is used for creating dynamic and interactive data visualizations in web browsers by using HTML5, CSS, and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).

Vadim Ogievetsky, Mike Bostock, Jeffrey Heer, and Jason Davies together developed D3.js, and it was released in 2011 as version 2.0.0.

D3.js has multiple pre-built functions required for selecting elements, creating SVG objects, and styling them or adding transitions, tooltips, and dynamic effects to them. It supports vast volumes of data sets and is extremely fast. The functional style of D3 enables developers to reuse code through multiple community-developed modules.

D3.js library is used for:

  • Interactive and dynamic data visualization.
  • Creating animated transitions.
  • Binding data to DOM and carrying out the data-driven transformation on it.
  • Sequencing complex transitions through events.

4. Underscore.js

Underscore.js is another powerful library that offers utility functions for some common programming tasks. It provides more than 100 functions, including helper functions, like map, filter, and invoke, and specialized functions for function binding, deep equality testing, creating indexes, and JavaScript templating.

Jeremy Ashkenas and Julian Gonggrijp designed Underscore.js. This JavaScript library was released in 2009 under the MIT License.

Underscore.js provides:

  • Detailed documentation that describes functions suitable for performing some typical programming tasks. All functions are categorized into five different categories, namely Collection functions, Array functions, Function functions, Object functions, and Utility functions.
  • Special facilities, such as iteratee and chain. We can use these facilities with the functions listed in the documentation to enable a simpler and cleaner syntax.
  • Literate source code. It enables us to understand how D3.js is implemented.

5. Anime.js

Anime.js is a lightweight, free, and open-source animation JavaScript library. With this library, you can add animations to your website or web application. You can use Anime.js to animate JavaScript objects, SVG, DOM attributes, and CSS properties on a web page.

This library was released in 2019, and it has an easy-to-use and simple API. It has a built-in staggering system that helps web developers animate multiple elements with the ‘follow through and overlapping’ action. The callbacks and controls functions in Anime.js allow us to play, pause, control, and reverse trigger events.

To use Anime.js, it is essential to have basic knowledge of Anime and an in-depth understanding of the core web development technologies, i.e., HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This library also provides some animation examples, like moving letters, pieces slider, layered animations, sphere animation, etc.

6. DOJO Toolkit

DOJO toolkit is one of the most popular open-source JavaScript libraries. It provides everything required for developing a web application, like UI components, language utilities, etc., under one roof.

Alex Russell, Dylan Schiemann, David Schontzler, and some other members of the DOJO Foundation designed the DOJO Toolkit. It was released in 2005 and is dually licensed under the Academic Free License and the BSD License.

The DOJO toolkit consists of around three thousand JavaScript modules, including images and other resources. This toolkit is organized into four parts, as described below:

  • dojo: It contains non-visual and core JavaScript modules.
  • digit: It is a user-interface module that helps to set up layout and widgets.
  • dogox: It helps you with grids, charting, and DTL.
  • Util: It includes build tools, such as style checking, testing, documentation, and optimization.

7. PixiJs

PixiJs is an open-source and flexible JavaScript library for creating stunning digital content using its fast 2D WebGL renderer. It facilitates the creation of interactive and rich graphics for cross-platform applications, websites, and games. It is one of the best JavaScript libraries when it comes to 2D rendering, and it has a flexible and feature-rich API.

Following are the key highlights of PixiJs:

  • PixiJS offers top-notch quality blending and color modes as offered in Photoshop.
  • The Asset Loader feature enables users to load spreadsheets, graphics, fonts, and animation data.
  • You can provide the next-level visual fidelity and performance to your projects using WebGL filters and shaders.
  • The Full Scene Graph feature organizes objects into hierarchical trees.
  • It offers advanced text rendering.

8. Leaflet

Leaflet is an open-source JavaScript library for developing web mapping applications. With this library, you can incorporate interactive maps into your websites. It enables us to display tiled web maps hosted on a public server without a GIS background.

This JavaScript library was developed by Vladimir Agafonkin and released in 2011 under the BSD 2-clause license. Pinterest, Flickr, and FourSquare are some popular users of the Leaflet library.

Leaflet natively supports GeoJSON layers, Web Map Service (WMS) layers, Tiled layers, and Vectors layers. In addition, it supports various types of layers through plugins.

The basic display model of maps implemented by Leaflet includes one base map, zero or more translucent overlays, and zero or more Vector objects on the top. The four major object types in Leaflet are:

  • Vector types include Path, Polygon, and specific types such as Circle.
  • Raster types include TileLayer and ImageOverlay.
  • Controls include Zoom, Layers, etc.
  • Grouped types include LayerGroup, FeatureGroup, and GeoJSON.

Leaflet supports all major browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari.

9. Polymer

Polymer is an extensively used JavaScript library. It enables us to build interactive web applications using different components. Also, it allows web developers to create custom elements that function like standard DOM elements.

Various Google services and websites like YouTube, Google Play Music, YouTube gaming, etc. are developed using Polymer.

This JavaScript library was developed by Google and was released in 2015. Along with Google services and websites, it also has other renowned users, including Netflix, Coca-Cola, Mcdonald’s, IBM, Electronic Arts, and BBVA.

Some significant features provided by Polymer are given below:

  • Custom elements
  • Cross-browser compatibility
  • Supports gesture events
  • Provides one-way and two-way data binding
  • Offers Polymer command-line interface for managing complex web projects
  • Utilizes Google’s Material Design for developing hybrid mobile applications

10. MathJAX

MathJAX is an open-source JavaScript library for displaying mathematical notations in a browser using ASCIIMathML, LaTex, and MathML markup. It is a successor to the JavaScript mathematics formatting library, called jsMath.

The American Mathematical Society developed MathJAX. It was released in 2020, and it is licensed under the Apache License 2.0. Some reputed users of the MathJAX library are Wikipedia, Mathoverflow, MathSciNet, Project Euclid journals, IEEE Xplore, and All-Russian Mathematical Portal.

MathJAX is compatible with all the major browsers, including Safari, Google Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. It can be used in Node.js from version 3. In addition, this library is highly modular on input and output. It uses ASCIIMathML, LaTex, and MathML as input and generates HTML+CSS, SVG, or MathML as output.

Conclusion

Each library mentioned in the above list of top 10 JavaScript libraries serves a different purpose. These libraries can help you build robust web applications and websites that provide a rich user experience.

While choosing one or more libraries for your web development project, you need to keep in mind the functionalities that you want to implement in your project. This will make it easier for you to select the most appropriate JavaScript libraries.

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