While it’s hard to comprehend the exact monetary value of leveraging libraries within an application, it’s important to note the advantages of finding the right libraries for a new project. Whether you’re an employed developer or a freelancer, the right choice can save you a ton of time; And as we know, time is money. Out of the box, libraries provide a huge array of functionality that is usually tested, scrutinised and easy to leverage into an existing application.
Libraries vs Frameworks
Before we begin, it’s worth clearing the air about what constitutes a library, and what we should consider a framework.
In lamens terms, a library is a set of reusable functions used by an application. In contrast, a framework dictates the architecture of the application. For example, you may incorporate JQuery into your existing application to enhance functionality – but the same can’t be said for Vue.js or Angular.js. Simple right? Well… no. There are some technologies out there that blur the line between library and framework, making it difficult for developers like us to classify it; we’re looking at you React.
To save ourselves some confusion, and to give potentially lesser-known technologies a big shout-out, we’ll be steering clear of identity-confused technologies like React in this article.
If you’re new to reactive programming or RxJS, this post on GitHub Gist is a fantastic place to get started.
When writing modular front-end applications, handling state in a predictable and reliable manner can be tricky. Thankfully, this is where Redux steps in. Redux manages the state of an application based around the principle of a store. Application state is declared read-only within the store and mutations are made through the use of pure functions. With all this functionality wrapped up in just 2KB (including dependencies), there’s really no reason not to give it try.
Recently, we published an article regarding the importance of testing, as well as highlighting the potential earnings from becoming a test-driven developer.
It’s also that worth noting that because of its popularity, you can probably find an official wrapper for the framework you’re building with. If you’re a fan of Vue.js the, you can get stuck into vue-chartjs. Otherwise, you can find react-chartjs and angular-chart.js over on GitHub.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the example methods that Lodash offers us.
flattenDeep method quickly flattens an n-dimension array into a simple one.
var _ = require('lodash');
_.flattenDeep([1, [2, [3, ], 5]]);
// => [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Next, let’s sneak a peek at one of Lodash’s string manipulation functions,
reverse. As you may expect, this function takes a string, reverses it and returns the output.
var _ = require('lodash');
var array = [1, 2, 3];
// => [3, 2, 1]
The full list of functions is avaiable over in their docs.
With the core build weighing in at a minuscule 4KB, you’ll barely notice it’s there.
In a few words, it works by binding data to the Document Object Model (DOM) and applying data-driven transformations to the document. If you’re still not excited by the endless possibilities, head over to the D3 homepage and check out the huge hexagonal array of examples.
Unlike Mocha, which we previously listed, Jest comes with built-in assertion and mocking functionality. In addition, Jest offers Snapshot testing functionality which renders UI components and compares the component to a reference image stored for the test.
GSAP’s example showcase page pays homage to what is achievable with this library.
SocketIO is the library for creating real-time web applications. It focuses on enabling real-time, bidirectional and event-based communication designed to work on every browser, platform and device. The library is split into two parts that you’ll need to implement to get started – a client part which runs in the browser and a node.js server part which the client connects to.
You can head over to socket.io to dive into an amazing introduction to how this library works.
Whether it’s testing, visualising data, creating a real-time chat app or building animations – there’s a library out there to suit our needs.
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