A lightweight view class is provided but there is no default templating method implemented. Because views are minimal it allows for much more freedom to implement views however you would like, and because of this freedom it's possible to write views to more uniquely adapt to a problem. User interactions are done within an events object that allows these interactions to be segregated from the rest of the view code which makes the behavioral aspect of the view easier to read and manage.
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Pro Gives you the freedom to implement views however you want
A lightweight view class is provided but there is no default templating method implemented. Because views are minimal it allows for much more freedom to implement views however you would like, and because of this freedom it's possible to write views to more uniquely adapt to a problem.
User interactions are done within an events object that allows these interactions to be segregated from the rest of the view code which makes the behavioral aspect of the view easier to read and manage.
Pro Can be combined with any library you want
Pro Large community
Backbone has existed longer than most frameworks, and has a large following of users and projects using it as a framework.
Pro You can call underscore.js methods directly on Backbone objects
Backbone collections and models are extended by underscore.js method allowing you to call underscore methods directly on the Backbone objects.
Pro Easy to interface with the API
Backbone provides Model and Collection classes that provide strong analogs to restful resources. These strong analogs allow you to interface more naturally with the API, and makes it easier to write custom behaviors for more complicated API interactions.
Collections provide a variety of powerful manipulation methods that are integrated from the underscore library, that allow you to manipulate, sort, and filter collection data easily.
Pro Easy to implement complex user interaction
Because all the state is managed by Models and Controllers, and they are extendable objects, you can isolate all the state logic onto those objects allowing the rest of the application to not worry about it. The app is simplified to just taking in input to modify the Models and Controllers, and updating the views to reflect them, but none of the state needs to be a concern outside of the Model and Controller classes.
Pro Doesn’t force you into a particular coding style or paradigm
There is no “magic” happening below the surface: the source code is clear, readable and well commented. Backbone is also “lightweight” in the sense that it doesn’t require a ton of buy-in to use. It can be easily integrated into an existing page, and you can choose to only use certain components of the library (Views without Models or Collections, for example). While there are many frameworks that seem to be faster to get started with, Backbone’s lack of surprises, clear documentation, speed & flexibility make it a good fit for all types of apps.
Pro Extendable with plugins
Because Backbone is so simple, and the different components are very well isolated, it is very easy to extend the functionality of Backbone. If you're writing your own extended code it's easy to keep it separated out, and share with the community.
The community also has many plugins already available, which you can pick and choose to use to fit your programming style.
Pro Easy to abstract interaction
All Backbone classes extend an events class that allows for listening and triggering functionality. Because all classes implement events by default it is easier to provide asynchronous communication between objects, and it allows better abstraction of interaction so the event emitting object does not need to know the structure or existence of the receiving object.
Pro Easy to reuse components
Pro Server side rendering
React can render it's components and data server side, then it sends those components as HTML to the browser.
This ensures faster initial loading time and SEO friendliness out of the box, since it's indexed as any other static website by search engines.
Pro One-way data flow
React's one-way data binding (or one-way data flow) means that it's easy to see where and how your UI is updated and where you need to make changes. It's also very easy to keep everything modular, fast and well-organized.
Pro Virtual DOM support
Instead of relying on the DOM, React implements a virtual DOM from scratch, allowing it to calculate precisely what needs to be patched during the next screen refresh. This is orders of magnitude faster than fiddling with the DOM itself.
Pro Can be used with different libraries
Pro Good debugging tools
React has an official Chrome Extension which is used as a developing and debugging tool. It can be used to quickly and painlessly debug your application or view the whole application structure as it's rendered.
Pro Template engine independent
React provides a template engine (JSX) which is easy to use. But it's not mandatory.
Pro Functional programming style leads to less buggy UIs
Pro Easy to write tests
Pro Supported by Facebook and Instagram
React is built by Facebook engineers initially to be used only for their inner projects especially to solve the problem of building large complex applications with constantly changing data.
Pro Flux architecture pattern
Flux is a platform agnostic pattern which can technically be used with any application or programming language.
One of Flux' main features is that it enforces uni-directional data flow which means that views do not change the data directly.
With React this is useful because this way it's easier to understand an application as it starts getting more complicated. By having two-way data binding, lead to unpredictable changes, where changing one model's data would end up updating another model. By using the Flux architecture, this can be avoided.
Pro Extensive SVG support
Since React v0.15, SVG is fully supported. React supports all SVG attributes that are recognized by today's browsers.
Pro Supported by ClojureScript libraries
Reagent, Om, Rum, etc.
Pro Keep control over your app's logic
React is just a view library, so you still have (almost) full control over how you app behaves.
Pro Tested on Facebook itself
React is used on one of the most visited websites on the planet, Facebook. With stellar results and with millions of people experiencing it every day.
Con Requires more coding compared to other frameworks
Because many features are not provided out of the box, you either have to write more base class code to get those features, or find a plugin that provides them in a way you like.
It does not provide much structure either, things like memory management must be kept in mind by the developer, also the lack of view lifecycle management makes state changes prone to memory leaks.
Con Can easily lead you to spaghetti code
Heavy event-binding can lead to unmanageable spaghetti mess. BB tempts users to overuse it for no reason.
Con No data binding
Backbone does not have data binding support. However, there are some libraries that can be implemented in order to have data binding in Backbone. Such as Epoxy
Con Heavy on memory
React's virtual DOM is fast, but it requires storing elements in the virtual and real DOM increasing memory usage for the page. This can be a real problem for single-page webapps designed to be left running in the background.
Con Not a complete solution
React does not do everything for the developer, it's merely a tool for building the UI of a web app. It does not have support for routing or models, at least not out of the box. While some missing features can be added through libraries, to start using React and use it in production, you still would need to have experience, or at least a good grasp on what the best libraries to use would be.
Con Large file size
react.min.js is 145.5KB in size. It's much larger than some other libraries that offer roughly the same features and it's almost the same size as some MV* frameworks such as Angular or Ember that offer more features out of the box.
Although, it should be mentioned that sometimes having a smaller library may force developers to reinvent the wheel and write inefficient implementations on features that React already has. Ending up with a larger application that's harder to maintain and/or that has bad performance.
Con You have to learn a new syntax
Requires to learn a custom syntax, JSX that has some gotchas and introduce complexity, a steeper learning curve, and incompatibility with other tools.
Though you can opt out from JSX and use vanilla JS instead. But that is not recommended since it adds a lot of unneeded complexity which JSX tries to avoid.
Con No support for legacy browsers
React has recently dropped support for Internet Explorer 8. While the library may still work on IE8, issues that affect only IE8 will not be prioritized and/or solved.