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Front-end Framework vs. Library. What's the difference?

Published on Jan 09 2023

Last updated on Jan 09 2023

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What are the fundamental differences between a front-end framework and a library? This might be a boring question to ask but understanding the answer is a great way to strengthen your programming foundation.

What is a front-end framework?

A front-end framework is a pre-built set of tools and conventions for building web interfaces. It provides a structure and set of standard practices for organizing and building out your interface, and often includes features such as responsive layout, UI components, and a set of predefined CSS styles.

Some examples of front-end frameworks include Bootstrap, Foundation, and Materialize.

What is a library?

Here, we are not talking about your local library. We are talking about libraries in programming. A library is a collection of pre-written code that you can use to perform specific tasks.

A library does not provide a structure or set of conventions for building out your interface, but rather offers a set of tools that you can use as needed.

Some examples of libraries used in front-end development include jQuery, Lodash, and Axios.

When to choose which?

You might choose to use a front-end framework if you want to quickly build out a well-structured, functional interface with a consistent look and feel. A framework can save you time by providing a set of predefined styles and UI components that you can use out of the box. However, using a framework can also be more restrictive, as it can be difficult to customize the framework to fit your specific needs.

On the other hand, you might choose to use a library if you only need to perform a specific task and do not need the structure or conventions provided by a framework. A library can be more lightweight and easier to customize, but it may require more work to integrate into your project and may not provide as many pre-built features as a framework.

Front-end Framework vs. Library

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Written by Alissa Nguyen

Alissa Nguyen is a software engineer with main focus is on building better software with latest technologies and frameworks such as Remix, React, and TailwindCSS. She is currently working on some side projects, exploring her hobbies, and living with her two kitties.

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