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A software framework provides generic functionality that can be customized depending on what end result is desired. Frameworks increase application reliability, and reduces programming and testing effort.

Every framework has its advantages and disadvantages, but there are still some core topics to consider when choosing a framework for a particular project. 

Much like with languages, developers are often inclined to go with what they know, but a familiar language, framework, or similar tool might not always be the best one for the job.

Every framework has its advantages and disadvantages, but there are still some core topics to consider when choosing a framework for a particular project. 


What to Look for in a Framework

Here are six things to consider when choosing a framework for your next web development project:

  1. Functionality: It doesn't make sense to use a full-stack framework if you only need routing capabilities. Choose a framework that fits the need at hand, rather than choosing something solely for its familiarity. When you understand what your situation requires, this allows you to evaluate different frameworks for their functions.
  2. Consistency management: A good framework can help maintain consistency, especially when a development team is distributed. Of course, a framework is not a replacement for coding standards, code reviews, and other internal control policies.
  3. Good documentation: Even with code we've written, coming back to something six months later can seem like a mystery. With frameworks, you're always working with someone else's code. Pick a framework with a history of good documentation and training, as this allows understanding the code and implementing the framework to its fullest potential much easier.
  4. Support: Check to see if the framework you're interested in using has an active community of support. This is important to do while still in a project's planning stages. Once you start using a framework, it's all too common for it to become an integral part of an application. Should maintenance support stop, you might be burdened with taking it on yourself or starting over from scratch to use a new framework!
  5. Production environment: Not all frameworks are equal, and have their own requirements to work. Not every framework needs the latest bells and whistles in order to function, but you should at least make sure the one you're interested in doesn't run on deprecated features. Doing so can cause errors and warnings in log files triggered by a framework, which can reflect poorly on your application, developers, and organization in a client's eyes.
  6. Business factors: Whether budgetary or external, different business needs and obstacles can influence the decision of choosing a framework. For instance, a small company trying to win the business of a larger one might go with a framework preferred by the larger organization, even if it's not the right fit for the project. While you might not have any control over these influences, they are still assumptions and risks to consider.

Frameworks should help, not hurt your project. Taking the time to fully consider all your options before making a decision proactively prevents issues in the middle of development.