Top 7 UI Frameworks for ReactJS
ReactJS is a frontend development library that developers most often choose for the frontend development of applications in 2022. Based on a recent Stackoverflow survey, ReactJS is the most beloved library among developers, putting behind popular frameworks such as jQuery, Angular, or Vue.js by several points. The popularity of ReactJS is well accounted for. The library was formed keeping in mind factors like ease of use as well as allowing applications to have great responsivity. Together, these features enable us to build highly immersive UIs in a comparatively shorter development time. One of the most lucrative features of ReactJS in this sense is the availability of reusable components. The ReactJS library is a collection of reusable component libraries. Each UI framework we consider here is React component libraries. Components are building blocks of React applications. React allows us to break down our applications into smaller, independent components so that we can customize and reuse them. UI frameworks are a collection of such components that we can pull while building UIs of our applications.
ReactJS is also well known for its inclusivity. The library is very extensive owing to its popularity, which further expands the demand for ReactJS development services. Additionally, being open-source, ReactJS is continuously enriched with updated APIs and frameworks that further boost its utility. In this blog, we shall discuss the top 7 UI frameworks available in ReactJS. The UI frameworks here are chosen and ranked based on the Github points accumulated.
What is a UI Framework?
To put it simply, a UI framework is a collection of APIs that help us build user interfaces (UIs) for our applications. UI is the primary part of frontend development. Therefore, it is important that frontend libraries have a vast collection of UI frameworks. ReactJS supports several third-party UI frameworks that allow us flexibility while building customized UIs for ReactJS applications. UI frameworks consist of reusable components that we can incorporate into our ReactJS application for utmost flexibility and optimization of the applications.
Choosing the best UI Frameworks is indeed a rather vague task. Each framework comes with its own merits and demerits. More importantly, a comparison of UI frameworks can be done better only when we have a specific kind of application in mind. This is because different applications need different UIs. Simultaneously, different UI frameworks can be said to be good for particular UIs. Say, a UI framework that is extremely useful for building an e-commerce app might not prove to be as good while building an OTT app.
However, we are here to discuss the best UI frameworks in ReactJS is a more general basis. I decided to go with the frameworks voted the most on GitHub. This ensures that the UI frameworks we talk about in this blog are the ones most used and most liked by frontend developers. In terms of flexibility and usability, these frameworks are comparatively better than other UI frameworks.
However, it is very important to keep in mind that there are hundreds of UI frameworks available for ReactJS and they all have their benefits when it comes to specific applications.
Why do you need UI Frameworks?
The user interface is the core of the front end of an application. Presently, applications are put to use for a myriad of tasks. As a result, they are often complex, consisting of multitudes of components. ReactJS makes the task much easier by giving us reusable components. Anyone across the world can build a component once and developers worldwide can pull that component into their UI. This saves us time and resources. UI frameworks being collections of components makes the task of building UIs much simpler. We can simply pull the components we need into our code and customize our UIs to an unlimited extent. It also allows us great optimization abilities.
Let us now go into the details of the top 7 UI frameworks opted for by developers in ReactJS.
Ant Design is a UI framework available in ReactJS popularly used to develop business applications. With 81.5 K votes on GitHub, it is presently the highest voted UI framework in ReactJS. MUI is still arguably the most popular UI framework, still, Ant Design has recently overtaken MUI in terms of GitHub votes. Ant design uses less.js for styling components allowing us a fair amount of freedom to customize our UI. Much like MUI, Ant Design provides a vast collection of prebuilt components and demos which allows us to build rich and interactive UIs at a much faster pace.
npm install antd
yarn add antd
To create a simple button in Ant Design:
The primary benefits of using Ant Design include:
- Integration of multiple international language support
- High-end components for business-level web applications
- Inclusive collection of prebuilt components
- Flexible theme customization
Material UI, currently known as MUI is one of the most popular UI frameworks in ReactJS. It has 80.5 K GitHub votes at the moment. This popularity of MUI is owed to the fact that it comprises foundational components for UI development. MUI largely consists of four parts, Material UI, Joy UI, Material Base, and MUI System. Joy UI contains several readymade stylized components, while Material Base has unstyled base components for flexible customization. Meanwhile, Material System allows quick custom designs by offering a wide range of CSS utilities.
MUI is based on Google’s Material Design which makes this framework one of the most refined frameworks for UI design in ReactJS. Customized UIs with pre-set styles and color palettes can be built at much comparative ease, making them very useful for quick MVP development.
npm: npm install @mui/material @emotion/react @emotion/styled
yarn: yarn add @mui/material @emotion/react @emotion/styled
npm: npm install @mui/base
yarn: yarn add @mui/base
npm: npm install @mui/system @emotion/react @emotion/styled
yarn: yarn add @mui/system @emotion/react @emotion/styled
Here is an example of MUI usage for a simple button component:
- The key benefits of opting for MUI would be:
- Prebuilt immersive UI designs powered by Google Material Design
- Advanced theming features
- Quick MVP development
- Flexible customization with CSS Utilities
React Storybook was introduced first in 2016 and since then the framework has gained significant popularity. Storybook currently enjoys 73.4 thousand votes on GitHub. The idea behind React Storybook is rather novel. It is not a UI framework like the others in this list, instead, it is a UI development environment.
React Storybook acts as a scribble pad for UI development. It provides us with an isolated environment to develop individual components that run independently of other components within the environment. This makes way for experimentation and creativity. This feature alone has brought Storybook unparalleled popularity among ReactJS frameworks. Developing individual components shortens development time and enhances the quality of the code. It might not be the best framework for you if you are looking for pulling quick, prebuilt codes. However, Story is rather beginner-friendly as it allows experimenting and learning with individual components.
npx sb init
A simple demo button can be created in Storybook as follows
Storybook is beneficial for several reasons:
- An isolated environment for building components
- Developing and perfecting individual components
- Entire Storybook can be deployed as a static application
- Hot module reloading
React Semantic UI is popular for highly responsive, state-of-the-art UI components. With GitHub votes as high as 50 thousand, Semantic UI usually ranks among the top 5 ReactJS UI frameworks of all time. The key behind the popularity of Semantic React UI is its developer-friendly HTML layouts. Prebuilt layouts in Semantic UI are written in HTML and show a large influence from the semantic style of HTML. For example, in the Semantic UI framework, every CSS class has meaning. This framework sees classes and words to be interchangeable, which makes it much easier for developers to use. This is achieved as classes in Semantic UI use natural language factors like plurality or nouns to intuitively link syntax to concepts. It can also use natural language phrases to enhance the functionality of components.
npm: npm install semantic-ui
yarn: yarn add semantic-ui-react
To create a simple form component with two input windows and one button using Semantic UI:
Core benefits of Semantic UI include:
- It is Flexbox friendly
- A large variety of components allows flexible customizations
- It has extensive documentation enhancing the ease of use
Chakra UI is a versatile UI framework for ReactJS that was specifically designed to work on React applications, both web, and mobile. The framework currently has more than 28.2 thousand votes on Github and is popular for its utility components. For example, Chakra UI has an inbuilt component that allows your React application UIs to have dark mode and bright mode screens, a feature widely popular among users at present. Chakra UI draws a lot of attention owing to this feature as it has become a must-have in applications. Overall, the framework is hugely extensive and customizable.
npm: npm install --save @chakra-ui/react
yarn: yarn add @chakra-ui/react
To enable the dark mode theme to your components:
The most highlighted benefits of Chakra UI are as follows:
- All components in Chakra UI are dark mode compatible
- It has good documentation, making it easy to use
- Components are based on WAI-ARIA guidelines, making them highly accessible
- Charka UI was built on top of React UI Primitive, giving it endless composability
React Redux is a simple UI framework, most popular for its predictable nature. The framework provides a straightforward interface where you can input values for components and they would automatically be updated globally. This UI framework enjoys more than 22 thousand votes on Github owing to this simplified nature and enhanced usability of the framework. Additionally, React Redux is also well known for its highly useful debugging features. The inbuilt DevTools system in Redux automatically identifies and logs updates in your application state and sends error reports. It also does automatic performance optimization, which enhances the responsibility of your React apps.
npm: npm install react-redux
yarn: yarn add react-redux
The key benefits of React Redux are:
- Simplicity and predictability
- Automatic debugging by DevTools
- Automatic performance optimization
- High responsivity
React Bootstrap is a UI framework that combines React and Bootstrap, as the name suggests. It has almost 21 K votes on GitHub which makes it one of the most popular CSS-based UI frameworks in ReactJS. React Bootstrap brings React ecosystem compatibility to Bootstrap core compatibility which makes it one of the strongest UI frameworks on ReactJS. React Bootstrap maintains its bootstrap core which gives developers access to the thousands of themes available in Bootstrap to incorporate into their React app UI.
npm i react-bootstrap
The main benefits of React Bootstrap are:
- React Bootstrap can be utilized as a prop API
- High accessibility
- Supports CSS
- Highly customizable
React UI frameworks are a collection of components and hooks that we can pull to add a wide variety of components to our React apps without going through the trouble of writing the codes for each component. It helps us build MVPs for apps much faster which in turn gives us more time to customize apps. UI frameworks consist of prebuilt components which can themselves be customized to various extents, depending on which framework you are using. ReactJS has hundreds of UI frameworks and it might be a daunting task to choose the best framework for your app.
From this blog, we can tell that there is no best UI framework for ReactJS. Each framework has its pros and cons. For example, MUI might be a strong and versatile framework but it is not beginner-friendly. Meanwhile, Semantic UI is highly beginner friendly with its simple design and extensive documentation. Different UI frameworks come with different sets of components suitable for different needs. For example, Ant Design is highly suitable for web applications, while Chakra UI is more frequently used for mobile applications. As a frontend developer, it would be wiser to weigh your options and choose the right framework for your React app.
Here we discussed the top 7 UI frameworks in ReactJS ranked based on their GitHub votes. Although GitHub votes do not ensure the suitability of a framework for your project, it does give us an idea of which frameworks are more commonly used by developers.
Sam took the long path into the world of IT. A post-grad in Bioinformatics, she started coding to build better programs for protein sequencing. Currently, Sam actively writes blogs for 4 Way Technologies. She's always excited about all the new technologies and updates in software development. Sam also writes coding tutorials and beginners guides for, well, beginners.