Front-end web frameworks and other neat web stuff as of mid 2013

There's been an explosion in front-end web frameworks over the last two years or so. It's exciting, but it's hard to keep up, and I'm really not trying to since I'm doing lots of cool server stuff these days. I'm just going to mention a couple of them that pique my interest, mainly so that if I come back to this I won't forget!

  • Meteor. This is both a front and a back end system. It has a very cool reactive programming paradigm that runs all the way back to the data, and a killer package manager built in. It is built on Node and Mongo, and I have high hopes for it.
  • AngularJS. HN linked to a great rundown on SO on how Angular differs from jQuery. Angular also uses reactive paradigm that allows the programmer to extend HTML for their application. Powerful stuff.
  • Ractive. This is very, very new but it looks quite good. The concepts are Angular-like but the code looks better, and the excellent tutorials show that the author really pays attention to detail.
It's a visualization library, but D3 (probably better called D3.js or D3js so as not to be confused with Diablo 3, etc) deserves a mention. I'm particularly fond of this very well done D3js tutorial site. D3 is a bit of an odd duck because it really doesn't really do much on it's own; however it's creator, Mike Bostock, seems to be very productive with it and he creates some amazing visualizations with it. I'm still excited about it, since I started with Prefuse and then Flare and now D3 is the latest incarnation in that line of visualization tools.

On the size/performance/page size area, I recently ran across zepto and pure css. Zepto is a jQuery replacement that basically sacrifices browser compatibility for size. It weighs 5-10k vs jQuery's 50k. Pure is a pretty CSS framework that weighs in at a svelt 4.3KB - and I think it has 90% of the functionality I want from projects like Bootstrap. Having state-of-the-art JS and CSS support in a page under 10k makes me happy.

And now for something completely different: RethinkDB. This project strikes me as the Meteor of NoSQL DBs. Rethink is what Mongo should have been. The docs are extremely well-written, the team seems solid and directed, and I wouldn't be surprised if Rethink displaces Mongo as king of the NoSQL. 

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