28th February 2014

Should you use a framework?

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Over the last few years, frameworks have been getting bigger, better and more widespread in the web development world. With all this choice, it is very easy to jump straight to the question of ‘which framework should I use?’, in reality however, the first question you should ask yourself is; do I need to use a framework?

Project Size

The main consideration to make when deciding whether or not you should use a framework is how large the project is that you are working on. If your project is small and relatively simple then you will probably find that using a framework is a massive overkill and largely unneeded. Most frameworks are very heavy and large in size which could all be unnecessary for small projects. On the flip side, this will be exactly what you want if your project is large or has some complex functionality. Frameworks will provide a great structure to your work with no extra effort from you.

Time Constraints

Frameworks can be great time savers due to the tools that they provide out of the box such as database abstraction layers and input sanitisation. These tools all help to speed up the common, repetitive tasks we complete as web developers, which can be lifesavers when working to tight deadlines. There is, of course, no reason why you shouldn’t use a framework just because you are not pressed for time but if time allows, you might benefit from exploring new techniques and expanding your knowledge whilst writing some plain vanilla code.

Are you new to backend programming?

Another question to ask yourself is whether or not you are looking to learn the basics of your server side language. If your answer to this question is yes, you should look to write your own before attempting to utilise a framework. You will be much better placed to use a framework once you have gained some experience in using a server side language. This is because if you can understand the language the framework is built on, you will have more of a chance of extending it and debugging issues you have.

In conclusion, there are many pros and cons to using frameworks but the truth is that there is no right or wrong answer; it is all down to the scope of your project and your individual experience.

Let us know your thoughts and which frameworks you use.