17 Best Free JavaScript Frameworks and Libraries

This is my tenth post in this series. It is a convenient list, a one stop shop if you like, of the best free JavaScript frameworks and libraries for your next Web project.

There are many JavaScript frameworks and Libraries available and it can get confusing and difficult to figure out the best ones. But after an extensive research, reviews and personally trying couple of them on my work, below are the best free ones available.

Which one to choose? That is up to you, all what you need is couple of them, I personally go for the first three even though I can´t discount any of the others, that´s why they are listed here. Also I heard good things about Processing.js as an animation framework but I have not tried it myself.

What is JavaScript? JavaScript is an object-oriented scripting language commonly used to add interactive elements to Web pages. A JavaScript framework is a library of prewritten JavaScript functions, methods and controls that quickly produce cross browser compliant code.

What is the difference between a Framework and a Library?

A framework embodies an abstract design, with more behavior built in. To use it, you need to insert your behavior into different places in the framework either by subclassing or by adding your own classes. On the other hand, a library is basically a set of functions that you can call. Each call does some work and returns control to the client. So the major difference is that your code calls a library while a framework calls your code.


  1. What is the difference between a JavaScript framework and a library
  2. What is the difference between a framework and a toolkit

Why do you need a Framework or a Library?

I am not sure why anyone would waste time writing something from scratch when others have done it before for free and probably better. Javascript frameworks make your coding easier and do complicated things in few simple steps. Frameworks solve cross-browser bugs, so you can focus on functionality instead of worrying about how different browsers behave.


  1. Is plain Javascript better than using frameworks
  2. JavaScript Library
  3. Software Framework

Place your cursor over each image or link for a short description. All links are External. Good Luck!

Read What Wikipedia Has To Say:

  1. jQuery
  2. MooTools
  3. Prototype
  4. Script.aculo.us
  5. Dojo Toolkit
  6. Yahoo! UI Library
  7. Spry
  8. SproutCore
  9. Rico
  10. Qooxdoo
  11. Raphaël
  12. JavaScriptMVC
  13. DHTMLX

Animation Frameworks

Read What Wikipedia has to Say:

  1. Processing.js
  2. Moo.fx

There are many more free JavaScript frameworks and Libraries that did not make the list. Do you have any others you think I should add? or anything else to say? If so, please share your opinion in the comments section.

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About the Author |
Boutros is a professional Drupal & WordPress developer, Web developer, Web designer, Software Engineer and Blogger. He strives for pixel perfect design, clean robust code, and user-friendly interface. If you have a project in mind and like his work, feel free to contact him. Connect with Boutros on Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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6 Responses to “17 Best Free JavaScript Frameworks and Libraries”

  1. You should definitely take a look at the Greensock framework! It’s a new framework that – In terms of performance, feature set and brilliant syntax – beats everything else currently available.

    I actually wrote a tutorial a couple of days ago that goes through the basics and also touches on some of the more advanced features. Take a look here and let me know what you think :)

    Tutorial – Greensock JavaScript Animation.

  2. joe says:

    You left out the best of them all… ExtJs from Sencha…

  3. tugberk says:

    knockoutjs (http://knockoutjs.com) is one the best

  4. What about Spine? http://maccman.github.com/spine/ It has to be one of the ‘best’ Javascript MVC frameworks out there. I’ve only used it for a few things but it is fast.

    • Thank you Rich for your suggestion. It is pretty new (Version 0.0.2: 17/April/2011 – first public release). That’s why I’ve never heard of it before and it has not been vetted yet.