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2014 JavaScript in Review

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2014 has been an impressive year for JavaScript and its place on the web. We've covered a lot of stories on InfoQ from MVC frameworks to small, specialized libraries.

More developers have looked at adding type systems to their JavaScript by using TypeScript or Flow. Yahoo killed off YUI, ending an eight year run. A new build system, Gulp, took on the incumbent, Grunt. Node.js started the year with a leadership change and ended the year by being forked into io.js. Developers have new tools to play with such as GitHub's Atom and Adobe's Brackets while the perennials, WebStorm and Visual Studio, have marched forward to keep up with the incredible pace. Here's how some of the most popular frameworks have fared over the past 12 months.

AngularJS experienced the most growing pains in 2014. At the beginning of the year, version 1.2.X was state-of-the-art and most complaints centered around its poor documentation. In October 2014, version 1.3 was released with a wide variety of new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements. In January, ng-conf, a brand new conference dedicated to the framework kicked off in Salt Lake City. This conference spread to Europe in October where the team gave their first real look at AngularJS 2.0. There was a lot of teeth gnashing in the community as it digested this significant change and the new language, AtScript.

Ember started off the year with version 1.3 which added lazy routing and ended the year at version 1.9. Version 1.9 added support for Handlebars 2.0. 2014 also brought the first Emberconf, a conference dedicated to Ember.js, which was held in Portland, Oregon in late March.

After the release of version Backbone.js 1.1.2 on February 20, 2014, nothing official has come out since. While the GitHub repository shows that pull requests on the framework have continued, the velocity of the framework has stalled. In mid-December, the 3rd and final backboneconf was held where the creator of Backbone.js, Jeremy Ashkenas, mentioned in his keynote that Backbone 1.2.0 is coming out soon.

2014 was the year that ReactJS gained momentum. Version 0.9 was released in February and is currently at v0.12.1. In January 2015, the first ReactJS conference will be held on the Facebook campus. Since its first public release in May 2013, interest has steadily risen.

In 2015, JavaScript will likely get more chaotic. Browsers support for ECMAScript 6 will advance and developers will face tough choices to balance the newest features against browser compatibility. We'll cover it all here at InfoQ.

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