8 Useful JavaScript Libraries Every Developer Must Check Out!

JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages at the moment – the demand for it has reached an all-time high, and yet there are still not enough developers for it. It’s the best paid and the most versatile language on the Web – it even created a negatively viewed category of programmers: those who use JavaScript for everything. But let’s not open that can of worms – we’re just here to get the most out of our programming. [Best Examples of JavaScript]

Thanks to its ever-growing popularity, there is a large number of libraries written in JavaScript, for pretty much any feature you’ll ever need. JavaScript Libraries can make your work much easier – since they include a lot of features, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel or even code something from scratch.

Implementing functionality on a website/service/mobile app can be extremely easy with JavaScript compared to other languages – that’s one of the main reasons it’s so popular. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned developer, it’s always good to be up-to-date with the latest libraries for JavaScript, and below, I’ve listed some of the most useful ones.

> Underscore.js

Underscore provides a host of awesome utilities that extend JavaScript immensely. With Underscore, you get more than 100 functions to support your development, including functional helpers like filter, invoke and map, as well as useful things like function binding, templating, quick indexing, and more. It’s not something that will be visible to the end user, but it will save you hours or even days of work, not to mention your sanity :-).

> CoffeeScript

CoffeeScript is for those who want “JavaScript, simplified”. It’s a fully JS compatible language that you can program in, which then compiles to actual JavaScript. And the best thing is – the resulting code is often cleaner and leaner than if you did it directly in JavaScript. It may take some time to get used to, but it can greatly benefit your development process.

> Moment.js

Moment is a laser focused library – it aims to give you the best way to parse, validate, display and otherwise manipulate date and time in JavaScript. It’s what JavaScript should’ve had built-in, and it will make your life and work just a little easier. Time functions in JavaScript are notoriously weird, and Moment.js saves the day.

> Masonry

If you’re planning on creating a Pinterest-like layout for your website, you can save yourself a lot of time and headache by using Masonry. It’s a cascading grid layout library that will let you get the elements in their best positions without a lot of trouble, leaving you spare time to focus on more important things (like taking a break).

> Highcharts

If you want to integrate charts on your website, you should definitely take a look at Highcharts. They’ve got a very lightweight JS library that does all the work of converting data to beautiful graphs and charts, which can be customized quite extensively. Together with interactive actions and annotations, Highcharts is right up there with Google Chart Templates quality-wise, with the benefit of being self-hosted.

The downside is that Highcharts is only free for personal use – it’s worth the investment in my opinion, but if you want to save money on a commercial project, you might want to look for a completely free solution like JSCharts (which has improved significantly in the past few years).

> HammerJS

Mobile devices are all the rage, and if you’re not optimizing your website/app for mobile, you’re losing out on a lot of potential users and customers. HammerJS can help you with that – it makes implementing touch gestures much easier, and they will probably be more advanced than any custom solution you can cook up in a limited timeframe. Panning, Pinch, Rotation, Single/Double/Triple taps – HammerJS offers it all in a small package that is ready for work with a few CLI commands.

> Scrollorama

Scrollorama is the go to library if you want to create some cool or modern scrolling effects with JavaScript. I’m particularly fond of parallax scrolling, and Scrollorama is very apt at implementing it without much trouble. It also supports several transitions (zoom in, fly in, etc.), various animations, ease ins, pinning, and more. A must check out for anyone who is building a modern website or app.

> Backbone.js

Backbone works its miracles on the back-end, and lets you add significant functionality with ease. The library (well, it’s more akin to a framework, but still fits the definition of a library) provides key value binding and custom events for your models, a rich API for collections, declarative event handling for views, a RESTful JSON interface for existing APIs, and more.


JavaScript is a powerful language that can accomplish pretty much anything you want when it comes to Web (including server side operations using Node.js, for example), mobile and even desktop applications – and using the various libraries available online, you can do it faster and better, delivering the perfect product for your client or organization. Be sure to check out the libraries above and give them a try!

by Irshad Shaik

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