How to Migrate to a JavaScript Framework Successfully

Written by Megan Wheeler

Most top-performing modern companies rely on web-based software to operate efficiently while providing value to their customers. These applications often contain custom and intricate business logic that gives businesses an edge over their competition.

Building such an application from the ground-up on a highly performant tech stack is an easy choice to make.

But what about those companies that have an existing application built on an older tech stack? Apps like these typically have a tightly coupled server and client side, which results in performance issues, cross-platform incompatibility, and poor customer experience. This tight coupling more often than not leads to applications that are difficult to maintain, and minor changes take weeks or months to release.

Separating the front and back-end architecture enables a more Lean/Agile front-end to coexist with more traditional development lifecycles for the risk-sensitive back-end systems.

A Fundamental Shift

Web development is going through constant change to create a more structured, robust, and performant development environment. In the past decade, there has been a fundamental shift in the architecture and processes in building modern web applications. Ten years ago, it was common to create multi-page applications using Java or .NET frameworks for many large enterprises. These applications were monolithic in nature.

On top of this architectural shift for the web, over 50% of most companies’ traffic is now mobile, which adds another layer of complexity to the decision about which technology stack to migrate to and how to provide a universal experience for their clients on any device.

Creating another three codebases (iOS, Android, and mobile web) for your current application is an illogical proposition that becomes more problematic as time passes; rewrite one codebase, or create three new ones? That’s not a hard decision to make, especially when you consider the future impact of being able to add new features in one place.

Benefits of Angular and React

By developing your web app using JavaScript frameworks like Angular and React, and reusing much of that codebase to develop PWAs and native-like mobile apps in React Native and NativeScript, these issues can be resolved.

Angular and React enable the creation of solutions-oriented customer experience applications for web and mobile, with excellent UX and technical performance. The proper application of these design patterns provides a stable and highly scalable development model for years to come.

Additionally, adopting a user-centric design and development approach has several tangible benefits, including lower cost of application maintenance due to these frameworks’ highly modular nature, and increased customer retention from a more streamlined user experience.

ROI Considerations

Lower Total Cost of Ownership

Because you will require only one React or Angular development team to develop and maintain your web and mobile applications, your TCO is lower than if you required separate teams for web, iOS, and Android.

Get to Market Faster

Implementing Continuous Delivery enables you to get to market with the most valuable features sooner. Increased Component reusability reduces development effort and scope to enable more software delivery early in the process. Setting the application architecture the right way from the beginning will increase the usability of code and decrease effort.

Reduce Technical Debt

Laying the groundwork for all future front-end development will help prevent technical debt for other applications in the roadmap. An experienced partner will help you future-proof applications by developing in a way that is more adaptable to future changes in technology.

Migrating Successfully

How to successfully migrate your stack:

1) Reuse as much of your software as you can by building a service-oriented architecture against your current codebase. Allocate ½ of your team to this.

2) Allocate ¼ of your team to support existing customer requirement needs.

3) Outsource building your front-end to an expert Agile JavaScript development firm, and have the other ¼ of your team integrate with that team for knowledge transfer.

4) After your initial release, move more of your other team members on to the front-end engineering team and the development firm can hand off the project to you.