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Web Frameworks

Most likely, if you're building a more complex application, you'll be interacting with Deno through a web framework. There are two kinds of web frameworks that Deno supports:

  • Node.js native frameworks/tools/libraries. Some of the most popular tooling, for example esbuild, explicitly supports both Node.js and Deno. The drawback here is that you might not get the best experience or performance.
  • Deno native frameworks/tools/libraries. We present some of these below.

Deno-native frameworks

Fresh

Fresh is the most popular web framework for Deno. It uses a model where you send no JavaScript to clients by default. The majority of rendering is done on a server, and the client is only responsible for re-rendering small islands of interactivity. This means the developer explicitly opts in to client side rendering for specific components.

Aleph

Aleph.js is the second most popular web framework for Deno. It gives you the same sort of quick-start with React as Create-React-App. Like Next.js, Aleph provides SSR and SSG out of the box in order to allow developers to create SEO-friendly apps. In addition, Aleph provides some other built-in features that don’t come out of the box in Next.js, such as:

  • Hot Reloading (Using React Fast Refresh)
  • ESM Import Syntax (No need for webpack)
  • TypeScript-Readys

Ultra

Ultra is a modern streaming React framework for Deno that is another alternative to Aleph. It's a way to use React to build dynamic media-rich websites, similar to Next.js.

Deno itself supports JSX and TypeScript out-of-the-box (and therefore Ultra does as well), but they don't work in the browser. Ultra takes over the task of transpiling JSK and TypeScript to regular JavaScript.

Other highlights of Ultra include:

  • written in Deno.
  • powered by import maps.
  • 100% esm.
  • uses import maps in both development and production, which massively simplifies toolchains - you don't have to deal with heaps of bundling and transpilation.
  • source code is shipped in production, similar to how it's written.
  • imports, exports, work as they do in development.

Lume

Lume is a static site generator for Deno that is inspired by other static site generators such Jekyll or Eleventy. It's simple to use and configure, while being super flexible. Highlights include:

  • Support for multiple file formats like Markdown, YAML, JavaScript, TypeScript, JSX, Nunjucks.
  • You can hook in any processor to transform assets, for example sass or postcss for CSS.
  • No need to install thousand of packages in node_modules or complex bundlers.

Oak

Oak is a web application framework for Deno, similar to Express in Node.js.

As a middleware framework, Oak is the glue between your frontend application and a potential database or other data sources (e.g. REST APIs, GraphQL APIs). Just to give you an idea, the following is a list of common tech stacks to build client-server architectures:

  • React.js (Frontend) + Oak (Backend) + PostgreSQL (Database)
  • Vue.js (Frontend) + Oak (Backend) + MongoDB (Database)
  • Angular.js (Frontend) + Oak (Backend) + Neo4j (Database)

Oak offers additional functionality over the native Deno HTTP server, including a basic router, JSON parser, middlewares, plugins, etc.