Difference Between Library and Framework

Software development is a very easy task nowadays due to the availability of various resources in form of libraries and frameworks. These tools provide a collection of codes and templates that can be helpful in software development. These two terms are used interchangeably but they differ in their functions and control over the library call.

Library vs Framework

The main difference between Library and Framework is that a library is a source of codes and templates that when used by a developer allows control over the application flow whereas a Framework is a set of low-level libraries that controls the application flow and the developer is not in charge.

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A library contains a set of written codes, help data, configuration data, etc., that can be called by the programmer while coding. It allows the user to control the application flow and is freely available to be used and reused by different programmers. It can be used to make a system call instead of implementing them time and again.

A framework is intended to make the task easier for the user by addressing traditional coding issues. To achieve it they use a collection of low-level libraries and give a coding environment. It dictates the overall flow of the program. It can also be changed by written codes to provide software specific to an application.

Comparison Table Between Library and Framework

Parameters of ComparisonLibraryFramework
DefinitionIt is a collection of written codes, help data, etc.It is a collection of low-level libraries.
Control over application flowIt doesn’t exercise any control over the application flow the caller can control it.It controls the application flow and the caller is not in charge.
User ModificationIts code can be modified by a self-writer given it is useful for other users.Its code cannot be modified and only be extended.
Dependency conflictsIf multiple libraries are used it may cause dependency conflict.It is not prone to any dependency conflict as everything is managed by one platform.
ApplicationIt can only help us to use and reuse software functions.It helps to build the entire application.

What is Library?

A set of reusable, tested and compiled data that can help the user to automate the application of functionalities is called a library. It can be utilized by multiple users for different functionalities. It can be modified according to the need of the user.

Library programs are designed in such a way that one library can be used by a multitude of programmers for programs that are not linked. This can also happen in a hierarchical notion of the program if it is a multi-million program. In this case, internal libraries can be used by independent sub-portions of the program.

Reuse of the program element determines the value of a library. Behavior implemented inside a library is gained by the program when it invokes a library instead of implementing the behavior itself. Libraries use the modular form to share codes to ease the distribution. It is a characteristic of most compiled languages that has a standard library.

It is sometimes referred to as partitioned data sets which is a name used in IBM’s OS/360 and its successors. A mechanism of the language is used to invoke a library. An easy example would be the invocation of behavior in a library by using C’s, which is a computer language, normal function-call.

What is a Framework?

The framework allows its users to make software using it in a standard way and also helps them to deploy it. They have all or a variation of a set of support programs, compilers, toolsets, APIs, etc., that makes a complete environment for a software project development.

It provides the feature of extensibility that can be used by a programmer to extend it according to their need. However, its code cannot be modified. When a user is using the framework then all the callings are done by the framework itself, not the programmer. It can be seen as an automated helping hand that provides tools and templates according to the need of the program.

It helps to reduce the time for a developer as it reduces their work by helping them with low-level details and allowing them to focus more on the needs of the software. A framework can be sometimes complex especially for a new user or if there is an update to the existing version. It consumes time to learn the framework but once learned it can be easier for the developer to use it easily.

It can make the size of the program bulkier due to the customer-demand-driven needs. The term used to refer to this phenomenon is ‘’Code Bloat”. The complexity in learning can be attributed to the complexity of the APIs, that is a connection between computers and computers.

Main Differences Between Library and Framework

  1. A framework is a complete set of tools that helps a programmer to design a specific program whereas the library only allows us to use and reuse computer functions.
  2. The framework controls the calling of the library whereas our coders are in charge of making a call of the libraries while using it.
  3. A framework is intended to reduce the complexity and reduce the time of software development whereas a library only provides reusable software functionality.
  4. Web development frameworks are browser dependent whereas a library has no such dependency.
  5. A framework requires the user to be up to date with new features of every version which is not the case for libraries.

Conclusion

A library and a framework both are intended to make the work easier for the developer but they differ in their function in the way they provide services. A library only gives the developer the service of reusing the software functionality whereas a framework allows the user to make use of its features to design the entire program.

A framework is a complete set of low-level libraries that allows the user to build an application. It controls all the callings of a library and hence is in charge of the flow of computer functionality. This is not the case with a library as the codes of the user can control the calling.

References

  1. https://joss.theoj.org/papers/10.21105/joss.00597.pdf
  2. https://academic.oup.com/bioinformatics/article-abstract/26/12/1569/287181
  3. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.5555/174770

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