Library vs Framework: Difference and Comparison

Software development is a very easy task nowadays due to the availability of various resources in the 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.

Key Takeaways

  1. A library is a collection of pre-written code, functions, or classes that developers can use to simplify tasks. At the same time, a framework is a structure that provides guidelines and enforces specific coding patterns.
  2. Libraries are optional and can be used as needed, whereas frameworks dictate the overall structure of a project.
  3. Developers call library functions as needed, while a framework uses inversion of control, calling developers’ code.

Library vs Framework

A library is a collection of pre-written code that can be used to do specific tasks, and a library may include functions and classes. A framework is a collection of tools and rules that may be used to construct software, and it gives a structure for organizing and constructing larger programs.

Library vs Framework

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 for use and reuse 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. Written codes can also change it to provide software specific to an application.

Comparison Table

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 library is a set of reusable, tested, and compiled data that can help the user automate the application of functionalities.

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Multiple users can utilize it 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 multi-million. In this case, internal libraries can be used by independent sub-portions of the program.

The reuse of the program element determines the value of a library. The program gains behavior implemented inside a library 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, 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 using C’s, a computer language, and 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., making a complete software project development environment.

It provides the feature of extensibility that a programmer can use to extend it according to their need. However, its code cannot be modified.

When a user uses the framework, 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.

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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 sometimes be 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 the software development time, 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.
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

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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13 thoughts on “Library vs Framework: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article does a good job informing about differences between libraries and frameworks, but a touch of humor could make it even more engaging.

    Reply
  2. I have to disagree with some points discussed in the article regarding the complexities of frameworks, I believe the complexity can be overstated and a matter of perspective.

    Reply
    • Frameworks do add complexity, but that’s because they solve complex problems. The learning curve is worth it in most cases.

      Reply
  3. At times the technical jargon used in the article can be overwhelming for those not familiar with software development.

    Reply
    • The article’s content might be too much for a casual reader, but it’s very useful for developers and tech enthusiasts.

      Reply
  4. This article provides an excellent overview of libraries and frameworks, the definitions and differences are very clearly explained. The references used are top-notch as well.

    Reply
  5. Libraries and frameworks are integral parts of software development, I found the article very informative and I learned a lot about these concepts.

    Reply

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