Chimezie Enyinnaya I'm a self-taught software developer based in Lagos, Nigeria. I enjoy teaching what I have learned and what I'm currently learning so that others can benefit from it.

5 open source JavaScript datagrids for your next project

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5 Open Source JavaScript Datagrids for Your Next Project

If you’ve ever worked on a web application for businesses or fintech, you would have observed that they often organize data in tables. Datagrids are components that can render data in rows and columns and enable users to perform operations such as sorting and filtering data, exporting data, in-cell editing, pagination, etc.

Grids are data-driven and are built to handle high-performance business web applications. They have this spreadsheet-like user experience and can be customized to build complex, scalable, and data-rich interfaces.

In this article, we’ll be outlining why datagrids are important and discussing five JavaScript datagrids that you should consider for your next project.

Why datagrids are important

Datagrids are essential in web applications that render a lot of data such as live reports, tracking stats, and so on. Here are some of the reasons why you should choose a datagrid for your next application:

  • Datagrids improve the performance of your application. Most open source datagrid libraries are very lightweight, so they don’t make up for much overhead cost. Also, most libraries have virtual scrolling that improves the user experience when scrolling through large sets of data
  • Datagrids have features such as filtering, sorting, and pagination that make it easier to navigate through large datasets

Top 5 JavaScript datagrids

Having seen some of the importance of using a datagrid, let’s take a look at some of them.

React Table

React Table is a headless, open source, lightweight, and extensible data table. By headless data table, it means it does not control how your markup renders or UI elements. This gives you the freedom to theme your datagrid to fit your application requirements.

React Table allows you to use React Hooks to configure your datagrid features such as filtering, sorting, pagination, virtualized rows, in-cell editing, etc.

To add it to your project, install the package with:

npm install react-table
// or
yarn add react-table

Then start building a basic data table with the primary hook useTable. This is what a typical React datagrid will look like with pagination:

React Table Datagrid

We made a custom demo for .
No really. Click here to check it out.

You can check the demo too.

You can integrate React Table into your React application even if you just need to implement pagination using the usePagination Hook. It is a table utility, and you can go ahead to combine these Hooks to build a powerful datagrid for your application.

However, if you’re building a large-scale enterprise application, you might want to consider the time it’ll take your team to build something tangible from scratch.

AG Grid

AG Grid is a complete, feature-packed JavaScript datagrid. It has both community and enterprise versions. It supports the major JavaScript frameworks, including Vanilla JavaScripit, React, Vue, and Angular. It has core features such as selection, filtering, data binding, rendering cells, in-cell editing, master-detail, import and export options, virtual scrolling, keyboard events, testing, and security options.

AG Grid also has other UI components to extend the grid such as sparklines, tool panels, context menus, status bars, and integrated and standalone charts.

To install the open source version to your JavaScript project, run:

npm install ag-grid-community

If you’re working on a React project, you’ll also have to install the ag-grid-react package to access all the React UI components.

This is what a typical AG Grid datagrid will look like:

AG Grid Datagrid

You can check out the basic demo to see how AG Grid works with React.

AG Grid also includes predefined UI themes and gives you the ability to create your own theme. The themes include Alpine (with dark mode), Balham (with dark mode), and Material UI.

However, AG Grid community version features are limited. You’ll need to get the enterprise version to have access to features such as master-detail, integrated charts, sparklines, Excel export, row grouping, aggregation, advanced filtering, developer support, and so on. Nevertheless, if you’re working on a large enterprise project, you’ll want to consider the benefits of using this datagrid and reduce the pain of building one from the scratch.

Grid.js

Grid.js is a free and open source Javascript table plugin built with TypeScript. Grid.js has configurations for data binding, filtering, custom and multi-column sorting, cell formatting, search and pagination, selection, and support for React, Angular, and Vue.

Just like React Table, which we discussed earlier, Grid.js is an advanced utility table plugin. To add Grid.js to your JavaScript project, run:

npm install gridjs

Then import the Grid module and CSS theme to start building:

import { Grid } from "gridjs";
import "gridjs/dist/theme/mermaid.css";

Also, while React Table works with hooks, Grid.js works with configurations. Configurations are attributes you pass to the Grid instance such as search, sort, pagination, style, etc. If you’re working with any of the JavaScript frameworks, Grid.js has recommended wrapper packages for each of the frameworks.

For example, if you’re working with React, you’ll have to run npm install gridjs-react and also have gridjs installed because it is a core dependency for the wrapper to work:

<Grid
  data={[
    ['John', '[email protected]'],
    ['Mike', '[email protected]']
  ]}
  columns={['Name', 'Email']}
  search={true}
  pagination={{
    enabled: true,
    limit: 1,
  }}
/>

Grid.js is not opinionated with styling, so you can go ahead to integrate your own theme to build a more sophisticated data table.

Grid.js Datagrid

You can check out the demo.

However, Grid.js isn’t great for enterprise applications because it doesn’t have native support for features such as in-cell editing, virtual scrolling, exporting options, Excel-like filtering and sorting, etc.

Handsontable

Handsontable is a JavaScript library for building fast and efficient datagrids. It has a free and commercial license and has support for React, Vue, and Angular frameworks. At the core, Handsontable enables data binding (fetching data from a data source and how it’s rendered on the datagrid), saving data locally, middleware, events, hooks, and configurations. Similar to Grid.js, Handsontable configuration options allow you to configure the datagrid to your taste.

To add the package to your JavaScript project, run:

npm install handsontable

Then import the Handsontable module and the CSS theme. If you’re working on a React project, you will have to install the Handsontable React wrapper package @handsontable/react. This is a basic code snippet of Handsontable with React:

import { HotTable } from '@handsontable/react';

const hotData = [
  ["", "Tesla", "Volvo", "Toyota", "Honda"],
  ["2020", 10, 11, 12, 13],
  ["2021", 20, 11, 14, 13],
  ["2022", 30, 15, 12, 13]
];

const App = () => {
  return (
    <div id="hot-app">
      <HotTable
        data={hotData}
        colHeaders={true}
        rowHeaders={true}
        width="600"
        height="300"
      />
    </div>
  );
}

You can check out the demo for a basic sample of how Handsontable works with React.

Handsontable has this spreadsheet-like UI, and it’s best when you want to build a spreadsheet web application with features such as cell functions, types, formulas, context menus, keyboard navigation, internationalization, perform batch operations, etc. However, you are limited with the theming options when you’re using the library.

Toast UI Grid

As a JavaScript developer, you’ve probably come across a Toast UI Grid control, most especially the notification or pop-up control. The Toast UI grid is a pure JavaScript grid control for implementing datagrids. It has features such as complex column operations, a custom editor, theming options, a date picker, validation, sorting, internationalization, data summary, custom events, frozen columns, filters, pagination, and infinite scrolling.

To install Toast UI Grid to your JavaScript project, run:

npm install tui-grid

Then import the Grid module from tui-grid. To start building your JavaScript Grid, create an instance of Grid and pass options to it. Just like with Grid.js, you need to pass config options, calling various APIs to build your Grid.

This is how a typical Toast UI Grid would look:

Toast UI Datagrid

However, the Toast UI grid is just a pure JavaScript grid with no support for other JavaScript frameworks, which is something you might want to consider when you’re about to pick the library for your datagrid needs.

Conclusion

JavaScript datagrids are controls that are better handled by third parties, because they give you lots of functionality and reduce the time spent on building your own datagrid tool. In this article, we discussed why datagrids are important and compared five open source JavaScript datagrids including React Table, AG Grid, Handsontable, Grid.js, and Toast UI. We also highlighted the features and usage of these datagrids.

If you’ve worked with a datagrid that you think should be on this list, please mention it in the comment section.

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Chimezie Enyinnaya I'm a self-taught software developer based in Lagos, Nigeria. I enjoy teaching what I have learned and what I'm currently learning so that others can benefit from it.

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