JavaScript frameworks and libraries remain an indispensable part of Web app development in 2021. Their already-existing functionality substantially decreases development time making it easier to get an app up and running.

Still, concerns remain: which should you choose for your app? The choice is difficult.

Let’s make the decision a bit easier for you.

At IT Craft, software developers use all three, cutting-edge frameworks: Vue, React, and Angular.

Here, we focus on two—Angular and React—the two most popular among developers.

React vs. Angular debates seem endless. Little wonder.

  • Both tools make clean code for the app front end.
  • Both React and Angular are fast and scalable.
  • Both Angular and React are products of solid corporations, Facebook and Google ensuring high quality of each technology.
  • Both Angular and React are used for a similar purpose.
  • Both make mobile app development possible using already developed modules.
  • Both have devoted followers in large, enthusiastic, and supportive communities.

In this short guide, we review the pros and cons of Angular and React and analyze where both apply better. You will understand why they are always front and center when discussing the next Web app.

Keep reading!

What are the differences between Angular and React?

Although both React and Angular serve a similar purpose, they are substantially different. What is the difference between Angular and React ?

Angular is a framework.

React is a library.

What is React?

React icon

React is a JavaScript library aimed solely to design user interfaces.

  • Developers can design different states of an application.
  • Changes are displayed without needing to refresh the app.

What is Angular?

React icon

Angular is a framework providing development tools for building single-page applications (SPAs).

  • Angular can be used within the MVC pattern and an MVVM (Model-View-View-Model) approach. It separates business logic from data display.
  • Angular provides basic structure and best practices, so a development team can concentrate on building the entire Web app.

Using React, the development team can quickly deliver the visual part of a Web app.

Angular provides standard, structured elements as a part of the package. Developers use these elements to construct a balanced app.

Angular and AngularJS are not at all the same. Do not confuse the two.

React is a collection of building elements which developers can freely mix to develop a system they want. React grants developers more flexibility.

Angular vs. React: let’s compare

The cost of building a Web app based on an unproven technology is high. Every new technology needs a thorough, in-depth evaluation before developers start using it for commercial projects.

When evaluating any new technology, developers study the following parameters:

  • Learning time, skill, and experience

    how much effort does it take to master the given technology?

  • Usability

    how much effort does it take to maintain and update the project?

  • Speed of coding

    does the technology help launch faster?

  • Documentation and support

    how fast do I get an answer when I face a problem?

Front-end developers need a tool that:

  • is easily integrated on a project
  • can be learned quickly by the development team
  • makes code refactoring quickly and easily
  • adapts the app codebase to constant changes, as per client’s requirements

Both Angular and React fit in greatly with these requirements.

Speed of coding

Both Angular and React are great. Angular has TypeScript (Typescript can also be added in React, too). TypeScript provides an impressive intellisense (code autocomplete) developer experience available in the world today. Developers save time when having constant access to inline documentation about different things. Structured and clear source code is possible. New developers can start working on a project without clarifying all the tiniest details in docs or source code.

Both Angular and React are very simple to integrate to a project and keep pace with project development.

Usability

Both React and Angular are developer friendly in a bit different ways.

The React bundle is lightweight compared to the Angular production bundle (React vs. Angular size: appr. 100 KB vs. 500 KB). Some Angular elements can be redundant when Angular is only used for UI development because they cannot be simply thrown away from the package. As a result, the size of the Web app is bigger and load time is longer. Package size becomes less important when the app is divided properly into parts.

There is an abundance of Angular things like forms & validators, etc. Because React only controls the visible part of the app, these features are not available for React users by default. (Developers either download additional modules or code them from scratch.)

As a part of its package, Angular provides developers with testing utilities for unit testing.

The necessary unit testing packages for React can be imported easily (e.g., using React Testing Library.)

Learning time, skills, and experience

Developers who know JavaScript can use both Angular and React.

One of the biggest Angular and React differences lies in Angular’s necessary steep learning curve compared to React.

It takes longer to master Angular skills. Developers must learn perks of the entire framework. Learning how to use the React library takes far less time.

As with everything, the necessary learning curve depends on each developer’s previous experience. Developers should not forget they need to learn different libraries to deliver a fully featured app.

Angular templates are basically an enhanced form of standard HTML. HTML developers save time here, but must learn know about Angular domain-specific language (DSL) things like ‘*ngIf’ and ‘*ngFor’.

React offers JSX, a JavaScript extension combining the best features of JavaScript and HTML.

All in all, developers spend time either learning Angular templates or JSX.

Documentation and support

Another difference between React and Angular regards documentation.

Angular has a lot of documentation while React has little.

Why? React is a small library; it does not need long descriptions.

Both Angular and React have active, vibrant and large communities. This is important because Web developers can quickly get expert advice or find a quick solution for a typical issue.

Why Choose React?

Why is React so popular? What are the React advantages?

React is simple.

Developers download React, integrate it with the project, and immediately start producing source code for UI. Here is a short list of some benefits of React:

  • One-directional data binding – React directs data flow downwards only. This principle ensures that child structures have no influence on parental structures. App source code remains stable.
  • Readable code – due to one-directional data binding, React code has minimal influence on other app modules. This helps maintain clean code structure.
  • Suited for big apps – React is based on Virtual DOM (Document Object Model). It updates only elements that actually change. Fast Web apps are possible, regardless of app size.
  • SEO friendliness – React-based Web apps become visible for search engines by virtue of Virtual DOM. Search engines see the app as a regular web page.
  • Ready for mobile apps – you can transfer a Web app code to a mobile platform relatively easily. (So far, Angular has no native solutions.) Developers can reuse a Web app’s source code to build a native mobile app using React Native. This saves time on mobile app development.

Why Choose Angular?

What is Angular used for? When is Angular preferable? What are some advantages of Angular web development?

Angular shortens overall development timeline providing an assembly for a future app. Angular is suitable for Web apps that app owners plan to maintain for a long time.

The benefits of making an Angular application include:

  • Boosted development life-cycle – Angular provides the basic structure of a Web app. This saves developers’ time on coding basic things.
  • Extendibility – a large variety of third-party extensions is available for integration on a project.
  • Suited for wide use on the Web – Angular runs smoothly on all browser environments making support of rare browsers easy.
  • ‘Batteries-included’ approach – Angular is built with extra capacity and flexibility. For example, developers can easily add missing functionality and/or make source code of Angular projects scalable via Angular CLI.

Previous experience in using AngularJS can be a potential benefit. If you learned AngularJS previously, it makes sense to opt for an Angular app. Although Angular and AngularJS frameworks are incompatible, principles remain and developers spend less time learning them.

React vs. Angular: Which is more popular?

The argument never ceases: is React more popular than Angular?

Yes, React is more popular.

However, this is not really relevant. Both are safe for the use. Neither will be deprecated in the nearest future without causing serious problems to the entire industry. So, everyone can count on an extended life cycle with a reasonable support timeline.

Both frameworks are popular and are used on large projects for big businesses, such as:

What is Angular used for?

These companies use Angular for web development:

  • microsoft logo

What is React used for?

Companies that use React for their projects include:

React vs. Angular: which is the best choice for your project?

React and Angular provide different paths to the same goal: fast, scalable, user-friendly Web apps.

Is React better than Angular? Is Angular better than React?

Neither is better.

In the end, developers deliver modular front-end applications using both Angular and React.

Differences between React and Angular represent different development philosophies.

When does one take precedence over the other?

When to use React and when to use Angular depends on:

  • project size,
  • planned launch time
  • development team’s experience

Also, the discussion Angular vs. React for mobile development arrives at the same result. Both can be used to deliver mobile apps, but React can be more relevant thanks to the existence of React Native.

Consider the following if you are trying to decide which to use:

  • Choose React if you plan on launching an MVP as soon as possible and/or you already have some source code based on other JavaScript frameworks.
  • Choose Angular if you plan a bigger application with a longer life cycle and plan to scale soon.

To sum up, both frameworks have relevant features. Both Angular and React deserve to be the top choice for development of single-page application (SPA).

FAQs:

  • Is Angular better than React?

    No, neither is better. Angular and React provide web developers with a different experience. The choice depends completely on goals, timeline, and team’s technological focus.

  • What is the difference between Angular and React?

    The difference between Angular and React is the following:

    Angular is a framework.

    Angular is more complex ensuring real DOM and bi-directional data flow.

    React is a library.

    React is simpler with virtual DOM and single-direction data flow.

  • Is Angular or React more popular?

    In fact, React is more popular.

    However, popularity is not relevant when choosing one technology over the other. Fit the technology to the app requirements. Both have large, vibrant development communities. Both React and Angular are supported by large corporations, so they can be used for long-term projects.

    Choose the technology based on the aims of a particular project.

    Remember, popularity can change overnight with the next major update.

Do you need help determining the right technical stack for your project?

Contact us. We can do it for you!