The big question for you is 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, front-end technologies: Vue, React, and Angular.
Here we focus on Angular vs. React, two long-term development tools competitors.
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 from solid corporations—Facebook and Google—ensuring high quality of each technology.
- Both are used for a similar purpose.
- Both make mobile app development possible using already-developed modules.
- Both Angular and React 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.
What are the differences between Angular and React?
React and Angular serve a similar purpose, but are substantially different.
What is the difference between Angular and React?
Angular is a framework.
React is a library.
What is React?
- Developers can design different states of an application.
- Changes are displayed without needing to refresh the app.
What is Angular?
Angular is a framework providing development tools for building single-page applications (SPAs). (Angular and AngularJS are not at all the same. Do not confuse the two.)
- 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. This means that the development team can concentrate on building the entire Web app.
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?
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 can I find an answer when I face a problem?
Front-end developers need a tool:
- They can easily integrate on a project.
- The development team can learn quickly.
- To make 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 today’s world. Developers save time having constant access to online 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.
React is very simple to integrate with a project and keep pace with project development.
Both React and Angular are developer friendly in different ways.
The React bundle is lightweight compared to the Angular production bundle (React vs. Angular size: appr. 100 KB vs. 500 KB).
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
One of the biggest Angular and React differences lies in Angular’s necessary steep learning curve compared to React.
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.
Documentation and support
Another difference between React and Angular regards documentation.
Angular has a lot of documentation. React has little.
Why? React is a small library; it does not need long descriptions.
Both Angular and React have active, vibrant, large communities. Web developers can quickly get expert advice or find a quick solution for a typical issue.
Angular or React both provide the same high-level development experience. The differences lie in the details.
Why Choose React?
Why is React so popular? What are the React advantages?
React is simple. React is a collection of building elements developers can freely mix to develop a system they want. React grants developers more flexibility.
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 parent structures. App source code remains stable.
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). Using Virtual DOM means React updates only elements that actually change. Fast Web apps are possible, regardless of app size.
React-based Web apps become visible for search engines by virtue of Virtual DOM. Search engines see the app as a regular web page. Hence, they can easily scan text elements on keywords.
Ready for mobile apps
Developers can transfer a Web app code to a mobile platform quite easily. (So far, Angular has no native solutions.) Developers can partially reuse a Web app’s source code to build a native mobile app using React Native. This saves time on mobile app development.
Drawbacks of React
When discussing Angular or React’s disadvantages, product owners must look at the bigger picture. One size does not fit all. Technologies must be chosen based on project requirements. Depending on the context of its use, even the best technology can adversely affect the pace of development.
The following factors might become significant on a project.
Narrow UI focus
React is not suited for building the entire application on it. Because React only controls the visible part of the app, by default many features are not available for React users. Still, developers can download additional modules or code them from scratch.
With Angular, developers can use one tool to test the entire Angular app. This is not possible with React. However, there are several testing tools available for React to perform various types of testing.
Still, a robust ecosystem and developer’s expertise make it possible to overcome these drawbacks. Different libraries and tools are available in React’s ecosystem. Developers benefit from the same capabilities Angular can offer.
Certainly, experience of what and how to use React to build fast and flexible software is an important prerequisite of successful React app development.
Why Choose Angular?
What is Angular used for? When is Angular preferable? What are some advantages of Angular web development?
Angular provides standard, structured elements as a part of the package. Developers use these elements to construct a balanced app.
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:
TypeScript provides an impressive code autocomplete developer experience. Developers save time which they would otherwise have to spend reading documentation about things like function call signature when they code. Typescript ensures high code maintainability. The next developer who comes along will know how to invoke the function without having to read docs or look at the source code.
Boosted development life-cycle
Angular provides the basic Web app structure. This saves developers’ time on coding basic things.
A large variety of third-party extensions is available for integration on a project. Developers enjoy a large Angular ecosystem with different tools, from UI libraries and components to testing tools and ready-to-use site generators.
Suited for wide use on the Web
Angular runs smoothly on all browser environments making support of rare browsers easy. Different projects are possible with Angular.
There is an abundance of Angular forms, validators, etc. Developers can easily add missing functionality and/or make source code of Angular projects scalable via Angular CLI.
Previous experience using AngularJS
This can be a potential benefit. If you previously learned AngularJS, it makes sense to opt for an Angular app. Although Angular and AngularJS frameworks are incompatible, some principles remain and developers spend less time learning.
Some more good news for 2020 developers. The Angular team listened to the developer community and addressed their needs. The Angular development team has also shared a project roadmap and their future plans on project development.
Drawbacks of Angular
Choosing Angular or React should be based on a complex analysis of tech requirements, not on their drawbacks. Angular’s weak areas directly result from its strengths. The use of Angular should be based on its relevance for a project and on team’s experience, i.e., teams know how to make most use of Angular’s strong areas.
Here is what developers might not like about Angular:
Some Angular elements are redundant when Angular is only used for UI development. They cannot be discarded from the package. This results in a bigger Web app with a longer load time. Size is less important when the app is properly divided into parts.
It takes longer to master Angular skills. Developers must learn the entire framework’s benefits. Learning how to use the React library takes far less time.
Angular templates are basically an enhanced form of standard HTML. HTML developers save time here but must learn Angular domain-specific language (DSL) things like ‘*ngIf’ and ‘*ngFor’. All in all, developers spend time on either mastering Angular templates or JSX.
Therefore, both React and Angular have their distinctions and limitations. A development team must invest time learning and practicing any technology before they start using it on a real project.
It comes down to the development team’s approach and expertise that really matter (although this question goes far beyond Angular vs React discussion.)
React vs. Angular: Which is more popular?
The argument never ceases: is React more popular than Angular?
Yes, React is more popular.
According to Stackoverflow survey, React, Vue, and Angular are the three most-wanted frameworks in the developer community:
When it comes to front-end development tools, React is at the top. React is followed by Vue. Angular is in third place with 10.6 % against React’s 22.4%.
To add to the React vs. Angular dispute, Angular has always received fewer stars than React and on GitHub.
What conclusion can be drawn based on Angular or React’s popularity?
Serious competition exists among front-end development technologies. This guarantees front-end development tools will continue to receive regular updates based on feedback from the developer community covering their particular needs.
As a result, both Angular and React are safe to use. Neither will be sidelined in the near future without causing serious problems to the entire industry. So, everyone can count on an extended life cycle with a reasonable support timeline.
However—and we must stress it again—popularity is of a little relevance in Angular vs. React debate. Neither framework is poor because it has fewer stars, active projects, or contributors at the current moment.What about projects?
There is no definite winner in the React vs Angular battle. Both frameworks are popular and are used on large projects for big businesses.
What is Angular used for?
These companies use Angular for web development:
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.
Here is a short comparison table on React vs Angular to illustrate differences and similarities:
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 Angular if you plan a bigger application with a longer life cycle and plan to scale soon.
To conclude, both frameworks have relevant features. Both Angular and React deserve to be the top choice for development of single-page application (SPA).
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 a 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?
React is more popular.
However, popularity is not relevant when choosing one technology over the other. Choosing either React or Angular should be based on their fit to the particular 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.
Do you need help determining the right technical stack for your project?
Contact us. We can do it for you!