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Angular vs. React 2021: Choose the suitable JS Framework your Project Requires

By gswardman May 10, 2021

Choosing between Angular and React, especially for startups, may prove a daunting choice if you are not well versed with both. You have to analyze your project to be able to make an informed decision. Is your project a mobile application or a web page?

Angular is an open-source JavaScript framework written in TypeScript, while React is an open-source JavaScript Library based on JSX, a PHP extension, and JavaScript.

What is Angular?

What is Angular?

Angular was developed and has been maintained by Google since 2010. It is a TypeScript-based JavaScript framework that is browser and client-based. Angular is also an open-source framework used for creating single-page apps, hybrid apps, and web apps.

It does not communicate with a server for page reloads. Angular is excellent for faster and more efficient website rendering. Angular 2 was released in 2016 and the “JS” removed from the name, and today, the framework is only known as Angular.

Angular is a self-sufficient framework with inbuilt tools like state-management solutions, routing, and form validation. Angular uses different editing tools like Sublime Text and Aptana. The project setup is performed through Angular CLI (Command Line Interface), while the server-side rendering is done through Angular Universal.

Projects built using Angular include:

  • Samsung Forward
  • Forbes
  • Microsoft Office Home
  • BMW Driveaway Price Calculator

Angular Pros

·       Google Support

Angular is supported by Google, which makes it a dependable framework. Along with detailed documentation, the framework is backed by tutorials and answers to Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

·       Third-party Integration

Angular has a broad selection of third-party integrations that are easily added to the framework. This allows a developer to obtain more tools for the improvement of the overall product function

·       Faster Load Time

Angular provides faster load times and improved security. This is because it uses a concept called “ahead-of-time-compiler,” Angular compiles TypeScript and HTML into JS during web development. This means the entire code is compiled before the browser loads the web app.

·       Fully Customizable

Using Angular modules and elements, the framework is fully customizable. This empowers the designer and developer, and they can add Angular components to projects built earlier using different frameworks.

·       Dependency Injection

Dependency injection by Angular is advantageous to developers who know how to maximize it. Creating different dependencies is both time-consuming and tiring but a worthy cause if you use it for large projects supposed to perform different functions.

·       Two-way Data Binding

Two-way Data Binding

Angular is based on MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture. The framework synchronizes the Model and View. The Model’s data evolves, as does the View’s data. Two-way data binding allows software developers to reduce development time as it needs no additional source code for continual synchronization of View and Model.

·       Community

From the get-go, Angular gained popularity among software engineers. The strong community provides third-party tools, discussions, and training materials for its numerous community members.

Angular Cons

·       Steep learning curve

AngularJS has a steep learning curve. The developer has to learn the different web modules, integrations, and one programming language.

·       Performance 

The JavaScript framework uses real DOM, whose handling is very complex. If you lose the flow along the way, you have to go back into the code to look for the issue. This process risks attracting bugs and is exhausting and time-consuming.

The actual DOM affects Angular’s performance. The real DOM also affects its ability to build dynamic software apps and slows down its performance.

What is React?

What is React?

ReactJS was first released in 2013 by Facebook and is an open-source JavaScript library that allows a developer to build interactive web applications with minimal coding. Facebook extensively uses React in all their platforms, such as IG (Instagram) and WhatsApp.

React’s purpose is to build user interfaces that enhance app speed. The library is made up of tools that assist a developer in building components added into pages. React is a lean library, but it needs developers to include other libraries containing the functionalities it lacks.

One example of missing functionality is routing. React does not have routing, and it has to be manually included using third-party libraries. Some of the major companies using React are PayPal, Netflix, and Airbnb.

React Pros

·       Flexible

The React framework allows you to integrate third-party solutions like routing. You can also make use of Redux or MobX for supporting your office management tasks. Experienced developers will appreciate this flexibility, and they will build a dynamic app for your project.

·       Easy to Learn

React is easy to learn and navigate. It has a massive supply of tutorials, training resources, and documentation. If a developer has a strong JS and CSS background, it is easy to understand React and build web applications. In the MVC (Model-View-Controller) model, it is the V or View part in the Model.

·       Easy to Create Dynamic Web Pages

In the past, web applications containing HTML strings were a problem as they required complex coding. React changed this by less coding in the development process, adding more functionality, and using the Reactive Extensions library for JavaScript (RxJS. RxJS is a syntax that allows HTML tags and quotes to render specific components and supports machine-readable codes.

·       Reusable components

A ReactJS web app is made up of several components. Each element has its controls and logic, and the components output a tiny, reusable HTML code reusable on demand. This reusable code makes it more convenient to develop and maintain applications.

These components can be used with other elements. This enables you to build complex apps with simple building blocks. React uses Virtual DOM, which is fast because it only needs to alter individual DOM elements, not complete a DOM reload each time.

Virtual DOM vastly improves ReactJS's performance. DOM is a cross-platform and programming API, which is compatible with XML, XHTML, or HTML. Before the advent of the virtual DOM, most developers had to endure slow app performance.

·       SEO Friendly

SEO Friendly Website

The typical JS framework has issues dealing with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The SEO engines have significant problems reading JS-oriented apps. React overcomes this issue by assisting programmers in navigating multiple search engines quickly. React applications run on the server, and the virtual DOM renders then returns to the browser as a standard web page.

·       Code testing Scopes

React application testing is straightforward. You can test and debug your code using React native tools via a provided scope.

React Cons

·       Fast Development Pace

The React environment is constantly changing. This is an advantage, but also disadvantageous. The fast development pace gives some developers a hard time relearning the new changes and version updates. The developers are forced to be always on their toes and keep updating their skills.

·       Lack of Proper Documentation

Technologies keep updating, make it challenging to keep up with documentation processes. To overcome this issue, some developers write their instructions with the evolution of new tools and releases.

·       JSX Barrier

React utilizes JavaScript Extension or JSX for templates. This is a syntax extension that allows developers to mix HTML and JavaScript. Some developers feel this approach is a barrier, especially for newbies in software development.

Angular Vs. React

Now that we know what Angular and React are, what do they have in common? Before you use a framework, these are some of the things to look out for.

1.     License

Before opting for an open-source framework, ensure you check its license. Both Angular and React use the MIT license, which provides minimal reuse restrictions, even when it concerns proprietary software. Ensure you find out the license implications before you embark on using any software or framework.

2.     Popularity 

ü  Stack Overflow

Angular was highly popular up until 2016, while React continues in its popularity gain. In 2018, Stack overflow noted in a survey that Angular and React were equal in popularity among developers. Since 2018, React has amassed more users than Angular and is the most popular JS library. In 2020, React ranked 1st, while Angular ranked a close 3rd as the most popular and used frameworks. According to a survey by Stacks Overflow, more developers opted for React, making it more widespread.

ü  Google Trends

Google Trends does not show the actual usage but displays the most popular and trending framework. It offers the framework that developers are most curious about.

Framework popularity helps you to answer questions like:

  • Is the technology serious or a fad
  • Is there a demand for the technology, or does it hold potential?
  • How easy is it to find developers to hire?
  • How big and solid is the community?
  • What type of help does the community offer?
ü  NPM Downloads

Check the NPM downloads. In 2020, React was downloaded five times more than the Angular framework. React’s rising popularity has been on the rise since 2018, but a recent entrant in 2014 called Vue.js has been giving both frameworks a run for their money.

ü  Github

Github

Check how many Github stars their repositories have. Vue.js had a fast shift in the number of stars around mid-2016. Lately, the new framework has been trending with React and Angular.

3.    Migrations

When working with a framework, you do not need to stress that a framework update might corrupt your code. Although in most scenarios, you are not likely to get issues hopping from one version to the next. However, it is still crucial that you stay on the lookout as there might be significant updates that will require changes to keep compatibility.

Angular’s major update happens every six months. They give another six months before they deprecate any powerful APIs. This gives you ample time to make any necessary changes.

4.    Maturity

Before adopting a framework, maturity is a crucial consideration. Using the latest technology might be on your mind. However, you need to maintain a balance between shiny new technology and older and proven approaches.

Opting for an unmatured tool has its own set of issues. The tool might be underdeveloped and have bugs. It might have a small community, meaning support is not readily forthcoming, and you have to solve problems alone.

Both Angular and React are mature frameworks with a massive community base. This means any issues you encounter are easily solved via community support help.

5.    Learning Curve

ü  Angular

A framework’s learning curve is not only based on the coding ease. It also considers the ease of testing and debugging, which is vital for projects with a lot of coding. Angular’s learning curve is steeper than React’s. You need to learn the basic concepts from directives, modules, templates, decorators, and services. After these, you move on to more complex concepts like RxJS, AoT compilations, etc.

Angular is popular because it provided you with an error message, which helps a developer fix bugs fast. It takes quite some time to learn the Angular framework, but this pays off because you understand how the front-end operates.

ü  React

To start on React, developers need to train on working with JSX. The developers must be adept at managing internal states, using props and writing components. React has no routing library, which means the developers have to learn how to work on routing libraries. They also need to familiarize themselves with state management libraries like Redux or MobX.

6.    Components

Components are a crucial part of the two frameworks. A component receives input and alters its behavior according to the information. The behavior change is manifested as a UI change in a section of the page. Using components makes it easier to reuse code. A component can be anything from a login box on a social network platform or a cart on e-commerce websites.

ü  Angular

On Angular, the components are called directives. These directives are markers on the DOM elements that Angular can easily track and attach a specific behavior to. Angular separates the components UI part as HTML tags attributes and their behaviors in JS code.

ü  React

On the other hand, React makes a combination of the UI and component behavior. In React, the same part of the code creates UI components and dictates their behavior. React elements write native-rendered mobile applications for both Android and iOS.

7.    Data Binding

Angular uses two-way data binding. Two-way data binding means that your model state automatically changes in the back-end when you change an element in the interface. React uses one-way data binding, which renders the change in the interface after the model state updates. When you change the UI element, the model state does not change.

8.    Performance

Angular uses the actual DOM, meaning it goes through the entire HTML structure to locate the changes and then change the tree to effect the changes.

React uses virtual Dom, which means it does not need to update the entire HTML. It just locates the differences between the current HTML and the older HTML, then updates it.

9.    Mobile Applications

Angular uses Native Script, a framework used for building native Android and iOS mobile apps while using Angular and JavaScript. If you opt for React, it allows you to utilize React Native to build cross-platform native apps.

React Native uses a different syntax from React but is easy to learn if you have familiarized yourself with React. Using React Native, you can create components, then bind them in Java, Swift, or Objective-C code. When well written, the performance of both apps is almost the same and hard to distinguish.

10. Templates

ü  HTML

Angular uses templates that are based on an HTML extended version, with Angular directives. The specific syntax is necessary, so you have to learn it.

ü  JSX

The React ecosystem only needs a developer to know JavaScript. A JSX is a superb component built from JavaScript logic and markup in a single file. With the use of a language resembling XML, you can write markup in JS code, and everything stays in one place, and completing code is more accessible.

11. Testing

Testing React

Angular uses Jasmine, whose outcome is considered as the most difficult to read and too complex.

React uses Jest, and sometimes in combination with Enzyme, which is a JavaScript testing utility. Jest possesses a mocking library that needs no configuration, which is included in all React projects. Nowadays, using react-testing-library more popular.

12. Time to market

Is it easier to use Angular or React to build an app? The answer to this question hinges on several factors like developer skill, development team competence, team workflow, communication levels, etc. If you hand a developer with the same abilities in the same project and similar conditions, the delivery time might be the same.

13. Scalability

Is it easier to scale your app in Angular or React? There is no definite answer to this one as well. Angular and React have their good and not-so-good features in regards to scalability. However, React is better equipped with larger apps. If you intend to make your app bigger in the future, you are better off starting your project with React.

14. Backward Compatibility

Every developer must have the ability to update framework architecture to add new libraries and modules. Angular and React's difference is that with Angular, you can skip from Angular 2.0 to 7.0. All you need to do is to install the updates in between the different versions, one by one.

React is a library that has full backward compatibility. It allows you to add various library releases to the app and update the older ones. If you intend to enhance your project step by step by adding new features, React is the better option with its backward compatibility.

15. Known Projects

Before choosing your framework, consider the known projects done via that framework. Angular is used by:

  • Google
  • Nike
  • Forbes
  • Upwork
  • General Motors
  • PayPal
  • Telegram

React is used by:

  • Facebook
  • Airbnb
  • Uber
  • Netflix
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp
  • Khan Academy
  • Dropbox

Both frameworks are enormous in their own way. Studying these apps built using each framework allows you to decide which way you want your app to look and which framework best suits the project.

16. Bundle Size

Does size matter? The smaller the file is, the shorter its load time. The higher it ranks on web search engines, the conversion rate, and margin.

Angular’s framework bundle is not included in the user’s app. In the building process, it eliminates development utilities and unused modules. Compression and minification happen, allowing the framework to do more optimizations. For React JS, the use of the Webpack, which divides your code into smaller bits, dynamic imports, and tree shaking, reduces its size bundle.

In dynamic imports, the app only loads the initially needed code and loads the rest of the code when required. Tree shaking, aka dead code elimination, is making sure unused modules are removed from the building process's bundle.

Conclusion

Now that you know what Angular and React are, their pros, cons, differences, and similarities, you can easily choose which one to use for your project. You need to evaluate your project and if you are building a mobile or web app, check which between the two is better for what you need.

Angular works for large-scale apps with various features. You get a scalable and reliable framework. Using Angular makes developing real-time message apps easier. A developer who is well versed in TypeScript finds it easier to work with Angular.

React is used in the app development of a cross-platform and single-page app. (SPA). React can be used for extending an app’s current capability. React allows developers to build light apps with modern capabilities in short time frames. React has many advantages, such as the tools that personalize a web page. It is up to you to decide which of the two front-end frameworks will fit in with your project needs.

If you are embarking on a large project, you can minimize the risk of choosing the wrong framework or library. Create a proof-of-concept product first. Pick some of the project’s key features, then attempt to simplify them using either angular or React. If the results are satisfactory, you can go ahead into full development.