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A blog about software development best practices, how-tos, and tips from practitioners.

Angular Vs React – The Right Pick For Your Next Project

Angular Vs React – The Right Pick For Your Next Project

JavaScript frameworks are dime a dozen in the development marketplace. Such frameworks are platforms which provide structures of application design for developing web applications based on JavaScript.

On the other hand, the JavaScript libraries are a collection of functions and components that a developer can use to embed in the code.

A Framework can be a collection of JavaScript Libraries which provide a predefined code to be used while developing projects.Since JavaScript is the most frequently used programming language for developing a website, with no other sturdy replacement in sight, the frameworks built to support these web applications are also quite a few.

Most of the major enterprises dealing with web services have developed their own customized frameworks and marketed it further to enable easy alignment with their code and to provide a platform for collaboration with their interfacing applications. Like Angular by Google, React by Facebook, Nodejs by Joyent Cloud Services, to name a few.

While the framework provides you with an underlying structure via templates to build a skeleton for your Web apps, this structure can be limiting to many design elements. JavaScript Libraries provide you with an array of operations, without limiting you to a skeleton, but it means that you have to build your structure from scratch.

Such is the dilemma enterprises face when they go about deciding the technology that should be supporting their Web portals. Two of the major competitors of this conflict are Angular JS vs React JS

 

What is Angular?

Angular is a Frontend web framework based on JavaScript, which is majorly maintained by Google. Since Angular is an open source framework, we see a few other Communities contributing to its development.

HTML is used extensively for developing static web pages, but when it comes to having a web application and Dynamic pages, HTML is very limiting. Angular JS expands HTML, to facilitate ease in building single-page web applications. It does so by extending the HTML attributes with ng-directives which is an ‘ng’ prefix to the HTML attributes.

As for example, the ng-app directive defines the start of an AngularJS application, ng-model directive binds the input, select, text area to a property or application data, ng-controller attaches a controller class to the view. This script is initiated as soon as the page loads.

Angular is flexible and permits integration of other libraries within it to facilitate extensibility.The current version of AngularJS is 8 which was recently released on May 28, 2019 and is on Active support.

 

VERSION

RELEASED

ACTIVE ENDS

LTS ENDS

8.0.0

May 28, 2019

Nov 28, 2019

Nov 28, 2020

7.0.0

Oct 18, 2018

Apr 18, 2019

Apr 18, 2020

6.0.0

May 3, 2018

Nov 3, 2018

Nov 3, 2019

Angular versions ^4.0.0 and ^5.0.0 are no longer under support.

 

What Is React?

Unlike Angular, React JS is a JavaScript library made open source by Facebook in 2013. It was initially implemented on the Facebook newsfeed in 2011 and later on the Instagram website in 2012, before making open to the public.  React Native is a variant of React which permits native Android, iOS and UWP development with React. React is used for Single-page dynamic web and mobile apps.

React introduces a new scripting language JSX which uses a variant of XML syntax, which makes it easier to operate with. But JSX is not mandatory for React and we can use the standard JavaScript to code.

React is mainly popular for its concept of Virtual DOM which deviates from the standard DOM and facilitates faster updates.The latest version of React is 16.8 released on Feb 6, 2019.

Size of Application

Being a Framework, Angular is suggested while building Enterprise Solutions. The Built-in tools of Angular make it easier to embed components without having to reference external libraries or APIs. With the customized features of TypeScript, it is feasible for coding large scale projects. For enterprise level applications as the code grows, Typescripts makes it easy to be organized in modules hence facilitating better management.

Since React JS is a library, it does not offer standard templates for building a structure. To overcome this, you need to depend on the open-source contributions made by Community members.

Due to the lack of standard templates and components, the time taken for development for enterprise applications using React is more than that of Angular.

React is more useful while developing lightweight apps, where each single page application can be created manually without the use of any standard packages. Using Angular would be an overkill for lightweight apps, where it would limit the flexibility and increase the size of the project.

Speed of Application

Due to its Virtual DOM architecture, React is considered to be faster compared to Angular. Also, the comparative project size developed in Angular is marginally higher.

Updating the Virtual DOM is much faster than the standard DOM.In React, the Virtual DOM acts as a filter between the actual DOM modification, to identify the actual components modified. It then incrementally updates only those components that have been modified rather than updating the entire DOM, hence saving time.

Two-way Data Binding

The MVC architecture provides a platform wherein the Model and the View are constantly synchronized. Any changes in the Data are sent to the Model and the View adapts to it. To facilitate this feature, developers have to write additional code to keep the Model and View in sync.

This gets overcome with Angular as it is built on the MVC architecture. It also prevents the developers from going into any additional trouble to synchronize the view with the data.

React is considered as just the ‘View’ in the MVC model and it does not facilitate bi-directional communication. To overcome the same, Facebook has come up with Flux which later has been improved into Redux by Dan Abramov and Andrew Clark. These facilitate building the user interface or client-side web applications. Even though they do not provide bi-directional communication like MVC, they aim towards resolving the complexity that originates from the continuous updates in MVC. Hence, projects that demand a simpler architecture can consider React as their easy-go-to platform.

Learning Curve

Even though all web developers are acquainted with the JavaScript Framework, it is a requisite to estimate the time it takes for a developer to learn the features introduced with a Framework or Library.

With its NG directive and typescript, Angular is considered to have a steep learning curve. Even with the introduction of TypeScript which is very near to JavaScript, the framework is very rigid and opinionated hence is difficult to adapt to the nuances. It is tough to cover all features and options available, and one has to research as the requirement demands.

React JS library comes up with frequent updates which have to be adapted to, by the developers, yet the developers consider React easy to learn on the job if you are fluent with JavaScript.Gradually you can progress from learning React to Flux and Redux.

Usage statistics

According to the statistics provided by Statista , among the most used JavaScript frameworks, libraries, and tools by developers worldwide, Angular encompasses 36.9% of the Market. It is immediately followed by React at 27.8% which is gradually climbing in terms of popularity and usability. NodeJS occupies the top spot in these statistics as the most favored framework at 49.6%.Angular React Usage Graph

Community Support

Being a simple product, React library has major Community contributors to it. With the introduction of React Native, its flexibility has extended over mobile devices with an isolated set of libraries.

Angular has marginal contributors compared to React, but since it a product of Google, they have quite a few Developer tools that support Angular, hence easing the development process.

 

To sum up, there would never be a one-size-fits-all solution for your projects. Each platform has its pros and cons which can be a pivotal point in your decision-making process. It is advisable to learn both before making a decision; which gives developers a hang of the time each platform consumes, and the size the project results in. Having an experience of these frameworks alongside, you can answer the following questions about your project.

  1. Size of the project?
  2. The number of developers working on it.
  3. How experienced are your developers?
  4. What platforms does the application need to scale to – Web, desktop, mobile?
  5. How many ready-made components do you need before starting?
  6. Is the functionality of the app clearly defined and what features does it need?

The incorrect approach here would be to go ahead with a standard framework for all projects, either due to prior experience in it or as you have experienced developers at hand.Based on the answers you can go ahead with deciding which framework Angular vs React,is best to be used for your current project and look out for the right experts who have a thorough knowledge of the development platform.

 

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