We compiled this article so that you can easily choose between Angular and React for your web app. We'll focus on the features of Angular and React to see how they can be useful for your business.
Angular vs React: Which One Is Better?
Angular vs. React are considered the two most popular frameworks for front-end development and they are the ones that come to mind as soon as you start thinking about the leading technology for developing your software product.
What is React?
React is a library that is used to create a user interface, which means you can use React to create a visual part of a web application where changes are displayed without having to refresh the application.
- Components are modular and holistic and can be reused, which greatly speeds up the development process and thus improves business efficiency;
- In addition to web development, the logical part of the framework can also be used in mobile development, which only requires tweaking the view;
- The components are independent, so no maintenance or improvement is required.
Thanks to all these and other advantages React quickly occupied its niche in the market, leaving all other frameworks behind. This is the reason why Google decided to strengthen AngularJS by equipping it with a component architecture and renaming it Angular 2.
What is Angular?
Angular is the next generation of AngularJS developed by Google in 2010 and was originally called AngularJS. Thanks to two-way data binding, dependency injection and Google's support, AngularJS has become one of the most popular web frameworks.
Angular provides resources for building single-page applications, works within the MVVM (Model-View-View-Model) and MVC approaches and allows business logic to be decoupled from the user interface. With Angular, the development team can focus on creating not only the appearance of the application but also the entire application, since the framework provides a basic structure.
Before we dive into the details of Angular vs. React, let's take a brief look at the technologies:
- Both are of high quality because they are created and supported by technology giants such as Google and Facebook;
- Angular and React have large communities that are constantly growing and thus contribute to the development of technology;
- Angular and React are utilized for the same purposes and both provide scalability and high performance;
- Application development using these technologies is based on pre-built modules;
- Both of these technologies provide frontend development with clean code.
It may seem that there is no problem - both technologies can be used with equal success in application development. However, some differences affect the choice of technology as the main for the development of enterprise applications.
React vs Angular Popularity
Remember, there is no perfect technology, but there are talented developers with relevant experience who can properly match the features of the technology with the goals of your project.
When talking about which technology is more in demand, we should consider the statistics. Among all available front-end frameworks, React dominates. At the same time, if we turn to StackOverflow statistics, it is clear that both technologies - Angular and React - are among the top three most demanded frameworks among community members.
It is clear here that Angular is one of the most beloved, yet most dreaded, web frameworks because it seems too difficult for engineers to master and use. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the number of jobs for React developers is growing, leaving Angular behind. This trend can be explained by the following factors:
- React is a flexible front-end application builder that allows you to use the packages you want or need for your project;
- React is simpler than Angular, so it's faster to implement;
- React takes less time to get up and running, so it's the choice of startups that care about the speed of development.
React's leadership in this race for users is also evidenced by the higher number of stars on GitHub compared to Angular. In addition, it should be noted that judging by the statistics, the more significant competitor for React is Vue.js, not Angular.
Considering all these aspects, we can assume that React dominates Angular, but it should be noted that both frameworks are experiencing tremendous growth in popularity.
Most likely, front-end technologies will continue to evolve and improve in the coming years. At the same time, it is unlikely that React or Angular technologies will be sidelined - you can still benefit from them in the years ahead.
Both of these technologies are equally good for web development, especially for building single-page applications, except that each framework has its own set of specific features.
All of the above brings us to a closer look at the differences between Angular and React.
Angular vs React Comparison
The biggest difference between Angular and React is that Angular is a framework whereas React is a library.
Both technologies demonstrate high development speed; in Angular, this is due to Typescript, which provides autocomplete code. React is not inferior in development speed because it can be easily and quickly integrated into the project, and this is largely due to the fact that React has little documentation. Unlike Angular, which is a framework, React is a library, and as you know, a library does not need extensive and detailed documentation.
Why Choose React?
React is synonymous with simplicity and flexibility, as this technology provides developers with building blocks with which to build any system. To get started with React, all you have to do is download it and integrate it into your current project.
Below are some of the benefits of React.
Key Advantages of React
One-way data binding
With one-way data binding, the data flow goes down, which means that the source code remains unaffected as the children do not affect the parent elements.
React code has minimal impact on the rest of the application, made possible by one-way data binding, and thus contributes to keeping code clean.
React works with a virtual DOM (Document Object Model) which ensures that only certain elements are updated, namely those that change. Even large applications can be developed quickly. In addition, Virtual DOM increases the SEO friendliness of an application because the search engine evaluates it as a regular web page and analyzes the page content for keywords.
Everything about React seems so appealing - aren't there any drawbacks? Of course, there are, just like any other technology. Let's go over them.
Shortcomings of React
Let's look at the shortcomings of React and Angular not as their disadvantages, but as features or nuances to consider.
UI Focus Only
React is suitable for creating only the visible part of the application, whereas it is not suitable for creating the whole application. But this problem can be solved by creating additional modules from scratch or by integrating them.
A few testing tools are needed to test an entire application developed in React, while in the case of Angular, a single testing tool is enough.
All these shortcomings of React can indeed be considered as its features, especially since React has a powerful ecosystem with various libraries and tools, which allows experienced developers to successfully cope with the so-called shortcomings of React. But, of course, fast and efficient web application development is only possible with experienced developers who can be hired remotely.
Why Choose Angular?
The Angular installation package includes structured and standardized components that facilitate the development of complete web applications and save development time. Angular is suitable for creating applications that are supposed to be maintained for a long time.
Now let's move on to the features of Angular that can be treated as advantages.
Key Advantages of Angular
Application Development Life Cycle Is Accelerated
Since Angular provides the basic elements of the web application structure, it saves developers a lot of effort and time as they don't need to code the basic things and can move on to developing the more crucial elements of the application.
TypeScript provides the perfect way to address the autocompletion issue. Thus, the next developers brought into the project won't have to spend time studying the documentation, because TypeScript provides high maintainability of the code and makes it easier for developers to interact with the code.
Working with Angular means using a large number of extensions that allow you to integrate Angular into your project. These can be UI libraries, testing tools, out-of-the-box website generators, etc.
You can use the Angular CLI to implement many missing features, make your source code scalable, or do any other Angular project development task.
Shortcomings of Angular
The disadvantages of Angular can quickly be turned into its advantages, provided that the project is handled by a team of experienced developers familiar with the specifications of the project. Again, the peculiarities of Angular depend on the peculiarities of the project being developed and what needs to be implemented.
Learning the Basics and Nuances of Angular
Unlike React, Angular requires experienced developers on your team. Angular can't be learned quickly, while React can, so your future Angular developers shouldn't be novices. Only experienced developers are more likely to handle development tasks effectively.
There are special Angular templates which are an improved version of the HTML language. In this case, it is easier for HTML developers to interact with Angular, but on the other hand, they will have to learn domain-specific language (DSL) and know its features such as '*ngFor' and '*ngIf', etc. Anyway, developers will need time to get used to these or other technical quirks of Angular.
Too Heavy Development Package
When Angular is used only for UI development, some Angular elements turn out to be unnecessary because they are not used but end up making the entire application heavier.
React vs Angular Code Comparison
- Angular is a structural framework to build dynamic web apps;
- Angular is based on Typescript;
- Angular is based on MVC (Model View Controller);
- React is based on a Virtual DOM.
Key code-related features of Angular:
- Built-in support for HTTP, AJAX and observables;
- Strong community support;
- Technology compliance;
- Typescript for efficiency;
- Cleaner and more accurate coding;
- Advanced error handling support;
- Angular CLI for seamless updates;
- Validation and forms;
- Shadow DOM/Local CSS;
- Separated UI and Business Logic.
Key code-related features of React:
- Supported by Facebook;
- Allows the use of third-party libraries;
- Better UX and high performance;
- Increased development level;
- Code stability due to one-way data binding;
- React components.
Difference Between Angular and React
Although Angular and React share many similarities and given the component architecture that is common to both frameworks, there are still significant differences between them.
Let's focus on the following shared criteria:
- Data binding;
- Bundle size.
This is a key difference between Angular and React. One-way data binding is specific to React and involves passing data from a higher-order (parent) element to a lower-order (child) element. One-way data binding means that if you change the inputs in the UI, it won't change the state of the component, while two-way data binding, by contrast, implies that if you change the inputs in the UI, it will, in turn, change the model/component.
Two-way data binding is characteristic of Angular, which provides high flexibility when working with this framework, while one-way binding, characteristic of React, provides ease of use of this technology, especially when it comes to managing and debugging applications.
Angular is a full-fledged framework and does not require additional libraries to create applications because most of the tools and features such as form validation, dependency enforcement, data binding, component-based routing, and others are already built into Angular. This framework is designed to be used when creating complex applications, which is possible due to a large number of built-in libraries.
React is used to create a user interface and requires additional libraries. It follows that React provides more flexibility in terms of organizing code, although, on the other hand, React mainly takes care of View on the MVC architecture and needs Flux to implement this architecture.
With the virtual DOM, React is more powerful than Angular. This is evidenced by the fact that React allows you to render UI elements of any complexity and instead of changing all visible components, it only changes those directly related to changing data.
Unlike React, Angular uses real DOM, which slows down performance, but over time real DOM has been replaced by incremental DOM, the idea of which is to find changes. With incremental DOM, Angular's performance has improved but it is still inferior to React.
Angular is a comprehensive development environment that itself is enriched with various material design components for use as user interface components such as pop-ups, buttons and various layouts, allowing you to easily and conveniently customize the user interface.
When you use React to build an application, you'll need the Material-UI Library & Dependencies installed. This is a collection of various user interface tools, both paid and free, developed by the React community.
While developing an application, one way or another, the question of further scaling is on your mind. React and Angular solve this problem in different ways. In Angular, all the options and tools you need to scale your application are already in place, which makes scaling much easier. At the same time, using React, you can also develop an app with future scaling in mind but you will have to use external tools that can integrate with React to do so.
A criterion such as a package size plays an important role in how a site/application will rank in a search engine as it affects the page loading speed. In the case of Angular, the bundle size tends to reduce the weight since unnecessary modules and utilities are removed. React, on the other hand, works on the principle of breaking up the code into smaller blocks and segments with unused modules removed and does dynamic importing during the building process.
At first glance, both of these tools have a small bundle size, but in a close comparison, React seems lighter because its bundle size compared to Angular is much smaller.
Angular vs React for Enterprise Application: The Best Time of Use
The choice of a particular technology is influenced by such factors as:
- The scope of the project and its purpose;
- Developers' skill level and team size;
- Whether a mobile app is required.
When It's Best to Use React
React is best used for building an enterprise application with a heavy emphasis on user interaction. The virtual DOM used by React allows you to create user interfaces with a large number of components. In this case, the application will display smoothly and easily.
Companies that have used React:
When It's Best to Use Angular
Angular is based on the Typescript programming language which provides code autocompletion, advanced refactoring and navigation. Consequently, Angular is best suited for developing large and scalable applications such as enterprise web apps.
If you need to build progressive web applications, Angular is the right choice. Both progressive web applications and Angular are developed by Google, which should make the technology easier to use.
Angular is the right solution for developing applications with dynamic content, where elements are changed through the injection of dependencies.
Companies that have used Angular:
Angular vs React for Mobile Development
It should be said that both React and Angular can be used in mobile app development, but in the case of React it is easier and more beneficial and here's why.
React allows developers to migrate application code from a web platform to a mobile platform. With React Native, developers can partially use the source code of an existing web app and create a native mobile app based on it, which saves a lot of time. What's more, React Native is the most popular framework used to create hybrid apps. Another advantage is that the same logic used in the React web app can also be used in React Native.
When it comes to mobile app development using Angular, mobile app developers have access to off-the-shelf tangible design components to create pop-up navigation elements, data tables, layouts and more with them. All of these ensure the performance and usability of Angular-based products, as well as guarantee their longevity.
And at the same time, Angular has certain limitations when it comes to creating mobile apps. For mobile app development, it offers the Ionic framework, Cordova container and UI component library. As a result, the ready-to-use application may not look good enough in terms of UI/UX.
Meanwhile, React offers a native UI for developers, allowing them to create their custom components that can be linked to native code.
Knowing all these, however, how do you choose the right tool? A few tips:
- Angular is more suitable if you need to build a large application with a long lifecycle and if you plan to scale soon;
- Both frameworks are equally good if you need to develop a single-page app.
Despite the popularity of React over Angular, choose a specific framework based on your project goals.
Let's assume that for you as an entrepreneur, it doesn't matter much the difference between the technologies used to develop your project. Your main goal, we're sure, is to get a cutting-edge and powerful product. And that's right; we would approach product development from that perspective, too. But what conclusion can be drawn from the data about the fierce competition between React and Angular as key development tools?
As you have probably realized from this article, there is no single answer to the question: which is better - React or Angular? Each technology has its unique characteristics and the ultimate effectiveness of the development process and product depends directly on the qualifications of the people involved in the development process.
Feel free to contact us at any time to start your search for the best dedicated Angular or React developers. We will be happy to help you get the expertise you need as soon as possible.