Angular vs React 2021: Which JS Framework To Select For Your Project?

22 Mar, 2021

Selecting the right JavasScript framework is very confusing especially when your team has the right suite of tools and architecture to facilitate the project requirements. Selecting the right framework that works best for your requirements demands strong knowledge and understanding of the frameworks. Choosing between Angular and React for your project requirements is completely debatable. According to our research, we have tried our best to showcase which framework is the best. Which one should you go for? Angular or React? In this blog, we have compared these front-end frameworks to help you out in selecting the framework that would better streamline your project requirements.

We know how difficult it is to select a particular framework for your project. To overcome this difficulty, we have segmented this blog into 5 main aspects that highlight the strong points of each framework. Let’s dive into these aspects.

1)Working With The Front-End Framework

Maturity of Frameworks

Understanding the maturity of these frameworks is important before adopting any of them. Your agile team would want to incorporate state-of-the-art technology to streamline project requirements. But, maintaining a balance between the new technology and proven methodologies is extremely crucial.

Selecting unmatured tools and frameworks can bring new challenges. The framework might not be completely developed and might be full of bugs. Apart from that, the community base might not be large. If you run into any problem, you will have to deal with it on your own.

Learning Curve

Angular houses a huge dynamic library which makes it difficult for the developers to learn. There are several concepts and languages associated with it. Learning every concept and language takes time and makes a learning curve a bit rough with several ups and downs. Apart from that, Angular consists of a lot more components that complicate things up. Being a developing framework, Angular is constantly updating so the developer has to keep updated with the frequent changes in the Angular ecosystem.

React is more minimalistic and simple to learn. It has no complicated templates or dependency injections and other irrelevant features. The developers might take some time to get used to the structure as there is no predefined project structure. The developers need to learn only the Redux library which is used for state management. The most basic thing React offers in the learning curve is the management of the internal states, components, and prop configuration.

Components & Architecture

The Angular framework is based on the MVC architecture which is a complex and fixed structure. The Angular framework allows the developers to break down the codes into separate files. This makes it easier to use and reuse the templates and codes in other projects as well.

On the other hand, React architecture does not have a fixed format to write the codes. The code that is written using the React library is readable and well-structured. The use of component trees allows the developers to dynamically structure the code accordingly.

Development, Productivity & Speed

The Command-Line Interface of the Angular framework allows a great development experience. It creates a brilliant workspace and allows the developers to design the components with just a few lines of code. Apart from that, there are a lot of built-in processes that can solve complex issues easily.

On the other hand, the use of third-party libraries affects the speed in the case of React development. There are several tools in this framework. The importance of these tools varies from project to project. This framework demands more time if the project is given to a new developer for an update or feature up-gradation.

Backward Compatibility

Angular 4 is backward compatible with Angular 2 and above. The versions below Angular 2 are not backward compatible and this is one of the disadvantages of the AngularJS framework. Apart from that, Angular 2 is not compatible with AngularJS.

React is a completely different framework. The latest version React 16 is 100% backward compatible with the previous versions and also supports asynchronous rendering. Apart from that, it is open-source and is licensed under MIT with GraphQL and Jest.

2)Technical Aspects Of The Frameworks

Performance

Angular uses DOM that greatly affects its performance which makes the process slow and inefficient. Not only the DOM but the two-way data binding also affects the overall performance of the Angular-powered applications. However, the recent update has come with improved performance.

React uses virtual DOM that enables access and change of document layout and structure. The virtual DOM updates the document without rewriting the entire document. This saves time and renders the updates quickly. The data-binding process in React is unidirectional and thus there is no unnecessary workload.

Ease Of Update

Angular comes with an improved Command Line Interface (CLI) that comprises different commands that make it easy to upgrade the latest Angular applications. This reduces the development time to a minimum. On top of that, the up-gradation is automated, which makes this framework more preferable.

React allows the developers to make smoother transitions from one version to the other. The front-end development libraries depend on the external libraries to migrate and update the third-party components. Apart from that, the developers have to check whether the third-party libraries they have used are compatible with the newer versions of the JS framework.

Data Binding

The Angular library uses a two-way data binding approach that changes the model state automatically when any change takes place in the UI element and/or vice versa. The two-way data binding approach is extremely easy to incorporate.

One way vs. Two way data binding

On the other hand, the React library uses a one-way approach. This one-way approach allows the change in the UI elements only after a change is made in the model state. The one-way approach is far more effective for giant projects with tons of development and coding hours.

Document Object Modeling: Regular VS Virtual

Document Object Model (DOM) is an important KPI in the performance evaluation of each of the frameworks. The Document Object Model organizes HTML, XML, and XHTML document format in the form of a tree.

In Angular-powered applications, a real DOM is used. The entire tree structure is refreshed when a small change is made. This makes the process slower in the case of the Angular framework.

The React framework uses a virtual DOM. This allows the developers to make changes to the tree without refreshing it. This does not slow down the development process.

Flexibility

There is quite a huge difference between Angular and React frameworks. These both offer different levels of flexibility.

Angular does not provide the flexibility that React provides. The components of the Angular framework can be used only within the other frameworks. The codes should be embedded within an HTML application. This framework does not help the apps that require real-time updates. On top of that, every component in the framework has a lifecycle.

On the contrary, the React framework offers the developers several tools, libraries, and huge architecture. A professional and skilled team of React developers can easily get the tools and architecture they need in the beginning to deliver a customized application. React architecture helps the developers reduce the time-to-market.

Developers’ Perspective

Angular is easy to incorporate but it takes time to deliver the projects since it has a very steep learning curve and there are tons of unnecessary elements, syntax, and things that are compulsory to learn. These elements delay the project deliveries and increase the coding time.

React takes longer to incorporate and set up but assists the developers with projects and software development quickly. Although it lacks the Model and Controller components, it allows the development team to add new features through the React library.

Languages

Angular uses Javascript or Typescript that happens to be a superset of JS This script is used in the development of bigger projects. Additionally, the code refactoring process is simpler and faster. This makes Typescript more compact than Javascript.

On the other hand, React is based on JavaScript ES6+ which is combined with JSX script. The JSX is an extension for JavaScript code syntax that is written in HTML. This makes the code easy to understand. Furthermore, the typos are easy to spot.

Suite Of Tools

The Angular framework is supported by several code editing tools such as Visual Studio, Sublime Text, and Aptana. The Command-Line Interface can be used to set up any project. The Angular Universal can be used for server-side rendering. Different platforms can be used for end-to-end testing in Angular.

Just like Angular, React is also supported by some code editors like Atom, Sublime Text, and Visual Studio. The developers can also use the Create React App to bootstrap a project. Developers can use the ‘Create React APP’ (CLI) tool to bootstrap a project. The React ecosystem consists of Next.js to complete the server-side rendering. The Enzyme code editor is used for component testing.

App structure

There are three main layers in the structure of the Angular framework namely Model, View, and Controller. An object that is responsible for the Model layer is initialized by the second layer and displayed in the third layer. TypeScript is used to implement the component, an HTML file is used for defining the view and the CSS file is used to define the features.

The structure of React provides the developers with the freedom to have their customizations. React offers only the View layer and the other two layers are added with the usage of other libraries. The entire architecture of React is component-based. The code is also made of React components that are rendered with the help of the React DOM library.

3)Popularity

Stack Overflow

Angular has been extremely popular till 2016 and Stack Overflow shows that both Angular and React frameworks were equally popular among several developers in the year 2018. Since then, Angular has become one of the most popular open-source JavaScrip libraries.

Since 2016, React framework has been gaining a lot of popularity, unlike Angular. Its popularity acquired the market in 2018 and it has been gaining more users ever since.

If we compare Angular and React, the former is ranked third in popularity for the year 2020, and React is the clear winner. According to a survey by Stack Overflow, React is popular over Angular.

Google Trends

Google Trends neither shows the popularity nor the usage, but it shows which of these frameworks are the most talked about the created hype in the developer community. Analytics and data show which frameworks, people are more curious to talk about.

According to Google Trends, React is extremely popular and the most talked-about framework at the moment. On the other hand, Angular has seen a steep fall.

NPM Downloads

NPM is the package manager of the NodeJS platform. It streamlines the modules in place so that the node can find them easily. Apart from that, this package manager also handles the dependency conflicts smartly.

React is the clear winner in the NPM downloads too as being the most downloaded framework. This framework has seen popularity since 2018.

Community

Image for reference:

Angular

Developers are quite skeptical when it comes to Angular as compared to React. It’s mainly because of Angular’s unpopularity due to Angular 1.0Although, Angular is developed by Google which provides constant improvements and long-term support for the framework. Angular is used by business giants including Nike, HBO, Forbes, Apple, AT&T, Microsoft, and many more.

React

In comparison to Angular, React has a wider community on both Github and Gitlab. Developers working with React need to learn continuously as the framework gets frequent updates. Because of the frequent updates, there is always an issue of lack of documentation. This framework is used by Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, PayPal, Netflix, etc.

Advantages Of Angular JS

Two-way Data Binding

AngularJS has the MVC architecture and the framework synchronizes with the Model and View. As the model changes, the View also changes and so does the data in it. The two-way binding structure reduces the development time so the developers can effectively utilize the time in other development activities. This approach eliminates the need to write any additional code to continuously synchronize the View and Model synchronization.

Directives

This feature enables the use and proper implementation of HTML extensions. Proper implementation of HTML extensions help the developers to assign special behavior to the DOM. This helps them to create feature-rich and dynamic content with HTML.

Dependency Injection

AngularJS allows the developers to use the injectors that define dependencies as external elements. These external elements decouple the components from their dependencies. Dependency injections make the components more reusable and easier to manage.

Benefits of Angular

Advantages Of React

React Guarantees Stable Code

ReactJS uses the downward data flow only. When an object is changed, particular components are updated. This structure of data binding offers code stability and improves the performance of the application.

Virtual DOM Offers Better UX

Web browsers use layout engines to parse the HTML syntax into a document object model which is either in the form of HTML, XML, or XHTML. ReactJS uses virtual DOM that offers a better user experience.

Fast Time-To-Market

Reusing the components saves tons of development hours. In programming and development, developers face several changes and this affects the work of other components in the system. The React framework offers a code-reuse feature that saves significant development hours.

Benefits of React

Why & When: The Important Question

Your agile development team needs to know the requirements, resources, and toolchain of these frameworks. Different projects have different requirements and deliveries. It is better to select the framework that resonates with your development environment and streamlines your application development activities.

Why & When To Choose The Angular Framework?

You should select the Angular framework when:

  • Your agile team has sound knowledge of C#, Java, and has hands-on expertise on the previous versions of the framework
  • Your project requirement falls under the difficulty level of low to medium
  • Your tech team requires higher productivity and quality and you are open to adapt to the done-for-you solutions and templates
  • If you want to regulate the application size
  • You require a wide-scale feature-rich application

Why & When To Choose The React Framework?

You should select the React framework when:

  • Your team has hands-on experience in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • When you need to develop a highly customized application
  • The development process involves a huge number of components with variable states
  • You have time to spare on the pre-development processes

Down The Road

Selecting a framework depends on the learning curve for the companies and the agile development teams. React can go a long way in getting the job done by organizing the HTML and also offers the easiest ways to reuse the components and elements. On the other hand, Angular is capable of handling multiple elements without any additional help so it seems a bit tricky and complex at first.

Both React and Angular provide varied methodologies and approaches to develop customized web applications and software. Many startups, SMEs, small and medium-sized businesses, prefer either of these two frameworks due to the vast talent pool across the world. Both these technologies are adaptable and neither of them is good or bad.

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