Both React and Angular are very popular front end development frameworks. In this post, I will discuss the similarities and differences between the two, and consider when one should be used instead of the other.
Angular is an open-source front-end development framework powered by Google. It is a part of the MEAN stack and is compatible with a large number of code editors and is considered for creating dynamic websites and web apps.
In this post, we will begin by going over the benefits of React and Angular, then break down the differences between the two frameworks using thirteen attributes. By comparing each framework side by side, it can help decide which is the best framework for your specific app project.
Better User Experience
React uses a Virtual DOM (an abstract form of Real DOM) to makes it easier for application developers to update changes performed by the users in the application without affecting other parts of the interface. The result is a highly dynamic UI.
App developers can reuse the code components at distinct levels at any point in time. Additionally, the components are isolated from each other making updates easy to manage.
React supports reuse and hot reloading, accelerating development speed.
React makes use of Redux (a predictable state container for JS apps) which minimizes the hassle of managing component states. This helps the developers to manage application state in a single location and empowers every component to easily access the application state, facilitating the testing of the app and the logging of data changes.
Code Stability with One-Directional Data Binding
React allows the developers to work directly with the components and employs downward data binding, ensuring that changes in child entities do not affect parent entities. This approach helps stabilize the code and eases future development.
Benefits of Angular as A Front-End Development Framework
Angular’s hierarchical dependency injection, much better than that of AngularJS, delivers higher performance for mobile applications.
Material Design-like Interface
Angular offers pre-built material design components across navigation elements, form controls, pop-ups, layouts, and data tables, helping mobile application developers to support the Google Material Design’s impact on Mobile app design, providing longevity for the application.
Better Error Handling
The latest version of Angular, Angular 7, features an upgraded error handling process for @Output in scenarios where a property is not initialized.
Seamless Updates Using Angular CLI
The Angular CLI (Command Line Interface) is easy to install and use, and offers innovative testing tools and simpler commands. It is supported by various platforms, making it possible to update even those components that have a third-party dependency.
React Vs. Angular: A Comparison Between The Two Front-End Development Options
Now that we have gone through the benefits of both frameworks, let’s consider the differences between the two, using thirteen attributes:
- Learning Curve
- Development Speed and Productivity
- Flexibility and Freedom
- DOM (Document Object Model)
- Data Binding
- App Performance and User Experience
- Mobile Solutions
- Ease of Update
- Community Support
As per Google Trends, React has more searches than Angular. On the other hand, people show more interest in Angular due to availability of ready-made solutions.
3. Learning Curve
Angular has a steep learning curve when compared to React. The Google Angular IO framework offers multiple ways to solve a particular problem, has a complex component management system, and demands familiarity with different concepts and languages like templates, pipes, dependency injection, RxJS, TypeScript, etc.
Additionally, the framework is developing constantly – making it necessary for developers to update their knowledge of the system often.
4. Development Speed and Productivity
Angular offers a better development experience. Its CLI empowers creating a workspace and designing functioning applications swiftly, producing components and services with one-line commands, with built-in processes to solve comprehensive problems and the clean coding feature of TypeScript.
React, on the other hand, involves third-party libraries, requiring developers to determine the right architecture along with the tools.
Additionally, the toolkit for React mobile apps can vary from project to project, possibly requiring more time and effort invested if the project is handed over to new developers for an app update.
Angular is the clear winner here.
5. Flexibility and Freedom
The React framework allows you the freedom to choose the tools, libraries, and architecture for developing an application. This lets you build a highly-customized app using only the features you require. Conversely, Angular offers a limited amount of freedom and flexibility. For example, the latest version of Angular IO, Angular 7, only lets you use Angular components inside other frameworks and embed codes in an HTML-based application.
React offers better flexibility and freedom in comparison to Angular.
6. DOM (Document Object Model)
Angular uses real DOM, where the whole tree data structure is updated even if a single section of it is changed. React uses a virtual DOM, which allows updates without affecting the other parts of the tree.
Since Virtual DOM is considered faster than real DOM, React wins over Angular.
7. Data Binding
React uses one-way data binding in which the UI elements can be changed only after changing the model state. The developers cannot alter the UI elements without updating the corresponding model state.
In the case of Angular, the two-way binding approach is used. This approach ensures that model state changes automatically when any change in a UI element is made, and vice-versa.
While Angular’s approach seems easier and effective, React’s way offers a better and streamlined data overview in the case of a larger app project. Thus, React wins over Angular.
8. App Performance and User Experience
React uses Virtual DOM and Fiber (ongoing re-implementation of React’s core algorithm), which gives it a lead above Angular. However, newer versions of Angular include features like ShadowAPI that have equalized the differences between the two.
9. Mobile Solutions
Angular offers the Ionic framework for mobile app development, which comes with a Cordova container and an engaging UI component library. This results in applications that, when viewed on any device, appear like a web site inside a native web app container.
React offers a truly native UI experience that enables you to make your own components and bind them to native code written in Java, Kotlin, Objective-C, and Kotlin.
So, React wins this battle here.
11. Ease of Update
Angular has an improved CLI that contains commands like a ng_update which makes it possible to easily upgrade the app to the latest Angular version. This makes Angular app development less painful, provided most of the updating process is automated.
In this case, React lags behind Angular.
Angular documentation is slow to keep up with the development updates, and the changes are significant enough to diminish the usefulness of older documentation. However, for React, value can still be found in existing documentation as the framework is updated.
13. Community Support
React has wider community support than Angular on GitHub. But, when it comes to 2018 StackOverflow Developer Survey, the number of developers working with Angular is somewhat higher than those working with React. For community support, the comparison is a wash.
The aforementioned factors will help you to screen out the right front-end development framework for you. But, to ease the process, here are some of the conditions depicting when you should go with React and when to choose Angular.
When to Use?
When to Use React for Developing an App?
React is the right fit for your app project when:
- You need a highly customized specific app solution.
- A myriad of components with different and often variable states – active/inactive navigation items, dynamic inputs, user log in and access permission, buttons enabled/disabled, etc. is involved in the development process.
- Components are expected to be shared across multiple applications as the app project expands.
- You wish to spend time on pre-development preparation.
When to Consider Angular for App Development?
Going with the Angular framework in a good choice when:
- Your team has experience with Java, C# and previous versions of Angular.
- App complexity lies from Low to Medium level.
- You embrace ready-to-use solutions and need higher productivity.
- You wish to embrace Bundle Budgets in CLI option, which informs the developers when the app bundle size exceeds by the pre-decided value. In other words, selecting Angular is the right decision when you want to regulate app size.
- You need a large-scale feature-rich application.
Though this will give you an idea of what to pick per your given scenario, it is always beneficial to look into the future scope of the two to ensure long-term support – which is covered as follows:
What Does the Future Hold for React and Angular?
While Angular, on the other hand, has already been witnessing a growth in the usage rate – which will increase significantly when Angular 8 comes out of beta version.
We hope that you found this side-by-side comparison helpful in making your own distinctions. The truth of the matter is that you can build a quality application with either of these libraries. Most of the differences come down to personal preferences, app requirements, experience, and what matters most to your organization.