React.js vs Angular comparison – Which one should you choose?

by Aripriya Basu February 16, 2021
React.js vs Angular Comparison - designs.codes

Stuck in the React.js vs Angular paradigm? We have unknotted all the aspects of the React.js vs Angular debate right here! 

React.js vs Angular- which one should you use for web development?

This question often leaves developers startled. Talking strictly from the business perspective, even project managers find it hard to come up with a one-word answer to this question. 

The React.js vs Angular debate cannot be resolved easily. It requires you to analyze a few perspectives, and that brings us to this article.  The ultimate React.js vs Angular faceoff! 

But, first things first, let’s get introduced to React.js and Angular before we move on to the Angular vs React popularity.

Angular

Developed by Google, Angular was released in 2010. It was called AngularJS up till 2016. 

In August, of the same year, they launched Angular 2, a complete rewrite of AngularJS. 

This was a completely new framework so that it is not confused with the JS version. 

Finally, JS was dropped from the name and the new framework came to be known as Angular. 

Angular of the React.js vs Angular frame is a complete toolkit that has all the ingredients a developer would require to make large-scale apps.

Thus, it’s popularity is only natural. Leading businesses like Forbes, BMW, and Xbox use this framework for frontend development.

React

React, the second opponent in the React.js vs Angular debate was developed by Facebook in 2013 as a front-end JavaScript library. 

React is used for creating user interfaces. 

It uses a declarative form of programming to define the state of the UI. 

In short, you can use this framework to decide how the interface of an app is going to look like and how the users are going to interact with the same. 

With React, you can create web pages, render native apps, and even construct a mobile application.

The best feature of React is its reusable library code. 

This saves development time and reduces the chances of code errors. So you know why this is the holy grail for developers like you. 

It has two key features that developers drool over:

  • DOM
  • JSX

Like Angular, React is an open-source platform. So you can just download and modify its source, free of cost. 

Now that the initial introduction is complete, let’s move on to the case uses of these two open-source platforms, i.e the next part of our React.js vs Angular debate. 

Angular use cases

Angular is widely popular as it allows developers to create application front-ends with minimum effort. Here are some common use cases:

  • Streaming apps

Have you checked out YouTube’s version on PlayStation 3? 

If you are a true gamer then this question stands moot though.

As  Google owns Angular,  it has used it to launch a killer version of YouTube on PlayStation 3. Google has completely redesigned the PS3 experience by changing all the traditional operational approaches. 

Now it’s very conventional. 

The stellar changes would not have been possible without Angular perhaps. Smooth scrolling and the video playback option of YouTube on PS3 is indeed jaw-dropping. 

So, like PS3, if you are planning to come up with a streamlined experience for your fellow gamers, then Angular is your option from the React.js vs Angular debate. 

  • Real-time data

The weather these days is very similar to mood swings. (thank you global warming). While it’s not possible to keep a track of the latter, you can track weather updates, thankfully. 

However, sometimes, you may want real-time updates. In such cases, weather.com is your go-to site. 

This site is developed on Angular. Thanks to the versatile modules and dictionaries of Angular it can load with the speed of light in your smartphones and laptops using the widgets. 

Do you know what that means?

You can create flexible widgets as per the need of a given device using Angular! 

Retrieving data and dynamically showing it on a device is one of the many perks of Angular technology. 

We know what you are thinking, where are the pros and cons of the framework? 

Why the rush?

We got that covered too in this React.js vs Angular debate. 

As we were talking about Angular, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of that first.

Angular – Benefits and pros

  • MVC structure

Also known as the Model-View-Controller,  it does not only attach value to the entire structure while developing a client-side app but also establishes the base for implementing other elements like data binding and scopes.

With this structure in place, you can separate the app logic from the UI layer and the support. 

The controller gets all the app requests and joins with the model to deploy the requested data. 

The view on the other hand receives the data made by the controller and displays the final result. 

  • Design architecture

Surely you have dealt with web applications containing multiple components. 

With Angular, you can find an easy way to manage these elements, even when a new developer joins the project after the development phase. 

In other words, the structure helps the developers to identify and develop the codes easily. 

  • Google-backed

This is one of the biggest advantages of Angular going by the brand value, thus naturally it has great community support. 

Most developers believe in the community as it is well maintained and troubleshooting is easy. 

Angular – negatives and cons

  • Tricky learning curve

Of course, Angular is great, but it is not ideal for beginners.

You might find it tricky even if you know HTML, CSS, and JS. To top it, the framework has its own set of notions and philosophies. 

You need to learn a new set of tools and rules to operate it. 

  • Multiple versions

Angular is still evolving. It started as a Javascript framework and now, after 6 major releases, it stands at Angular 9.

It is indeed challenging to understand the versions. By the time you learn one version and complete a project, another version would already be released! 

It’s all too fast forward and raises trust issues. 

  • Multiple boilerplate codes

Even for building a simple app, you will require multiple boilerplate codes. Plus you have to install a lot of things if you plan to use Angular. 

React use cases

Now moving onto React for our React.js vs Angular comparison 

React proves to be effective in the following case scenarios:

  • Single page application for multiple industries

With React you can build a single page application and use the same for multiple industries. 

A single-page app is not similar to multi-page apps that are so common. 

While using the SPA, the user will interact only with certain parts of the page and not the whole. Trello is the best example of a SPA  

To create this, a special process called routing is used and the good news is, React offers a library called the React-router which provides these capabilities.

  • Cross-platform apps

With ReactJS, you get a brownie point: React Native. 

With this, you have the option to create cross-platform apps on Android and iOS. 

Let’s use an example.

Say you have created a website for a beauty brand. After a while, you can develop an app for the same brand using React Native

So you or any of your team members can use the same code from the web. 

But that’s not all…

You can also use the same architecture and methodology for developing the methodology of the app. 

  • E-commerce code maintenance

If you are planning to develop e-commerce sites, React from the React.js vs Angular comparison will be of great use to you. 

This is because this frame offers excellent component reusability. 

That means an element already developed by you can be reused within the same app multiple times without any rewriting. 

This saves two of your most precious things- cost and time. 

Within bigger organizational structures code reusability limits the scope of code duplication. Thus maintenance becomes easy. 

Coming to the pros and cons, we have a few for you to keep an eye on. 

React.js – Benefits

  • Easy process of writing elements

With JSX, writing your own elements becomes easy. Not only does it accept the HTML coding but also makes rendering much smoother. 

In fact, these are shortcuts for writing React. Though JSX is still controversial, it is very useful for developing high-end apps or custom elements. 

  • Ensures stable coding

React uses a downward data flow. This ensures that changes in the child’s structure do not affect the parents. 

If developers have to modify a state all they need to do is change the object. This will update only specific components. The whole idea of data binding thus ensures code stability. 

  • A strong community

When React was created by Facebook it was for internal usage and not for the world. That was done later. 

Now it is supported by Facebook and the Instagram team, plus there are external experts as well. 

Take GitHub for example, React has over 1100 contributors on it. Plus there is Stackoverflow Reactiflux where regular discussions are held. 

Negatives and cons of React.js

  • Incomplete

React offers only the visual part of the MVC model. Thus you will have to fall back on other techs as well. 

However, some of your fellow colleagues might think of this as an advantage as it provides complete independence. 

So don’t get confused.

  • Improper documentation

You will get divided opinions on this front. 

But the poll is not balanced.

A majority of developers think documentation on React is poor. On the flip side, some developers speak highly of it. 

So this will depend heavily on you. 

  • High development speed

Since React is a new tech it is revolving rapidly.

 Thus you might find it hard to keep up with the pace of new features coming in and the old ones becoming redundant.

It’s not a tool for you if you hate constant chances. 

With the pros and cons taken care of, the uses sorted, of course, you are keen to know about the popularity of the two frameworks.

This is where this React.js vs Angular debate gets tricky. 

There is no one answer to this question, and it will involve you looking at a few stats and graphs. 

It’s going to be lengthy, so get yourself some tea before you begin.

Done?

Alright. Let’s get into it. 

React.js vs Angular: Popularity

Google trends alone will not be able to help you with the React.js vs Angular debate as far as their popularity is concerned.

Thus, we have come up with a few yardsticks for this purpose. 

For starters, the GitHub stars. 

The stars clearly show that in the React.js vs Angular debate React has the lead. 

But let’s not jump to a conclusion based on only this graph. We promised you a long analysis, remember.

So the next item from our bag of facts in the React.js vs Angular duel is the job market. 

As you can see from the diagram, this too does not give you a solid answer, for the popularity of both is almost neck to neck in the job market.

Now, let’s move on to the NPM downloads. 

As per the stats, React gets downloaded 5 times more than Angular. 

StackOverflow tells a similar story. As per the downloads of 2020 React stands 2nd while Angular stands at 9th. But keep in mind, this includes all frameworks and languages and not just JavaScript. 

So to draw a conclusion from the data collected so far, the winner of React.js vs Angular Popularity winner is…

….React!! 

It seems to offer a better and more reliable framework for US developers. Developers conversant with React have better chances of getting jobs in big firms as well. 

But again, don’t make that your ultimate source of research. 

Remember trends vary as per country. So while looking for jobs, carefully identify which front-end tech has more popularity in the said country. 

But of course in the React.js vs Angular debate both of these frameworks have merit. 

Why would so many companies use them otherwise? 

To that end, can you think of brand techs built on React other than Facebook? Or on Angular apart from Gmail? 

Ah-ha! 

Stuck, aren’t you?

No worries, we have a list for that too.

React.js vs Angular: Popular tech platform

React web apps

  • BBC 

Back in 2015, the BBC launched a new version of their web homepage. 

This proved very effective as the UI improved greatly. As per Andrew Hillel, the senior web developer of the company, this improvement was mostly due to the shift to React. 

They migrated to React mostly to reap the benefits of isomorphic JavaScript. Since React provides a quick module update, they decided to try out the tech stack and the results are quite promising. 

  • Airbnb

When the website was first launched in 2008, it was built on Rails2 followed by Prototype.js, Vanilla, and CSS. The company soon shifted to React in 2014.

While the other tech stacks could not provide the desired level of UI component, React made it possible. 

Ever since it has been easier for the company to build, maintain, and test the UI components better. 

Angular web apps

  • PayPal

Launched in 1996, PayPal is one of the most trusted payment means today. Though the website is not built on Angular, the official PayPal community forum is. 

The community came into being in 2009 and has over 3.5 million users. It has multiple uses, way beyond troubleshooting. 

  • Forbes

In addition to news, Forbes serves as one of the most credible sources of research for many. For over a century, this portal has taught us a lot, and thanks to its interface, using the same is bliss.

The website today is built on Angular 5.2.0. However, other techs like BackboneJS, Light, and Core JS are also in the mix. 

Not only is the website responsive but also has an almost instant rendering time even with faulty internet connectivity, all thanks to Angular. 

So, what does the future look like for both frameworks? 

What does the crystal ball say? 

React.js vs Angular – future beyond 2021

React native has been providing long-term support. It’s in the game for the last five years and has gained enormous support from both small and large organizations.

To keep up its promise, Facebook too has continued to solve all the issues as and when they arise. 

Increased documentation, improved screen error reduction, version update tools among many others are reasons enough to consider React in 2021 and in the days to come. The future does look promising for this framework going by its current popularity. 

However, that in no way implies that Angular is a dying framework (contrary to popular opinion). 

There only has been a shift of attention. Thus though it may seem like React is getting a lot of attention in the development ecosystem, Angular is still quite steady. 

The Angular team might have stumbled a bit as they had to rebuild their community right from the scratch with the release of AngularJS. 

So, one way of looking at Angular is that it is three years younger to React and by those terms, its popularity is where it should be!

If you are new in the field of development, do yourself a favor, and don’t overthink this React.js vs Angular debate. 

At the end of the day, it’s all a part of Javascript, and knowing both will do you a world of good. 

You can always tell the fun stuff from the serious yourself once you get a hang of things. 

Till then, let’s just keep an open mind. 

FAQs

Is React.js better than Angular? 

Both React js and Angular have a strong community. Both of these offer strong documentation even though they have different philosophies on how the development process will proceed. 

To cut the chase short, each of these frameworks is ideal for given development needs. 

ReactJS is ideal for:

  • Expanding the functionality of an application in the future
  • To work with a product that has a slower development phase
  • For the development of an app that needs a constant and simultaneous upgrade

Angular is ideal for:

  • The inception part of the development process
  • For developing a robust well-maintained framework

Is React.js more popular than Angular?

 There are multiple reasons that back the popularity of React. Some of which are:

  • React is more SEO friendly
  • It is easy to create and test UI 
  • With the chrome extension, debugging on React is easier
  • It is easy to reuse components on React
  • It’s ideal to display a large number of components

 Is React.js faster than Angular? 

The virtual DOM of React makes the development process faster. Unlike the regular DOM, the virtual part only updates the document’s tree where the changes have been made and not the entire tree like that of a regular DOM. This, in some cases, makes React faster than Angular.