Choosing between React.js and Angular

June 10, 2021

Choosing the right JavaScript framework for a project can be challenging and confusing. Today, there are many resources capable of supporting different project requirements. Some of the popular front-end frameworks are Angular and React.js. Selecting the right framework requires knowledge of several critical aspects.

Goal

This article discusses and compares the two most used front-end platforms; Angular and React.js.

Angular and React.js

Angular is a fully-fledged JavaScript framework, while React.js is a JavaScript library. The table below helps us understand the technical specifications of React.js and Angular.

Factor Angular React.js
Release Year 2016 2013
Ideal For Creating highly interactive web applications Creating large web applications with varying data
DOM Real Virtual
App Size Relatively small Relatively small
Performance High High
Dynamic UI Binding UI binding at a plain object or property level Direct linking of states to the UI
Data Binding Two-way One-way
Learning Curve Steep Moderate
UI Rendering Client/Server-side Client/Server-side
Price Open-source Open-source

Popularity growth

Angular and React have gained much popularity in the recent past. Both have been featured in numerous discussions and forums. However, React.js has more users due to its earlier release, as well as a moderate learning curve.

Performance

Both React.js and Angular offer high performance. However, React.js is faster due to its one-way data binding. Angular, on the other hand, has numerous tools that help cut development time. For instance, Angular has a cacheFactory feature that helps store and retrieve data.

React.js, on the other hand, supports component reusability which is quite productive.

Testing

Since JavaScript is a dynamically typed language, it is quite challenging to identify bugs. Therefore, code written in JavaScript has to go through a robust set of tests. Angular solves this problem by providing several features which support the isolation of the unit code.

For instance, Angular has a dependency injection tool which assists in passing data between different components. In React.js, it is easy to conduct tests due to the availability of Mocking Functions.

React.js also comes with test runners such as Ava, Mocha, and Jest.

Jest is compatible with other features such as Mocked Node modules, Timers, and Jdsm. Furthermore, libraries such as Mocha can support simulations just like a real browser.

Code quality

Angular CLI helps to improve code quality. It supports integrations from Angular Core and Angular Material.

React.js also has numerous plugins that increase the code quality. For instance, Linters uses a set of strict rules to ensure that there is consistency.

Code maintainability

Angular is used when developing single-page applications. Such applications have complex structures, as well as several programming modules. To maintain such a complex structure, developers must choose a flexible and reliable framework.

The code maintainability is a huge problem when building rich web clients. In addition, using both JavaScript and HTML is challenging due to the minimal modularization. Angular overcomes these challenges through the use of maintainable JavaScript and HTML extensions.

React.js is better than Angular when writing clean code, especially when there are short deadlines. As stated, React.js allows developers to reuse numerous components and thus, save time.

Server rendering

Angular supports pre-rendering of views. However, developers can use both JSON and client-side caching to boost the server’s performance. Angular is much better when it comes to reducing traffic between client and server.

Angular also minimizes the need for recompiling. Since it updates UI components quickly in case of data changes.

For an application to have excellent SEO, it needs to be rendered on the server. React.js has specialized functions that support this feature. A perfect example is the RenderToString() method.

In addition, the renderToStaticMarkup() function can prevent the creation of Document Object Model (DOM) attributes such as data-react-id. These elements are responsible for creating a static page generator.

Optimizing the bundle size

Though working with single-page applications may seem easy, managing the bundle file size is quite challenging. Many websites have a low loading speed. This is because the bundle file has to be downloaded. This means that the site should be optimized as much as possible.

The bundle size is essential when developing an enterprise application. Keeping the size small allows the website to run more smoothly. However, it may be difficult to maintain the size due to the addition of new features and dependencies.

Learning curve

Since Angular is quite broad, it has a steeper learning curve. New developers may find it difficult to cover some topics in Angular.

React.js, on the other hand, has a flatter learning curve. It is easier for developers to understand it since it uses JavaScript Syntax. Some of the few challenging areas include state management and routing.

Reasons for using Angular

  • It has inbuilt features such as AngularCLI and Rxjs which help in handling different events.
  • It increases productivity by having fewer lines of code and components.
  • It supports high-performance applications.
  • It enhances rapid server-side rendering which improves user experience.

Reasons for using React.js

  • It has dependencies such as Redux, which assist in the faster development of scalable applications.
  • It converts JavaScript XML into JavaScript for the browser to understand.
  • It uses code bundlers such as webpack to organize JavaScript files.
  • Routing is much easier in React.js through the use of ReactRouter.

Angular and React.js use cases

Both Angular and React.js have been used to develop popular applications in the world.

Below are two use cases for Angular and React.js:

Case 1:

For an application with a complex UI, React.js is simpler to use. React.js also has a shorter learning curve than Angular.

Case 2:

Angular is regarded as a complete package since it has numerous built-in functionalities. One cannot compare Angular functionalities with those of a JavaScript library such as React.js.

Conclusion

Depending on the project requirements, one can choose between Angular and React.js. For example, a developer can use React.js for short projects that require a smaller learning curve.

React.js is easy to use since the developer does not have to organize HTML code and can reuse UI components. On the other hand, when developing a vast application with extensive features, the team can go for Angular due to its extensive features.

Happy learning!


Peer Review Contributions by: Wanja Mike


About the author

Martha Ngugi

Martha Ngugi is a Computer Science student who is active in tech communities. Her interests are web development, cloud computing, and data science. Martha is a tech enthuasist and a JavaScript lover.

This article was contributed by a student member of Section's Engineering Education Program. Please report any errors or innaccuracies to enged@section.io.