Angular vs. React: What to Choose for Your Web App?

36423 Views
|
31 Mar 2020
|
10 min
author avatar
Maria D.
Copywriter
author avatar
Kostya G.
Streaming Media Engineer

We've updated the content to describe the latest versions of Angular and React.

React.js vs. Angular – which to choose for web development? Our developers work extensively with both the tools, so we’ve decided to shed some light on ‘React or Angular?’ question.

Here's what we'll review:

We're also explaining which framework helps us cut the development time (and thus cost) and how.

Let's get started.

React.js vs. Angular: Brief Overview

But first, let’s figure out what both Angular and React actually are.

What Is Angular?

First, not to mix everything up: I’m talking about Angular 2, not AngularJS (which is a different and older framework.)

Right now Angular 2 is used as an umbrella term for all the versions of Angular released after AngularJS. They are Angular 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 (released on Feb 6, 2020).

Angular website

What is React and Angular?

What is Angular 2 exactly? It’s an open-source framework mainly used for creating web apps, single-page web apps, and hybrid apps. Angular is built on TypeScript, developed and maintained by Google.

Angular is a full-fledged toolkit that has everything developers need to build large-scale apps. No wonder it gains popularity: leading businesses, like Xbox, Forbes, BMW, and many more choose Angular over React for front-end development.

Projects built with Angular:

  • Samsung Forward
  • Microsoft Office Home
  • Forbes
  • BMW Driveaway Price Calculator

What Is React?

ReactJS (or React.js/React) was developed by Facebook as a front-end Javascript library for building user interfaces (UI). React uses a declarative style of programming to describe the UI state.

React web library

How is React different from Angular

React allows programmers to figure out how their app is going to look for users and how they would interact with it. It’s also used for building web apps, as well as native-rendered apps, and even mobile applications.

!

Care about the tech side, but don't forget about looks. We deliver UI/UX web design services making apps look great.

In addition to reusable library code (which saves development time and cuts down on the chance for coding errors), React comes with two key features JavaScript devs love – virtual DOM and JSX.

We’re going to review them later on.

Facebook used React over Angular in production for years, along with Instagram, Netflix, and other tech giants. But it works for small projects too.

Here are some of the small ones to give you an idea:

  • Unit Converter
  • Radix Converter
  • BMI Calculator
  • Course Learn Page

As well as Angular, React is an open-source project. This means anyone can download and modify its source for free. React libraries range from collections of individual UI features to complete React.js templates that help build UI's from the ground up.

So, no matter what specific UI function a developer is going to address with React, there's a library for their needs.

Angular vs. React.js: Tech Side

Now, let's compare React.js vs. Angular 2 in terms of their performance.

Performance & DOM

Actually, both React and Angular are great for front-end development. And they do equally well when it comes to building large-scale apps.

?

Picking a tech stack seems tough? No worries: we got your back (and front) covered in ' How to Choose a Tech Stack for Web Apps?' guide.

But there’s one big difference between Angular and React: React.js uses virtual DOM (Document Object Model – allows accessing and changing document contents, layout, and even structure). While Angular 2 operates on real DOM.

Imagine you want to update user profile details, let’s say, their last name. Real DOM, instead of changing just that bit of info, updates the entire tree structure of HTML tables until it reaches the needed data. In our case, it's the last name.

While virtual DOM allows us to update the changes without rewriting the entire HTML doc virtually. This renders updates much faster and ensures fast performance – no matter of the apps' size.

Performance tests

Angular vs React performance tests (made by @duomly)

Although Angular is a full front-end framework, the real DOM feature makes its apps slower when dealing with a ton of data requests.

Data Binding

Data binding is about synchronizing data between business logic and UI.

The difference between Angular and React.js is that Angular uses two-way data binding: changing data impacts view and changing view triggers changes in data.

React uses one-way binding: when designing a React app developers often nest child components within higher-order parent components.

One-way binding makes the code more stable, and also makes debugging an app build with React versus Angular app much easier. Still, the two-way binding of Angular is simpler to work with.

Angular vs React: Data Binding

Difference between React and Angular: data binding

Component Architecture

React approaches building UIs by breaking them into components. Here's how it works: you build components that manage their own state and structure them together into more complex UIs.

Still, if the project architecture is based on React, you’ll need multiple integrations and supporting tools.

Some of them are:

  • Redux (a state container which speeds up the work of React in large apps)
  • Babel (converts JSX into JavaScript for the app to be understood by browsers)
  • Webpack (a standard module bundler)

Unlike React, Angular is a pure, full-fledged framework which comes with many out-of-the-box features like:

  • RxJS introduces the concept of reactive programming to JS
  • Angular CLI is a powerful command-line interface
  • Angular Universal used for server-side rendering

Generally, both Angular and React.js come with robust ecosystems. React is easier to grasp, but it requires multiple integrations like Redux to use its potential fully.

By the way, since React is a library, you can integrate it into any project, even if the project itself is written in Angular. (Why do this is a different debate though but such an opportunity exists).

Bundle size

Why does size matter? The smaller the file, the faster it loads. The faster it loads, the high is the ranking – and, ultimately, the higher is the conversion rate (and margin).

?

How much does a web app cost? We're talking about web app development cost (and ways to cut it) in ' Web Application Cost: Factors and Prices'.

Let’s compare React vs. Angular speed and size.

Angular vs React size

Size of Angular and React

Angular is larger, resulting in longer load times and performance on mobile. React is smaller than Angular, so a bit faster.

Backward Compatibility

The possibility to update architecture to add new modules and libraries is important for every developer.

The diff between Angular and React is that it’s impossible to jump from Angular 2.0 to 7.0. First, you need to install updates between the versions, one by one.

Why React is better than Angular? React is a library, and it has complete backward compatibility. You can add different releases of the libraries to the application and update the old ones.

If you plan to step-by-step enhance the project by adding new features, React might be the best choice since it has absolute backward compatibility.

Scalability

When choosing a tool, keep in mind the future scope of the project.

As I’ve said, React (versus Angular) relies heavily on third-party tools. Same in case you need to scale your app.

Yet a maintainable architecture with server-side rendering can still be easily developed with React. Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram all make use of React, and each of them is a large app at a global scale.

On the other hand, Angular (versus React) comes packed with all the core features developers may need for scaling an existing app by adding new functionality.

React vs. Angular: Popularity

Stack Overflow names React.js t he most loved and most wanted web framework by developers (74.5%). Angular has a lower rate – 57.6% of developers are interested in working with it.

React Angular popularity

React vs Angular: 2019 Stack Overflow survey

But that’s just the tip of an iceberg.

Angular 2 or React: Rates on GitHub, NPM, Stack Overflow

Let’s see what is going on on GitHub first.

Angular React GitHub rates

React vs Angular 2 rates on GitHub

That’s the situation as of March 2020. What I see here is a pure victory of React over Angular – it almost doubles the rates.

But it wouldn’t be fair to let GitHub be the only thing we keep in view. Here are some other surveys I’ve analyzed.

NPM counts 53,647 packages depending on React. The number of 8,140,830 weekly downloads looks impressive too. That was trending React. Angular 2? Well, not that good: 1,609,139 weekly downloads and 10,128 dependents.

I've already mentioned Stack Overflow survey (~90,000 developers took part in), but here are a few more details:

  • Loved: React.js 74.5%, Angular 57.6%
  • Dreaded: Angular 42.4%, React.js 25.5%
  • Wanted: React.js 21.5%, Angular 12.2%

Now, how many developers really use Angular or React.js?

Angular vs. React: Popularity Among Developers

According to the Stack Overflow survey I’ve just mentioned, more developers said they choose React over Angular: 31.3% of React.js vs. 30.7% Angular.

Besides, here’s what stateofjs.com survey (21,717 respondents) shows us:

  • React – 71.7% used React before, and WOULD use it again (satisfaction: 89.33% for 16,099 users)
  • Angular – 35.8% used Angular before, and would NOT use it again (satisfaction: 37.95% for 11,582 users)
Angular vs React usage

Angular2 vs React: Usage

Another survey, JetBrains (7,000 developers) shows that:

  • 54% regularly use React
  • 23% regularly use Angular 2

Conclusion: React is popular and highly regarded, and each year more developers say they ‘yes’ to React.js than Angular.

Known Projects

Tech giants keep up with trends too, and their developers are using both React and Angular. I’m talking about some of the biggest in the world:

React

  • Facebook
  • Airbnb
  • Uber
  • Netflix
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp
  • Khan Academy
  • Dropbox

Angular:

  • Google
  • Nike
  • Forbes
  • Upwork
  • General Motors
  • Paypal
  • Telegram

Basically, that's it. React and Angular are two titans of this industry. They both are among the best technologies in today’s market.

But which is better: React or Angular?

Which Is Better: Angular or React?

For your convenience, I've made a table to sum everything up.

Angular 2 vs React: full comparison
Parameter Angular React

Type

Framework

Library

Company

Google

Facebook

Language

TypeScript

JavaScript

Architecture

Component-based

Component-based

Data Binding

Two-way

One-way

DOM

Real DOM

Virtual DOM

Min bundle size

500KB

80KB

Scalability

Scalable

Scalable

Compatibility

Need to install updates

Complete backward compatibility

Both Angular and React.js are wonderful tools our web developers love. These two have tons of advantages; but, so far, we’d say that React does a better job.

React is used more, it evolves, and remains trendy. Plus, React.js gets enormous support from the dev community.

React is better than Angular due to its virtual DOM implementation and rendering optimizations. Migrating between React's versions is quite easy, too; you don't need to install updates one by one, as in the case of Angular.

Finally, with React, developers have myriads of existing solutions they can use. That speeds up the development time and cuts the number of errors.

Why We Choose React

As we’re a mobile and web app development company, our team has enough expertise with both Angular and React.js. You can't go wrong with either one, but we prefer React over Angular 2.

Here’s why.

The good thing about React.js is that it allows isolated debugging, which helps developers achieve app’s stability. What’s more, the component-driven architecture of React lets us re-use components, and thus save development time and cut costs.

Right now, we're working on a web app that helps car owners schedule maintenance. It also stores the history of car service visits, making the process of buying & selling a car fully secure.

To make this service available for mobile users, we've decided to build a progressive web application. And picked React.js for this purpose as an effective, powerful, and flexible tool.

Angular or React for your app?
Our BA team will help you pick the tech stack tailored to your project.

FAQ

Rate this article!

An imageAn image
Bad!
An imageAn image
Strange!
An imageAn image
Boring!
An imageAn image
Good!
An imageAn image
Love it!
(7104 ratings, average: 4.58 out of 5)
Latest articles
Back to top