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

Updated 23 Jul 2021

Published 31 Mar 2020

10 Min

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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. React is 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 deliverUI/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 it's 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 it's 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 2 uses both one- and 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 one/two-way binding of Angular is simpler to work with and makes the framework more flexible.

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 it's 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 is the file, the faster it loads. The faster it loads, the higher is the ranking – and, ultimately, 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'.

Angular solves this problem by not including the entire bundle of Angular framework in the user's app. As part of the build process, it gets rid of:

  • Development utilities
  • Unused modules

Then, minification and compression take place allowing the framework to perform extra optimizations.

As for ReactJS, it's the use of webpack (splits your code into smaller parts), tree shaking, and dynamic imports that reduce the bundle size.

Tree shaking (or dead-code elimination) means that unused modules won't be included in the bundle during the build process.

With dynamic imports, the app loads the code needed initially--and load the rest on demand.

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 full 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 the 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 – 21.9% used Angular before, and WOULD 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

ParameterAngularReact

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

Scalability

Scalable

Scalable

Compatibility

Need to install updates

Full 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 it's 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Angular is a full-fledged framework, while React is a library. React.js uses virtual DOM and one-way data binding while Angular operates on real DOM & two-way data binding. There’s also a difference in bundle size (React’s smaller) and speed (React works a bit faster).

They're both great for front-end development. We prefer React over Angular because of isolated debugging, which helps us achieve better app's stability. Plus, React is a library, and we can integrate it into any project (even if it is made with Angular).

React beats Angular in terms of performance, full backward compatibility, and smaller bundle size. The component-driven architecture of React lets devs re-use components, saving development time, and cost.

React.js apps use virtual DOM that allows developers to virtually update changes without rewriting the entire HTML doc. It renders updates faster and ensures faster performance.

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Comments

19 comments
M
Maor
06.07.2020 at 07:55

Great article! I would like to see a comparison with Vue too

avatar
Maria D.
09.07.2020 at 12:19

Glad you love it, and thank you for the suggestion! :)

H
Hamid
18.07.2020 at 10:32

Great article. I have loved working with React.js and made many portfolio projects but recently I have landed on a job that uses Angular for the development. I am learning Angular these days. And I must say, to learn Angular you must have a software background, which luckily I do otherwise I'd be so lost in design patterns and dependancy injections.

N
Ndikumana
19.07.2020 at 09:10

Thanks for this awesome article. After reading this, i've a clear choice now. Thanks again

AK
Ahamed Kabeer
14.08.2020 at 05:30

Thank you ..Good analysis..

S
SG
19.07.2020 at 11:33

I wouldn't have known you favored React until the very end, very well written.

avatar
Maria D.
28.07.2020 at 10:22

Thank you!

V
Vincent
08.08.2020 at 02:31

I love your analysis.

E
Elias
21.08.2020 at 01:27

Actually Angular 2 supports both one-way and two-way data bindings so it's more flexible

avatar
Maria D.
15.09.2020 at 05:55

Thanks for noticing! I've corrected this part in the article.

KS
Khushwant Singh
08.09.2020 at 06:21

Thanks for this wonderful comparison. I like both React and Angular, but I found Angular more structured and I really like CLI and in built in design patterns, like Module, Component, service and dependency injection. But still I like both :) Regards

SK
Sujit Kumar Singh
15.10.2020 at 04:57

Being 3.5 years younger to ReactJS, only areas where Angular lacks are popularity and bundle size(it has been corrected in the latest versions). Having experienced in all 3 frameworks/libraries(Angular, ReactJS and Vue), app speeds and performance are on average similar, but nothing comes close to Angular when code structuring, ease of understanding and scaling comes to mind.

ST
Saint Tarila-Brisbe
19.09.2020 at 02:27

I love this post. It cleared some doubts and made things so plain for me. Thanks.

PK
Praveen Kumar
13.10.2020 at 01:42

Great comparision between Angular and React

CA
Christian Ajeitoh
15.10.2020 at 08:26

Thanks for this great article. There is something I didn't get well though. You love react because of its component-based approach as you can reuse the components. I think Angular does that too, or probably I didn't get you right ?

avatar
Maria D.
26.11.2020 at 03:52

Hello Christian! Thanks for your question! Our developers love React for many reasons, including the ability to re-use components (which Angular also provides). We love React for its virtual DOM, isolated debugging, and smaller bundle size. React gives us more flexibility. That's something we need working on different projects with different requirements.

YY
Yola Yash
18.10.2020 at 12:36

I like the way you explained everything with not just example or from your point of view but with also strong proofs and surveys and eventually ended up with a non-biased conclusion. Thanks for supporting me with my choice!!!

S
Sandeep
31.10.2020 at 12:01

Very Usefull Thanks

R
Robert
18.11.2020 at 06:01

React wins here. Angular projects large and small have left a yuck it's as bad as jQuery UI all over again aftertaste. The million dollar question is "Since your first system in web framework X went well and the first system in that framework went well, will web framework X be around in two more years and will you be able to hire someone skilled to work on it? Based on the 3 year plateau of web frameworks popularity - yes knockout - it would be best to avoid any large encompassing frameworks, Good luck hiring someone decent enough to work on a 5 year old 400 web page system written in state of the art AngularJS or Knockout from 2015 now. Staffing risk is a big factor ignored in Web development.

KM
krunal m
18.12.2020 at 07:37

Great blog, Thanks for publishing. I would like to know your comparison assessment (React vs Angular) on basis of security vulnerabilities raising threat every day out on web. which one have upper hand better ?!

avatar
Maria D.
22.12.2020 at 04:17

Hello! Thanks for asking. It's hard to say which of these frameworks is more secure. They both get updated quite often, and with each new update we get some vulnerabilities fixed. React currently has a bigger community, which means more developers are involved in its improvement.

VS
Vishwanath Sinha
22.12.2020 at 02:23

Thanks for the details comparison of the Angular and React. Well I have on technology for many years and last three years on Angular and in fact past I have worked on the AngularJS 1.x as well. Recently I started learning ReactJS in deep, and I am loving it, was thinking I should have started many years back :-). Not much learning curve for any newbie in programming as long as they have good understanding of HTML, JavaScript and so you new React developer can be productive quickly comparing with Angular.

NT
Nicolas T.
08.03.2021 at 04:12

I would not count the abscence of Virtual DOM as an argument. Direct DOM access is prohibed with Angular. Most of the time, we do not have to, because components can update the DOM by themselves, which mitigate the performance issue. Since Angular Ivy, incremental dom offers a faster way to patch the dom, that does not add that much weight to the bundle. I would not say React has more performance because of VDom until I benchmarked it against incremental dom. Also, I know React is introduced as a library rather than a framework, but this is unappropriate in my opinion, and often used as an excuse for React being less full-featured because "it's a library, not a framework". However, both React and Angular are opinionated, and change drastically our way to design applications. We can see apps that use Angular with the LoDash library, but none that use Angular with the React library. React is a framework, it just has not as many features to offer.

F
fran
23.03.2021 at 08:42

Great!

DF
DIlshan Fernando
29.04.2021 at 06:16

This is the recommended article i have been search. thank you very much

S
Soma
03.07.2021 at 02:26

Great article.

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