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Angular vs React: Which JS Technology to Use In Your Next Web Project?

Angular vs React: Which JS Technology to Use In Your Next Web Project?

by Adrian Ababei on Sep 14 2017

Teach a man to fish and you feed him”.

In other words: don't expect us to reveal to you, by the end of this post, which is the ultimate winner of this Angular vs React's debate! Which is the right JavaScript technology for your next web project. For we won't!

Instead:

 

  • we'll be helping you weight the 2 widely-used JS frameworks' advantages/disadvantages
  • we'll encourage you to evaluate all their key aspects

     

… so you should be able to answer THE question yourself: “Should I choose Angular or React for my next web project?

 

Angular vs React: Introducing The 2 Competing Technologies

Before you get to run your “magnifying glass” over these two popular JavaScript frameworks' key strong points and drawbacks, while comparing them against your own web project's requirements, allow us to briefly introduce them into the “arena”:

Angular: a full-stack, feature-reach JavaScript MVW framework

built so that it can provide you (or your team of developers) with all the needed tools out-of-the-box! Where do you add that:

 

  • it's search giant Google-supported
  • tailored to fit large enterprise teams' specific workflows
  • designed to help you build highly interactive, fast-loading websites and web apps

React: so much more than “just” a JavaScript library for building great interfaces

Otherwise, how could you have even considered comparing it to a full-blown framework like Angular, right?

React is many developers' top choice (and it sure has its own "fan club" within our Toronto web development team here, as well) whenever they're looking for an ideally lightweight, easy to tweak and twist framework for building dynamic, high trafficked (having data that's frequently changing) web apps

Now that we've introduced the 2 “contestants” competing for the chance to be powering your new web project, let's go on and highlight their pros and cons (tackling multiple key aspects), so you can evaluate them yourself:

 

Angular Vs React: Comparing 11 of Their Key Features 

1. Performance 

We need to admit that the 2 JS technologies are comparable from a performance perspective. Yet, we can still outline a few performance-impacting features inclining the balance to one side or another:

Angular:

  • it supports caching (along with other processes), which means that the server performs at its best
  • yet, its large size does negatively influence load times on mobile devices   

React: constant components re-rendering can lead to performance issues, especially if it's an app handling a heavy load of data that you're planning to build 

2. Flexibility 

Angular: doesn't allow you too much freedom for customizing your app/website so that it meets your needs in the smallest details

React: highly flexible

3. Development Time

Angular:

  • your development team will need to invest a significant amount of time in understanding the code (there's a whole lot of unnecessary syntax required), in debugging
  • it calls for Angular-specific syntax and 3rd party libraries 
  • its layered, hierarchical structure can be quite discouraging for a developer working with Angular for the first time

React

  • its Flux architecture is highly convenient and competitive to MVC
  • is quite easy for developers to understand it
  • the longer time required to set up a React project might look like a drawback to you, yet once you've built your React-powered app adding on new cool features later on is considerably easier

4. Feature Set

Angular: it does come packed with “out-of-the-box” tooling and built-in best practices 

React: although not a full-stack JavaScript framework as Angular, if React will be your final choice you can stay reassured: “when in need”, there's practically a third party library for pretty much everything

5. Scalability

Angular: is built to scale easily, its design, as well as its powerful CLI, being the best proofs 

React: designed to be easily tested and, implicitly, scalable 

6. Learning Curve

Angular

  • be prepared to invest significant time resources in learning this over-sized library
  • moreover, learning “just” Angular is not merely enough: you'll then need to get yourself familiarized with MVC, with Typescript...

React:

  • on the bright side: it works with the fewest abstractions
  • on the... less bright side: you'll still need to take your time to learn all the best practices (and there aren't precisely “a few” only)

7. 3rd Party Library Integration

Angular: when it comes to the 3rd party library compatibility aspect of this Angular vs React “debate”, Angular's not doing so well: Typescript demands type definitions for every single library that you'd want to integrate 

React

  • it's written on pure JavaScript logic
  • it integrates perfectly with 3rd party libraries (even with the DOM based ones!)

8. Applicability

Angular: used mostly for building enterprise, traditional form apps

React: it usually powers complex, high-performance sites/mobile or web apps featuring complex user interfaces, with multiple events, multiple inputs (each one “risking” to impact the other's screen)

9. Native Rendering

Angular: comes packed with Ionic 2 and NativeScript

React: it's significantly better “equipped” for native rendering thanks to ReactWindows, Next.js, Alibaba, React Native

10. Size

Angular: it does have a substantial size, which inevitably impacts its performance on mobile

React: smaller sized and, implicitly, conveniently lightweight

11. Optimization Goals

Angular: it's aimed at “boosting” the productivity of development teams working within a company 

React: performance, flexibility, and simplicity are this JS technology's main “objectives”

 

And Last: 9 Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making Your Choice

Don't rush in to give your own verdict on this Angular vs React debate. Not just yet.

Not before you've asked yourself these key last questions strategically chosen to “cement” your final decision:

 

  1. Do you represent a company or are you a Drupal developer working in an enterprise-level team? Then you're definitely better off with Angular! It's designed to boost large teams of developers' productivity and to adapt to big companies' workflows (just let Angular's CLI outline and guide you along the step-by-step path to take for completing your application!).

     
  2. Are you a start up digital business instead? Then React might just better meet your company's specific needs.

     
  3. Do you have a “secret” weakness for templates? Then Angular is the JavaScript that you'll feel most comfortable working with on your next web project!

     
  4. Do you love Typescript? “Angular” is the answer to your own “Angular vs React” dilemma

     
  5. Do you love “getting your hands dirty” in customization, to be given the chance to tweak your app/website whenever and however you'd like to? React will grant you this freedom!

     
  6. Is high performance a major issue for you? React!

     
  7. Is productivity one of your main goals? Higher placed in your hierarchy than... flexibility, let's say? Angular!

     
  8. Do you have a particular interest in open source web technologies? And does a “guarantor” like giant search engine Google weight a lot in your decision-making process? Then don't “torment” yourself any longer and choose Angular with no hesitation!

     
  9. Do you fancy building an app with complex, eye-catching interfaces, yet one with a small footprint? Then it writes “React” all over your project!

     

We strongly hope this little “questionnaire” here, along with our comparison tackling these two JS technologies' major aspects, will help you make up your mind faster.  Help you make the right decision for your upcoming web project.

Final note: there's no such thing as “THE” perfect choice for each company, development team, project environment, and use case. Not even a “one size fits all” platform for all of your future web projects. Do keep that in mind!

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