Ready to set up your web app? One which, needless to add, should deliver your users a feature-rich front-end experience? Great! Now comes the truly challenging part: deciding which JavaScript UI component library — Vue.js vs React —  is right for your web project!

For its specific needs and requirements:
 

  • is it a small or a large scale one?
  • is it one overloaded with dynamic elements?
  • do you plan to go mobile, too?
  • do you want it built fast or do you want it capable to scale up in order to accommodate all future functionalities and features?
     

And the debate is nothing but:

convenient simplicity and lightness vs superpower backed up by a thriving community 

But let's not move away from your initial “dilemma”:

“In a Vue.js vs React competition, where I get to choose the most appropriate front-end framework that should power my future app, which one's the winner?”

Let's bring in the 2 contestants on the “stage” now, shall we?
 

But First: 2 Crucial Questions That You Should Be Asking Yourself Beforehand
 

1. Will it be a web or a native app?

And this is a critical question to be asking yourself way before you start your “investigations” on the 2 competing JavaScript UI component libraries.

Here's why:
 

  1. React has got you covered whether it's a web application (ReactJS), a native mobile app (React Native) or... even a virtual reality front-end app that you're planning to develop. And this is, no doubt, one of the most heavy-weighing answers to the question: “Why React over Vue?
     
  2. Vue2.0 has made a big step forward, towards a native approach (and here I'm referring to Weex, of course); and even if it still can't get anywhere close to React Native's built-in support for building native mobile apps, it's still a “promise” for the future to come.
     

2. How Much Time Do You Have Till You Need to Actually Start Building It?

In other words: is it an “ASAP” type of app developing situation or you do have the “luxury” to invest as much time as needed in learning a new JS framework?

And this question is more than relevant (and helpful for narrowing your 2 choices down to 1 from the start) since:
 

  1. ReactJS can be discouraging for some, due to its quite steep learning curve; from its terminology to its heavy documentation, everything looks less familiar, less intuitive, more frustratingly complex
     
  2. Vue.js, on the other hand, has “seduced” lots of its current advocates precisely with its low learning curve: it “spoils" them with familiar CSS, HTML, ES6 and where do you add that it doesn't call for a Webpack either.
     

Basically, you get to explore and capitalize upon Vue.js's potential right away, in pretty much any code sharing environment.
 

Go With Vue.JS If...
 

1. It's simplicity in syntax that you value most in a web framework 

In a “Why moving from React to Vue?” debate, the argument of “extreme simplicity” would have to be the strongest one.

That's right, this JavaScript UI framework's simplicity is built deep into its design.

Moreover, the familiarity of the concepts that it uses (or better said “copies” from its main 2 “rivals: React's virtual DOM and Angular's two-way data binding) could be enough to help you find the answer to your “Vue.js vs React” personal debate.

You just run your Vue.js project right from your web browser!

And its simple syntax bubbles up to the easiness of altering the state data (not to mention that this also makes it significantly easier to pick it up). 
 

2. It's a small scale, ideally fast web app that you're planning to build

Since page size is a game changer (isn't it?) when it comes to building an app, Vue.js comes to tempt you with its surprisingly low weight (approx. 25.6KB once minified).

Now you do the math how this will impact the rendering system and, overall, how it will tilt the balance in any “Vue.js vs React speed” comparison.
 

3. You're more into a “templatey” way of building apps

And how could you “resist” a default template structure after all (and even so more if you're not new to AngularJS)? One that uses old-style HTML.

Basically, you get to drop your markup into an HTML file and thus:
 

  • use already familiar (aren't they) HTML attributes for injecting the needed functionality into your default template 
  • use pre-processors
  • clearly separate layout from functionality 
     

… as compared to building your app using ReactJS, which uses a whole different approach: it requires you to put together your own DOM using a JSX syntax.

Note:

  • yet, some might argue though that templating comes at a cost, that of learning the extended HTML syntax, as compared to the rendering functions. And, moreover, that React's JSX syntax puts superpowers in the hands of the developer, once he/she gets familiar with it. Since it enables him/her to use JavaScript in his template.

And yet: stay assured, Vue.js 2 now provides you with both a render functions and a templating option for setting up your web app!
 

Go With ReactJS If...
 

1. You Want to Easily Build an App That Should Work on Both Web and Mobile

Convenience at its best! This is how we might call Facebook's “protegee's” two-faceted nature:
 

  1. ReactJS for building your high-power, interactive web app's interface with
  2. React Native for building your next best thing in terms of native apps
     

No need for you to knee deep in learning the nitty-gritty of a whole new JavaScript UI component library.

Instead, you'll be using the already familiar React for carrying out both your plans (to build a web and a native app), “juggling” with web components and respectively with native components.
 

2. It's a Complex, Large Scale App Project That You Have in Mind

If that's the case, then the following argument might just be a decisive one in your Vue.js vs React “dilemma”.

For React is built with the specific needs of large-scale apps in mind! Which means that it's perfectly equipped for injecting them with high performance!

And it's precisely when you're dealing with an overly complex app project that you realize that:
 

  1. transparency and testability are crucial for you
  2. a template system is way too restrictive, far less configurable (although it would help you get a basic app up and running in no time)
     

In this respect, React's JavaScript-made templates grant you the freedom you need for:
 

  • reusing
  • easily testing
  • restructuring
     

… your conveniently decomposed code.

And this is the “superpower” that React lays in your hands: it allows you to “split” its JavaScript structure into multiple components, that you can easily test and reuse!

It “spoils” you with an ideally configurable rendering system.
 

3. It's a Huge Ecosystem and a Thriving Comunity that you value most 

React's indisputable “fame” — not to mention Facebook's backing — does come with its benefits. Advantages that you can capitalize upon:
 

  1. more resources out there for you to delve yourself in and to leverage in your app (tutorials, articles, Stack Overflow answers etc.)
  2. a wide range of add-ons and tools for you to select from and boost your project with
  3. the guarantee that you'll benefit from a continued maintenance (given by Facebook's patronage and, therefore, by the whole “army” of React developers that commit themselves to keeping it closely
     monitored)
     

And The Winner of This "Vue.js vs React" Dabate Is...

Have I made you even more confused? Is it even harder to state which front-end JavaScript framework would win the Vue.js vs React debate?

One's “seducing” you with a simple syntax and set up, the other one with its scaling capabilities.

One “boasts” with faster rendering if it's a small app that it's powering, while the other one empowers you to build both web and native mobile apps.

And where do you add that the two UI frameworks share a considerably large set of features, as well:
 

  • they're both conveniently lightweight
  • they're both open source
  • they both use virtual DOM and reactive components
  • they both rely on server-side rendering
  • … and are both component libraries providing you with a “backbone” in terms of functionality.
     

So you'll need to rely on third-party frameworks for handling any extra functionality (state management, routing etc.) that you're planning to equip your future app with.

Decisions, decisions...

Now here are a few conclusions deriving from my little presentation here that might help you decide a bit easier:
 

  1. opt for Vue.js if it's a new JavaScript framework that you'd like to drop into an already existing codebase
  2. choose the React library if you're planning to leverage web technologies to develop a native mobile app
  3. go with React if it's an SPA or a really complex, large-sized app that you're planning to build
     

So, is it any easier for you now to solve your Vue.js vs React dilemma?

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