According to Statista, React and Angular are two of the most popular web frameworks among developers in 2020.

NPM statistics claims, React is the leader in downloads and ratings compared to Angular in 2020.

Stack Overflow data are pretty similar: React and Angular are still leaders among the most used web frameworks. And React has bigger popularity than Angular.

Even though React is leading, Angular developers are constantly in demand according to the Job Statistics on Github.

However, the stateofjs.com survey shows that every year more and more developers prefer to React over Angular.

React or Angular: A Brief Overview

What is Angular?

AngularJS was developed in 2009 by Google. The first version was Angular.JS. Now we know Angular as a JavaScript framework. Obviously, all significant Google projects have been developed with Angular.

Angular is an MVC framework. A major disadvantage of Angular is that it uses a regular DOM, and thus, the entire tree structure of the HTML tags is updated, which massively impacts the loading time. Angular has its Ionic framework for mobile applications.

Pros and Cons of Angular

Pros:

  • Allows MVC architecture.
  • Good maintainability.
  • Web applications built with Angular perform very well.
  • With the introduction of tools such as the Angular-CLI command-line tool, projects can be created, expanded, and produced more quickly.
  • Angular provides a basic framework for developing web applications and manages them without additional libraries.
  • Easy unit and end-to-end testing.

Cons:

  • Reloads the complete HTML tags tree structure.
  • Slow loading time due to the Ionic app.
  • Angular is relatively rigid and inflexible due to the given framework.
  • To work with Angular, you need a certain training period.
  • If a user has deactivated JavaScript in the browser, using a JavaScript-based SPA is not possible. Besides, sometimes it doesn’t support old or unknown browsers.

Read Also: Why to Use Angular for Your Development

What is React?

React is a JavaScript library developed by Facebook in March 2013. React is not suitable for implementing an MVC architecture since it only has one view: you have to solve the model and the controller yourself. Besides this, there are only advantages and lots of advantages.

One of the biggest of them is that React uses a virtual DOM that only compares the previous HTML code differences and only loads the different parts. This significantly impacts the loading times. In a positive way, of course.

With React, you handle the markup and the logic in the same file, which means you can output variables in a view component (JSX). React offers a solution for mobile applications called React-Native.

Pros and Cons of React

Pros:

  • Fast loading of new data.
  • Markup and logic are in one file (JSX).
  • Enables the separation of data and presentation.
  • Getting started is easy and doesn’t require a lot of practice.
  • As a library, it doesn’t have that many presets, so it’s easy to learn.
  • Smooth work of the app, even with complex underlying operations or database queries.

Cons:

  • It is just a JavaScript library, not a framework.
  • No possibility to implement MVC architecture.
  • Often not enough for creating a web app and requires additional libraries.
  • Only worth using if web apps need to be highly interactive.

Read Also: Why Should You Use React

Key Differences Between Angular and React

Architecture

Speaking of architecture, Angular is a full-fledged MVC framework that provides you with all the possibilities for out-of-the-box programming:

  • Templates based on HTML;
  • Dependency injection;
  • Ajax requests;
  • Routing;
  • Encapsulation of CSS components;
  • Components testing utilities;
  • Opportunities to create forms, etc.

React, on its side, is a library that provides the only view, and the way to implement the Model and Controller is at the discretion of the developer. The following features are provided:

  • XML-like JSX language is used instead of templates as an add-on to JavaScript;
  • No introduction of dependencies;
  • Ajax requests;

Utilities for component testing.


Data Binding

Angular uses two-way binding. If you change some interface element to Angular, the model’s corresponding state also changes. If you change the model’s state, the interface element changes — hence the two-way data binding.

React has one-way binding. First, the state of the model is updated, and then it reflects the change of the interface element. If you change the interface element, the state of the model stays the same.

Mobile solutions

Angular and React offer solutions for mobile apps development. Speaking of Angular, this is the Ionic framework, which uses the Cordova container, built into Angular. You get the app, which is a web application inside a web browsing container.

React doesn’t have a similar framework. React Native is a platform for creating actual native mobile applications.

Ease of learning

In the case of React, you need to learn JSX first, which is not a problem since it’s quite simple. Then you need to go through the routing library (react-router v4, for example) and then the state management libraries (Redux or MobX).

In the case of Angular, there are way more steps to make and information to learn. From basic terms (directives, modules, decorators, components, services, dependency inputs, pipes, and templates), this is followed by topics as change detection, zones, AoT compilation, and Rx.js.

As you can see, learning Angular takes more time and effort than React.

Syntax

Angular is written in TypeScript, which means you need some time to learn it to work with this framework.

React uses JSX and native Javascript developers are familiar with it. The training period is easier and does not require that much preparation.

Integration

Angular provides a basic framework for building web apps and does not require any additional libraries. It is relatively rigid and inflexible as a complete framework.

React is usually not enough to build a web app. In most cases, it is recommended to use additional libraries. This, in turn, makes it flexible and easier to integrate into existing applications.

Performance

To capture all changes to the DOM, Angular creates a watcher for each binding. Every time the view updates, the new values compare with the old ones. This can end up with poorer performance in large apps.

Since React works with a virtual DOM, if the view is changed, the new DOM compares with the virtual DOM and updates accordingly.

Ecosystem

The great thing about open source frameworks is that they provide developers with numerous tools or libraries. Thanks to the active community, there are a large number of extensions for both Angular and React that can be used:

  • For easier bootstrapping of a project;
  • For the development of apps;
  • For design matters;
  • For the administration of states.

Which One Is Better?

Angular offers a very clear structure and lots of features. It allows development teams to move quickly to implementation without the need to define structures or look for additional libraries. However, it is often too overloaded for small projects and brings unnecessary ballast.

React is recommended for projects with front-end-heavy results. Since there are no clear structures, close cooperation between the development team is vital. React supports server-side rendering better, which makes the library SEO-friendly.

How To Choose?

Angular is a complete toolbox that offers you everything from development to testing while building a web app. React is a flexible library that requires support from other libraries for development.

Go for Angular if you want:

  • To develop a large, multifunctional application.
  • Reliable and scalable framework.
  • Real-time apps, chats or messengers.
  • Native apps or web apps as long-term and substantial investment projects.

Choose React if you want:

  • Lightweight modern apps in a short time.
  • Secure solutions for web development.
  • To develop cross-platform or single-page apps.
  • To expand the functionality of an existing application.

To Sum Up

There is no definitive, up-to-date documentation for React. It is open source, and new libraries appear there almost every day. For experienced developers, this is a huge plus, but it may be confusing for beginners.

With Angular it is easier to find the needed information. The product comes with detailed documentation and additional guidelines. You can always consult with community members on any popular platform if you still have any questions.

Making a choice between Angular or React, focus on the type of the project. Both approaches have their pros and cons, both are continually evolving and improving.

Use the following questions as a checklist for making your decision, drop us a line and we will gladly provide you with a development team.