Angular vs. React: To Compete or not to Compete?

30 September 2016

Recently, our team had to choose a technology for a new web application product, and the choices were ReactJS or AngularJS. We have experience with both and were struggling between the ease-of-use of Angular and the simplicity and architectural soundness of React. Going through this process, we thought you would also be interested in different benefits of each one.

Angular and React are both means for building mobile or web applications that were both launched to enable and simplify the task of building modern applications. Both of them are innovative and widely used for creating applications and making the process as simple and powerful from developer perspective as it can be. Angular was developed by Google, and React by Facebook, both the are of course open sourced projects.  

Angular JS – focus on more options and functionalities

Angular’s primary goal is to address the many challenges of creating single-page applications (SPA’s). Angular aids in the development of these SPA’s by providing a client-side framework in a model-view-controller (MVC) architecture. This helps with creating high-quality brand experiences within apps that feature dynamic content. Angular’s role lays in widening browser applications on MVC base, and in simplifying their development and testing. Although data presentation in Angular has a compact view, it is slow in processing huge amounts of data.

In 2014 Google announced plans for Angular JS 2.0, a whole rewrite of the framework and a few days ago, Angular JS team launched it. However, Angular 2.0 is “not production ready” and Google officials recommended “waiting for a couple of months to let at least the tooling and styling options mature.

React JS – focus on fast data rendering

In 2013 ReactJS was barely known by the JavaScript community, but today it’s the first choice for new and existing projects alike. ReactJS is not actually a framework, but an open-source JavaScript library. As Angular, it allows developers to create apps that are updated without the need to reload the page. The main aims of React are to boost the speed and simplicity of the developing process and to solve a common issue for all JavaScript frameworks – fast rendering of huge amounts of data.

Let’s recognize that they are not entirely comparable

Angular, being a framework, covers a lot more ground than a library, such as React. Maybe we should not think of them as competitors as both can be complementary to each other. Rather than trying to identify clear pros and cons for each one, it would be wiser to look into WHY you would choose one or both.

If you have to build a web application, it may be very useful to leverage new tooling, ensuring a quality increase of the brand interactions and a development time decrease by leveraging existing libraries or frameworks. If the application has a lot of large data operations and dynamic content, React may be a better option. The downside to using both of them is that they can increase complexity within the application. This is why it is vital to have proficient developers handling this kind of development.

There is no clear winner. The only truth is that some frameworks fit some situations better than the others. We expect React will continue to gain popularity as developers, and online businesses are starting to understand how to use it more effectively. A lot depends on how the ecosystem will respond to the changes introduced by Angular 2.0.

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