There are several client-side frameworks and libraries that have been around for some time (of course AngularJS and ReactJS are the biggest players among them). Therefore, it is a mammoth task to choose from such a great variety.
“Should I use AngularJS or React?” “Which one is better – React vs Angular?” These are questions that bother both novices and veterans alike. There are a lot of articles out on the web debating about React vs Angular, and a many of them tend to take a side favouring one or the other.
In this article, we will discuss each of the platforms, i.e. AngularJS and ReactJS separately and will try to understand what makes each of them different from the other.
What is AngularJS?
AngularJS provides developers with a structure (Model View Controller or MVC) that helps standardize and streamline the web development workflow.
What is ReactJS?
Features: React vs Angular
While comparing AngularJS vs React, it is obvious that both have their pros and cons (and every web developer has their own preferences as well). However, to throw a little more light on the React vs Angular debate, we will examine the most popular features and functions of the both.
Some of the key features of AngularJS are:
- Angular Directives – This enables AngularJS to manipulate the Document Object Model (DOM) by extending HTML with directives.
- Two-way data binding capability – This helps to reflect any changes made to the view within the data and vice versa. This capability speeds up the development time by reducing much of the programming overhead involved with syncing up the view with the model.
- Dependency injection – A pattern of software designing which enables injecting one or more services (known as dependencies) in the component. It helps to make code more maintainable, testable and usable.
- Ability to write custom directives – A custom directive in AngularJS is used to extend the functionality of HTML. An AngularJS application, during bootstrap, traverses the DOM to find the matching elements against the DOM directives and do a one-time activity using its compile() method of the custom directive then process the element using link() method of the custom directive based on the scope of the directive.
- Onboard form validation – Angular’s AJAX forms and built-in validation makes using forms easier. This facility helps to deal with displaying error messages from form validation.
- Virtual DOM – This feature allows React to store the original as well as an updated version that reflects changes fetched in from the view. The two versions are run through a React function, which picks the differences and outputs a stream of DOM operations that only amend the parts of the view that actually changed.
The major features of ReactJS are as follows:
- Server-side rendering – This allows rendering React on both the client and server, providing greater coding flexibility.
Disadvantages: React vs Angular
Despite offering the above-listed features, AngularJS has a few disadvantages. Sometimes, it can complicate the functioning of search engine crawlers.
The two-way data binding feature is advantageous for many applications. However, when it comes to manipulating or rendering large blocks of data-heavy content, such as a photo gallery or highly populated lists, it starts to lag.
The framework requires the libraries to be AngularJS specific. It does not work well with tools and libraries that are not specific to AngularJS. Many developers feel that AngularJS increases the test time considerably thereby affecting the build time.
Apart from its advantages, ReactJS can also cause some difficulties. React lack enough documentation, which makes it difficult for developers to master the technology.
React is not a full framework rather it is only a view layer. Therefore, it still requires you to plug your code for Ajax requests, events and so on.
ReactJS also requires some configuration (i.e. substituting erb with React) to integrate React.js into a traditional MVC framework like rails.
React does not have a router or built-in model management libraries. It requires developers to have the experience to be able to choose and implement third-party libraries.
Difference: React vs Angular
Both React and Angular are extremely popular among frontend developers. Both are currently used by many businesses including news, healthcare, banking, food and travel companies across the globe.
Some of the most interesting differences between AngularJS and ReactJS are the DOM, size, debugging, componentization, community, data binding, performance, directives, dependency resolution, and templating.
|DOM||Regular DOM||Regular DOM||Virtual DOM|
|Binding||2 Way||2 Way||1 Way|
|Templating||HTML||TypeScript Files||JSX Files|
|MVC||Yes||Yes||View Layer Only|
|Mobile App Building||Ionic Framework||Ionic Framework||React Native|
|Rendering||Client Side||Server Side||Server Side|
|Debugging General||Good HTML / Bad JS||Good JS / Good HTML||Good JS / Bad HTML|
So, Which One is Better?
As you have known by now, both of these frameworks have their own pros and cons. While AngularJS does some things better, React wins at some other things. Both the technologies provide a sturdy set of tools for scalable, reactive and quality web applications.
React is the apt choice when you have lots of dynamic content changing within the view while Angular shines when you need a full, comprehensive framework to get you running quickly out of the box.
Websites, like Instagram or Facebook, with a lot of dynamic data-intensive content that is constantly changing perform better with React. However, AngularJS, with its recently released version Angular2, caters to the developers who want a more mature and complete solution.
As the React vs Angular debate continues to bother us, the creators keep on updating and releasing new technologies to win a competitive edge over each other.
The newly released Angular 2, launched in May 2016, is a huge improvement over version 1 and is very competitive with React. The new component model of Angular 2 is comparatively simple to grasp than Angular 1 directives. It uses a virtual DOM, like React, offering almost 10 times improvement in its performance. The new version also supports isomorphic or universal rendering.
Therefore, choose your frontend technology wisely as I rest my fingers with a hope to have helped you in your decision to choose the apt framework.