Angular vs React JS comparison Angular vs React: Feature Comparison of JS Tools

Angular vs React: Feature Comparison of JS Tools

THINKMOBILES

Modern web applications developers are armed with a variety of development tools, using these or other frameworks to accelerate development.

More experienced – develop the pure JavaScript. That certainly is logical, because such applications are more productive but less supported. As they say, every situation has its pros and cons. So, let’s try to understand and compare culprits of Angular vs React.

To be honest, it is not entirely fair comparison, because we do not compare equivalent products.

If you look on the internet – you’ll find a lot of hot debates around these two popular products (frameworks), so popular, because they are the developers had known in the world today.

After some analysis, we can argue that currently AngularJS is more popular and ReactJS makes a developer stronger in JavaScript, because it requires more knowledge of them.

Angular vs React: highlights

Actually, ReactJS is an open-source, isomorphic JavaScript library but not a framework. It provides the possibility to create apps that are updated from time to time without the need to reload the page. The main purpose is to create high-performance solution that are updated from time to time without having to reload the page.

This partial update technology is very convenient for single page apps developers. It uses one-way data binding with immutable data structures and give us both server-side and client-side rendering to give it a performance edge over competing technologies.

The highlight of the ReactJS is working with virtual DOM but not regular. Working with last one in any case – a time-consuming operation. Speaking about the activity, it should not be confused with web components “Shadow DOM”, virtual DOM is a completely different technology that helps answer achieve their amazing speed rendering.

Virtual DOM has two copies of the regular and the revised version that reflects changes derived from the view. Since the ReactJS is working with the virtual DOM and updates regular DOM (browser DOM) only when data actually was changed and virtual DOM is already rebuilt that is much more productive than the manipulation of real DOM which is present in AngularJS as well.

Reviewing ‘Angular vs React’ topic we should say we have more experience with Angular (1.x) than with the React, but the benefits last tangible thing in building views with lot of data. Not to be unfounded, try to make a comparative analysis and comparison results we’ll present in tables and graphs.

AngularJS analysis

Without attention, of course, remained the leader and another comparative debate – AngularJS 2. But let’s leave it for another time, and focus on Angular vs React issue. Before turning to specific numbers, consider what constitutes AngularJS.

Regarding AngularJS, it is very popular and robust framework with open source code for web applications that consist of one HTML-pages with CSS JavaScript named (SPAs). In fact, AngularJS is monolithic frameworks which include these three paradigms: Models, Views and Controllers, as we all known as MVC design patern. But Angular developers say that it actually isn’t MVC and more looks like MV*. And perfectly, in our opinion, is coming to developments regarding small and medium projects. Although views in AngularJS has a very compact shape in terms of handling large amounts of data it loses in Angular vs React fight to the latter.

HTML samples

Creating applications for AngularJS, you should develop your own or use existing structural elements (called directives), consisting of HTML, JavaScript and CSS. Instead, in ReactJS you easily create similar elements (called components) using only JavaScript (really not pure JavaScript but syntactic sugar that combines the HTML and JavaScript and called JSX).

We all know, learning almost all programming languages starts from “Hello world”, let’s do it in regard to ‘Angular vs React’ topic. First, ReactJS:

HTML:

Angular vs React - angular vs react, html sample

 

JS:

Angular vs React - javascript sample

AngularJS:

Angular vs React - AngularJS sample
Let’s also write this in our libraries to see more sides to Angular vs React issue. We have mentioned the possibility of developing individual components for subsequent reuse in our code. Let’s consider the following example, which displays the list of products in the page. For example, we have 10 products initially.

ReactJS

HTML:

Angular vs React - html sample for React

JS:

Angular vs React - JS sample for React
AngularJS

HTML:

Angular vs React - html sample for Angular

JS:

Angular vs React - angular-js
Vertical axis shows us the time in mile-seconds and horizontal axis shows number of rendered elements (in our case it was HTML list).

Angular vs React - Angular VS React table
Let’s talk about some attributes of each libraries to get more insights of Angular vs React.

Reduced Churn

In 2016, although it started much earlier in the end of 2014, this has been fatigued by various JavaScript libraries and frameworks. And new developer who wants to start learning JavaScript is confused. Before recommending a framework, be it Angular vs React, we should ensure it will stand the test of time. Why? Because most frameworks are made in such a way that they save time for initial product creation.

But these costs are trivial in comparison with the cost of supporting your application for several years. As for ReactJS itself now is more stable as before. ReactsJS developers know that it ecosystem has churned at a rapid pace, especially around the huge list of Redux and Flux flavors and routing. So anything you write using React is possible that your decisions will be out of date or require breaking changes.

In contrast to ReactJS, AngularJS is comprehensive, methodical, careful and mature full framework, less likely to churn in painful ways after release. Choosing AngularJS as framework, you can trust a single team to make careful decisions about the future. Looking towards the ReactJS, you are free to choose which libraries are use to resolve some issues. Often you have to see whether they work properly with each other. And frankly all this is unfinished job.

Learning curve

Since AngularJS applied many concepts inside, each of which has its own learning curve, the whole curve is quite high, namely training is long and difficult. Many will disagree with me, but I’m talking about my personal experience and the experience, I guess the majority of AngularJS programmers.

At first, everything seems easy and straightforward then you realize that not everything is smooth (own directives, services, etc). We can say that it is possible to study ReactJS for one week only and further improve their skills using a particular design pattern (we mean Redux, Flux). Although as mentioned earlier, to monitor the different kinds of libraries. Yet learning curve is less steep compared to AngularJS. So again, Angular vs React in relation to learning curve – it depends.

Packaging

Speaking about of packaging, which is meaning to manage your application (download what you need and when you need to concentrate code in one file, etc). To improve the response system, it is advisable to download at the beginning minimum that is required to run your application, and then as the need download necessary things, it is called lazy load.

This approach allows easily to develop new functionality in the future. Unfortunately in Angular vs React fight, AngularJS loses here, as it does not  provide us such possibility, given the wide range of features and algorithms out of the box such as registration of individual modules, the directives etc.

Since the ReactJS is plain JavaScript, we can easily achieve the aforementioned objectives using RequireJS, easily pack and done module design using Browserify or Webpack.

Abstraction

Speaking about abstraction we mean the opportunity to organize our block of code in separate and independent units, which in the future can be used in another decisions. Good abstraction is extremely important. If we take into account our subjects we can say that:

a) AngularJS has leaky abstraction. To use AngularJS in a nontrivial project, you have to get into a deep and understand how it works under the hood. You have to understand  models, scopes and how they work within the framework of the prototype inheritance: digest loop; $watch, $watchCollection, and $apply; and a lot of other pieces. Oh, sorry, we forgot magic directives with theirs priority. Why should we worry about priority using third party directives, but actually doing it in right way.

b) The surprise in your application may be a virtual DOM. This is an impressive achievement, a key piece in the ReactJS, but it can be a leaky abstraction. As soon as you see new or advanced feature in DOM, you risk to run into a fight with the ReactJS. For example, CSS animation for some time caused problems, and focus control is still hard. It seems ReactJS team fixing all known issues. But what will happen in a few years, when the ReactJS has become not the most fashionable thing as w3c working intensively with shadow DOM and browsers are developing quickly too.

Debugging

Each of us in the development find out a situation when something in the app does not work. And we begin a long and sometimes bumpy ride of debugging and fixing our application Sometimes the problem is something in main logic and sometimes in the html code along with what generated it.

As AngularJS belongs to the event driven frameworks, then, as a result, it is easier to develop but difficult to monitor errors stack. Sometimes we get not what expected when analyzing errors. However AngularJS perfectly organized several structures, such as services and controllers and if used them properly testing individual modules of our application become easily.

But if the problem is in the directive, it is sometimes better to rewrite them, because AngularJS not without “magic”, and what is happening in the directives sometimes difficult to explain. Another option is to debug a code that is sometimes difficult because debugging code in AngularJS is not trivial.

When you make  mistakes in the JSX (powerful synthetic thing in ReactJS), it will not be compiled. This is a great thing. You will immediately know exactly in which row number an error happened. It is clear that this is unclosed tag or link to the declared variable. In fact, JSX compiler will indicate the line number in which you made a mistake. This significantly increases the speed of development. When we talking about HTML generated by ReactJS, and back-tracing code opposite story. In respond, your code difficult to compare the resulting HTML. Even using JSX.

Binding

The AngularJS aim is to make HTML more powerful. Therefore, you have use a special syntax for AngularJS simple things like loops or conditionals. For example, AngularJS offers different syntax for one-way and two-way data binding.

In Angular, you can only bind to scope and you will need to deal with AngularJS $digest. Unlike AngularJS, ReactJS has syntactic sugar called valueLink (a single attribute for both “value” and “onChange” properties). In the React, binding does not change the syntax (it is processed in a different place, it is intended that it should be).

Templating

As mentioned earlier, AngularJS uses data binding attributes using HTML elements to obtain a fairly short, not overloaded with code templates. AngularJS uses all DOM capabilities, allowing it to create a well-structured templates, reducing the amount of code required to build the final page.

So, what are AngularJs templates? This HTML complete with variables, expressions and directives. ReactJS template – is a native JavaScript. A html-like syntax (this is the format of ReactJS called JSX, we spoke about it before) is converted to the native calls in the first call (in production as the conversion, of course, should be done on the server Node.js means).

Lets look for simple ReactJS component writen using JSX.

Angular vs React - ReactJS template
Whereas in Angular it would look like:

Angular vs React - Angular template

We have tried to analyze some of the attributes of our frameworks, of course, this is not the whole list. Below there is a table of consolidated and important, in our opinion, of comparing attributes.

Pros Cons
AngularJS  Perfect documentation;
Big community;
2-Way data binding, which simplify some processes;
Good HTML debugging;
Quick scaffold and develop small and middle projects
 2-Way data binding may reduce application productivity (performance);
Difficulty in learning and code debugging (JavaScript);
ReactJS  Comfortable support isolated components;
Easy to develop;
Handy architecture (Redux, Flux)
Light-weighted
 Having trouble manipulating DOM using third-party libraries;
Large data set and frequent re-render should slow down the application as a whole

Let’s get some more details:

Title Angular React
 Version (latest stable)  1.5.9  15.4.1
 Author  Google  Facebook
 Language  JavaScript/HTML  JSX or JavaScript/HTML
 Size  163k  21k(React)/124k (ReactDom)
 Github Stars  53.8k  55.6k
 Github Contributors  1,549  878
 Churn  Reduced  High
 Tooling  Low  High
 Code Design  JS into HTML  JavaScript centric
 JavaScript “Fatigue”  Less (Declarative Programming)  More
 DOM  Regular DOM  Virtual DOM
 Learning Curve  High  Low
 Packaging  Weak  Strong
 Abstraction  Weak  Strong
Debugging  Good HTML / Bad JS  Good JS / Bad HTML
 Fails When?  Run time  Compile-Time
 Binding  2 Way  1 Way
 Templating  In HTML  In JSX Files
 Design Pattern  MV*  V (View Only)
 Rendering  Client-side  Isomorphic

Summary

Although Angular vs React differences are many, they can do the same thing, namely to build client interface. Both have their place. For those peoples who like web development above all interesting is innovative AngularJS approach to HTML.

With a large community and Google behind it, it works well for both rapid prototyping projects and middle production applications.

AngularJS really is a full framework and not just a library, as the ReactJS, but ReactJS has better performance than the AngularJS by implementing virtual DOM. In our opinion, you should use AngularJS if:

  • you plan to carry a lot of unit tests during development,
  • you want a comprehensive solution for your application.

However, two-way data binding is often touted advantage of using AngularJS, but because it is implemented through a series digest, adding too much complexity for certain functions and expressions can lead to deterioration in performance of your applications.

 

You should use ReactJS for applications with high traffic, for large, long-term projects.

The more complex your application is, the more third-party plug-ins you have to use. In this regard, the ReactJS has a great future, applications written in a ReactJS are more scalable.

Of course this can be achieved using both, but in AngularJS just we have to make more effort. As a result, each approach to building application architecture has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice is up to you, you can make based on the requirements of your project.