Angular VS React: A comparison of both frameworks

Angular VS React: A comparison of both frameworks
Techiio-author
Written by Debarghya DasNovember 25, 2021
13 min read
JavaScript
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Debarghya Das

Junior Front-End Developer

Let's find the comparison between Angular and React how to choose between both

About Angular

Angular is a web framework developed and maintained by Google that was released under the name of AngularJS back in 2010. At the time, it became one of the most popular web frameworks. This was mainly due to its features like two-way data binding and dependency injection, and of course by being backed by a tech giant.

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About React

In 2013, React, a JavaScript library supported by Facebook, became open-sourced. This framework popularized a concept in web development known as component-based architecture, that has many advantages like:

  • Modular and cohesive components, which make them heavily reusable and that contributes to accelerating the development time.
  • Used in mobile development, which allows developers to reuse the logical part in mobile apps, with only needing to tweak the view.
  • Easy maintenance and improvement, because components are self-contained.

React quickly took the market by storm and overshadowed most of the frameworks at the time, including AngularJS. Therefore, in 2016, Google upgraded it’s JavaScript framework as a consequence of the community’s enthusiasm with the component-based architecture: they called it Angular2.

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Angular vs React: which one is more popular?

Before deciding on which framework to use, it’s wise to look at its popularity. The bigger and active a community is, the quicker it gets to find a solution for any unexpected problem that comes in your way. According to the data I was able to gather at the time of writing, different results arise in terms of how popular each framework is overtime.

On Github, while React’s repository has 164k stars, Angular had nearly 130k stars if we sum both AngularJS and Angular2 repositories. This shows that both have a very large community behind them, as they stay on the top of the most starred repositories.

Another interesting topic is the number of npm (Node Package Manager) downloads.

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Number of npm downloads of Angular compared to React

As we can see in the above chart, React has more npm downloads than Angular since 2015. The number continues to grow, contrarily to Angular, which tends to stagnate.

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Web Frameworks Popularity

Assuming we check out Stackoverflow 2020 study, we can see that, regarding web frameworks, 35.9% of the respondents prefer React, while 25.1% use Angular instead. Further, this review additionally outlines that, despite being one of the most popular web frameworks, Angular is also considered the most dreaded one. In fact, Angular has more questions tagged than its rival. This might be explained because, in general, one can find Angular more complex than React. However, I didn't experience any trouble finding answers to the doubts or questions that came up, either for Angular or React.

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A job market comparison of Angular vs React

If we look at the above chart, we can see that Angular was ahead of React, in terms of the job market, until the end of 2015. At the time, Angular was a mature framework while React was still a new technology. More recently, with rampant popularity, React surpassed Angular, even with AngularJS and Angular2 combined.

This can be explained by a few factors such as:

  • React became older and developers began to dominate this technology.
  • React has a shorter ramp-up time, as it’s less complex than Angular.
  • React is more suitable for startups because it has less development time.

In summary, although React is more favored, we can see that both are very popular.

Angular vs React: the main differences

Angular:

  • Purpose: Full fledged Framework - offers strong opinion on how your application should be structured and has many small libraries built-in that helps you build complex applications.
  • Data binding: Two-way data binding - meaning that if we change the input in the UI it will change the model state and vice versa.
  • Language: TypeScript - superset of JavaScript and statically typed language.
  • UI Components: Integrated Material Design Components - Angular provides various material design components, allowing an easy UI configuration.
  • Dependency Injection: Supports dependency injection - which allows it to have distinct lifecycles for different stores.
  • DOM: Incremental DOM - when creating the new DOM it will compare with the previous one and apply the differences to the “real” DOM, only allocating memory if necessary.
  • Learning Curve: Harder to learn - has a lot of concepts and syntax to learn.
  • Performance: Slower Performance - the "Real" DOM and bidirectional data binding process make Angular's performance slower than React. However, it may change with the addition and improvement of Ivy, a new technology .
  • Tools: Does not require additional libraries - integrates several functions, but can use NgRx and RxJS.

React:

  • Purpose: Library - only cares about View on MVC architecture, need Flux to implement this architecture, but gives you more freedom the way you want organize the code.
  • Data binding: One-way data binding - meaning that an UI element cannot change the state of a component.
  • Language: JavaScript XML (JSX) - can be written in TypeScript, although not included natively.
  • UI Components: Material-UI Library & Dependencies - UI tools are developed by the community and offer a huge variety of UI components.
  • Dependency Injection: Does not entirely support dependency injection - React has a global state for all the components.
  • DOM: Virtual DOM - whenever the DOM changes it will create a new virtual DOM, compare with previous one and only modify the “real” DOM where it differs.
  • Learning Curve: Easier to learn - not as difficult since it has all the component's code in the same file
  • Performance: Faster Performance - the virtual DOM trees do not overload the browser. Plus, the unidirectional data binding process reduces the workload.
  • Tools: More dependent on a state management library - libraries such as Helmet, Redux, and React Router can optimize the state management processes, the interaction with the API, and routing.

Conclusion

Given such countless frameworks to choose from, every one with its own quirks, choosing for the right framework can turn into an intense mission.

We felt that before when we decided to build the application in Vue.js first and now when considering Angular.

At the point when we're between Angular or React, I think it generally comes down to personal preference, as they solve similar issues however with various implementation.

However, in the decision-making process, it’s important to consider that React has an easier learning curve, which leads to quicker development, while Angular has more built-in functionalities.

Both technologies are very powerful, a clear improvement from the early days of web programming that enhances, facilitates and speeds up developing.

In this article, I talked about Angular vs React based on a web app I developed from scratch, using both frameworks.

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