When starting a new project, a Java programmer, just like any other coding professional, has to decide which framework to use. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Well, not quite.
The results of StackOverflow's study says that React is slightly more popular than Angular. Around 60% of their respondents voted for React, while the remaining 40% sided with Angular.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that React is “better” than Angular. It might only indicate that programmers are more used to it, especially because React is used on such projects as Facebook or Instagram. However, as a company that also uses Angular for a lot of projects, we can claim firsthand that Angular is amazing for large-scale web applications.
In order to help you understand the differences between these two frameworks and all the pros and cons that go with them, we at Share IT have decided to create a comparison list, based on our real-life experience with both Angular and React, and put them head to head.
Before we start untangling the messy Reactjs vs. Angular debate, let us first provide you with a bit of history and context.
So, now that we understand the basics of these two frameworks, let’s compare them.
ReactJS is completely compatible with its older versions. You can add different releases of the libraries to your web app and update the old ones with the property inheritance. Since AngularJS has been completely rewritten into Angular 2, the compatibility with newer and older versions of this framework stop with its second release. To add a component from Angular 2 to Angular 3, you first need to install all the updates from the newer version. You can’t really just jump in. This, however, complicates the process and might negatively influence your project.
When it comes to community support, Angular has stronger support since it is being more used than React. There are many detailed-documents and guides you can find for Angular, so in most cases, you don’t even have to reach out to the community for help. Since Angular is used by lots of programmers, you can find a lot of resources online where you can ask questions about specific problems and search for answers on your own.
With React, things are a bit different. The tech support is more complex than it should be. Yes, the community is huge and willing to help, however, it’s never easy to find the documentation that has all the correct information about the implementation. Since React is an open-source code and new libraries tend to appear every day, the lack of information often becomes a problem.
ReactJS is best utilized for dynamic and single page applications since it uses virtual DOM, can quickly react to data changes whereas Angular is best suited for creating cross-platform mobile apps and progressive enterprise web applications and software.
ReactJS uses one-way data binding. This means that any model changes can affect the view but not vice-versa. With Angular, it’s a different story. This framework uses two-way data binding means any model changes would affect the view and vice versa.
ReactJS uses virtual DOM which is a simplified version of DOM. Angular 4 uses the browser’s DOM. In case you’re not familiar with the term, DOM (short for Document Object Model) is a cross-platform and language-independent interface that allows programmers to access and change the document’s contents, layout, and even structure.
Both React and Angular have their unique way of DOM processing which influences the rendering of the end page displayed on the user’s screen. For instance, React clones the DOM, processes the copy and compares the results with the source. Then, in the original doc (the one that is displayed on the user’s screen), React replaces the parts that are different from the processed version. This drastically speeds up loading time and rendering of the page, which, at the same time, significantly reduces the amount of traffic used. This is of great value to mobile users.
DOM processing is quite different in Angular. This framework splits the DM in two threads, where the browser (on the client’s side) is in charge of the DOM rendering while the main thread (on the server-side) is responsible for creating directives as well as loading the code and the services.
However, this doesn’t mean that the rendering is done on the client’s side. The visualization is still carried out by the servers. This positively affects the whole SEO aspect of the story because Google bots will get the correct page while indexing the page.
When directly comparing the rendering methodology and capabilities of React and Angular, React comes on top as a better option.
Speaking from our experience, React is better for smaller projects, those where you need to get the gist of an environment quickly. When it comes to bigger ones, it would be smarter to rely on Angular because it guarantees you flexibility and really quick rendering. If you come face to face with any serious obstacles, Angular’s rich support and community will definitely make all the difference.