ReactJS vs Angular: Difference Between ReactJS and Angular [2021]

The ReactJS vs. Angular debate has been one of the hottest and most discussed JavaScript topics for quite some time now. Although there’s no dearth of JavaScript frameworks and tools, ReactJS vs. Angular are massively popular among developers, thanks to their unique features and benefits. 

However, while seasoned developers know very well when to use ReactJS and when to use Angular, it is a tough nut for beginners to crack!

In this post, we’ll indulge in a head-to-head conversation on ReactJS vs. Angular so that you are well aware of the difference between ReactJS and Angular and accordingly make an informed decision on which framework to opt for your next project. 

ReactJS vs. Angular: A quick introduction

ReactJS

ReactJS (better known as React) is an open-source JavaScript library designed for the creation of user interfaces (UIs) and UI components. Facebook along with a community of individual developers maintains and supports React. It is a declarative and component-based library that is mainly used as a base for single-page apps and mobile applications. 

An interesting fact about React is that it primarily focuses on rendering data to the DOM. Consequently, you have to use React in combination with other libraries for state management and routing while developing React apps. React offers reusable React library code (to reduce development time and minimize errors). The two fundamental features that enhance React’s appeal and usability are JSX and Virtual DOM. 

A React code comprises objects known as components (functional & class-based). Using the React DOM library, you can render the components to a particular entity in the DOM

Key features

  • It facilitates one-way data binding. 
  • It allows the usage of third-party libraries.
  • It is equipped with a useful developer’s toolkit. 
  • Virtual DOM delivers an excellent user experience. 
  • Lifecycle methods allow for faster development. 
  • Conditional statements in JSX make displaying data in the browser much more convenient. 

Angular 

Google developed Angular and launched it back in 2010. Till 2016, Angular was known as  AngularJS, but when Angular 2 (a 360-degree rewrite of AngularJS) was released to the market, the team decided to let go of the JS to avoid any confusion between AngularJS and Angular 2.

Angular is a development framework and platform designed for building sophisticated single-page client apps via TypeScript and HTML. Written in TypeScript, Angular implements its core and optional functionalities as a collection of TypeScript libraries that can be imported to applications.

Related Read: Angular Project Ideas & Topics

The core Angular components are arranged into NgModules that collect related code into functional sets. Typically,  a set of NgModules defines an Angular app that further contains a root module for bootstrapping and several feature modules. 

Key features

  • It has built-in support for AJAX, HTTP, and Observables. 
  • It is backed by a large community. 
  • Typescript allows for efficient, clean, and precise coding.
  • It extends advanced support for error handling
  • It offers seamless and regular updates via Angular CLI
  • It includes many templates and IDEs to speed up and simplify the development process. 

ReactJS vs. Angular: A comparison

1. Learning Curve

As we mentioned earlier, ReactJs is a library, meaning you will have to acquaint yourself with much fewer concepts than Angular. Some of the most crucial React concepts that you must know are the component lifecycle, mounting, updating, upmounting, React State, React Context,  JSX, how component types work, how component API works, how Props and State work, how to use Redux, etc. Essentially, you can master these concepts within a short time. 

Contrary to this, Angular is a full-blown development framework. Naturally, if you wish to work with Angular, you must be well-versed with multiple things, including the nitty-gritty of Typescript, MVC, and concepts like components, directives, modules, decorators, services, dependency injection, etc. Plus, you must be proficient in AOT(Ahead-of-Time) compilation and Rx.js. The bottom-line is – Angular has a steep learning curve.

2. Architecture

Both React and Angular follow a component-based architecture, meaning they incorporate cohesive, reusable, and modular components. However, their architecture differs when it comes to tech stack – while React uses JavaScript, Angular uses Typescript for development for producing precise and bug-free code.

3. Components

React uses Virtual DOM, a copy of the Real DOM. It allows unidirectional data flow and supports functional programming wherein the component definitions are declarative. React lets you create component trees.

Angular, on the other hand, uses Real DOM, following the MVC model. Unlike React, it allows for bidirectional data flow. Angular follows a strict style of coding which makes the code neat and compact. In AngularJS, you can break an application’s code into different files, making it possible to reuse components/templates in various parts of the application. 

4. Self-Sufficiency

React requires the support of third-party libraries like React Router, Redux, or Helmet for optimizing routing and state management processes and interacting with APIs. Since Angular is a software development framework, it does not require any external library. You can implement any function and task using the Angular package.

5. Ease of understanding

In React, the logic and templates are explained at the end of each component, allowing the readers to understand the meaning of the code without being fluent in the syntax. However, in Angular, all templates are returned with attributes. Furthermore, Angular’s directives follow a complex and sophisticated syntax which makes it almost incomprehensible without domain knowledge, especially for budding developers.

6. Migration And Community Support

While both React and Angular boast of active and reliable community support, React enables seamless transitions between upgrades. Since it can easily integrate with external libraries, you can migrate and update third-party components without any hassle. Facebook’s robust support further makes it a highly stable and reliable tool for JavaScript. 

Angular’s advanced CLI facilitates a seamless upgrade to the latest version of the tool via helpful commands like the “ng_update.” Also, since a large portion of the updating process is automated (thanks to Facebook’s “codemod”), Angular updates are a breeze to work with. Each year, Angular releases at least two major updates (in six months intervals). As for support, Google extends stellar support to developers through any challenges they might face.

7. Productivity And Development Speed

React is heavily reliant on third-party libraries and tools. This impacts its productivity to a large extent. Developers have to decide the right architecture combination according to their project needs. However, as React lets you reuse existing code and use the hot reloading approach, it accelerates the development speed significantly. 

Angular’s CLI enables developers to create highly functional apps and produce components and services rapidly by using one-line commands. Not just that, Angular’s hierarchical dependency injection makes the classes independent of each other. They draw power from external sources which enhances the performance of Angular mobile apps.

8. Toolkit

React leverages the potential of many code editors such as Visual Studio, Sublime Text, and Atom. Also, it uses the Create React App (CLI) tool for bootstrapping projects, whereas Next.js handles server-side rendering. 

Like React, Angular also uses several code editing tools like Aptana, Sublime Text, and Visual Studio. Angular CLI helps in setting up projects and Angular Universal takes care of the server-side rendering. 

Here, Angular has the upper hand over React in one aspect – it can be tested using only one tool (either Karma, or Protractor, or Jasmine).

9. Popularity

According to Google Trends, React takes the lead by scoring more searches than Angular. Although Angular’s built-in solutions make it an ideal choice among developers worldwide, both React and Angular boast of a promising market for JavaScript development. Since both have unique use cases and applications, it is not fair to declare one tool as the sole winner of the ReactJS vs. Angular debate.

ReactJS vs. Angular: Conclusion

To wrap up, React and Angular are here to stay, and nothing is dimming their popularity anytime soon, not even by a long shot. Both the tools are rapidly growing and maturing, offering new capabilities and features to developers. To be honest, you can only witness the true potential of React and Angular when you use them for appropriate projects and tasks for which they’re built.

For instance, React is the best choice for developing applications that incorporate multiple events or when you wish to create shareable components in your app. On the other hand, Angular is ideal for projects demanding ready-to-use solutions or for feature-rich applications. 

The important thing to remember is that each tool comes with its pros and cons, and its ability to shine largely depends on how you use them. 

It can be a real task to decide which framework to learn irrespective of you being an experienced JavaScript developer wanting to upgrade your skills or just starting your career.

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