If you are planning to build a web or mobile app, and you are facing the problem of choosing between React.js vs Angular, in this article, I will guide you through the differences, similarities, and some of the best use cases for both, to help you make a final decision.
However, some people say you cannot really compare React to Angular, as Angular is a full-stack MVC framework, while React is just a view library.
However, I think you can and even should compare them, as they are both ready to deliver great apps, and both are perfect technologies to support the most demanding digital business objectives.
We will also go over the benefits of React.js and Angular, a few pros and cons, and we will also make a classic head-to-head comparison.
Not really in a mood for reading? Watch the video instead!
What is React.js?
It combines development simplicity (thanks to small pieces of code called “components”) and a strong focus on user experience. React is the View layer of the MVC model, which gives you almost total freedom in choosing Model and Controller libraries.
Pros and cons of React.js
Now, let’s take a look at some advantages of React from a business perspective and its cons.
|✅ Pros||❌ Cons|
|Cost-effectiveness||High pace of development|
|Great UX||View part only|
|Shortened time to market|
If you want to find out more, we prepared a detailed summary of React JS pros and cons.
Also, maybe there are other questions you would like to ask. Maybe you can find them in our React JS FAQ?
Companies using React.js
Facebook isn’t the only company taking advantage of React and its possibilities. There are a few more well-known brands, such as:
- New York Times
However, it doesn’t mean that React is the right choice only for big brands – it’s on the contrary. You can use as little (or as much) of React as you need at the moment. For example, adding React to your website is literally a matter of one minute.
What is Angular?
Angular is a result of rewriting AngularJS, which was the first version of Angular.
Important note: Google stopped supporting AngularJS on the 31st of December 2021.
Pros and cons of Angular
You already have learned about React pros and cons, so it’s time to find out why it’s a great idea to choose Angular (or not).
|✅ Pros||❌ Cons|
|Better error handling||Huge size|
|Cleaner code||Limited SEO options|
|Higher performance||Steep learning curve|
|Material Design-like interface|
|Seamless updates thanks to Angular CLI|
Companies using Angular
- General Motors
React vs Angular: Head-to-head comparison
|Compatibility||Full backward compatibility||Updates needed|
|Data binding||One-way binding||Two-way binding|
|DOM||Virtual DOM||Real DOM|
React JS vs Angular: Comparison
React vs Angular – view library vs full stack framework
As I’ve mentioned at the beginning, some people say it’s not really a good way to compare React JS to Angular, as they are both slightly different things.
But does it really matter if both are able to build great apps?
It seems like Angular is a better option, as it’s a full stack MVC framework that doesn’t require any additional libraries to be complete.
On the other hand, React JS indeed requires other libraries, but it really depends on your project objectives if that’s a benefit or disadvantage.
Being an independent view library, React gives you almost unlimited possibilities if it comes to building user experience, and what’s more, you can also be quite flexible to choose with which libraries you want to work.
Angular vs React performance
Angular is using real DOM, which means it goes through the entire structure of HTML to find what there is to be changed and “mutate” the tree to apply changes.
React JS is using a virtual DOM implementation, which means it doesn’t have to update all the HTML. It is just looking for the differences between the current and the old HTML and updating it accordingly. That means that React apps load much faster than Angular apps.
React Concurrent Mode
According to official React’s website, “Concurrent Mode is a set of new features In React 18, released on the 29th of March 2022, concurrency was released as a built-in mechanism that enables React to prepare multiple versions of the UI at the same time.
Concurrency was available in earlier React versions, but only as an experimental element.
A key feature of Concurrent React is interruptible rendering, which guarantees that the UI will appear consistent even if a render is interrupted. Thanks to that, React can prepare new screens in the background, without blocking the main thread, and creating a fluid user experience.
A while ago (with v16 version) React changed its engine elevating the speed from “just fast” to “blazingly fast”.
More than that, React Fiber enables the priority-based update system, so you can fine-tune your renderings to make sure the most critical updates are done first. Also, you can pause and start your work at will.
Ivy was created as a complete rewrite of the compiler, as some kind of response to React Fiber. It allows Angular developers to:
- Achieve faster build times
- Get smaller build sizes
- Unlock new features like lazy loading of components instead of modules
React vs Angular Data binding
Angular is using two-way data bindings. Two-way data binding means that whenever you change any element of the interface, your model state changes automatically, too.
React uses one-way data binding, which renders the change in the interface model only after the model state is updated first. And whenever you change the UI components, the model state stays the same with no changes.
In one-way data binding, the data flow is unidirectional, which gives React developers more flexibility and control over the mobile and web apps.
Mobile app solutions: React Native vs Ionic
Choosing React JS allows you to use React Native to build truly native and cross-platform mobile applications. While React Native uses a bit different syntax than React does, it’s relatively easy to learn it if you are already familiar with React. With React Native, you can create components and bind them in Objective-C, Java or Swift code.
Angular framework, on the other hand, uses Ionic, which is also a platform that allows developers to build high-performance cross-platform mobile applications using a single codebase.
Applications created via Ionic can be also used on the web or any other device. This open-source framework provides friendly tools to the developers along with powered services. It also incorporates a rich library and building blocks which make things way easier for the developer.
When it comes to the performance of both applications, if they are well-written, the difference will be hard to notice.
To keep you inspired, we’ve listed more than 50 examples of great React Native apps from many different industries.
Angular vs React: Learning curve
Since React is a lightweight UI library, the learning curve is much simpler than in Angular. A list of things you have to absorb is quite short: JSX, a router library and a state management library. Also, it’s necessary to have knowledge of writing components, managing internal state and using props.
Angular is not a library – it’s a fully-fledged MVC framework. Because of that, a list of things to learn is much longer than in the case of React.js:
- Dependency Injection
And that’s just a start.
React vs Angular Popularity
- Is this technology a serious thing?
- Is there (and will be) demand for this technology?
- Will it be easy to find and hire developers?
- How big is the community?
- What kind of help can I expect from the community?
To determine the popularity of React and Angular, I checked sites like Github, Google Trends, Stack Overflow Trends, and Annual Survey.
Stack Overflow Trends
ReactJS is much more popular than Angular. Since 2019 number of questions about Angular is decreasing, while with React the upward trend continues.
Most Loved Web Frameworks according to Stack Overflow 2021 Survey
Till 2019, React.js had the first place in the most loved vs dreaded frameworks. Since 2021, Svelte is leading, but React is still at the top. Angular, on the other hand, stayed in the middle.
It is much easier to find React developers, as it is the most commonly used web framework.
React is the most wanted web framework of all, while Angular is in 4th place.
Angular vs ReactJS on GitHub
React JS on GitHub
Angular on GitHub
Google Trends: Comparison between React JS vs Angular in the last 12 months and 5 years
Angular vs React: Templates
Angular framework is using templates based on an extended version of HTML with Angular directives. The syntax of those directives is complex and sophisticated, making it one more thing to learn from the basics.
Angular vs React JS: Testing
The Angular CLI downloads all the tools you need for testing with a Jasmine test framework. Angular has multiple features, such as isolation of the unit of code and was created with testability in mind, but many Angular developers find the output from Jasmine rather difficult to read.
React JS vs Angular FAQ – hard to answer
Many times, our clients are also asking quite interesting questions, that are truly hard to answer.
Some of them you can find below:
React JS vs Angular: Time to market
Is it faster to build an app with React or Angular?
The answer is hard for two reasons.
Firstly, it really depends on too many factors. Like the skill of a developer, the competencies of the entire team, the level of communication, team workflow, etc.
Secondly, even if you take a perfectly the same skilled developer and put him in a perfectly the same project with perfectly the same conditions, it’s still going to be hard to say, as the delivery time may be pretty much similar.
React JS vs Angular: Scalability
Is it going to be easier to scale an app in React or Angular?
And again, I don’t have a definite answer.
Both Angular and React have their pros and cons if it comes to scalability, but taking into account that React is better off with bigger apps, if you plan to make your app really big in the future, maybe it’s better to think about the React from the beginning.
Angular vs React: How easy it is to start?
Is it going to be easier to start a project with React or Angular?
And again, no clear answer here.
If you take Angular – it has a lot of great ready-to-use tools and functionalities out of the box, which makes it extremely easy to start.
However, although React doesn’t have that many ready-to-use options, it has also great, clear, and rich documentation that will guide you through and help you build the project from the scratch. It also has a great community ready to help anytime.
Conclusion and final thoughts
In general, there is no definite answer to which one is better React JS or Angular, as they both are able to build great apps.
Yet we can see slightly more advantages in using React, and we choose it, as we have to face projects with performance challenges more often. On top of that, we are appreciating the possibility to have total frontend freedom a lot.
We also recommend you to have a look on our 2020 React Development Survey and Report, where many leaders shared their thoughts about using React in their companies.
What are your thoughts? Which one is better for you? Let me know what I’ve missed!
Still hesitating between React JS and Angular?