Angular vs React: Which One to Choose for Your App in 2020?

Angular vs React: Which one to choose for your app in 2020?
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Hello, everyone! This time, guys, I want to share my opinion about Angular and React and try to answer one of the most frequently asked questions, “Angular vs React? What is better to choose for web app development?”.

Frankly speaking, I have done a ton of projects for the last six years using both technologies. That’s why I assume I have some experience on that issue. Today I’m intended to give a short overview and cast light on the advantages and disadvantages of Angular and React and tell where we can use them.  

Everybody knows that these technologies are the products of two titans and powerful rivals Facebook and Google. I don’t know about you, guys, but for me, that’s like choosing between Mercedes and BMW, between Messi and Ronaldo. 

To approve my thoughts I’d like to give some statistics from Google Trends: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?cat=13&date=today%205-y&q=angular,react  

Here you can see both Angular and React and it’s clear that they are growing even though since the beginning of 2018 React has begun to get more searching requests than Angular. You may say that React is growing and Angular is not but you will be wrong, they both are growing.

Now let’s move to their general comparison. The first thing which I want to draw your attention is Framework versus Library. All of us are aware, Angular is a framework and React is a library. This is one of the reasons why React is faster than Angular, moreover, that’s much easier to start working with. In this case, you have to bear in mind that the devil is always in details. If you want to make an exciting or amazing app with the help of React you have to develop rather good skills and deep experience in JavaScript. For Angular this is optional. Why? Because it has its own ecosystem. And here is another catch when you begin to work with React. In order to obtain a complete MVC application, you will have to include many external solutions that have not been developed on Facebook. Some of the solutions have been already created by a steady growing community or just individuals who have shared their works. Some of the solutions appear to be quite good but still, we have the risk that they can stay without any maintenance and you will have to replace them with another one.

As you are able to see React gives more freedom and is easier to test but at the same time you must take care of the current updated for the proper work in the future of your apps.

As I said before, Angular has its own ecosystem and this means you are to stick to its rules. That’s like it has its opinion on how you should construct your app. 

Let’s talk about functionality “out of the box”. I can just say Angular provides:

  • @angular/forms for building forms;
  • XSS protection;
  • ajax requests by @angular/HTTP;
  • dependency injection;
  • templates, based on an extended version of HTML;
  • utilities for unit-testing components.;
  • routing, provided by @angular/router;
  • component CSS encapsulation.

As for React, it provides:

  • Fetch for Ajax requests;
  • Instead of classic templates, it has JSX, an XML-like language built on top of JavaScript;
  • no dependency injection;
  • XSS protection;
  • utilities for unit-testing components.

Now, let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of Angular and React. I believe, each of us will find a ton of them but I’ll try to give a short overview. When we talk about angular there are such advantages as:

  • two-way data binding;
  • the popularity which is supported with the professional solutions and growing communities.

Concerning the disadvantages, there are:

  • hard to learn;
  • constant updated;
  • heavier applications.

Now let’s jump to React. in the case of React we have such advantages as:

  • the usage of a virtual DOM;
  • easy to test;
  •  one-way data binding.

When it comes to the disadvantages we have:

  • permanent changes;
  • poor documentation;
  • the lack of MVC implementation.

It would be rather good to dive into comparison now. In this article, I will compare Angular and React according to three characteristics: speed, use of TypeScript (language) and templates.

Considering speed, I just dare to say that Angular 2 was a massive improvement in comparison with Angular 1 but despite this React is far faster because of the way it was designed. The main reason for React’s speed is the use of a virtual DOM, while Angular, on the contrary, uses a regular DOM. That’s why instead of manipulating the DOM directly (which can be an error-prone) React stores two copies of virtual DOM: an original and an updated one that reflects changes fed in from the view.

When we talk about the use of TypeScript, Angular +2 uses TypeScript (although you can use ES5/ES6), a programming language from Microsoft that adds type checking and other enhancements to Javascript. TypeScript helps to catch bugs early and it is suitable if you are working in large teams and big applications. You can also use TypeScript in React but that’s not a common case. For React the use of JSX and XLM/HTML as a template language is far more usual.

Let’s shed some light on templates. In Angular templates are written in a different file as well as in a different format (normally HTML instead of JavaScript). While in React you write JSX in a logic file. In practice, Angular’s way is far better and easier to understand: with JSX, you keep your view (HTML) in the same file that contains your logic but this approach might be very confusing.

So now we returned to our general question, “Which one is to choose: Angular or React?”

If you ask me I will tell you that it depends on your solutions and domain. When you have lots of graphic elements and not a “typical” structure -- use React, because of the Angular rules that it has. Sometimes it will be difficult for you to create your own structure or make it as quick as possible. In the case when you create something for an enterprise or make just a typical platform structure you have to calculate the range of risk. How to do it for a large company? Large companies calculate risks in two different areas: support & community. When comparing React and Angular, you can get a better understanding of why Angular benefits them. As for support: React discontinues support quickly, and remaining updates are quite difficult. Google’s public goal is no more breaking changes after release 2.0. When we talk about community (availability for hiring), due to the openness of the technology developers of React, they’ve less standardization on the way to use the library. On the other hand, Google is releasing best practices on how to write code using its framework. So, it becomes easier for long term web app maintenance. Based on my experience, making web applications for enterprises, we can list a couple of reasons why I prefer Angular (starting with v2) over React: From the educational point of view, React is much easier to learn, but it’s still only a library. Angular may be harder, but once you have learn it, you have the knowledge of the entire MVC framework.

My feedback -- Again… both are great solutions. During the last months, I’ve been seeing a clear path in the use of Angular for enterprise applications and React for «not typical» solutions and where speed is your competitive advantage. 

Thanks for reading this huge article. Hope it was valuable for you.

If you are looking for the Angular or React developers with amazing soft skills -- https://www.ava.codes/

You can see my video on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxvfldw5-IA and please check my youtube channel, thanks a lot and bye!

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