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React vs Angular

Which frontend framework should you be looking at in 2021? With many options and opinions available, today we’re taking a look at the two front runners, two words you may be hearing quite frequently – Angular vs React, whats the verdict? Let’s break it down, compare the two and find out!

Let’s start with an overview and a simple description before digging in – Angular is a structural framework developed by Google, and is still maintained by Google, in order to develop dynamic web applications. React on the other hand is is a Javascript library that allows for components to be developed on the user interface of web applications. 

From the get-go, possibly the biggest difference is that Angular uses a regular DOM (Document Object Model) whereas React uses a virtual DOM. A DOM is a collection of modules from the application that are presented in a tree-like structure, and a platform that allows for scripts and programs to dynamically update the style, content and scripts of a document or web application, which allows for constant updates, change and progress.

The Virtual DOM that React uses, tries to update the state of the tree as efficiently as possible without having to create all of the modules in the tree. In other words, the Virtual DOM is a minimalistic approach and representation of the DOM allowing updates to happen as quickly and efficiently as possible!

However, Angular’s regular DOM takes much longer to update applications, which can feel like an extremely tedious situation for you the user. In Angular, the entire tree structure is created until the module that requires changing has been reached, this negatively affects the performance of the framework, especially when multiple requests have to be handled!

Angular is based in Typescript whereas React uses Javascript. Wait! Whats the different between Typescript and Javascript and is one better than the other? Well, Javascript allows for the development of interactive webpages and Typescript is just a superset and improved version of Javascript with increased readability, static compilation and intuitive interface. The use of Javascript makes React most appropriate for small projects since it does not support the use of object-orientated programming. Since Typescript allows for object-orientated programming, Angular is well-suited for complex, enterprise-wide projects. However, Typescript has to be converted into Javascript in order for browsers to understand it which can be seen as a huge downfall as it can take a significant amount of time.

Let’s look at some other differences:

React requires the use of additional libraries since it is only a framework for the development of applications that performs routing, state changes and can interact with APIs. For additional functionality, various other libraries are required.

Angular, however, is a fully-managed framework that consists of all required toolsets and libraries for the development of web applications. Therefore Angular does not require the integrations of additional libraries into the framework.

Since React does not consist of additional libraries, it is minimalistic thus making it easier to understand and learn for developers that are well-versed in Javascript, woohoo! However, setting up a project may take some time since there is no predefined template. Best practices should definitely be used when designing applications in React.

Angular has many components associated with it which can unfortunately make it more complex and time-consuming to learn. There are features in Angular that are embedded, therefore developers are forced to learn them, this of course results in Angular having a steeper learning curve than React.

The React framework is constantly updated and therefore continuous learning is required, however, React has a large community base which can provide support for the continuous changes that may not be well-documented. Angular too, is constantly updated, resulting in the slow production of documentation however, Google provides long-term support of Angular and tries to improve it constantly which is a huge plus when looking long term.

Angular uses a component-based architecture which can be beneficial when undergoing large projects with many moving parts. The component-based architecture ensures that modules within a project are loosely coupled, that being if one module had to fail – the application would continue to work seamlessly without you having to worry! This property of the Angular framework makes it suitable for enterprise-wide projects that require a large development team. Angular definitely has a steeper learning curve, but if you’re not acquainted with software architecture and design principles, it kind of takes care of that for you, and therefore, can be perfect for beginners!

React, however, is easy to learn and updates can be done quickly which can be beneficial for developers that are undergoing short-term projects, for example – the development of a proof of concept or new features. Like Angular, React uses a component-based architecture which allows for code to be reused.

Although Angular and React do have quite a few similar components, choosing between Angular and React for a project all depends on the project itself and the capabilities of the development team. In order to make the right decision it’s important to have a professional help you in making an informed decision for what is going to best suit and compliment YOUR specific team or company.

Contact us to help you make an informed decision and accompany you on a new and exciting journey! web@piidigital.com


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