React and Angular – A Complete Comparison Guide

Oct. 6, 2021, 1:33 p.m.
React · 11 min read
React and Angular – A Complete Comparison Guide

When it comes to front-end development, there are many libraries and frameworks to choose from. However this can be tricky for beginners. Choosing between React and Angular is no exception.

They are some of the biggest names among developers. And their comparison is also a hot topic in the community. 

This guide will help you understand React and Angular: their strengths and weaknesses, their uses, and their differences. All of which will help you decide where React or Angular is more suited for the tasks needed to complete your project.

So, let’s get started. 


React vs. Angular – Differences You Should Know

First, let’s start with a basic overview. 

What is React?


React is a JavaScript library used for creating User Interfaces (UI). It is an open-source, front-end library by Facebook. React is one of the top choices for developers, thanks to its ease of use. 

It goes by many names. You may have heard of ReactJS or React.js. One thing that gives it the upper hand is its declarative paradigm.

A great analogy for declarative vs imperative programming is driving. Think of declarative programming as selecting an address in Google Maps. Google takes in your input then determines the best route for getting to your destination.

Imperative programming, on the other hand, is like your mom providing step-by-step written instructions on how to get your destination. You'll get there but it may not be the best route. 

So apply this logic back to React, all we have to do is write the code in JSX then React takes it and performs all of the necessary JavaScript/DOM, outputting the desired result. 

This allows React to be more efficient and flexible. Plus, it makes your code easier for debugging.

Another great feature of React is code reusability. Users can create one component and reuse the same code across the project.

A good example of code reusability are information cards or ecommerce product containers. You can create a component that specifies the layout of information then call it repeatedly throughout the application which passing in unique information via the props.


What is Angular?


Angular is an open-source JavaScript Framework. It was created by Google for developing web applications. Angular keeps updating and making the platform better for developers. 

Many people confuse Angular and AngularJS as the same. However, they are very different. While you can use Angular to create fully functional applications, the latter is used to develop single-page web applications. 

Now unlike ReactJS, Angular is a framework not a JavaScript library, meaning Angular is a collection of libraries with a wider range of features rather than a narrow-scoped library with a well-defined purpose.

Angular has become faster than ever, and the new versions integrate many features that were missing in the older ones. Angular is an excellent framework for manipulating data with superior efficiency. 

One of the best features of Angular are Templates. They can be used to create User Interfaces quickly. 

If you're familiar with Django then this concept is easy enough to grasp. Angular provides a template-syntax that allows you to alter your HTML based on the state and logic passed in.


You might already have a vague idea of the differences between React and Angular from these brief definitions. Let’s elaborate on them further by listing down the pros and cons of React and Angular.


Pros & Cons of React

Pros of React.js

React.js Pros

1. Ease Of Use

React is an easy-to-use framework. As a beginner, you can quickly get started using React by watching a few tutorials. And, if you have worked with JavaScript before, the learner's curve is minimal. 

React makes the task of creating dynamic web applications a piece of cake. It allows you to work with less coding while maintaining enhanced functionality. Furthermore, it supports building machine-readable codes. 

2. SEO Friendly

Most other frameworks, even Angular, is not as SEO-friendly as React. React allows developers to optimize according to the search engine easily. That is primarily due to the fact that React.js can work on a server thanks to Node.js. 

3. Support of Various Tools

Not all frameworks will allow you complete control. The same can be said for React. However, it supports the use of various tools. These additional tools can help you get control of several other features.

You can add different types of libraries to enhance the functionality, such as React Router that provides a routing system to manage URLs.

Extensions like this are one of the main reasons why ReactJS is popular.

4. JavaScript Component Libraries

When it comes to offering JavaScript libraries, it does not get better than React. It has a rich catalog of React components libraries to provide more flexibility and quick UI design.

5. Reusability

As mentioned earlier, React.js offers reusability. One reusable component can be used various times across the application. The unique logic is handled by arguments, called props, passed into the component. This feature makes your code easier to read and dry. 

6. Improved Performance

ReactJS continues to improve its performance with every update. But, the main highlight is the use of Virtual DOM. It is a programming API that deals with HTML and XML with cross-platforms.

React creates a Virtual DOM tree and a real DOM tree on the first load. The virtual DOM is alerted of the changed nodes (i.e. the HTML elements, document, text, attributes....) when an event triggers a props change.  React then compares the Virtual DOM to the Real DOM and only updates the changed nodes in the real DOM while leaving the rest of the nodes untouched. That way only updated items are re-render without repainting the entire page.


Cons of React.js

1. JSX Requirement

React.js uses JSX as a syntax extension. However, many consider it a barrier, especially for new learners. That's because it's syntax is like a mash up of HTML and JavaScript.

It's easy to be tripped up by the subtle syntax differences and get stumped for longer than you'd like.

2. Limitations

On its own, ReactJS is limited to creating only User interfaces. Although you can still use many tools to enhance the functionality, you'll have to multiple to get a more robust project.



Pros & Cons of Angular

Pros of Angular

Angular Pros

1. Developed by Google

With Google on its side, it is safe to say that Angular has a large community. That is due to the trusted name behind its development and maintenance. Due to this, resources, tutorials, forums are more accessible to developers worldwide.


2. TypeScript

Angular uses Typescript as its primary programming language. And, that comes with a lot of benefits. Firstly, it adds more functionality to the framework. Also, Typescript has various features, such as static type-checking and error display at arrangement time.

Plus, it is not that difficult to learn either given it's a superset of JavaScript.

3. Two-way Data Binding

Two-way data binding allows users to exchange data from the component and from view to the component. Seems complicated? Well, put simply, it establishes a better two-way communication by listening for events and updating values simultaneously between components. 

4. Extensions

If you find Angular to be less functional, you can always add extensions to it. The several tools come with various functions. 

One example is Angular Language Service, a VS Code extension that provided code completion, quick info, and definitions. 

5. Dependency Injection

The dependency injection adds more capabilities to Angular. Although the process of creation does take time, it is well worth it. Moreover, it makes large-scale projects much more manageable by having classes request dependences from eternal sources rather than creating them. 



Cons of Angular

1. Less SEO-Friendly

As we mentioned earlier, Angular is not very SEO-friendly. And there are limited capabilities for creating optimized web applications. Angular Version 11 includes libraries for setting dynamic meta tags however you may encounter some compatibility issues with the upgrade.

Because Angular runs client-side so the first page load is an empty HTML shell with the JavaScript.

Search engine crawlers will most likely not run this JavaScript, so the bots will not encounter and index the content of the page.


2. Too many Versions

Beginners can easily get confused by the wide range of Angular versions. Version like AngularJS, can easily be confused for Angular. And the growing pains of version incompatibility can get tricky. 

Now that you know the pros and cons of both frameworks, let’s look at their uses.


What is React Used for?

ReactJS is primarily used for creating User Interface layers. Since it is an open-source JavaScript library, you can use it for making single-page web applications. 

It works for developing both mobile and web applications. Using the simple features of React.js, you can handle and manipulate the view layer of applications. But, it does not end there.

Those are the simple functions of React. You can add a number of tools including JSX, Virtual DOM, etc.

Beginners often ask, what are the possibilities with ReactJS? Well, UI consists of several factors, such as interactive buttons, search bars, menus, tabs, and so much more.

The best part is that it is not limited to the web only. ReactNative is a framework that has the primary goal of building mobile applications. That is why React is a breath of fresh air for expert developers.

Moreover, it allows users to reuse components in coding. It saves time and results in fewer errors overall. 

Other great features include the automatic page load on file save and build errors in the console. So, you can fix mistakes as you go.

Before React was created in 2011, users used to do these tasks with “Vanilla JavaScript.” And jQuery was the most popular framework for creating User interfaces. But, it was very limited in its options. 

Hence, ReactJS is now the most common framework among front-end developers. It comes with exciting features and a set of tools that let you create as big or a small of an app as needed.



What is Angular Used for?

Angular can be used for creating full-fledged web applications. Angular opts for Typescript, which is a complete programming language. The word “complete” here means packed will all the features to complete large-scale projects. 

Professionals use Angular for creating enterprise web applications. That is because it also allows reusability. In fact, you can use a large part of your codes whenever you want. It also serves as a benefit for maintaining a vast code.

You can use it for creating dynamic web applications as well. These are specifically single-page ones. Since Angular allows third-party tools, you can create applications that have a constantly changing behavior. 

That is all possible with the dependency injection. It allows one object to supply the dependencies of another rather than the traditional approach of each object constructing its own instances internally.

Another use is for PWAs (Progressive Web Applications). These were first introduced in 2015 and are designed to run outside of web browsers, allowing install on desktop or mobile. Although they are still not that popular, there is a huge potential for PWAs. The advanced versions of Angular, such as Angular 5, are equipped with tools to create PWAs. 

Newer versions, like Angular 6, take this one step further. It allows you to turn your simple web application into a progressive web app. The CLI commands feature makes this possible and easy. 



Differences Between React And Angular

The table below presents some of the major differences between React and Angular. 

Requires additional libraries Does not require additional libraries
Used for creating User Interfaces (UIs) Used for creating fully functional web applications
Limited to single-page web apps Can work for both single and multiple page web apps
Easy to Learn and Use Has a Complex Structure
Although managed by Facebook, React does not have a large community Angular has a large and dedicated community, thanks to Google
Uses one-way data binding Uses two-way data binding
Takes longer to set up as it requires a number of supportive tools Can be installed in minutes, however, coding takes longer
Regular updates make minor changes  Has a major update after every six months that comes with a significant change
Suitable for modern web development and native-optimized apps for Android and iOS devices Ideal for professional and feature-rich applications
Written in JavaScript Written in TypeScript
Based on Virtual DOM Based on MVC (Modal View Controller)
Used by Facebook, Instagram, Uber Technologies, Pinterest, Netflix, etc. Used by Beam, Auto Trader, Wepay, Streamline Social Mesh, etc.


React and Angular – Which One is Better?

The comparison of React and Angular is like that of Apples and Oranges. That's because both are entirely different from each other. If you look at the table above, you will understand the differences. 

However, let’s take a look at their similarities. 

  1. They both work on mobile and web applications.
  2. Both of them are component-based.
  3. React and Angular support third-party integrations.


Angular and React Comparison


But, that’s about all the similarities between them. Other than that, they are both used for different purposes.  

So, let’s consider again. React is used for creating layers of User-Interface, including menus, buttons, bars, etc.

On the other hand, Angular is used for creating feature-rich web and mobile applications. It is not restricted to one aspect of development. 

People usually confuse them as they are both open-source and intended for front-end developers. However, the React JavaScript library has its own use, while the Angular JavaScript framework has another. 

Hence, comparing them is unjust. There is no true answer to which one is better because they are ultimately too different. 

If you are new to both, we highly recommend taking a look at each and deciding what features you need to complete the given task. Then you can determine whether React or Angular is best suited for your project.



And, that brings us to the end of this detailed comparison guide. In the end, the answer is that understanding a task is the first step to decide between React and Angular. But if you know which features you require, you can easily decide on the right stack. 

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