Angular vs React? The never-ending battle between these two leading front-end frameworks has been vicious for years. So which is the right choice for your next project?

The Angular vs React dilemma arises every time front-end development is required. The answer depends on many factors, as even front-end developers themselves have been debating the question for many years.

This article will provide you with a detailed overview of React vs Angular 2019. We address their history, key differences, core languages, and features to help you make the Angular vs React decision more quickly and simply.

Angular and React: The Most Popular Front-End Frameworks

Angular and React are two of the most popular software development technologies on the market. They made it into the top three front-end frameworks developers chose in 2018. Despite their differences, they serve the same purpose – the creation of websites and web applications. The primary purpose of utilizing Angular or React is to enable developers to reuse, refactor, and maintain code by dividing it into small components – the so-called component-based architecture.

React vs. Angular: The Brief History

React and Angular are in the constant spotlight thanks to the companies standing behind these technologies – Google and Facebook. This is why they are often called Facebook Javascript Framework and Google Angular Framework. These two tech giants are to be thanked for the technologies that became the most popular in the development market.

Angular framework, developed by Google, was first released in 2010 as AngularJS based on JavaScript language, one of the most popular programming languages, hence the JS suffix. At the time of release, Angular’s distinguishing feature was the ability to turn HTML documents into dynamic content, which paved the way for its further success and development.

The History of Angular and React
The History of Angular and React

Six years later in 2016, Angular had a total makeover. Google completely rewrote the Angular framework with TypeScript, a relatively new programming language.

React library, created and supported by Facebook, was first seen by the world in March 2013 as a technology for building dynamic user interfaces. Over the past few years, we have witnessed the stable development of the React technology with regular updates. React is based on JavaScript and JSX (a PHP extension). The latter is used to develop reusable HTML for further implementation in front-end development. React is the most popular among JavaScript frameworks and often called the best Javascript framework.

Both technologies have been evolving side by side and finding their way into various projects, which we will talk about later on in the article.

Angular vs React: What is the Difference?

When defining what the difference between Angular and React is, we first need to take their architectures into account. Below you will find out the difference between a framework and a library.

Angular is a full-fledged framework, which makes the engineering experience seamless, while React is a JavaScript Library. However, now and then, we are asked the same question: “Is React a framework?” Many developers consider React to be a framework, as the broad ecosystem allows it to be integrated with multiple additional libraries and tools, granting it the capabilities of a framework. When you use Angular, all you need to start building an app is already provided right out of the box. This is an advantage and disadvantage at the same time.

The next important thing to consider is the difference between TypeScript and JavaScript. React uses JavaScript, a well-known dynamically-typed language (you don’t need to define the variable’s type). The language is trendy and many developers are already familiar with it, which makes it easier to find a development team for a project.

Angular is based on TypeScript, a statically typed language (requires the declaration of the variable’s type). This programming language was developed by Microsoft and positioned as a superset of JavaScript, a web application development tool that enhances JavaScript. Only 17.4% of developers choose TypeScript, compared to the 69.8% popularity of JavaScript. Finding developers familiar with TypeScript is a little bit more challenging, but still possible as the popularity of Angular continues to grow.

React vs Angular: Factors to Consider

While considering Angular or React, remember that while they have much in common, their differences cannot be ignored. Before making any final decisions, you need to answer the question, “which tool better suits the needs of my project?”

Below you will find the main factors to consider when deliberating over the Angular vs React question.

The Pros and Cons of Angular Framework

The Benefits and Downsides of Angular Framework
The Benefits and Downsides of Angular Framework

Let’s start with the Angular framework. As we’ve already mentioned, it comes with many features right out of the box. You don’t have to spend time combining various technologies and libraries to provide web development services right away.

Here are the main benefits for you to consider:

  • Two-way data binding defines how easily developers can change UI elements. In the case of the Angular framework, every change in a UI element is automatically reflected in the corresponding change in model state.

  • RxJS, a library for asynchronous programming, is responsible for the handling of asynchronous operations and events, thus reducing the resources needed for these operations. A web application can simultaneously handle events independently. RxJS is compatible with many frameworks; however, knowledge of the library is essential for those who want to utilize the features Angular framework offers to the utmost.

  • Angular CLI is a command-line interface that serves as a tool for the fast generation and running of a project with a few commands. It reduces the time needed to create apps, add files, make tests, debug, and deploy. With Angular CLI, the update of an app to the latest Angular version is simple and can be fully automated. This is one of the most important factors to take into account when thinking about Angular vs React.

  • Angular Universal is the technology that enables the rendering of Angular applications on the server side. It is fully compatible with Angular CLI and supports some Node.js frameworks. It is an ideal solution for mobile devices that may lack processing power for client-side rendering.

  • Ivy render is a relatively new addition to the Angular framework. This new Angular rendering engine increases performance by compiling one file at a time. When generating the output, Ivy render takes into consideration only a component and its template, while ignoring dependencies.

Want to know more about native vs hybrid app development?

We have prepared a full guide on the topic. Find out more in the article Native App Development vs. Hybrid and Web App Building

  • Testing is possible with a single tool. You can use Jasmine, Karma, and Protractor solutions for the thorough testing of an Angular app in browser.

Below you will find the main drawback to consider.

  • Regular DOM is the main feature to consider. Unlike its counterpart, Angular opted to use Regular DOM instead of Virtual DOM, which may affect the performance of an app when dealing with a lot of data requests. For example, let’s say that you want to update a user’s data, like birth date. Instead of changing just that bit of information, Regular DOM updates the entire tree structure of HTML tables until it reaches the needed data - in our case, the birth date information. However, the Angular vs React performance depends heavily on code optimization.

React Library: Benefits & Downsides

The Pros and Cons of React Library
The Pros and Cons of React Library

ReactJS can show its full potential only when integrated with other tools and solutions. Some front-end developers name it a disadvantage, while others see it as the main feature of React library, which makes it highly flexible. The success of a project depends on the team behind it and their ability to choose the right technology stack.

Here are the benefits React offers:

  • Virtual DOM is considered to be faster, as compared to regular DOM, due to the ability to change parts of data without changing other parts of the HTML tree. This helps app development teams to make and track changes easily. This factor sometimes becomes determinative in an Angular vs React comparison.

  • Next.js is a framework for the server-side rendering of React applications. React applications can be rendered both on the client side and server side, freeing additional processing power for Virtual DOM.

  • Redux is a JavaScript library which manages state modifications. A single object represents the entire application state. When used in large-scale projects, Redux significantly accelerates the work of React applications.

  • JSX is a controversial topic in the front-end development community. While some think it to be great, others scold it. JSX goes against the modern approach to creating HTML and JavaScript code. Instead of storing the codes separately, with React you need to create a single self-contained component. This would be a significant inconvenience, were it not optional. You don’t have to use it if you don’t feel like combining HTML and JavaScript is for you.

Below you will find the main disadvantages of React you should consider before starting to develop a new application:

  • The one-way data binding that React utilizes prevents developers from easily making changes in the UI elements. This can be done only after the corresponding model state is changed. However, it is not a drawback; as a project grows, React offers a better data overview which results in hassle-free debugging.

  • Testing a React app is challenging as you need to use different tools for different types of testing, Enzyme and Unexpected-React are used for component testing, Jest for JavaScript code, react-testing-library for React DOM testing, React-unit for unit testing, and Skin-deep for Render testing. When considering Angular vs React in terms of testing, React slows the process down.

Below you can see a table that summarizes all the information above:

Angular React
Release Year 2016 2013
Type Framework Library
Official Site
Supporting Company Google Facebook
License MIT MIT
Programming Language TypeScript JavaScript
Architecture Component-based Component-based
Data Binding Two-way One-way
DOM Real DOM Virtual DOM
Rendering Client/server side Client/server side
Template HTML+TypeScript JSX+JS
App size (KB) ~ 500 ~ 80
Types of Apps SPA
Hybrid apps
Web applications

Native-rendered apps
Mobile apps
Web applications

Angular vs React: Which is Best for App Development?

The React vs Angular opposition is never-ending. However, this does not mean you should choose one of the technologies without considering the pros and cons. A feature-rich framework and JavaScript library can’t be viewed as equal substitutes.

So, what should you pay attention to when considering Angular vs React?

Angular often looks more attractive for software development teams in the Angular vs React overview since it offers the whole package of advantages that any full-fledged framework possesses. If the development timeline is the decisive factor for your project and you don’t have time to find technologies to combine, Angular is your go-to choice.

Choose Angular in the following situations:

  • If your team is familiar with Java and C#, since these languages have much in common with TypeScript
  • A project needs to be highly productive
  • Development team prefers to use out-of-the-box solutions
  • The application you intend to build is large-scale with a lot of features

React does not lag behind its main competitor and offers higher flexibility. While Angular is delivered with a set toolbox, React can be aligned to the needs of a specific project by adding additional tools and libraries. Here is why on should use React:

  • You need to create a unique application with a high level of customization
  • The development team is comfortable working with HTML and JavaScript
  • You don’t need to rush and can include research and selection of tools prior to starting the development process
  • Your app will have a lot of dynamic, data-intensive, and constantly changing content

As the tech world has stepped into the era of microservices and microapps, picking the most suitable technology is vital for such projects. You should always consider the Angular vs React choice. TypeScript makes Angular a go-to solution for SPA (single page application) development. React offers more flexibility which is ideal for microapp and microservice development. Your decision in favor of Angular or React depends entirely on the type of project you have in mind.

Angular vs React Popularity: What do World Giants Choose?

Which has a higher demand on the market, Angular or React? They are equally popular among various companies. We are talking here about tech giants that can afford to hire any team of developers, invest time in technologies research, and choose the best available solutions.

Who Already Uses Angular Framework?

World Tech Giants Which Use Angular and React
World Tech Giants Which Use Angular and React

Let’s start with Angular framework. The following companies support it:

  • Google uses Angular extensively in such applications and sites as Google Cloud Platform, AdWords, and many internal tools.
  • Nike built its official website with the technology.
  • Forbes created its official website with Angular 5.2.0.
  • Upwork built the front-end part of its website with this technology.
  • General Motors uses Angular in their cars.
  • HBO used Angular framework to create a mobile version of its official website.
  • Sony built the RS3 YouTube app with Angular framework.
  • Indiegogo used AngularJS 1.4.8 for its website
  • BMW used Angular 6.1.10 for Find a Dealer and Driveaway Price Calculator solutions.
  • Xbox uses Angular 4.4.7 for Xbox Live.
  • YouTube implemented Angular 2.4.8 in the YouTube TV web application.
  • Udemy utilized AngularJS 1.5.11 in the development of its online training center.
  • PayPal built its PayPal Community website with Angular framework.
  • Telegram used Angular to create the online version of its application.
  • CrunchBase is also built on Angular framework.

Which Companies Advocate for React Library?

The following tech companies choose React as a primary tool for front-end development:

  • Facebook uses its own React Library for the same-name app and Instagram.
  • Airbnb website is also built on React.
  • Uber used React Native in the UberEats application.
  • Netflix’s website is built on React. It allowed the company to decrease loading and Time-to-Interactive by 50%.
  • WhatsApp uses ReactJS for building user interfaces.
  • Dropbox switched to React to support its cloud services.
  • The New York Times developed the Red Carpet Project with React.
  • Asana started to use React to solve client-side performance problems.
  • Atlassian utilized React internally and externally.
  • Microsoft in 2017 rewrote the whole Microsoft Office 365 with React.

The information provided above proves that the future holds a lot of changes and improvements for both Angular and React. There is no sign that either will fall into oblivion in the foreseeable future as tech companies are still not sure who wins in the React vs Angular battle. Each has a huge fanbase.

Angular vs React: Which is the Winner?

Is Angular better than React? There is no clear answer to this frequently asked question. Both Angular and React deserve their fame as the top technologies for front-end development.

Our company successfully uses both Angular and React since our clients show equal interest in these technologies.

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