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Angular vs. React: Which Framework is Better for Web Development

“Angular vs. React: Which one should I use?” Most people in the software development industry who want to keep up with the ever-evolving world of web development end up asking this question. 

The truth is that it’s not easy to decide. On one hand, we have Angular – a comprehensive design framework from Google that powers biggies like Gmail, YouTube TV, and Udacity. On the other side, we have React, a performant user interface (UI) library from Facebook that fuels Instagram, Facebook, and Netflix. So, how do you decide between Angular vs. React?

We have brought you this blog on Angular vs. React for the same reason. Here, we’ll compare both the Angular and React web development frameworks and help you decide which one is right for your business. Let’s begin:

Angular vs. React: What’s the Difference?

While there is an overlap in functions of Angular and React, both are different technologies. Angular is a framework, but React is a library. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some more differences between both frameworks:

What is Angular?

A full-fledged JavaScript framework is written in TypeScript (a superset of JavaScript). It’s a complete rewrite of the prominent JavaScript development framework AngularJS. 

Here are some features of Angular:

  • Angular CLI
  • TypeScript 
  • Two-way data binding
  • XSS protection
  • HTML templates
  • Component CSS encapsulation
  • Routing with @angular/router
  • Forms with @angular/forms

What is React?

React (also called React.js or ReactJS) is an open-source JavaScript library for rendering views. It prefers to handle state management with libraries that encourage working with immutable data and one-way data binding to achieve unidirectional data flow. 

Following are the features of React:

  • Virtual DOM (Document Object Model)
  • XSS protection
  • Functional components
  • JSX files
  • Basic state management with setState and Context API
Angular React
Supported By Google Facebook
Language TypeScript & HTML JavaScript & JSX
Technology JavaScript Framework JavaScript Library (View)
Preferred Data Flow Two-way data binding. Also supports one-way data binding with “[ ]”) One-way data binding. Also supports two-way data binding with ReactLink)
Componentization Components are achieved by scoping selector, template, style, and other properties that make up the metadata required to process a component. Components are achieved by encapsulating all the HTML and JavaScript needed for a UI component in a single JSX file. React also supports both class and functional (stateless) components.
Dependency Management Automatic Dependency Injection Needs additional tools
Front-end Development Approach Angular extends the functionality of HTML. The framework also prefers client-side rendering and manipulates the real DOM. React uses hybrid JavaScript and HTML files called JSX. It also favors server-side rendering. React manipulates a virtual DOM.
Optimal Use-case
  • Single purpose applications that update a single view at a time. 
  • Applications where dependency management and consistency are essential (e.g., enterprise apps).
  • Single-purpose applications that update multiple views at once. 
  • Apps that require heavy DOM manipulation (e.g, social media apps, image galleries).

Angular vs. React: Pros & Cons

To choose one from Angular and React, you also need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of both of these frameworks. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Pros of Angular

  • With Angular, you get the functionalities of a full-fledged web development framework that includes features like dependency injection, two-way data binding, routing, forms, templating, and security.
  • Testing individual components in isolation is easier in Angular. Also, you can efficiently manage dependencies.
  • Angular can save you a lot of time in building large enterprise applications.
  • The static type checking feature of TypeScript in Angular can save you from committing a lot of code errors.

Cons of Angular

  • Mastering Angular requires lots of learning. Not only do you need to learn TypeScript, but also understand the process of building applications in Angular, i.e., using dependency injection, scopes, factories, modules, and services.
  • Two-way data binding works for small to medium-sized applications. But things get difficult as the application scales.
  • While implementing scopes is easy, debugging them is a difficult task. Moreover, it becomes difficult to manage different scopes throughout your application as it scales.
  • Sometimes, Angular can add to the complexity of your app and make things worse.

Pros of React 

  • React offers you the flexibility to choose what router and state management system you want to use.
  • With the virtual DOM feature of React, you only need to change the selected parts of DOM rather than updating the entire page.
  • React lets you create pure functions using which you can keep the state management separate from components.
  • With React, you can simplify state management in applications that need heavy DOM manipulation with one-way data binding.
  • With its mix of class and functional components, React offers a great level of flexibility to reuse components.
  • In React, you have a great community of open-source developers to always support you in web development initiatives.

Disadvantages of React

  • Since React developers use an ecosystem of libraries rather than frameworks, documentation is often fragmented in it. Hence, React can be difficult to master.
  • React offers developers the flexibility to use it the way they want – which becomes a problem for new developers as they can’t get their heads around what’s happening in the project.

Angular vs. React: Which One Should You Use?

The answer to this question depends on what your business needs are because state management philosophy is the major difference between both approaches. 

React takes the unidirectional data flow and functional component route where the state is immutable and your data model is the only source of truth.

Angular approaches state management through dependency management and variable scope. The framework uses two-way data binding to make programmers productive and relies on TypeScript to keep your code safe. 

Keep this in mind. Here’s when to choose Angular & when to choose React:

When to Choose Angular?

  • You have a large enterprise project
  • You have a large team that requires frequent collaboration

Consistency, reactivity, a stable release cycle, and a uniform way of doing things are other things you should keep in mind while using Angular.

When to Choose React?

  • You heavily rely on visuals (DOM manipulation) in your project.
  • Creativity and flexibility matter more to you in development.
  • You prefer functional programming and unidirectional data flow. 

In the end, you must remember that both frameworks are great when it comes to building high-performance web applications with component-based architectures. The only thing that matters is whether the frameworks suit your preferred programming paradigm and project workflow or not. If it doesn’t, the framework you choose will be no less than a disaster. 

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