The first question that arises in the debate between React and Angular is, how can you compare the library – React with the framework – Angular?
Both React and Angular are used for Frontend development, but they use different programming paradigms, have different characteristics, functionalities and performance.
React or Angular: Rivalry
This is due to the fact that, in addition to the functionality they have, they are supported by major IT companies such as Facebook and Google. React and Angular together cover a huge portion of today’s web space.
Six years later, in 2016, Angular had a complete makeover. Google has reprinted the complete framework using TypeScript, a relatively new programming language. This completely new version of Angular is called Angular 2.
React is used in both web development and mobile development. However, mobile development needs to be linked to Cordova. Moreover, there is an additional library for mobile development – React Native.
React can be used to create single-page websites as well as multi-page websites.
Angular is suitable for both web development and mobile development. In mobile development, however, much of the work is done by Ionic. Angular, like React, has an additional mobile development library. React Native’s opponent is NativeScript.
Angular can also be used for web applications with one or more pages.
React is used for UI development, so applications written in React require additional libraries. For example, Redux, React Router, or Helmet optimize state management processes, routing, and API interactions. Features such as data binding, component-based routing, project generation, form validation, or dependency injection require the installation of additional modules or libraries.
Angular is a complete software development framework that does not normally require additional libraries. All of the above functionalities can be implemented with the help of Angular.
In working with React you have to learn continuously, with the frequent updates mentioned above. Although the community tries to keep up with the latest documentation, keeping track of all the changes is not so easy. Documentation may sometimes be lacking, but this problem is often resolved with the help of community support in the forums.
React is actively used by companies like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Airbnb, PayPal, The New York Times, Walmart, Uber, Microsoft, Dropbox, etc.
Angular is also a very popular framework, with some skepticism attached to it, because of the first version of Angular, which has not come to life. The developers rejected it because it was too complicated and took a long time to learn. Given that it was developed by Google, this fact greatly benefits its credibility. Google provides long-term support for the framework and is constantly improving it. Due to frequent updates, the documentation may be lagging behind.
Angular is used by companies such as McDonald’s, AT&T, HBO, Apple, Forbes, Adobe, Nike, as well as Microsoft and PayPal.
React’s structure gives developers the freedom to choose. There is no “only correct structure” for the React application. However, it is necessary to determine the structure at the beginning of the project, which slows down the start of the project.
In addition, React only offers View from the Model-View-Controller architecture, and Model and Controller have been added using other libraries.
The React architecture is component-based. The code is made of React components, which are rendered with the React DOM library and routed in 2 ways: function (function returning JSX) and classes (ES6 classes).
Angular’s structure is predefined (but variable) and complex, suitable for experienced developers. Angular is based on the Model-View-Controller architecture. The object responsible for the Model is run by the Controller and View is displayed.
The code consists of different Angular components, each of which is written in 5 separate files:
- TypeScript for component implementation
- HTML to define View
- CSS for defining the style used in View
- Special file for testing purposes
Links to these files are written in the application directives, which show the structural logic of the application. Accordingly, components in Angular can be used multiple times.
DOM (The Document Object Model)
React uses a virtual DOM, which makes it easy to implement minor data changes in a single element without having to update entire structures. It caches in-memory data structures, calculates changes, and effectively updates the DOM in the browser. This way, the entire page seems to be rendered with every change, while in fact the libraries only display the modified components (which makes rendering much faster and does not burden the server as much as having to update the entire structure each time). The team working on React is constantly working to improve Fiber – a mechanism that aims to increase the productivity of showing the change.
Angular uses a real DOM (not a virtual one), which updates the entire structure with every change. A true DOM is considered slower and less effective than a virtual DOM. To make up for this shortcoming, Angular uses change detection to identify the components that need to be modified. In this way, a real DOM is as effective as a virtual DOM.
Comparing both React and Angular, we came to the conclusion that none is better. Both are constantly being updated and improved.
Choosing a React or Angular is a matter of personal choice, skills, and habits. If you are a beginner in programming, React is probably the best choice for you, and if you are an experienced programmer, the advice is to work with someone you are already familiar with.