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Angular Vs. React: Which One Should You Choose?


This article discusses the important features and differences between React and Angular, the popular tools for web application development.

Both Angular and React are used for web application development. They are equally popular on Google trends. While Angular has already established itself as a leading web framework, React has grown exponentially since 2018. Angular is a full-fledged framework that follows MVC architecture. React has some exciting features making it easy to use for lightweight applications.

Let us understand a little about both before getting into the key differences.

What is Angular?

Angular is a web framework that provides a structure for developers to work with. It is used for building dynamic web applications. Angular is open-source and written in Typescript. The latest version of Angular is 12.1.4, released in July 2021. Angular eliminates the difficulties that developers face when they use JavaScript as their main client-side scripting language.

Think of Angular as an extension of HTML with cool, new easy-to-use attributes. Let us write a simple code to understand more:

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/angularjs/1.6.9/angular.min.js"></script>

<body>

<style>

form.ng-dirty {

color:orange;

}

form.ng-pristine {

color:blue;

}

</style>

<form ng-app="">

<p><b>What's your name?</b> <input type="text" ng-model="user_name"></p>

<h1>Hi {{user_name}}! You look great today!</h1>

</form>

</body>

In the above code, the user types a name in the textbox. As soon as they start typing, the text color changes. The name is displayed with a greeting message.

  • We are using an angular form here and don’t require any other CSS elements.
  • The form elements like ng-dirty and ng-pristine take care of the color changes.
  • ng-app is the name of the angular application.
  • ng-model attribute is similar to the name attribute of HTML.
  • We display the text value using the double flower braces.

To use full features of Angular, like, controller, components, modules, etc., we should install the npm package (with node.js), which is beyond the scope of this article.

What is React?

React is a free and open-source library maintained by Facebook. It is faster compared to UI frameworks and also provides the flexibility to integrate with other frameworks.

We can create reusable UI components using the declarative coding approach of React. This approach significantly reduces UI development effort. A simple react application can be divided into several reusable components as follows:

To use all of the features of React, like components and modules for a real-world application, you’d need to install node.js. To understand the features of React, let us re-write the above example:

<html>

<body>

<div id="root"></div>

<!—- add all the libraries -->

<script src="https://unpkg.com/@babel/standalone/babel.js"></script>

<script src="https://unpkg.com/react/umd/react.development.js"></script>

<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom/umd/react-dom.development.js"></script>

<script type="text/babel">

// Add new React component to get and print user’s name

class WelcomeMessage extends React.Component {

constructor(props){

super(props);

this.state = { name: '' };

}


handleChange = event => {

this.setState({ name: event.target.value });

};


// render the UI and display result when the state changes

render() {

return (

<React.Fragment>

<form>

<label htmlFor="name">Enter your name: </label>

<input

type="text"

name="name"

value={this.state.name}

onChange={this.handleChange}

/>

</form>


<h1>Hey {this.state.name}! You look great today!</h1>

</React.Fragment>

);

}

}

ReactDOM.render(

<WelcomeMessage />,

document.getElementById('root')

);

</script>

</body>

</html>

We are using Babel compiler here so that the code is easy to compile on any browser. Otherwise, we might not be able to use some of the React code.

The above code might seem too long for displaying just this one field. A real-world will have many such components that we can reuse, thus making it worth this effort.

Did you notice that we are using HTML code inside the script component? How? Look out for the answer in the section: Features of React.

Features of Angular

Let us understand the features of Angular:

  • Developers can quickly build progressive apps without a heavy installation process.
  • Suitable for creating desktop and mobile apps.
  • Cross-platform support.
  • Provides a structure to the application (MVC architecture).
  • Speeds up development as very little coding is required.
  • Good performance.
  • Powerful template syntax to easily create UI views.
  • Code can be developed in a simple text editor or IDE.

Features of React

Some typical features of React are:

  • ReactJS uses HTML like syntax known as JSX (JavaScript XML) so that JavaScript and HTML code can be written in one file.
  • ReactJS applications have individual reusable components with their own control and logic.
  • Components are immutable, thus giving a unidirectional binding and reasonable control throughout the application.
  • The unidirectional binding makes applications more flexible and efficient.
  • Supports virtual DOM representation. The actual DOM changes only if there are changes in the DOM representations. This saves memory.
  • High performance and cross-platform support.

Applications of Angular

We can use Angular for large-scale enterprise applications, single-page applications, and Progressive Web Applications (PWAs).

Many famous enterprises use angular. Gmail and YouTube TV are both built on Angular. These apps are available across various platforms like Android, Apple, etc.

YouTube TV can be accessed on FireTV, Chromecast, and many other platforms.

Some other applications of Angular include the e-learning platform Udacity, banking applications like Santander and PayPal, the web application portal Wix, and Microsoft Office Web.

Applications of React

React is extensively used for building UI of Single Page Applications (SPA). It works seamlessly for both mobile and desktop applications. Facebook, Bloomberg, Airbnb, Instagram, and Skype are examples of web applications that use React Native, the framework based on React JS.

React is community-driven, which makes it a popular choice for quickly building UI applications.

Advantages of Angular

Let us re-iterate some important advantages of Angular:

  • Effective cross-platform UI solution using TypeScript functionalities like dependency injection, routing
  • Quick application loading and improved application performance
  • Faster development because of features like Angular CLI, excellent community support, two-way data binding, and differential loading
  • Modules and components make code readable and easy to debug and test
  • Powerful design patterns like dependency injection and Angular services

Advantages of React

React has some compelling features that distinguish it from Angular:

  • Follows a declarative approach – this means that with any change to the state of the application, React updates the required components and renders them when the data changes
  • React can be used as a client-side library or on the server using React Native and Node.
  • Easy learning curve, good documentation, great community support, and learning resources. Anyone with knowledge of JavaScript can write React code.
  • Makes use of JSX to render specific components easily.
  • Rather than developers writing the DOM code, React converts the virtual components into DOM, giving a faster performance.

Disadvantages of Angular

Angular provides many advanced features like components, dependency injection, etc. However, this makes it not-so-easy-to-learn for beginners. It takes time to learn and implement the concepts in a project.

Disadvantages of React

JSX helps developers to render HTML within JS. But if the component is too big, like form validation, the code might get complex and hard to debug, especially for beginners. Also, React only covers UI and does not provide end-to-end workflow.

Should you choose Angular or React?

Before we answer this question, let’s recapitulate the main differences between Angular and React:

Angular React
Offers a complete framework to design large enterprise, progressive and single-page applications Used as a JavaScript library to render individual UI components
Provides advanced features like dependency injection, differential loading, lazy loading Supports only lazy loading
Angular is based on TypeScript React is based on JavaScript
Follows MVC architecture Based on Virtual DOM
It can be thought of as an extension of HTML attributes Developers can write HTML code inside a script that React renders as a component
Provides debugging and testing functionality as a tool React doesn’t provide any in-built tool, so we have to use various tools for different types of testing
Greater learning curve but comparatively easy to setup Easier learning curve, however, takes time to setup
Two-way binding wherein the model state changes as the data changes One-way data binding, wherein the UI elements can be changed only when the model state changes
We cannot add JavaScript library to the source code Allows to add JavaScript library to the source code
Angular CLI provides a host of tools for development and seamless updates Since React is only for UI, it doesn’t have a CLI

With the above differences in mind, we agree that both Angular and React are good choices for Single Page Applications. However, if your application is large and needs a lot of validations, routing, and dependencies, Angular is good to work, as you can also easily test the code.

Angular can be overkill with all its features if your application requirements are simple and based on small components. Besides, React has an easier learning curve.

Make your choice based on the project requirements, cost, and usability.

Conclusion 👨‍🏫

This article showed small code snippets to compare how Angular and React work and then understood the major differences between both.

While Angular is a full-fledged framework for development and testing, React only allows developers to build UI components for their applications. On the other hand, React is fast, efficient, and is growing in popularity because it is lightweight and suitable for Single Page Applications. Angular is already an established framework suitable for SPAs and large applications.



Source: https://geekflare.com/angular-vs-react/

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