- Angular and React in brief
- Angular vs React: differences and similarity
- Angular vs React: advantages and disadvantages
- React vs Angular: how to make the right choice for your project?
- How our experience with Angular and React has shaped our projects
- No right or wrong in Angular vs React standoff
For years, Angular vs React has been a long-standing debate for web developers. Undeniably, both choices offer a great set of core features and benefits, but choosing a framework rarely comes down to ticking off boxes on the checklist. At *instinctools, we understand that every application is unique and decided to dive deep into what makes React different from Angular. Let’s explore what differentiates the two options and identify when one may be preferable over the other.
Angular and React in brief
Before diving deep into the differences and similarities of Angular vs React, let’s first define the two technologies.
What is Angular?
What is React?
Angular vs React: differences and similarity
In this section, we will look closely at Angular vs React comparison, and examine some of the factors that can help you decide which option is a better fit for your project.
1. Angular framework vs React library
To begin with, Angular and React are clearly differentiated from one another by their structure: the former is a framework, whereas the latter is a library. Developers may be prone to using the two terms interchangeably, but this distinction is significant.
In essence, a library is a collection of pre-existing code. It is specifically designed for one purpose: creating user interfaces. Libraries offer developers a wide selection of components and functions that can be used to create apps, but developers have to add dependencies to extend a library’s basic functionality. A framework often dictates an app’s architecture and requires developers to think inside its structure. Developers have to adhere strictly to the rules and standards set forth by the framework to utilize it successfully within their projects.
2. Size and performance
Given that one is a library, and the other is a framework, it’s quite natural to assume that React-based applications are lighter than Angular-based, but this is not always the case. React necessitates the addition of extra components, which inevitably makes the finished product larger. At the same time, Angular-based apps can be large as well, because they need to pull all the app’s components. It means that, although Angular-based apps may start out larger than React-based ones, the number of additional components added for React can easily negate the difference in size.
When it comes to performance, React stands out among its competitors due to its effective, unique approach to interacting with the DOM. We’ll learn more about this in greater detail as we move through this article.
Nevertheless, when deciding between React or Angular, standard performance benchmarks should not be the primary factor. While React’s architecture is more versatile, beginners are more likely to make mistakes when setting up the structure of an app. This mitigates any potential differences in speed between the two options.
3. Tooling ecosystem
Both Angular and React offer a plethora of tools for developers. However, depending on the context, the framework may be more suitable over the library or vice versa. React offers developers a broad selection of testing tools such as Jest and Enzyme, together with powerful frameworks like Router for route optimization and Redux for state management.
Angular CLI is what makes Angular stand out, as it inclines users to adhere to the best development practices that simplify and standardize the work, making projects set up fast and requiring less effort from the developer’s side. For server-side rendering, developers may choose Angular Universal, while forms are managed with Reactive Forms.
The aforementioned tools are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the extensive tooling ecosystems available for both React and Angular, making it hard to conclude if one is better than the other in this respect — it’s very much a matter of how it’s used, not what it is.
First and foremost, when it comes to Angular vs React architecture, it’s important to realize that both hinge on component reusability. However, given that the former is a framework and the latter is a library, in Angular, the relationships between different modules are pre-defined, while React encourages users to be more free when establishing dependency rules.
It’s common to argue that Angular’s rigid architecture offers less flexibility. However, it is also the preferred option for large projects because the connections between different modules are pre-configured, alleviating the need for developers to manually add modules for every new feature.
In essence, React’s flexibility comes with a price. Without predefined modules, developers are more inclined to make poor architecture-related choices and compromise the efficiency of their applications. Ultimately, both architectures have unique benefits and drawbacks that make them suitable for different scenarios.
Given that Angular mostly relies on class components to get the job done, backend developers find the framework easy enough.— Siarhei Kasko, Senior engineer, JS Unit, *instinctools
Even though React doesn’t offer native support for TypeScript, it can still be utilized on React projects for static typing.
6. Data binding
Data binding is a way of connecting the UI of an application with its data model. While React only uses one-way data binding where child components can affect parent-level elements, Angular supports both one-way and two-way data binding, which means that data can flow from parent elements to child elements and back.
Two-way data binding might seem advantageous at first glance, as any changes made to an element’s value will automatically update both the UI and the related underlying model. However, a bidirectional data flow can also make it difficult to detect where problems originate from.
In our experience, two-way data binding can’t play a critical part in choosing Angular framework. Moreover, it’s considered bad practice, rather than a good one.— Siarhei Kasko, Senior engineer, JS Unit, *instinctools
Get started with React or Angular and build high-performance apps with confidence
7. Rendering: virtual DOM vs real DOM
React thrives off virtual Document Object Model (DOM), enabling the tiniest updates to go live while keeping the other elements of the interface intact. On the contrary, Angular relies on conventional DOM that requires a full-tree refresh causing its performance levels to drop drastically every time a change occurs. Additionally, virtual DOM is even more desirable for applications that need to handle multiple data requests – making React a clear winner compared to Angular in such scenarios.
8. UI toolkit
Now let’s discuss the UI toolkit of each option. Angular provides an extensive set of elements that are immediately available to use. React has fewer features out-of-the-box and requires developers to add components manually.
However, both Angular and React have an extensive array of readily available UI component libraries to choose from. This means that it’s hard to conclude that one is superior to the other as each has its own merits depending on what the developer is looking for. Additionally, some companies develop their own branded UI toolkits suitable for either option. This allows them to create tailor-made user interfaces that are perfectly suited for their respective projects.
9. Version migrations
There is a common myth that migrating from the old version of Angular to the new one is laborious and cumbersome. At first glance, this may appear to be the case since Angular needs to update all its built-in components, while React is just a library without any dependencies by default. However, most real-world React projects aren’t built with zero dependencies, so the complexity of React’s version update is proportional to the amount of dependencies that it has.
When examining how Angular and React handle version changes, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. The number of updates is directly proportional to the number of dependencies in a given project.— Alex Bohan, Head of JS Development, *instinctools
Therefore, when considering React vs Angular to choose for web development, version migration should not be the deciding factor as both can handle updates relatively well.
10. Documentation and vendor support
In terms of documentation and vendor support, Angular and React offer extensive resources for developers. Angular comes with a broad range of official tutorials and guides on its website that can help developers get started with the framework quickly. Meanwhile, the React ecosystem has grown rapidly in the last few years, with extensive third-party vendor support and continuously improving documentation. Additionally, both options are backed by large communities that have created third-party tutorials and libraries.
At *instinctools, we have observed that Angular currently has slightly better documentation than React. However, React is continuously evolving and updating its documentation to meet developer needs.
11. Learning curve
React can be comparatively easier to pick up than Angular thanks to its modular approach and the progressive incorporation of libraries as needed. Yet, to become a first-rate specialist, one needs to put in a lot of effort and gain enough relevant experience.
In contrast, some claim that Angular is more welcoming to newcomers as its documentation provides a comprehensive overview of the framework all at once, while React requires developers to become acquainted with the system in parts. Fortunately, both boast large communities on Stack Overflow that are eager to help those who are new to the front end.
In a nutshell, React allows beginners to get to development faster because it is a library with fewer dependencies. Nevertheless, with extra libraries and components in the mix, complexity can quickly mount up, making it difficult not to mess things up with React.
12. Talent pool and popularity
When it comes to Angular vs React popularity, both have a loyal following of talented developers. However, when drawing conclusions solely from statistics on talent pool and popularity, React clearly holds the lead. The results from Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey are in, and React is the clear winner with 44% of professional developers utilizing it compared to Angular’s 23%. Additionally, the lower entry barrier of React makes it a preferred choice for those learning to code; 42% of newcomers choose React, while only 10% select Angular. Therefore, it may be concluded that React is the preferred choice among both professionals and beginners.
The popularity of web frameworks in 2022
Furthermore, while there is no concrete data on the matter, it’s safe to say that React is more suitable for smaller projects with shorter development times. Meanwhile, when it comes to enterprise-grade applications requiring larger teams and longer development cycles, it’s important to weigh all the peculiarities of the project as well as dependencies within it to make the right choice between Angular and React. This means that the global number of projects won’t necessarily indicate which framework is more in-demand.
Need assistance with your next Angular-based or React-based project?
|Size and performance||Larger app size, opinionated design. Out-of-the-box performance benchmarks may not be the primary factor for improvement.||Smaller app size, flexible design. Virtual DOM may lead to improved performance.|
|Tooling ecosystems||Predetermined structure with best development practices.||Greater flexibility in terms of how components interact, but fewer best practices and official tools.|
|Architecture||Component-based architecture.||Component-based architecture.|
|Rendering||Real DOM||Virtual DOM|
|UI Toolkit||A wide range of UI libraries|
(Angular Material, Ngx-Bootstrap, Ng-prime, etc.)
|A wide range of UI libraries(React Bootstrap, Core UI, MUI, etc.)|
|Version migration||Relatively easy||Proportional to the number of dependencies in the project|
|Documentation and vendor support||Extensive Resources; Official Tutorials & Guides||Extensive library of components; Large community creating third-party tutorials & libraries|
|Ease of learning||Inner workings and RxJS library raise the entry barrier||Lower learning curve and smaller entry barrier due to lack of f dependencies|
|Talent pool & popularity||Quite popular among professional developers;less favored by beginners||Well liked by established experts and junior specialists|
|Suited projects||Enterprise-grade applications requiring larger teams that allow longer development cycles||Smaller projects with shorter development times|
Angular vs React: advantages and disadvantages
Now let’s delve into pros and cons of both Angular and React to get a better understanding of what makes each framework unique and applicable in different contexts.
What makes Angular stand out?
Let’s figure out what advantages Angular brings to the table.
- Dependency injection (DI)
DI offers front-end specialists a straightforward means of introducing components and services into an application, making the code more organized and increasing its maintainability. Distinguishing the business logic from other elements of an application allows users to have more control over inter-component relationships and minimize unexpected outcomes like missing or invalid dependencies. DI also enables back-end developers to get a better grasp of Angular, which can potentially reduce the number of required developers.
- Readable code
By utilizing TypeScript, Angular adds a layer of syntax conventions that streamline and improve the code’s readability. Subsequently, the code is much more likely to be simpler to maintain.
Angular supports multiple platforms, including web and mobile. The same codebase can be used across different platforms with minor modifications, which streamlines workflows and eliminates the need to hire separate teams for each platform.
- High performance ensured by built-in tools.
Thanks to Google’s continuing maintenance and expertise, Angular is kept up-to-date and constantly improved by the tech giant. Plus, Google also provides extensive documentation and tutorials to help developers get up to speed with its framework.
- Ever-expanding ecosystem
With the ever-expanding universe of Angular, developers can easily access various tools and components to quickly create remarkable applications. Additionally, its highly acclaimed style guide enables developers to communicate more efficiently with one another.
- Compatibility with different engineering environments
Angular is compatible with a plethora of engineering tools and CI systems, making it much simpler to integrate the framework into any existing environment. Thanks to Angular Elements, adopting custom web components for other frameworks is a walk in the park.
Potential pitfalls of Angular
Though Angular is a powerful framework, it also has some shortcomings.
- Divided community
While Angular is widely used, it’s not as popular as React. This means that there are fewer developers with experience in Angular, and this can potentially lead to delays and higher costs. In addition, the community is divided between those who prefer the original AngularJS, which was released in 2010, and those who use the modern Angular framework.
Mastering Angular takes longer than one would probably like. Projects can require more time to be completed, and the learning curve might be daunting for anyone without experience in the Typescript. Developers should be knowledgeable about the language and its nuances to maximize the potential of all Angular features. This complexity can also manifest in code organization, making development much more challenging. Additionally, developers need to be well-versed in Angular’s architecture and understand component management in-depth.
React has a number of features that make it the preferred choice for developers.
- Keeping reloads to a minimum
React drastically cuts down on page reloads by only refreshing those UI components which require updates. This allows developers to keep static elements such as navigation menus and sidebars unaffected when updating dynamic elements like forms or data tables. Thanks to its efficient rendering engine, users are more likely to have a smooth experience regardless of the volume of data that needs to be processed.
- Splitting the complex logic
React Hooks makes intricate coding a breeze by dividing complex code into smaller, more manageable pieces that can be individually updated and shared across the application. React Hooks offer a way of sharing logic between components without relying on higher-order components or render props. This means that instead of wrapping a component into another component to pass props, developers can freely alter component state with functions and reuse them across the application.
Despite its set of unique features, React is not without drawbacks.
- Too many extra technologies
React is a great choice for building web applications, but it requires additional technologies such as Redux, Flow, and React Router to create complex solutions. While these technologies can make development easier, they require extra effort to set up and maintain. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the quality of third-party libraries will be as good as the official React library.
- Lack of clear, unified roadmap to create web apps
React doesn’t offer a unified roadmap for creating web apps. This means that developers have to choose from multiple third-party libraries and frameworks to create complex web applications. While this provides more flexibility, it can also be confusing and challenging to keep up with the latest changes in each library.
- Excessive code
React’s flexibility can be a double-edged sword, as it can also lead to over-engineering when used for simpler tasks. This may result in a larger amount of code and can make debugging difficult.
React vs Angular: how to make the right choice for your project?
As we’ve discussed above, choosing between Angular and React can be perplexing as each alternative has its benefits and drawbacks, so here are our top tips to help you make an informed decision.
Regard your project requirements
If you want a feature-rich, complex website that requires high scalability, then Angular might be a good choice. If you are looking to develop a simple, user-facing website with minimal interactivity, then React might be more suitable. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that React along with proper piping is also great for creating large applications.
Understand the application architecture
Determine what type of architecture you are looking to develop, such as single-page applications (SPAs) or multi-page applications (MPAs). Angular is better suited for SPAs, while React can be used for both.
Assess the needs of your development team or consider augmenting it
Evaluate the level of expertise and experience within your development team. If you have a team of experienced developers, Angular could be worth considering as it offers more features and scalability than React. However, if your developers are new to web development, they might find React easier to learn and implement. Importantly, following Angular’s established best practices makes integrating new developers into the team or collaborating on projects remotely easier.
Whether it’s a simple, user-facing website or a feature-rich complex application, *instinctools offers experienced developers with both Angular and React who are ready to assist you on your current or ongoing project.
Take into account the project timeline
If you are aiming to develop the application quickly, then React might be a better choice as it is usually simpler and faster to build with than Angular.
We understand that no two projects are the same, and our experienced consultants have the knowledge and expertise to advise you on which technology is best suited for your project.
Take advantage of our expertise in both Angular and React development
How our experience with Angular and React has shaped our projects
At *instinctools, we have extensive experience in helping our clients develop successful web applications with both Angular and React. Here are some examples of projects we have implemented with each framework:
We created an ERP system for a streaming and media company that provides IP television services worldwide. We combined Odoo, a leading open-source business suite, with React to develop a sustainable and scalable software solution. This included an extensive data visualization system as well as seamless integration with third-party services.
Instinctools’ specialists built a web-based CRM solution using Angular along with the object-relational database system PostgreSQL for a marketing and promotions company. Thanks to easy-to-use interface, elaborate inventory management system, and comprehensive online bidding functionality, our client increased employees’ capacity and reduced their workload.
We developed a cross-browser LMS application using Angular, which allowed users to manipulate multiple elements at the same time, export presentations as printable documents, and customize every asset. This high-performing web application enabled our customers to increase user loyalty and gain new users globally.
No right or wrong in Angular vs React standoff
In a way, choosing between Angular and React is a game of compromises:
- React offers more flexibility and improved performance at the expense of higher chances for bloated code and flimsy architecture.
- Angular provides a solid structure and easy-to-follow development practices at the expense of limited flexibility.
- Angular has a steeper learning curve when compared to React, but once you master Typescript, debugging and maintaining code is much easier.
In a nutshell, the Angular vs React comparison is far from black-and-white. While both options have their advantages and disadvantages, which one to choose for your project will depend on a range of factors such as budget, timeline, complexity, scalability, maintenance requirements, and team skill set. We encourage you to get in touch with an experienced consultant who can help assess your project and determine the best technology for your specific project.
We know how to unlock the full potential of either React or Angular for your project
React is considered easier to learn than Angular. That’s why it can serve as the perfect launching point for new front-end developers. Moreover, mastering Angular demands a higher level of comprehension of TypeScript, which often increases learning duration.
If you’re looking for a robust framework to create detailed web and mobile applications, Angular is the go-to choice. Not only does it offer scalability and flexibility while building complex projects, but its wide array of features, such as modularity and dependency injection, make it well-suited for large-scale projects that need to be scaled in the future.
Yes, React has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its simplicity and flexibility, allowing developers to quickly create interactive user interfaces and dynamic web apps.
No, ReactJS is generally considered to be easier to learn than Angular.
Most likely, ReactJS is more popular than Angular because it’s easier to learn and better accommodates smaller projects, which often outnumber large-scale ones.