In Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developer Survey, React.js and Angular were named the second and third most used web frameworks, respectively. Though both tools can be helpful for web development, which should you prioritize for your next application? This article outlines the key strengths and weaknesses of Angular and React and how to know which option is best for your project and team needs.
What is React?
React’s tool library allows developers to build components that are dropped onto a webpage. These components, which are like custom HTML elements, are what the users see on the site. Components can be reused across apps and are much easier to update than searching through lines of code. Companies that use React include Facebook (and Instagram), Uber, and Netflix, among others.
What is Angular?
Now, let’s get into more comparisons of React vs. Angular to build a greater understanding of which is the best choice for your next project.
Virtual DOM vs. real DOM
The Document Object Model (DOM) is a type of API that acts as a web browser’s programming interface. Web pages are documents and the DOM represents these documents as nodes and objects so that programming languages can connect to and modify these pages.
Whichever framework your team uses, testing the code is imperative before deploying any program or application. Full testing in an Angular app is made simple with a single tool — either Protractor, Jasmine, or Karma. Testing in React, though, requires multiple tools for different types of testing — Enzyme might be used for component testing while a tool like Jest is used for code testing.
Most important for the future users of your application is the performance of the page itself. Load time and runtime impact how long customers will happily interact with your web page.
While Angular is typically a fast framework, its bundle size, meaning the code generated and uploaded for deployment, tends to be large. With Angular now using the Ivy compiler, bundle size is shrinking. It’s also built with enough optimizations that users likely won’t encounter major performance issues on a larger Angular website. React tends to shine on smaller-sized apps as it’s built to prioritize certain page tasks over others so that it feels faster to the end-user.
Ask any software developer whether you should opt for Angular or React and you’ll likely get a different response from each. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to web frameworks and libraries, or how they’ll best benefit your project or company needs. Before opting for one tool over the other, begin experimenting with each by exploring Angular and React courses.