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Angular vs. React: The Difference and Which Framework to Choose

Doro Onome
Doro Onome
December 31, 2023 · 15 min read
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According to the 2022 JAMstack Community Survey, Angular and React are two of the most popular JavaScript frameworks used for web and mobile application development. These frameworks have become powerful tools for creating efficient applications for businesses and individuals alike. They have gained widespread popularity in the development community due to their ease of use and flexibility.

However, despite their similarities, Angular and React have their own advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into consideration when choosing which one to use for your project. For instance, Angular is known for its comprehensive feature set, which includes a rich set of tools for building complex applications. React, on the other hand, is known for its simplicity and ease of use. It is also highly customizable and can be used to build applications of any size.

This article aims to provide a detailed overview of the differences between these two frameworks, highlighting some of their main features, pros, and cons. By reading this post, you will be able to understand better the strengths and weaknesses of both Angular and React and make an informed decision on which framework is the best choice for your next project.

What Is React?

React is a JavaScript library developed by Facebook for building user interfaces (UIs) and web applications. With React, developers can create reusable UI components that can be used across various web applications.

React uses a virtual Document Object Model (DOM), which enables real-time updates of the application's view. This allows developers to make changes without reloading the entire application. React is open-source, meaning anyone can use it, and it is supported by a large community of developers, making it easy to find help and resources when needed.

Key Features of React

React is a widely used frontend technology accompanied by several notable features that enhance the developer experience of building modern web apps. Some of these features include:

  1. Components: React renders most of the app's elements as components because of its component-based design. Components are reusable, standalone chunks of code. They perform the same function as JavaScript functions, but they work independently and return HTML. React Components are classified into two types: class components and function components.

    • Class components - React class components are JavaScript classes that extend the React Component base class. They enable you to use extra features like local component state and lifecycle methods.

    • Function components - Functional components are code blocks that allow developers to create components that serve a specific purpose. Developers can easily create more efficient, reusable, and maintainable components using functional components. They are also lighter than their class-based counterparts, making them an excellent choice for high-performance applications.

  2. JavaScript Syntax Extension (JSX): With the help of the React extension to the JavaScript language known as JSX, you can organize component rendering in a way familiar to many developers. It resembles HTML in appearance. You can say it is a hybrid of HTML and JavaScript in your React app.

  3. Virtual DOM: The virtual DOM in React is an innovative technology that allows developers to create user interfaces more quickly. It keeps track of changes made to the UI using a virtual representation of the real DOM, allowing for faster and more efficient updates. This means that developers can change the user interface without re-rendering the entire page, significantly improving performance and providing a more seamless user experience.

  4. One-Way Data Binding: Data only moves from parent to child when using React. The child component's properties (props) can communicate with the parent components to change the states based on inputs, but they cannot return data to the parent component. One-way data binding functions in this manner. This makes things quick and easy.

  5. Extensions: Extensions for React can be used to create complete UI applications. It makes it possible to develop mobile apps and use server-side rendering. Creating visually appealing user interfaces is made simpler by extensions to React such as Flux, Redux, React Native, and others.

What Is Angular?

Angular is a popular open-source JavaScript framework created by Google that enables developers to create dynamic and responsive web applications. It combines HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create powerful, interactive web applications.

Angular is designed to be user-friendly, modular, and extensible. It uses the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture to separate concerns between the data, logic, and view of the application.

Developers can quickly create applications with a clean, intuitive user interface that are simple to maintain using Angular. Its features include two-way data binding and dependency injection, making it an excellent choice for developing fast and efficient web applications.

Key Features of Angular

  1. MVC (Model-View-Controller) Architecture: The Model-View-Controller architecture is a software design pattern that separates concerns by separating the application logic from the user interface layer. It is Angular's most crucial feature as it increases the framework's value for client-side application development and lays the groundwork for other essential features such as data binding and scopes. The MVC architecture of Angular is dynamic, which distinguishes it from other frameworks.

  2. Directives: Angular extends HTML with a set of built-in attributes known as directives. Directives in Angular are defined as classes that can add new behavior to template elements or modify existing behavior. The goal of directives in Angular is to manipulate the DOM, whether by adding new elements to the DOM, removing elements, or changing the appearance of the DOM.

  3. Two-Way Binding: Two-way data binding is used in Angular to display information to the user while also allowing the user to make changes to the underlying data through the UI. This establishes a bidirectional connection between the view (the template) and the component class. Angular achieves this with the help of two key directives known as ng-model and ng-bind.

  4. Test Friendly: Because JavaScript is an interpreted language, developers must pay special attention to the code's testability. However, with Angular, developers are no longer required to meet this requirement. The framework includes all features that aid testing, such as Dependency Injection (DI). Testers can easily insert test data into the controller using DI to check its output and behavior. A dedicated unit-test runner is also available on GitHub for the framework.

  5. Templates: A template in Angular is a blueprint for a user interface fragment (UI). Templates are written in HTML, and special syntax within a template can extend many of Angular's features.

Angular vs. React: Head-to-Head Comparison

Differences Between Angular and React

Angular and React are two of the most popular web development frameworks. They both have their purpose, strengths, and weaknesses.

Angular is an open-source, TypeScript-based front-end web development framework. It is maintained by Google and is used to build single-page applications as well as complex web applications. It uses a component-based architecture and HTML- and TypeScript-like syntax to define components. Its main components are the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture and the dependency injection.

React, on the other hand, is an open-source JavaScript library developed by Facebook. It is used to build user interfaces and single-page applications. It uses a component-based architecture and uses a declarative style of programming. It differs from Angular because it uses a virtual DOM and allows for more customization. It also has a smaller learning curve and faster development time.

For more context, here’s a tabular representation of their differences:



Developed by Google

Developed by Facebook

Uses Typescript

Uses JavaScript

Uses a hierarchical dependency injection system

Uses an explicit dependency injection system

Directives are used to extend HTML

JSX is used to extend HTML

Supports two-way data binding

Supports one-way data binding

A full-featured framework

A JavaScript library

Uses an incremental DOM

Uses a virtual DOM

Similarities Between Angular and React

Angular and React share the following characteristics:

  1. Open Source: Both are free and open source. As a result, React and Angular have large developer communities that contribute to the resources regularly.

  2. Popularity Among Developers: Developers commonly use these technologies to create Single Page Applications. This asserts that single-page applications can be created for faster and better digital solutions.

  3. Reusable Components: Both Angular and React use a component-based architecture. Because these components can be reused within other components, they are infinitely recyclable.

  4. Performance: Angular and React have comparable performance. The user's perspective is what primarily determines the distinction.

  5. Ease of Update: Angular and React allow for simple updates. While Angular uses CLI, React depends on external libraries.

Advantages of React Over Angular

  • React Is Faster and More Efficient: Because React is more of a library than a framework, it does not interact directly with the DOM. Instead, you work with a virtual DOM, which significantly speeds up web app development.

  • React Is Better Suited to Component-Based UIs: React is ideally suited to the component-based User Interface. It aids in the modularisation of the application by separating the concerns for each of them.

  • The Benefits of JSX: With React, you also get the benefit of JSX, which is its syntax that aids in developing the components. Aside from that, the JSX allows you to use various JavaScript functionalities such as map and filter to display DOM nodes.

  • The Advantage of Single Data Binding:

    There is a provision for two-way data binding in Angular, which is why React outperforms it in this regard.

  • Building Block Flexibility:

    React is an ecosystem centered on the development of blocks. And it gives you the freedom to choose your building blocks to solve the problems. It provides simplicity and convenience in exchanging blocks, further simplifying developers' tasks.

When to Use React Over Angular?

In addition to understanding the benefits of using React, it's crucial to determine when it is most appropriate to utilize it. By utilizing React in the right situations, it can significantly reduce the time, effort, and cost of front-end development.

React offers a variety of features that can provide immense value to your project. For example, React's component-based design allows developers to create reusable UI components that can be used across various web applications. Additionally, React's virtual DOM technology enables real-time updates of the application's view, allowing developers to make changes without reloading the entire application, which in turn improves the application's performance and provides a more seamless user experience.

By taking into consideration the specific needs of your project, you can determine whether React is the right tool for the job.

Here are some scenarios where the React framework would be the best choice for your project:

  1. If you're creating a frontend UI that requires a lot of user interaction, React is a better choice than Angular. It can be a pain to code every interactive element that ties time to the underlying business logic. Because React handles the lower-level algorithm, you'll only need to focus on the interface's view mode.

  2. Do your website visitors express dissatisfaction with lags and unresponsive pages? If so, it could indicate that there is too much reloading for the DOM to handle. The virtual DOM provided by React will be useful in ensuring that the website's performance is not compromised and that your visitors are satisfied.

  3. Even if it isn't UI-related, you might consider using React because it can make it easier to hire talent. Due to React's popularity, many developers have added it to their skill sets.

  4. If you want to create shareable components in your project, React would be a better option than Angular.

  5. When your app development team is fluent in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, going with React over Angular can be a better option.

Advantages of Angular Over React

  • Angular Provides More Consistency for Standard Components: In contrast to React, most of the components, such as view routing, HTTP requests, and testing, are built right in. This means these components will be upgraded and supported for as long as Angular exists. Furthermore, due to React library selection's fragmentation, finding information on how to wire a given set of components is much more challenging.

  • High Speed and Optimum Performance: By converting templates into code, Angular redefines the modern JavaScript virtual machine. As a result, your hand-written code can benefit from a productive framework. The best thing about Angular is that you can render the code into HTML and CSS and run the application on any other platform, such as NodeJS,.Net, PHP, etc. Angular apps load faster than any other front-end framework in the industry. It loads at Cheetah's speed with any new component router. Furthermore, the code is automatically split based on the user's loading and rendering requirements.

  • Keeping HTML and JavaScript Separately Improves Clarity: With React, your logic and rendering code is mixed in with your HTML directly. Worse, inline styling is frequently used to ensure visual styling with the component HTML is visible. When you combine the visual styling of a component with the logic and implementation, it becomes more difficult to separate in your mind.

  • React Necessitates More Boilerplate Code: Certain actions in your React app may require too much boilerplate code and may appear difficult to learn or execute. In my opinion, state management with Redux requires far too much code to execute.

  • React Tends to Insist on Significant Paradigm Shifts: While some of React's approaches to web development are very innovative, others may become obsolete. There is concern that concepts like JSX, which no other primary ecosystem/framework uses, will be abandoned in favor of more standard techniques if they fail to gain industry-wide acceptance.

When to Use Angular Over React?

Angular is a great framework that is often preferred by developers because of its robust features and the large number of components that come with it. With Angular, it is easy for developers to build applications that are scalable, maintainable, and easy to test.

Furthermore, the framework comes with a set of tools and libraries that make it simpler to develop applications, which makes it an excellent option for both experienced developers and beginners who are just starting out. In addition, Angular provides a wide range of features, such as two-way data binding, dependency injection, and directives, which can help developers write code that is easier to read and maintain.

Overall, Angular is a great choice for developers who want to build complex applications with ease and efficiency.

Angular is a better choice for your app than React in the following scenarios:

  1. If your application is enterprise-grade and requires complex functionalities such as progressive, single-page, and native web apps, Angular is superior to React.

  2. Angular uses an actual DOM implementation for page rendering but has a unique change detection mechanism combined with zones that makes web apps faster.

  3. When the development team has experience with Java, C#, and previous versions of Angular.

  4. If the app's complexity remains low to medium.

  5. When you need an extensive, feature-rich application on a large scale.

Overview of Angular vs. React

Angular and React are two of the most widely used JavaScript frameworks today.

Angular is a feature-rich framework for developing complex web and mobile applications. It is backed by Google and employs an MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture.

React is an open-source library created by Facebook for creating user interfaces. It is well-known for its ease of use and high performance.

Both frameworks can create dynamic and interactive web applications, but they each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Angular prioritizes providing a comprehensive feature set, which includes two-way data binding, built-in APIs, modularization, and a form of dependency injection.

React, on the other hand, is more lightweight and employs a component-based approach to user interface development. To create components, developers can also use JavaScript and JSX, a JavaScript syntax extension.

Both frameworks offer powerful features, but they are best suited for different types of projects.

Angular vs. React: Is React Better than Angular?

The debate between Angular and React is one of the most hotly debated topics in web development. While both frameworks are popular and widely used, their approaches and overall designs differ. Facebook's React is a JavaScript library, and Google's Angular is a TypeScript-based open-source web application framework. Both frameworks have advantages and disadvantages, and it's difficult to say which is better for a specific project.

In terms of speed, React is generally considered to be faster than Angular. React has a small library and uses a virtual DOM, allowing it to render changes quickly without reloading the entire page. On the other hand, Angular has a much larger library and uses a real DOM, which requires more processing time.

React has the added benefit of being more customizable than Angular. It enables developers to create custom components and use them across multiple projects. Developers using Angular are more limited in customization and must rely on pre-existing components.

React is also a better choice for developers who are familiar with JavaScript. The syntax of React is simpler than that of Angular, making it easier to learn and work with. The syntax of Angular is more complex, and it is frequently more difficult to debug.

It is also worth noting that React is more popular than Angular. This means that a larger community of developers is familiar with React and can help with questions or issues.

Ultimately, it is impossible to say whether React is better than Angular. It depends on the project, the developers’ experience level, and the specific features and functionality that must be implemented. Both frameworks have pros and cons, and it’s important to consider them before deciding.

The Bottom Line: Angular vs. React

This article provides a thorough review of React and Angular, highlighting their respective benefits, drawbacks, and potential applications.

When deciding between Angular and React for developing web applications, there is no single correct answer. Each framework has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the development team's requirements will determine the best one for a particular project.

It is critical to evaluate the features of each framework, understand the project's technical requirements, and make an informed decision on which will be the best fit.

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