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Svelte vs. React: Everything You Need to Know About the Two

Michael Hungbo
Michael Hungbo
December 31, 2023 · 15 min read
Svelte vs. React: Everything You Need to Know About the Two

The evolution of JavaScript as the de-facto programming language for web development has led to widespread adoption and the development of tools and technologies based on it over the years.

Choosing the right front-end framework can be a daunting task for developers new to the world of JavaScript and web development, given the many popular options available.

In this article, we will explore two of the major technologies used in modern front-end web development: Svelte and React. These JavaScript frameworks make building user interfaces easier and more efficient, but they have different approaches and philosophies for achieving this.

Through this article, you will learn about the unique characteristics, use cases, differences, and similarities between these technologies. We will also cover their performance and when it might be beneficial to consider one over the other.

What Is Svelte?

Svelte is an open-source front-end JavaScript framework designed for building user interfaces for web applications. Initially developed by Rich Harris, the first version of Svelte was released in 2016. Svelte is a result of Harris' work on Ractive.js, an interactive UI library aimed at creating highly dynamic web applications.

What sets Svelte apart from other frameworks is its approach to optimizing performance. It uses a compiler approach that compiles HTML templates into optimized and specialized JavaScript code, resulting in smaller app bundle sizes. Unlike many other frameworks, Svelte does not require the overhead of runtime calculations and updating the Virtual DOM, as seen in React.js.

According to Harris in his introductory post, Svelte makes use of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and a few extra elements to create components. During the build process, Svelte compiles these components into small, stand-alone JavaScript modules that utilize the browser as effectively as possible. This procedure ensures the browser performs as little work as necessary.

Harris refers to Svelte as the "framework-less framework," offering a web app framework that rivals popular JavaScript UI technologies like React and Vue, but in a less complicated and verbose manner.

Here's an example code showing what a basic piece of code in Svelte looks like:

// App.svelte <script> let name = 'Svelte'; </script> <h1>Hello {name.toUpperCase()}!</h1> <style> h1 { color: purple; font-family: 'Comic Sans MS', cursive; font-size: 2em; } </style>

What Is React?

React is a widely-used and open-source JavaScript library for creating interactive user interfaces for web applications. Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Meta, developed React in 2013.

React is based on a component-based model, dividing the complete React application into individual, standalone React code units called components. These components represent different sections of the UI. React uses a declarative style, allowing developers to describe how they want the UI to look. React then manages the heavy work of updating the UI using the Virtual DOM, which is a virtual representation of the actual DOM. According to the React documentation, the Virtual DOM optimizes efficiency by making minimal updates to the actual DOM.

Despite its rivals, React remains a popular choice for web developers. It has an extensive community and has been around longer than Svelte."

Here’s an example showing how you’d write React code for your application:

// App.jsx import React from 'react'; function App() { const styles = { title: { color: 'purple', fontSize: '2em', }, }; const name = "React"; return ( <h1 style={styles.title}>Hello {name.toUpperCase()}!</h1> ); } export default App;

Similarities Between React and Svelte

Here are some of the similarities between Svelte and React frameworks:

  1. Component-Based Architecture: React and Svelte both use a component-based architecture. While Svelte components typically have a .svelte extension, React components use a .jsx extension.

  2. JavaScript Language: Both frameworks are based on JavaScript, although most of Svelte is written in TypeScript, which is a superset of JavaScript.

  3. Reactivity for UI Updates: Both react to data updates made at the underlying level with automatic UI updates. In React, this is achieved using state and props, while in Svelte, this is facilitated using reactive variables.

  4. JSX-Like Syntax: Svelte's syntax is similar to JSX syntax used within React; both languages permit writing HTML-style code in JavaScript.

  5. Robust Tooling: React has a wide range of tools available, revealing capabilities such as server-side rendering, static site creation, or code splitting, with applications such as Next.js. For Svelte, the framework has an equivalent set of tools, such as SvelteKit for building serverless web applications, which includes functionality such as automatic code splitting, file-based routing, and server-side rendering.

  6. Open-Source Community: Both Svelte and React are open-source projects with active communities of contributors, allowing continual growth and improvements."

Key Differences Between React and Svelte




Virtual DOM

The core of React is based on the Virtual Dom, which is a lightweight, in-memory representation of the actual DOM that allows for efficient UI updates and rendering of components.

Svelte doesn’t use a VDOM which is one of the reasons for its improved and better performance.

TypeScript Compiler

React doesn’t have a compiler but uses the VDOM to achieve improved performance like Svelte’s typescript compiler.

Unlike React, the core of Svelte is based on a TypeScript compiler that processes your Svelte code into JS, HTML and CSS for manipulating the DOM.


React is a good JavaScript designed to handle speed and efficiency in all types of apps such as a todo app to complex enterprise applications.

Svelte to be more performant than React in a variety of tests including speed, start-up time and memory test.


React makes use of JSX, a JavaScript syntax extension, which makes it easier and faster for developers to write React code.

Svelte uses a slightly modified JSX syntax. For example, Svelte has template tags, such as {@const....}, {#each...} and so on.


React has a rich ecosystem of debugging tools, including React DevTools, React Profiler, and React Error Boundaries, allowing you to inspect and analyze your app performance.

Although not as extensive as React’s, Svelte's debugging ecosystem consists of tools like Svelte DevTools and the {@debug ...} tag, which is useful for analyzing your application on the fly.

Type of Technology

JavaScript UI library

JavaScript framework

Bundle Size

Smaller app bundle sizes

Slightly bigger app sizes

Developer Experience

Next.js allows you to create React apps for all kinds of use cases, such as SSG, SSR, SPA, and so on.

SvelteKit allows you to build Svelte apps faster with a lot of features for different use cases.


Comprehensive, extensive, and more technical, with a lot of practical examples

Beginner-friendly, straightforward, and concise


206,000+ GitHub likes

67,000+ GitHub likes

Learning Curve

Requires advanced knowledge of JavaScript

Svelte is simpler and beginner-friendly

Use Cases for Svelte

Despite being a newcomer compared to other popular web development frameworks, Svelte has grown in popularity due to its efficiency, ease of use, and superior developer experience.

Svelte is well-suited for building Single Page Applications (SPAs) and is praised by users with busy schedules because of the shallow learning curve.

Below are several use cases where Svelte excels:

  • Real-Time Dashboards: Svelte is an efficient choice for creating real-time dashboards that dynamically display data from multiple sources. By using its reactive programming model, you can update the UI in real-time as new data is received, allowing for responsive and visually appealing data-driven dashboards.

  • Real-Time Applications: Svelte's reactive programming model can also be beneficial in building real-time applications that require fast and frequent data updates with no performance loss.

  • Complex Data Visualizations: Using Svelte and its compatibility with various tools, creating complex data visualizations is simplified. Tools such as D3.js and Svelte work together, and there is no need to write complex code to create visualizations.

  • Learning Web Development: Aspiring web developers looking to learn more about front-end JavaScript frameworks can benefit from Svelte's straightforward and simple syntax while improving their programming language knowledge."

Use Cases for React

React is a highly popular technology with a variety of use cases. Originally created to be used at Meta, React was later open-sourced and is now used by a multitude of companies and developers.

Here are some examples of use cases where React might be the right choice:

  1. Building Highly Dynamic UIs: React's component-based architecture makes it easier to manage complex applications, especially when working with dynamic and ever-changing data.

  2. Single Page Applications (SPAs), Server-Side Rendering (SSR), and Static Site Generation (SSG): With powerful tools like Next.js and Gatsby, React is an excellent choice for building web applications that require different kinds of rendering, such as SPAs, SSR, and SSG.

  3. Creating Reusable Design Components: Thanks to React's modular structure, it's easy to create reusable UI components and design systems that will save you time and effort when building complex web applications.

  4. Building Mobile Applications: For developers targeting both iOS and Android platforms, React Native offers a framework for building robust mobile applications leveraging the same React codebase as their web application.

Choosing Between Svelte vs. React

The decision to choose between Svelte and React will depend on multiple factors. Project requirements and goals, your knowledge of JavaScript, the scope and complexity of your project, and your personal preference will all play a role in making the right decision for your needs.

Svelte is a newer technology and it has gained popularity among developers, but React is still more popular and well-established. React has been in the market for a longer time and has a broader community, a larger ecosystem, and a wider range of tools and resources.

Both React and Svelte have their advantages and disadvantages. React has a component-based architecture that makes handling a more extensive range of complex web projects easier. In contrast, Svelte is known for its smaller code footprint, better performance, and faster development time due to its concise and declarative syntax.

Additionally, Svelte uses its compiler to generate efficient JavaScript code that takes up less space, resulting in faster load times and an improved user experience. React, on the other hand, offers a more extensive range of supporting libraries and tools that enable developers to solve more complex problems without reinventing the wheel.

Therefore, the decision to choose between Svelte and React will ultimately depend on your specific use cases and project needs. It's essential to consider the pros and cons of each technology and their respective trade-offs carefully.

At the end of the day, choosing between two such excellent technologies is not only about opting for the most popular or newest platform. It is about analyzing your team's proficiency, the unique requirements of your project, and your budget, and ultimately about weighing the pros and cons of each technology in the context of your specific use cases.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Svelte vs. React

Who Is Using Svelte?

Below are a few popular companies using Svelte in their tech stack:

  • The Guardian: Svelte originated from The Guardian, a widely-known media and news company. While working there, Rick Harris developed Svelte as a tool to help build interactive pieces of journalism.

  • The New York Times: As a media and journalism company, The New York Times utilizes the reactive programming capabilities of Svelte to create engaging and interactive journalistic experiences for its readership.

  • Chess.com: Chess.com is an online platform for playing chess, relying on the reactive features of Svelte to build a real-time gaming and social networking website with fast and responsive user interfaces that can manage the complex logic needed on the platform.

  • FusionCharts: FusionCharts is a JavaScript charting library specifically designed for creating interactive maps, charts, and dashboards using JavaScript. By choosing Svelte, FusionCharts is able to build powerful, responsive charting tools that update in real-time.

Who Is Using React?

If you're curious about which companies use React in their tech stack, here are some popular examples:

  • Facebook: React was created at Facebook and, as such, it's no surprise that the company uses it in many parts of their applications. The main uses of React at Facebook are to improve maintainability and to keep up with frequently changing data in some areas of their apps.

  • Netflix: With a substantial user base, Netflix needs to stay on top of their platform performance. One way they improve user experience is through a server-side rendering process using React. This approach pre-renders HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (React) code, reducing Time-to-Interactive by up to 30% for future navigations.

  • Twitter: React is part of Twitter's mobile web development stack. By building the web app as a Progressive Web Application (PWA), Twitter can offer features such as faster page loading, offline capabilities, and push notifications.

  • Airbnb: A React early adopter since 2014, Airbnb uses React for its reusable and refactorable features. In a blog post, engineer Leland Richardson explained how React has helped Airbnb create a more efficient and sustainable codebase. You can read about it here.

Is Svelte Easier to Learn than React?

When it comes to learning a JavaScript framework, many developers are asking the same question: is Svelte easier to learn than React? The answer is yes. Svelte has a simpler syntax and is more related to HTML and CSS than React, which makes it easier for beginners. Additionally, Svelte uses a compiler that does most of the work for you, making it even faster and simpler to learn.

React still has its advantages though. It's great for larger projects and can be faster at initial renders. Ultimately, the best choice depends on the specific project you're working on.

Is Svelte Really Faster than React?

The answer is yes! Svelte has a much smaller build bundle size than React, making it faster to load. Additionally, Svelte does not use a virtual DOM like React does, so it can update changes more quickly. This makes it ideal for creating small applications and building dynamic interfaces.

Svelte also has a simpler syntax than React, making it easier to learn for beginners. It compiles with pure JavaScript code, which leads to better performance and optimized code.

Overall, if performance and optimized code are important factors in your decision-making process, then Svelte may be the better choice for you. However, if you need to create large and complex applications, then React should be your go-to framework.

Which Is Better, Svelte or React in 2024?

In 2024, the choice between Svelte and React depends on the specific needs of your project. React is a great choice for larger projects, while Svelte is better for smaller, more dynamic projects.

Svelte is considered one of the fastest JavaScript frameworks and it is faster than React. It uses a compiler that does most of the work during build time, so there’s no need to use a virtual DOM. This makes it even faster when updating changes.

On the other hand, React has a steeper learning curve due to JSX, and its popularity means that there are more resources available to help developers learn how to use it.

Ultimately, both frameworks have their own advantages and disadvantages and it’s important to consider your project’s needs before making a decision.

As of 2024, React is still the most popular JavaScript framework for web application development. This is mainly due to its wide adoption and support from the developer community. React has been around since 2013 and has been continuously improved over the years. It also has a large library of components that developers can use to quickly build applications.

In comparison, Svelte is a relatively new framework that was released in 2016 and is not as widely adopted as React yet. It does have some advantages over React, such as faster initial render times and smaller build bundle sizes, but it lacks the same level of support from the developer community. Additionally, Svelte has a steeper learning curve than React due to its syntax being more complicated than JSX.

Overall, while Svelte may be a better choice for certain projects due to its performance benefits, it's not as popular as React because of its lack of widespread adoption and support from the developer community.

Is Svelte Worth Learning in 2024?

Svelte is a radical new approach to building user interfaces that have been gaining traction since its release in 2016. It's a compiler that takes your declarative components and converts them into efficient JavaScript code, making it an attractive option for developers who want to create fast and lightweight web applications.

Unlike traditional frameworks like React and Vue, Svelte does the bulk of its work during the build process, rather than in the browser. This means that it can be faster and more efficient than other frameworks, as well as easier to debug. Additionally, because it compiles down to vanilla JavaScript, there are no extra libraries or dependencies required.

In addition to being fast and lightweight, Svelte also offers a number of features that make it an attractive option for developers. For example, it supports state management with stores and provides built-in support for CSS preprocessors like Sass and Less. It also has a simple API that makes it easy to get started quickly, as well as detailed documentation that makes learning the framework straightforward.

Overall, Svelte is a powerful tool for creating web applications that are both performant and maintainable. With its growing popularity among developers, now is an excellent time to learn this cutting-edge framework and take advantage of all the benefits it has to offer.

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