06-Mar-2019

Angular versus React - Let's understand the difference

In the world of Information Technology, among several JavaScript frameworks that are available for front end development, off late, Angular and React have shown a growing popularity, together with NodeJS. These three JavaScript frameworks are now being widely used among most of the Software Engineers, along with all programming languages - According to Stack Overflow Developer Survey that was conducted last year in 2018.

In terms of popularity, Node and Angular are equal and both of them have similar architecture. Then, what makes them different? In this article, let us compare both of them thoroughly. First and foremost let us look at the general characteristics of both the frameworks.

Angular

Angular is a front end framework that is powered by Google. It is highly compatible with most of the commonly available code editors. It is an integral part of MEAN stack, an open source and free JavaScript based stack that is used to build dynamic websites and applications. MEAN consists of these components - MongoDB (A NoSQL database), Express.js (a web application framework), Angular or Angular.js (a front end framework and Node.js (a server platform)

Angular allows developers to create dynamic, single page web applications (SPAs). During the beginning of Angular release, its main advantage was its ability to covert HTML-based documents into dynamic content. The latest version of Angular is Angular 7, while the Google still supports the first version, the AngularJS. However, in this article, we will be talking more on the newer versions of Angular, starting from Angular 2+, in order to analyze how it distinguishes from Angular.js. Some of the top companies that has used Angular include WhatsApp, Instagram, healthcare.gov, HBO, Nike.

React

ReactJS is an open source JavaScript Library that was created by Face book in 2011. It is used for building dynamic user interfaces. React is based on JavaScript and JSX, a PHP extension developed by Face book, that allows for creating reusable HTML elements for front-end development. React has React Native, which is a separate and cross-platform framework that can be used for Mobile App development. In this article, we will deeply looking into both ReactJS and React Native. Some of the top companies that has used ReactJS include, Netflix, PayPal, Uber, Twitter, Udemy, Reddit, Airbnb, Walmart.

 

Toolset - Framework Versus Library

 

The ecosystem of the framework determines how smooth the engineering experience will be. Here, we will look into the main tools that are commonly used with both Angular and ReactJS. First and foremost, React is not a framework and it is a library. It requires multiple integrations with additional tools and libraries. Whereas Angular is a framework that has everything required for building an App.

Features                                                                                                     

Angular

Angular comes with some features that are out of the box. Let's look into them.

RxJS: This is a library for asynchronous programming, which reduces resource consumption by bringing multiple channels for data exchange. The greatest advantage of this library is it supports handling multiple events simultaneously and independently. But, one of the disadvantages of RxJS is, while it can be compatible for several frameworks, you have to learn the library in and out to completely make use of Angular.

Angular CLI: This is a highly robust command-line interface that can help creating apps, adding files, testing, debugging and deployment.

Dependency Injection: This framework separates components from dependencies to run them in parallel and change dependencies without reconfiguring components.

Ivy renderer: Ivy is the new generation of Angular rendering engine that can increase the performance to a large extent.

Angular Universal: This is a server side rendering technology that encourages rapid rendering of the first app page and displaying apps on devices that have shortage of resources for browser-side rendering, like mobile devices.

Code Editors: Aptana, WebStorm, Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code are the common most code editors available for Angular.

Testing and debugging :Jasmine, Karma, Protractor are the tools that are used for end-to-end testing and debugging processes for Angular.

 

 

React

Unlike Angular, ReactJS will require multiple integrations and supporting tool.

Redux: This is a state container, that speeds up the work of React in large scale applications. It manages components in applications using several dynamic elements and it is used for rendering as well. In addition, React works with a wide Redux toolset that includes Reselect, a selector library for Redux and Redux DevTools Profiler Monitor.

Babel: This is a transcompiler that converts JSX into JavasScript in order to make application understandable to the browsers.

Webpack: This is a code bundler and this is used to bundle up all the components that are written in different files and this is essential for a better management of code and files.

React Router: This is a standard URL routing library that is used with ReactJS.

Code editors: Just like angular, Developers do not have limited options for code choice. The most commonly used editors include Visual Studio Code, Atom and Sublime Text.

Testing and debugging: Unlike it is in Angular, in React, one cannot test the whole App using a single tool. You will need distinguished tools for different types of testing. The following testing tools are compatible with React.

Code - Typescript versus JavaScript

 

Angular mostly uses Typescript. However, you may also use JavaScript if need be. Typescript is a super set of JavaScript fit for bigger projects. It is lightweight and allows for pointing mistakes in typing. Other advantages of Typescript include better navigation, auto completion and faster code refactoring. Being more light weight, scalable and clean, Typescript is an absolute fit for bigger projects at enterprise level.

React uses JavaScript ES6+ and JSX script. JSX is a syntax extension for JavaScript and is used to make UI coding simple, thus making JavaScript code seem like HTML. The use of JSX significantly simplifies code that allows for finding errors and protecting code from injections. JSX is used for browser compilation via Babel, which is a compiler that translates the code into a format that a web browser can read. JSX syntax performs almost in the same way as Typescript. However, Developers find it a bit complex to learn.

Learning Curve

 

The learning curve of Angular is definitely much steeper than React. Angular is complex, offering several methods to solve a particular problem. It has intricate component management that requires repetitive actions. The framework is constantly getting upgraded and the Developers have to adapt to the new version and upgrades. Also, the shift from JavaScript to Typescript and RxJS, had made it even more complex then, during the upgrade to Angular 2+,, and although Typescript is similar to JavaScript, it does take time to learn.

While ReactJS also needs learning with frequent upgrades, it is more easier for newcomers and it doesn't require much time to learn if one is already good in JavaScript. Currently, the only learning problem in React is the part of Redux library. And, more than 50 percent of applications that are being built with React use Redux and any React Engineer needs to be familiar with Redux.

Conclusion

 

The core idea behind Angular is to facilitate robust support with a toolset for holistic front-end development experience. With constant updates and a support from Google, one can be guaranteed that the framework will not vanish and the Engineers behind it will keep on supporting the existing community. Also, Typescript ensures maintainability of code that becomes highly important, especially for enterprise scale applications. However, this comes at the cost of learning curve and with another set of Developers supporting React.

Whereas, React recommends a much simpler approach for Developers to quickly hop on to the project without much of learning. Although the library doesn't dictate the toolset and approaches, there are several instrument like Redux, which React Engineers must learn.