Angular vs. React Technology

If you’re curious about web development, you must have heard of React and Angular. But do you know the differences between them? Why choose Angular vs. React? 

According to the 2022 State of JS Survey report, these are the two most-used JavaScript frameworks for creating web applications. Before you select a framework for your project or decide which framework to learn, you’ll want to know more.

In this blog, we will dive deep into Angular and React and compare their features and capabilities. We’ll also consider the pros and cons of?

React Vs. Angular: Brief Overview

What is Angular?

Angular is a Javascript framework used to build web and mobile applications. It’s designed and maintained by Google and follows a component-based architecture. It means an application is divided into smaller, reusable components. 

While Angular uses TypeScript, a superset of Javascript that counts static typing and other features. It has a large, active community of developers and is often used in enterprise-level projects.

What is React?

React is a JavaScript library used to build web and mobile application user interfaces. It’s developed and maintained by Meta and focuses strongly on performance and scalability. 

A core feature of React is its virtual DOM (Document Object Model), which is used to update the view more efficiently. It means it only re-renders changed components rather than the entire DOM tree. The aim of this is to make React applications fast and responsive. 

You can explore more about it in our Unschool skill courses.

Angular Vs. React: Comparison

Performance and DOM

Both Angular and React are good for front-end developers and do well in building large-scale apps. But there is one big difference between them. 

React use virtual DOM (Document Object Model), while Angular 2 operates on real DOM.

Library vs. Framework

One major difference between Angular and React is that Angular is a full-featured framework. With React, you have more flexibility but also more decisions to make about packages. Therefore, more maintaining and upgrading outside packages. On the flip side, you can decide exactly how you want to do things.

With Angular, you’re directed to do things in the “Angular” way. Angular is more narrow than React. Everything is built in, from routing to testing to forms. One major advantage is that you’re less likely to welcome bugs from outside packages. There’s also less to maintain separately.

One-way vs. two-way data-binding: Data flow

Another major difference between React and Angular is how data flows through the application. Angular has a two-way data binding, and React has a one-way data flow, where information can only be passed from parent to child component. 

One advantage of two-way data binding is that it can make it easier to build applications. The model and view are always in sync. In this scenario, the “model” means the data and logic of an application. The “view” directs to the user interface of the application that’s interacted with by the user.  

With Angular and its two-way data binding, you don’t have to worry as much about keeping track of the state. It does not need manual interference when updating the user interface during the data changes. Thus making it easier to create complex, interactive applications with Angular.

Simultaneously, React employs a one-way data flow. The model, i.e. state, is the source of truth. Therefore, changes to the model are passed to the user interface through the state. The positive side is that this makes understanding how data flows through an application easier. But one disadvantage is that it demands more manual effort from the developer. Changes to the state must be explicitly made so that the user interface reflects them.

So the moral of the story is that two-way data binding vs. one-way data flow will count on the specific needs of your project, your team’s preferences, and their skills.

Angular vs. React: When to use which

Now that we have covered the theoretical side of Angular vs. React. You might wonder what this means for my project and which should I choose.

There is no correct answer. When to use Angular or React depends on your needs. Let’s cover some things to consider when making this choice:

1. Type of project

As discussed, Angular is a full-featured framework well-suited for creating large-scale, complex applications. If you know your project will be large and complicated, then Angular could be a better choice. The prime reason is that it offers a complete set of tools and features, including a template engine, a router, and a state management system. 

React, on the other hand, is more flexible. You can scale and increase complexity as needed by your project. It is a more lightweight library for building single-page and mobile applications.

2. Team skills and preferences

Considering your team’s skills and choices and your future hiring requirements is not something to be ignored. 

Angular has a much steeper learning curve. It means you’ll need to look for engineers who are Angular experts or accept a longer ramp-up time. 

With React, the ramp-up time is less if engineers are already familiar with JavaScript.

Angular employs TypeScript. If your team is already well-versed with TypeScript or has experience with statically-typed languages, Angular may be a good fit.

However, React uses JavaScript and JSX, which lets developers write HTML-like code within JavaScript. If your team is more comfortable with JavaScript and prefers a more flexible, dynamic language, React may be a good choice.

3. Architecture and complexity

As mentioned above, Angular has two-way data binding leading to more complex and harder-to-maintain code. 

React has a one-way data flow. Hence making it easier to understand how data flows through an application and to debug and test. Also, you need to consider if the additional complexity of Angular is worth it.

4. Performance

It’s worth mentioning the difference between Angular version 1.0 and 2.0. While the performance of Angular version 2.0 and React is similar, Angular version 1.0 takes a hit compared to React. While most fresh projects will use the most recent version of Angular, it’s worth considering if you accept a position with legacy code.

Final note

React and Angular are both powerful tools for designing web and mobile applications. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses for various projects.

The choice between Angular vs React will depend on your project’s specific needs and your team’s skills and choices. Both frameworks have large, active communities of developers and lots of resources. The most significant point to consider is whether the increased complexity of Angular is a trade-off you want to make for the other benefits Angular offers.

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