Key Differences Between AngularJS and ReactJS

10 Jul. 2017 Software Development

There is a great amount of debate on whether AngularJS or ReactJS is a smarter choice for front-end development. In all fairness, there is no straightforward answer when it comes to deciding between two highly popular and reliable frameworks. However, there are pros and cons to either and knowing the key difference between angular and react js can help you take an informed choice.

The following comparison shows how both Angular and React intend to resolve similar front-end challenges, but with a difference in approach and philosophy.

ReactJS vs AngularJS

Which is better AngularJS or ReactJS?

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AngularJS vs ReactJS: Framework Against Library

Some might argue that comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges because while React is a library that deals with views, Angular is a legit framework. In fact, Angular is one of the top JavaScript frameworks and much like other software suits it has multiple out-of-the-box solutions and designs. However most React developers will add a few libraries to React to work it like a regular framework. Of course the resultant workflow of this stack is much different from Angular so comparison is moot.

Technology React JS Angular JS Angular 2
Author Facebook Community Google Google
Type Open Source JS library Fully-featured MVC framework Fully-featured MVC framework
Tool Chain High Low High
Language JSX JavaScript, HTML TypeScript
Learning Curve Low High Medium
Packaging Strong Weak Medium
Rendering Server Side Client Side Server Side
App Architecture None, combined with Flux MVC Component-Based
Data Binding Uni-Directional Bi-Directional Bi-Directional
DOM Virtual DOM Regular DOM Regular DOM
Latest Version 15.4.0 (November 2016) 1.6.0 2.2.0 (November 2016)

The primary difference between AngularJS and ReactJS lies in state management. Angular has data-binding bundled in by default, whereas React is generally augmented by Redux to give unidirectional data flow and work with immutable data. Both are opposing approaches and there is no consensus on which is better: mutable/data binding or immutable/unidirectional.

  • Scalability:
    Angular is easy to scale thanks to its design as well as a powerful CLI. React is testable and therefore scalable compared to other frameworks like Vue.
  • Computed Properties
    As far as performance is concerned, plain getters in Angular are out of the scenario because they get called on each render. It is however possible to use BehaviorSubject from RsJS, as it serves the purpose.
    React allows the use of @computed from MobX – achieving the same objective but with a nicer API. Dependency Injection.
  • Dependency Injection
    Dependency injection is a bone of contention as it is contrary to the prevalent React paradigm of functional programming and immutability. But some sort of dependency injection is almost unavoidable in data-binding environments, because it aids in decoupling (and thereby mocking and testing) where there is no separate data-layer architecture. Angular supports DI and one great advantage is the ability to have different lifecycles for different stores.

    Some of the common React paradigms deploy some kind of global app state that maps to disparate components, however it is conducive to the introduction of bugs when cleaning the global state on component unmount. On the other hand, a store that is created on component mount and is seamlessly available to the component’s children –is a more useful and often neglected concept. This is out of the box in Angular, but quite easily replicated with MobX as well.

  • Simplicity + Code length
    React is quite easy and simple to understand but it takes quite some time to set up a project in React.
    Angular on the other hand, is not simple by any means. Its inherent complexity sometimes causes confusion and Angular specific 3rd party libraries and syntax.
  • Model Complexity
    Angular’s performance is sensitive in terms of scope because of copy-n-compare. You cannot use large models. However, this has benefits and disadvantages. The Pros are that it makes the code simpler and more testable but the cons are that you need to break down stuff that you normally use and rebuild it again (for example – for server requests). React however gives you the power of choice without the performance penalty. The outcome really depends on whether you’re a good coder or a bad coder.

Conclusion: Which is better React or Angular?

Both React and Angular work on completely diverse approaches to front-end application development for startup, small and medium enterprises. The technologies are both powerful and flexible and while neither is better or worse, it depends on your business application goals and system constraints that make the final choice.

Overall, both frameworks provide a robust set of tools for quality, scalable, reactive web-based applications. For those who prefer to code in classic JS, React may find more favors, but for those looking at a more mature and sophisticated solution, AngularJS might be your best bet.

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