Both Angular and React have their own advantages and disadvantages, and while comparisons are often drawn between the two, it is nearly impossible to pick a clear winner. There are cases where Angular performs really well, especially when you require an MVC architecture. Similarly, there are times when React proves its worth, like following a one-way data flow and making the developers’ lives easier.
So, what differentiates Angular from React? In this post, I will attempt to answer this question.
AngularJS And React: Obvious Differences
As already stated, Angular has a full MVC architecture, but React offers only the view component. In fact, this is one of the biggest advantages and plus points that Angular has to offer.
Since React contains a very simplified and easy to learn API and syntax, it is comparatively simpler and easier. Angular, on the other hand, has a very steep learning curve, especially because one needs to be fully aware of DOM directives and filters in order to make full use of AngularJS.
While both Angular and React offer HTML, JS and CSS structures and components, React supports JSX (which can integrate HTML with JS directly).
So, with such differences, what talking points do we drive home? Well, React clearly is a more learner-oriented library. It is lightweight and faster to operate, thereby making it ideal for web apps that need to output or deal with a large amount of data. Since React has a virtual DOM and only the View component, it is nimble and well-loved by designers as well.
Angular, on the other hand, offers a full MVC architecture and browser DOM, which makes it perfect for heavy-duty coding that requires both Model and Controller, and not just View. Since the DOM is not virtual, Angular does take a small bargain in terms of performance and speed.
As much as Google loves it, AngularJS is a library that you will love to hate initially, but once you get used to it, you can easily talk at length about its awesomeness. That said, many of Angular’s features are double-edged swords that may operate for you, and may operate against you.
Take up the case of the DOM; Angular relies heavily on the DOM for execution. This is a good idea for as long as the virtual DOM does not suffice for your projects. Yet, simultaneously, you should also note that Angular’s reliance on DOM makes it very difficult to actually debug your code and test the execution.
In fact, Angular is not something that is meant for the weaker masses. The learning curve is steep, and everything must operate as per the terms and conditions of AngularJS—every operation must pass through the digest cycle, for example. This can enforce uniformity across your code, and also cause compatibility issues with other dependencies. Once again, a double-edged sword.
React tries to solve some of these problems. As already stated, it uses a one-way data flow and a virtual DOM, so it gains an obvious advantage over Angular in terms of sheer speed. In fact, React is what you will get if Angular were to ever go on a low-cholesterol diet. Everything is reduced to the bare minimum API, to the extent that you might find React lacking in terms of app development features!
As such, React is more of an open source library that you would use to build user interfaces, whereas Angular is more of an application development framework. If you do not need the full MVC architecture and can work with just the View, React might be apt for you.
Of late, React is gaining in popularity. Backed by Facebook, React is now being used by GitHub’s new code editor, Atom. Also, Yahoo!’s new email interface also utilizes components from React. That said, if you migrate to React from AngularJS, you will find yourself confused to a certain degree, especially because React strips everything down to the bare minimum, and its one-way data flow can be suffocating for folks who are used to Angular’s two-way binding mechanism.
To learn more, you can find Pete Hunt’s comparison of AngularJS and React on Quora.
What do you think of Angular and React? Which one do you use, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured Image: Fumi Yamazaki
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