Angular vs. React: A comparison of the JavaScript solutions

Angular and React are two of the most popular solutions for websites and mobile apps. Whereas Angular is a complete framework with a lot of features and an admittedly more rigid approach, React is a library that is mostly used with other libraries. Which of the two solutions is better will depend on the particularities of the project you’re currently working on.

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If you want to create a dynamic website that can react to interactions without lengthy loading times, you’ll likely end up working with a web framework. Among the most popular JavaScript frameworks and libraries are MooTools, Vue, Svelte, .NET framework and of course Angular and React. The two solutions both have large fanbases, come with numerous advantages, and also have a couple of downsides. Which option is the better one for you will depend on many different factors. We’ll take a look at the similarities and differences between Angular and React and explain which is the better choice for you.


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What are Angular and React?

Let’s first take a closer look at the two solutions. Angular is a framework for web apps, is based on TypeScript, and has been developed since 2016. It replaced AngularJS and is run by a community led by Google and others. Angular is open source and platform independent. In contrast to its predecessor, it uses JavaScript. The framework is very popular and is used by Google, Microsoft, IBM, PayPal, and Samsung.

React, on the other hand, isn’t a JavaScript framework in the strict sense of the word; instead, it’s a library. It was developed in 2013 by and for Facebook and has been running on an MIT license since 2017, meaning that it’s also open source. React is suited to web and mobile apps and can also be used in combination with other libraries. One special feature of React is DOM diffing, which enables only the modified parts to be updated instead of creating additional document object models. The solution is widely used both in and out of the Meta universe: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp all use it, as well as Netflix, Dropbox, and the New York Times.

Angular vs React: Similarities

When comparing Angular and React, one of the first things you’ll notice is that the two solutions have a great deal in common. A number of points are true of both of them, including:

  • Open source: As mentioned above, both Angular and React are open source. This means that they’re free and have large communities that are constantly working on making them better. Bugs are usually fixed quickly, and regular improvements can be expected.
  • Structure: Both Angular and React use components, making them particularly user friendly. The different components can be examined and tested individually and can be reused without restrictions.
  • Uses: Both solutions are used for developing the frontend of a website or mobile app.
  • Purpose: Angular and React can be used across platforms and are best suited to single-page applications. They can also be used with web components.
  • Updates: Both solutions are regularly updated. Any errors and bugs are quickly fixed or already addressed in advance.

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Angular vs React: Differences

When deciding between the two solutions, you’ll of course want to know about the differences between Angular and React. Let’s take them point by point:

  • Basis: The biggest difference between Angular and React is that Angular is a complete framework in the traditional sense of the word, whereas React is a library. This means that they’ll have a different range of functions.
  • Features: As a complete framework, Angular offers more features than its competitor. It implements Model View Controller software design and uses Ajax Support, the automated development tool Angular CLI, and TypeScript. React gains points with its virtual DOM, the cross-platform software React Native for mobile apps, and a declarative user interface.
  • Integration: Angular is more difficult to integrate, due to its status as a comprehensive framework. On the other hand, React usually requires additional libraries but is easy to integrate.
  • Syntax: Different users will have different preferences when it comes to syntax. Angular uses TypeScript and React uses the somewhat easier JSX.
  • Learningcurve: Angular is somewhat more difficult to learn, as users will need to know TypeScript. React is easier to learn, though additional features will also require a bit of time to get used to and more effort than, e.g., a jQuery tutorial.
  • Tools: Both solutions require and offer various tools that developers should be familiar with. Angular uses, for example, code editors like VS Code, the interface Angular CLI, the tool Angular Universal for rendering, and Protractor for testing. React supports VS Code, Create React Apps, Jest for testing, and the framework Next.js for rendering.
  • Performance: In general, Angular and React perform similarly. When it comes to larger applications, React’s virtual DOM gives it a leg up over Angular and provides for better performance.
  • Extensions: Angular and React both offer numerous extensions. The biggest difference here is that Angular is already quite extensive from the get go and comes with a lot of features, whereas React has a more minimalist structure and requires more extensions to get started. However, the large developer communities behind the two solutions ensure that there are numerous extensions available for both of them.

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Which solution is best for which project?

Different projects require different approaches. Whereas Angular might be right for one project, another project might call for React. If you’re developing an entire app from scratch, Angular will usually be the better choice, especially if the backend plays a big role. This is especially true if you already know TypeScript. In general, comprehensive projects will benefit from the wide range of features offered by Angular. On the other hand, if you’re working on an existing application or if the emphasis is overwhelmingly on the frontend, React will be the better choice. It’s also the right solution for integrating a lot of interactive elements. That’s because it’s flexible and easier to learn.

Summary: Angular vs. React

So which solution is better? That will largely depend on the nature of your project, the knowledge you’re bringing with you, and your needs. Angular and React are two of the best solutions out there and offer a variety of different options. So developers have the luxury of choosing between these two solid solutions or even looking at a further comparison: Angular vs React vs Vue. The possibilities are extensive and with these two solutions it’s hard to go wrong.

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