Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Following the 2020 Developer Survey, 35% of respondents believe that React is the most convenient tool for frontend components creating. Angular follows on its heels and has got 25% of votes, staying a couple of steps behind. However, both instruments are suitable for their purposes. They have several significant benefits and large communities. But what are the differences between React and Angular? Let's consider why IT-specialists choose them to design different products.
Core Angular Features And Benefits
"Opinionated but true: Angular is THE BEST solution for building medium to large applications in an enterprise environment with multiple projects and teams."
Kevin Kreuzer, Developer Expert at Google
Angular is a Typescript based framework designed by Google in 2016. It is the heir to Angular.js, released by the company in 2012. The original idea was to extend the HTML syntax to express application components by it. This feature persisted in Angular, regardless of version updates and concept changes.
Today, Angular is an open-source platform that is used to create all sorts of products. Mostly it's about single-page applications (SPA). But the framework is also suitable for web, mobile development, and hybrid apps designing because of its cross-platform opportunities.
Among the advantages of Angular, it is worth highlighting:
Dependency Injection. In plain, it means that once-configured dependencies will apply to every new development component.
Set of Templates. Angular provides both tools for frontend development and ready-made templates for creating a clear app design.
Automatic changes. During the data change, all development components containing these data will update automatically.
Clear Logic and Structure. There is no confusion about classes and methods in Angular. Also, because of the TypeScript base, a programmer can write a strongly typed code. This feature prevents experts from making errors in designing.
Cross-platform and cross-browser. Angular products not only work well regardless of platform (Windows, Linus, Mac, etc.). They are also readable by any browser.
For what products development is Angular used? The most famous solutions designed with Angular are owned by Google, Forbes, Microsoft, Dell, BMW, Xbox, etc. It's about absolutely diverse solutions (web, mobile apps, and so on).
React: Its Features And Pros
Initially, engineers needed a toolkit that would cover the drawbacks of all existing frameworks and create a clear UI in a short time. It is what React can do now. It's suitable for web-, mobile, and cross-platform development of any complexity, making it easy to create and maintain components. React has the following benefits:
Simplicity. React is easy to work with and understanding. Its logic is clear from the very beginning.
Work speed. React enables components development from simple to complex. The specialist can reuse them at different levels. This feature saves time and effort.
Easy component updates. The last ones are independent of each other. It means that changes in one component don't affect the structure and operating of others.
Rapid testing. A Redux tool that allows efficiently managing and sharing data about the state of components speeds up the testing of any change to the product interface.
Freedom. React does not impose any requirement on the IT-specialist to conduct development procedures. Besides, the library integrates well with most tools that allow it to be used in conjunction with other libraries and frameworks, even Angular.
Thus, even at first glance, this instrument seems more convenient for developers than its opponent. But what is React used for? As seen, it's usually applicable for various apps UI designing. This tool was used to design products owned by BBS, Estee Lauder, Visa, Toyota, Facebook, etc.
Angular vs. React: What's Better?
Developers are regularly comparing React and Angular trying to determine which one is worth using. Both are perfect for frontend development, have cross-platform functionality and a component-based architecture. But for some reason, React has been holding the lead for several years, while Angular is remaining third. Maybe it's all about the following distinctions.
DOM: Virtual against Real
DOM or Document Object Model is a program interface enabled to get and change a document's data and structure. React uses virtual DOM, meanwhile Angular works with a real one.
In virtual DOM, to change any component, it is enough to make changes directly to the required code fragment. The components are not dependent on each other, so the change in one component will not affect the operation of the others.
It's different when dealing with the real DOM. Before reaching a piece of data that needs to be changed, the system will change the complete tree structure of HTML tables related to the above fragment.
Thus, working with React seems faster because of the opportunity to update the desired component without changing in other ones.
Data Binding: One-way vs. Two-way
React has a one-way data-binding, while Angular uses a two-way one. The difference is that in the first case, the user interface components can be changed because of a change in the underlying model.
With two-way binding, there is a direct interdependence between the interface and the model: changes in the model entail changes in the interface and vice versa. This approach seems to be much more flexible, but it's more complicated to regulate. A one-way data binding makes the code stable and enables the efficient maintenance of large applications.
As mentioned earlier, a library differs from a framework in high flexibility. So, one more distinction between Angular and React is the ability to maintain backward compatibility.
Developing on one version of Angular, it's extremely difficult to switch to the other one. Working with React, a specialist can use different library versions together, and they will integrate seamlessly with each other.
Following Medium, 78% of open IT-positions on Indeed require React knowledge, and only 21% of vacancies are placed for Angular experts. So far, leading companies prefer to React. As for now, Angular is inferior to React in terms of simplicity and usability. Anyway, both tools are among the best for frontend development. The choice between them depends on the company's goals. If it needs to develop a clean interface for a flexible solution in a short time, React is more applicable. If there is no rush in time and no need to configure third-party integrations - it's the finest hour for Angular.