Angular or React? What is a better choice for web development in 2022? Is Angular better than React? Or is React better than Angular?
If you are planning to create a project from scratch or transfer an existing site to one of these web development technologies, you are, undoubtedly, asking yourself these questions. Accordingly, it is essential to understand that these tools have advantages and disadvantages relative to each other, and significant differences in their essence.
In this article, we will not be deciding which technology is better for you. However, we will provide a side-by-side comparison of Angular and React’s general and technical aspects so that you can make an informed choice for your project.
What is Angular?
Angular is a complete set of tools that a developer needs to create large-scale applications. The technology provides a large selection of ready-made solutions and a well-thought-out system for collecting and storing information. In turn, this simplifies the construction of large websites and ensures their reliable operation.
The first version of the AngularJS framework was created to simplify the development and testing process using HTML tags. The modern version has been completely redesigned and rewritten in TypeScript, and the Angular core has been significantly optimized. Today, AngularJS and Angular are entirely different frameworks with different architectures. In January 2022, Google decided to develop the new version separately from the previous one and stopped supporting Angular JS.
Modern Angular is a framework that allows developers to create applications for web apps, mobile devices, and desktops. The technology is used to create single-page applications that change images without reloading the page and thus quickly respond to user actions.
What can Angular do that React can’t?
- Full-fledged framework. Angular is a full-fledged framework with many features for software development. Consequently, this allows you to solve various tasks using ready-made modules, unlike React, whose functionality is limited to working with UI elements. To work with Angular, there are modules such as UI-router (i.e., module for routing), ui-grid, and ng-table (i.e., for working with tables).
- MVC pattern. Angular is based on the MVC pattern. This means that the Angular app data flow is divided into Model, View, and Controller layers that depend on each other.
- Bidirectional data binding. Angular has a bidirectional data binding process feature. This allows the user to identify components at the ‘View’ layer and synchronously change when the ‘Model’ component data changes. How does this work? Angular tracks user actions and child component changes at the Model layer and updates the necessary interface templates. For these manipulations, the technology does not need to change low-level structures; everything happens by prescribing the necessary changes in the Model layer.
- Framework features. As a framework, Angular has component-based routing and dependency injection features. To implement them, you do not need additional tools, unlike React.
What is React?
Even though React JS is often put on par with frameworks, this technology is a material UI library for creating interfaces that can change the image without reloading the page.
Applications built with React have a component-based architecture. React allows you to create special components – blocks of code that are easy to reuse, maintain, and test for building user interfaces. Furthermore, you can assemble complex interfaces using React UI tools.
The use of JSX is related to one of React’s feature—its declarative nature. This means that React development describes the expected result, not how to achieve it.
What can React do that Angular can’t?
The main feature of the technology is the virtual DOM implementation, unlike Angular, which uses only real DOM. DOM refers to the document object model, allowing users to access and change its content, layout, and structure.
How does it work? DOM (i.e., Document Object Model) is an object that stores information about the state of the interface, which allows users to access the content of HTML documents and change their content, structure, and design. However, attempts to manipulate HTML elements. To solve this problem, the concept of virtual DOM was born.
Accordingly, virtual DOM is a lightweight copy of the DOM. If it’s necessary to change some elements of the web page, the changes are first made to the virtual DOM, then the new state of the virtual DOM is compared with the current state of the page. If these states differ, React can find the minimum number of manipulations required to update the main DOM to the new state and implement them.
A brief history of Angular and React
Angular is a Google-developed web framework that was first released in 2010 as a software to facilitate the development of enterprise applications. The framework was created by a Google developer, Miško Hevery, and his colleague, Adam Abrons. Abrons suggested the name of the project. Since the project was conceived as an add-on to HTML, the syntax which uses angle brackets, the project was named Angular. It, immediately, became one of the most popular web frameworks at the time.
The angular.com domain was taken, and the service was located at GetAngular.com. However, developers of the technology soon abandoned the idea of software development and decided to release AngularJS as an open-source framework.
In 2014, the development of Angular JS 2.0 was announced; it was written from scratch in TypeScript. AngularJS 2.0 was different from the first version that it developed as an entirely new framework. On September 15, 2016, the modern version called Angular was released, and the previous version was developed separately as AngularJS until 2022 when Google stopped supporting the previous version.
React technology was developed by Facebook developer Jordan Valke. In 2011, Valke first used the technology he created in the Facebook feed, and in 2012 it was implemented in the Instagram app.
Initially, React was positioned as a closed technology, intended to be used only by Facebook developers, but at the JSConf US conference in 2013, the source code of the technology was completely open.
In February 2015, at the next Facebook conference dedicated to React, a new platform, React Native, was announced, which allowed mobile app development using React. A month later, the source code of React Native was open.
In the spring of 2017, Facebook announced the development of an improved and optimized version of React—React Fiber.
Angular vs. React: Popularity Growth
So, based on statistics, which technology is more popular? In this section, we will analyze the rise in popularity of Angular and React among developers.
Angular vs. React: Google Trends
According to Google Trends—a tool that analyzes the popularity of search queries in different regions—currently, Google users are more interested in React technology.
If we look at the performance over the past five years, we will see that the technologies were at the same level for some time. But starting in 2019, React began to gain popularity, and in 2021 it significantly exceeded Angular.
Over the past two years, the growth in popularity of React has continued, and it can be assumed that this trend will continue until the end of the year.
Angular vs. React: Stack Overflow
A question and answer site, Stack Overflow, annually conducts a survey among developers on various topics. In May 2021, more than 80,000 professionals shared what technologies they use. Let’s take a look at the results.
A total of 67,593 respondents participated in the Web Frameworks survey, of which 49,941 were professional developers. Additionally, 40.14% of all respondents preferred React, and 22.96% chose Angular.
If we consider the percentage solely among professional developers, then 26.23% of specialists voted for Angular, but the majority was held by React at 41.4%.
66,202 respondents took part in the survey on the topic Loved VS. Dreaded. More specifically, 69.28% of the respondents named React as their favorite technology while 30.72% as their least favorite.
Angular was named as their favorite technology by 55.82% of respondents, and for 44.18%, the technology was the most disliked.
It is worth noting that AngularJS also made it into this ranking, with 23.18% as the user’s favorite technology and 76.82% as the least favorite.
Angular vs. React: NPMTrends
NPMTrends is a search engine that compares search terms for npm packages, similar to Google Trends. However, while Google Trends parses the search engine and plots the search for a word or phrase, NPMTrends displays the number of downloads for the requested packages.
We’ve looked at the graph for Angular and React, which clearly shows a steady growth of React compared to the stable stagnation of Angular.
Angular vs. React: Statista
According to the results, the most popular and in-demand skill was the skill of working with React, whereas that of Angular was at 4th place.
Angular vs. React: State of JS
Consider the category of user satisfaction with Angular and React technologies. As you can see, even during 2016, React was outperforming other technologies in terms of this indicator, having caught up with the Vue framework in 2018. In 2020, technology lost the championship to Svelte, and, in 2021, managed to catch up with it.
Angular has been steadily falling since 2017, and by 2021, the technology has dropped in the rankings, overtaking only Ember.
A similar situation with Angular occurs in the user interest category. It is worth noting that, since 2017, React has also been losing user interest, yielding to technologies such as Vue, Solid and Svelte.
However, in the user awareness category, Angular and React hold the lead, with the already familiar bias towards React. Although in 2021, Angular lost ground to Vue.
As for the usage category, here we can observe the primacy of React, while Angular is in second place.
GitHub rates on Angular vs React
Many people consider GitHub stars when deciding whether or not to trust and use an open-source project. Furthermore, some people compare or judge projects based solely on the number of stars a repository has. GitHub stars for React (146k) are way more than Angular (59.2k).
Angular vs. React: Side-by-Side Comparison
Let’s figure out the specific differences between Angular and React by comparing both technologies’ technical and general aspects.
1. Framework vs. Library
As mentioned, Angular is a framework, and React is a library. What is the difference? To understand what a library is in programming, imagine a real library. You go there to get the knowledge that has been available for a long time; in other words, you are not reinventing the wheel. Libraries work the same way in programming. They are a set of ready-made templates that you can apply in your project. If earlier programmers had to write all the code from scratch, then today, there are many universal parts of the code that are the same for any program. For example, the principle of working with an image of a certain resolution is universal for any program, and the code that helps to work with these types of files will be just as universal.
It is a collection of such independent, separate parts of the code that provide certain working functionality for any program that a library is.
Libraries operate on the principle of single responsibility. This means that one library provides only one functionality. If we talk about React technology, its functionality is limited to working with user interfaces, and additional modules will be required to close other functional duties.
This is how we approach the definition of a framework. Unlike a library, the functionality of a framework is not limited to one task. In simple terms, a framework is a collection of libraries of various functionality and rules for developing a certain type of application. This is the basis and architecture of the future application into which the developer embeds his code. So, the framework, greatly simplifies development and saves time, allowing you to create a ready-made solution.
Both technologies are suitable for web and mobile application development. However, for mobile development with Angular, you need an additional open-source NativeScript framework, and for React, you need React Native, a cross-platform open-source framework that allows you to develop Android, iOS, and UWP apps.
Based on the framework and library definitions, we can conclude that React only allows us to work with the task of designing the user interface. By default, React doesn’t have any tools for dealing with routing, web requests, or streamlining state management processes. All these functions require the installation of additional libraries.
In turn, Angular does not require additional modules and can provide any functionality with its means.
4. Learning Curve
Angular has a steep learning curve, considering it is a complete solution, and mastering Angular requires developers to learn associated concepts such as TypeScript and MVC. To work with the technology, a specialist will need to learn many complex functions.
5. Community Support
As we’ve seen, React is more popular than Angular, largely due to the lower barrier to entry, and some people are attracted to greater freedom of action. React is open source and constantly updated thanks to the support of giant corporations such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as a community of developers from various countries.
Angular cannot boast the same popularity, largely due to the complexity of learning. But Angular also has a community that appreciates the wide functionality of the framework. Like React, Angular is an open-source platform, and not only members of the permanent development team but also any developer can contribute to its development.
6. Ease of Update
Both technologies possess the ability to be manually updated to the latest version using built-in functionality. However, for Angular, it is possible to install the Angular CLI command line interface, which is a set of utilities for quickly updating existing code, creating new projects and adding third-party libraries.
7. Development Speed and Productivity
Thanks to integration tools, an efficient command line interface, and the use of the TypeScript language that facilitates real-time debugging, Angular offers a fast and productive development process.
The speed of development on React will, in turn, depend on the additional tools and technologies used in the project, as well as the level of developer proficiency.
8. Performance & DOM
In terms of performance, you should pay close attention to the concept of runtime performance. This aspect measures the speed with which the application can perform a particular task. In other words, it assesses how quickly your web application responds to user actions and the data they enter. The responsiveness of your application and the speed of updating the user interface directly depend on the number of DOM manipulations.
DOM is a specific tree data structure. If you change one DOM element, it will be updated fairly quickly. However, after the change is made, the updated element and all of its children must be re-rendered, which makes the DOM manipulation process extremely slow.
React uses virtual DOM technology, which we previously highlighted. The main purpose of virtual DOM is to calculate and minimize the number of queries and manipulations on the real DOM, thereby improving the performance of React.
Angular does not offer a similar scheme for working with the DOM. When working with a framework, updates are constantly made to the real DOM, which can reduce performance. In addition, Angular’s bidirectional data binding affects performance. At each binding, an observer is assigned, and at each manipulation, all observers and all values associated with it are checked. However, it’s worth noting that there are additional ways to optimize performance, such as the OnPush strategy to detect component changes.
9. JSX vs. HTML
Component markup in Angular is done in HTML. HTML is a HyperText Markup Language used to define the structure of a web page. It is through HTML that the browser receives a document from the server using the HTTP or HTTPS protocols and interprets the received code components into an interface.
10. App Structure
The Angular framework is based on the MVC pattern. The essence of this concept is to separate the application data into components: Model, View, and Controller. The Model component responds to controller commands and provides data. The View component reacts to changes in the model, which displays the model data to the user. The Controller reacts to the user’s actions by notifying the model of the need for changes.
React’s structure doesn’t have the same strict framework as Angular, giving developers a lot of freedom. But also requires them to design the structure at the start of every new project. Since React’s data concept itself only offers a View component, adding a Model and Controller will require additional tools.
11. Code Comparison
The architecture of both technologies is based on components. In React, code components are rendered using the React DOM library and based on ES6 classes.
Each of the Angular code components is sorted into four separate files. This includes a file to implement the component (TypeScript), to define the presentation (HTML), to define stylistic features (CSS), and a file for testing purposes.
12. UI Components
React and Angular are increasingly supporting a component-oriented approach to programming. This approach relies on the concept of a component as an independent module that can be reused. The developer builds the app interface using UI components that can be combined and reused in other applications.
When working with Angular, customizing the user interface is easier and faster, thanks to numerous ready-made design elements built into the overall functionality of the framework.
React is expanding through the community. React developers are constantly adding and updating the library with new interface tools that can be downloaded from React portals.
Directives are language constructs that indicate to the compiler the logic for processing code when it is converted to another programming language.
There are no directives in React, only elements, and components, and all templates and logic are explained at the end of the component.
Angular itself has built-in structural directives ngIf, ngFor, *ngSwitch, etc., the syntax of which is quite difficult for beginners to understand.
14. State Management
State is a collective term for any information that is relevant to an application. This concept includes both data, such as a list of tasks or users, as well as a loading state or form state. State can be local or global, depending on how many components use it.
Both Angular and React offer the option not to use additional state management tools. However, in most cases, developers use additional state management libraries with specific libraries, such as Redux or NgRx.
15. Dependency Injection
Dependency injection is the process of providing software components with an external dependency. For example, providing access to another class to the current class in which the developer directly writes code.
React does not fully provide dependency injection functionality, but it can create global component objects that will be available to any component. This allows you to share data without passing properties around the entire DOM tree.
Angular, in turn, has full dependency injection, which allows each software component to transfer the care of building the dependencies it needs to an external, dedicated common mechanism.
Web application development technologies require well-thought-out security solutions, especially Angular and React, which are popular among large organizations. Even though both technologies are considered very safe, no one is immune to errors.
What problems do React and Angular web applications most often suffer from?
- Injection by an attacker of arbitrary SQL code.
- Random Code Execution, a security hole that allows an attacker to execute arbitrary commands or code in a target process.
- Vulnerabilities at the HTTP level, cross-site request forgery.
To prevent these difficulties, each of the technologies has its methods.
React provides the ability to remove or disable any markup that could potentially include instructions to run code as a defense against XSS vulnerabilities. In addition, there are several additional tools for securing React source code, such as Jscrambler.
Angular creates variables that are interpolated into templates to prevent cross-site scripting. Moreover, the technology uses a method of sending a randomly generated authentication token in a cookie to protect against fake cross-site requests.
17. Data Binding
Data binding is the data synchronization process that allows control of the changes to the source that are automatically reflected in control.
React offers a one-way data binding process between the Model and View layer. One-way data binding means that a UI element cannot change a component’s state. Whereas Angular’s feature is bidirectional binding/two-way data binding, in which Model and View change synchronously. This means that when a UI element changes, the state of the corresponding mode also changes.
18. Change Rendering
As we have already mentioned, React uses virtual DOM technology, which allows you to change interface elements without updating the entire DOM structure. Angular updates the entire tree structure, which significantly slows down rendering speed. To compensate for this shortcoming, Angular uses OnPush, a component change detection strategy.
Rendering a web app with the DOM is called CSR (Client-Side Rendering), but thanks to additional tools in React and Angular, it is possible to use the Server-Side Rendering (SSR) technique. React is Next.js to set up SSR and Angular Universal technology for Angular.
Angular and React are supported by many additional applications and tools that extend their functionality.
The Angular State Inspector extension for Angular allows managing the state within each individual DOM element. The Augury browser extension is suitable for debugging an application in development mode. The Angular Material library provides a choice of Angular components, while libraries such as NgRx help with state management. Moreover, Angular testing tools such as Spectator, Angular Testing Library, and Angular Benchpress are worth noting.
Angular vs. React: Developer Salary Comparison
Choosing a technology is not everything. Transferring authority to a qualified and responsible specialist is one of the main tasks in preparing for work on a new project. Consider the average salaries of Angular and React developers in different countries.
As shown, the difference between salaries of Angular and React developers is not huge. But the difference between the developers’ salaries in different countries is significant. In the United States and Canada, specialists earn, on average, from 80 to 120 thousand dollars. In Europe, the figure is in the range of 50 to 75 thousand, whereas in India, the salary is 9-10 thousand.
Angular vs. React: Critical Pros and Cons
We have thoroughly studied the features of Angular and React. Now, it’s time to look at each technology’s specific advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Angular
- A complete framework with wide functionality;
- Does not require additional modules;
- App speed;
- Supported and developed by Google;
- Availability of ready-made solutions.
Disadvantages of Angular
- It becomes slow in loading when we embed interactive elements in the User Interface;
- It will be difficult to expand the app’s functionality;
- It has difficulty in third-party integrations.
Advantages of React
- Ability to expand application functionality;
- Development time save;
- High speed of making project changes;
- The developments from your current project can be used in your future projects;
Disadvantages of React
- Technology functionality is limited, and may take time to find additional tools and libraries;
- Frequency of updates
Angular vs React: Popular Apps
We already discussed the advantages and features of these two technologies for creating web applications. Therefore, it’s time to look at the results of using Angular and React on existing apps. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Angular and React apps.
Angular Use Cases
- The Guardian. The developers of this British newspaper website used the power of Angular to create an infinite scroll of search results, as well as in the image management system.
- PayPal. Each day, more than 300 million users transact with PayPal. Thanks to Angular technology, a system for placing and paying for an order was developed.
- Upwork. Upwork is the largest freelance marketplace that uses Angular to improve responsiveness across devices.
- Autodesk. The site of the largest supplier of software for industrial and civil engineering, Autodesk, is written on Angular.
- Google. Naturally, Google, the creator of the technology, uses Angular.
React Use Cases
- Facebook. Facebook partially uses React. The mobile application is developed using React Native.
- Instagram. For a popular React app, this technology is quite significant. Instagram owes technology to the app’s features, such as geolocation or search engine accuracy.
- Netflix. In a blog post, Netflix’s developers officially stated that they chose React due to its startup speed, performance, and modularity.
- Airbnb. Airbnb, an online marketplace for listing and searching for private short-term rentals worldwide, is also written using React technology.
- WhatsApp. The famous messenger uses ReactJS to create user interfaces.
Angular vs React: When to choose what?
So, which technology should you choose? You are free to make this choice depending on the features and requirements of your project and your personal preference.
Choose React JS for your project if
- You want to create dynamic web apps. If you plan to extend the functionality of your projects and need more freedom in designing its architecture.
- You have tight deadlines. React is easier and simpler for young professionals than frameworks like Angular. However, remember that your developers’ team may need additional libraries and, therefore, the time to study them. The use of the Virtual DOM is one of the key features of React, which greatly speeds up the work with the technology.
- Feel free to choose React to take full advantage of its component-centric approach, which makes it easy to change ready-made components and use them in new projects. Thus, when working with React, you are not only creating a new application but also “investing” in your future projects in advance. And the ability to use existing code, again and again, will increase the speed of development and testing of your new progressive web apps and, of course, reduce costs.
Choose Angular for your project if
- You want to create a massive application. Angular will greatly simplify and speed up the development process by providing you with a ready-made framework with an MVC structure for the project.
- You need easy and reliable scalability.
The Jaydevs team is made up of experienced professionals proficient in various technologies, including Angular and React.
Our company can offer you the following web development services:
- Backend development (Java, PHP, Python, Node.js)
- Mobile development (React Native)
How to start working with us?
- Send us a request for the developer you need.
- We will send you the CVs of the required developers.
- We will organize and conduct interviews with specialists.
- If everything suits you, we will sign an agreement.
- Lastly, we will start working on the project (with a trial period of two weeks).
We work worldwide with clients from countries such as the US, Australia, the UK, Switzerland, Finland, and many more. If you are still in doubt about which technology to choose, Jaydevs experts can help you choose the best solution for your business.