AngularJS vs. ReactJS: How the Two Compare?

19 / Sep / 2017 by Nidhi Choudhary 2 comments

Product companies have evolved over the last few years. While some years back, the focus was on going to market with the best features, the game has shifted to user experience today! With multiple products launching similar functionalities, it is very difficult to stand out against the competitors with features alone. It is the intuitive and engaging experience that helps to create a recall and break the clutter. A good product in this digital age is a blend of the highly visual frontend, robust backend and rich functionalities.

Technology has become the backbone for any good product. There are multiple technologies that companies leverage for frontend and backend development, but only a few are well-received and popular.  JavaScript is one such popular programming language. It is a cross-platform, object-oriented scripting language.

Some of the advantages of Javascript include:

  • Client-side execution
  • Easy to learn with a syntax that is close to English
  • Instance response to the visitors as script is executed on the user’s machine
  • Enhances interactivity
  • Rich interfaces including drag and drop components, sliders and much more
  • Amazing community support
  • Provides frameworks for both frontend and backend development

The JavaScript ecosystem is constantly evolving offering development teams an unparalleled experience.

Which JS framework or library integrates well with your needs? In this blog, we will outline the key differentiating factors between AngularJS and ReactJS (Angular is a Powerful JS Framework and React is a Popular JS Library) and how the two compare?

Angular-VS-React-GIF

According to 2016 State of JS research, Vue and React tops the list when respondents were asked about their satisfaction levels.

State-of-JS-research

Source: stateofjs.com

However, when they were asked about their interest, React gained on Angular.

State-of-JS-research-2017

source: stateofjs.com

Pls. note that the state of JS report for 2017 will be available soon and we are keen to check the popularity of Angular 4 in 2017 findings. We shall share them soon.

Nevertheless, Angular and React both are extremely amazing. Here’s more food for thought:

AngularJS

AngularJS is promoted and maintained by Google and in no time from its launch in 2010, it has become quite popular among development communities. Angular extends the functionality of HTML and can be used to launch applications faster than any other framework.

HotFrameworks ranking names AngularJS the 2nd most popular framework globally,

Most prominent features of Angular:

  1. It is well supported by the MVC architecture making development and testing quicker thereby improving the productivity of dev teams.
  2. A framework that is designed for web developers so as to have better control.
  3. Features like dependency injection and data-binding help to reduce the time for writing the codes.
  4. Filter, is one other feature, a predefined keyword which is used as a symbol. Before presenting the data to users, an angular filter modifies this data. These filters can be used with directives and expressions.
  5. By using expressions, Angular can directly manage the data within the templates.
  6. The framework is built keeping CRUD (create, read, update and delete) concept in mind.

Let’s deep dive into some of the above-listed features of AngularJS

Dependency injection

Dependency Injection is a software design pattern wherein all the components are given their respective dependencies instead of hardcoding them inside of the component.

Directives

AngularJS allows the development teams to extend HTML with new attributes called Directives. The set of in-built directives lends functionality to application and developers can define their own custom directives as well. Outlined below are some of the Directives

Directives Description
nd-list Converts a text into a list or an array strings
ng-hide Hides HTML elements
ng-controller Defines the controller object of the application
ng-open Sets the open attribute of a details list
ng-include Used as an element and includes HTML from an external file

Code Consistency

Consistency in the build is one of the most important factors to be taken into consideration while building a new product. Angular ensures that there is code consistency as it is based on services and components. Below are few tasks that angular components perform:

  • Place code in a component class
  • Import required ES2015 modules
  • Define a @Component decorator or a metadata

TypeScript

There are many benefits that TypeScripts with AngularJS brings to the table

  • Just like CoffeeScript and Dart, TypeScript itself is a stand-alone language, this means that with TypeScript can help developers to have existing ES5 or JavaScript code and plug the same into a TypeScript.js file directly.
  • It provides support to interfaces, primitives and other custom types
  • Detection of errors in early stage of development lifecycle
  • Development teams can customize the features as Typescript allows techniques like classes and functional programming
  • TypeScript offers a feature name “Guard Rails” to track the development progress

Routing

For product development companies that want to build a single page application can benefit from routing. It becomes easy to navigate different pages of the application without page reloading using ngRoute module.

Smooth two-way data-binding

Data binding is done on DOM which in turn helps to sync the data between multiple parts of DOM. The main purpose of this approach is to have a synchronization between view components and the model. Because of this synchronization, when there is a change in a model the same change will reflect in the view and vice versa.

 In MVC framework with regard to AngularJS, Model (M) is what defines your data. View(V) is what users see when interacting with web application and we know due to two-way data binding, Model and view are bonded with each other and the thing that binds them together is called controller, making the synchronization between view components and the model effective.

Two-Way-Data-Binding (2)

 

Outlined below are some of the most renowned brands leveraging AngularJS

  • PS3 Youtube App
  • NASA
  • HBO Official Site
  • Nike
  • General Motors
  • AWS
  • Open Stack
  • iTunes Connect

ReactJS

ReactJS is an open source Javascript library developed by Facebook that provides the programmers with a clear view of the data in form of HTML. The main purpose of developing this library was to promote implementation interactive and reusable UI components.

 Following are the top features of ReactJS that makes it unique in its own way:

  1. Reactjs comes with a concept of component-based architecture.
  2. It supports languages like: JSX, JavaScript and TypeScript
  3. Availability of ECMAScript 6 and 7
  4. Easy interface design and learning of API
  5. Excellent for JavaScript debugging.
  6. It renders a large amount of data

Following are some more features of ReactJS that makes it stand among top JavaScript technologies

The Virtual DOM

React uses virtual DOM because of the fact that it is much better way to update the view in a web application.The biggest advantage of Virtual DOM is that any change in data model will trigger a complete refresh of the virtual user interface. Virtual DOM also observes documents and update the same whenever there is a requirement.

Virtula-DOM-ReactJS

 JSX Files

This is similar to XML language and HTML. Instead of having templates, React has JSX. A vital factor of JSX is that it detects the error during design phase instead of detecting it on the runtime. Moreover, it targets more than just HTML, like targeting Canvas, native mobile UI and custom markups

Data Binding

ReactJS uses one-way data binding which means that the flow of data is directed towards one direction, unlike two-way data binding. This ensures that the complexity of data flow is minimal. It’s worth noting that ReactJS offered two-way data binding before v15 thanks to ReactLink.

One-Way-Data-Binding

In order to implement a unidirectional data flow in React, Facebook developed a custom architecture called Flux which controls the flow of data to ReactJS components through a single control point called “dispatcher”
reactjs-data-flow

Dependency management

There is a small difference with regards to dependency injection between Angular and React. React doesn’t offer any concept of a built-in container for dependency injection. However, there are several instruments to inject dependencies such as Browserify, RequireJS, ECMAScript6 modules which are used via Babel, ReactJS-di, and so on.

Railing

In the recent past, various product engineering companies are using this library because of features such as props’ and state capacity which provides railing to create useful apps.

Props is simply a jargon which means properties.The common thing about props and states is that they both handle information which is related to the component. However, type of information and the way of handling the information is different. The major difference between the two is; Props include information that is set by the parent component and the information can not be changed. With states, it contains information that is a private information for the component and this information can be changed.

Here is a quick comparison between the two:

PROPS STATES
Props are Immutable. States are Mutable.
Passed from parents. Created within components.
Inside values cannot be changes Inside values are changes
can be defaulted & validated Can become props

Brands using ReactJS

  • Uber
  • Dropbox
  • Flipkart
  • Expedia
  • Airbnb
  • Netflix
  • IMDb
  • PayPal
  • Instagram

Let’s sum up with side by side comparison between AngularJS and ReactJS:

 

Characteristic ReactJS AngularJS
Creator Facebook Google
Language JSX JavaScript or HTML
Version v15.6.0 Angular 4.0.0
DOM Virtual DOM Regular DOM
Data- binding Uni-Directional Two-way
Routing React-Router Own routing functionality
Speed 310 milliseconds 1.35 seconds
Templating In JSX file In HTML
Architecture Does not use any architecture MVC architecture
Mobile Support React Native Ionic Framework
ECMA 6 Babel Typescript

Product development companies are leveraging various digital technologies. Their main goal is not only to provide a feature-rich product but also an intuitive user experience. ReactJS and AngularJS could both help them to achieve this goal. While both are equally amazing and have a strong ecosystem, both offer a diverse approach to web application development. Hope the differences listed in this blog helps you to make a better choice.

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comments (2)

  1. Jessica Barnes

    Hey, Nidhi,
    It’s good to read your article and especially a way you represent the comparisons of “Angular & React”. Angular and ReactJS both are considered as the most popular frameworks of JavaScript, both are different. The difference is Angular is large and ReactJS extremely lightweight library for organizing front end components, both are used to accomplish the same thing.

    Reply

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