React vs Angular, which is more popular among JavaScript developers?

On 27 Mar., 2021

React and Angular offer completely different ways to develop web applications for startups, SMEs, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Both technologies are widespread and adaptable, but neither is right or wrong, famous or not. Ultimately, it depends on the goals of the custom application and the specific constraints of the system. Programmers can switch from React and vice versa.

React vs Angular, which is more popular among JavaScript developers?

With so many JavaScript frameworks available for both server-side and client-side rendering, choosing the proper framework for a new project, whether it is a JavaScript system, application, or website, can be a difficult task. Selecting the wrong framework will affect the flexibility of the project and the ability to meet deadlines.


Also, JavaScript developers have always struggled to choose between React and Angular. If you are one of these developers, don't worry, you are not alone. In this article, we will compare the two in detail to make the right decision. We'll look at their popularity, technical components, advantages, disadvantages, and more. But first, let's take a look at what Angular and React are.


What is Angular?


First of all, it is essential to understand that when I say Angular, I do not mean AngularJS. Currently, Angular is the generic term used for all versions of Angular released after AngularJS. These versions are 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.


When we talk about Angular 2, it is an open-source framework commonly used to build web applications, hybrid applications, and single-page web applications. Angular is developed and maintained by Google.


Angular is a complete toolkit that all developers need to develop a large-scale application, probably why big names like BMW, Xbox, Forbes, and many others have chosen Angular for their front-end development.


The latest version of Angular ten was released on 24 June 2020. Highlights of Angular 10 include TypeScript v3.9 support, changes to the Angular package format, deprecations, and removals.


What is React?

React is a front-end JavaScript library used to build user interfaces. 


React uses a declarative programming style to describe the state of the user interface. React allows developers to preview their application, its appearance, and its interaction with users. 

Native rendered applications, web applications, and even mobile applications developed using React.

It also has two core features that JavaScript developers love. These features are JSX and virtual DOM.

Besides Facebook, many other big names like Netflix, Airbnb, Dropbox, and Uber have been using React for years.

Like Angular, React is an open-source project which means that anyone can easily download and modify it for free from the source. The React libraries consist of a wide variety of collections, from full ReactJS templates to custom UI templates to help you build your UI.

The number of JavaScript tools continues to grow, so choosing the right technology is very competitive. The problem is that Angular and React both compelling, modern, and widely used JavaScript frameworks. According to the State of JavaScript web portal, which surveys developers, surveyed  20,000 developers in 2017. Although React and Angular as JavaScript frameworks are equally popular among developers and React leads to developers' frameworks.

Manufacturer approval and acceptance

Of the 20 000 developers surveyed, 14 000 said they use and plan to continue using React and Angular, respectively, while only 4 700 said they do not. Seven thousand six hundred developers said they were not interested in Angular despite being aware of its popularity, while no developers said they were not interested in React.


Besides, all developers were interested in or using React. The remainder were either learning or willing to understand. In contrast to Angular, none showed any reluctance to use React.


| Which is more popular?

Since React and Angular are common words, it is difficult to judge their popularity based on Google trends alone. Therefore, we will analyze their popularity using another metric. As a measure of popularity, we take into account the number of stars in their GitHub repositories.


The graph above clearly shows that React is far ahead of Angular in terms of the number of characters in GitHub repositories. However, we are not going to draw conclusions based on a single count. Another good indicator of popularity is the job market.


The graphs below show how to React and Angular rank behind each other in job postings on various job portals.

If you want to see a recent analysis, check out the Google trend analysis below. It shows search trends over the last 12 months.


| Angular vs. React the ultimate comparison.

Before we go any further, let me clarify a few things. While Google maintains both, Angular is a separate project from AngularJS or Angular 1, and both have their repositories and GitHub accounts. Angular is an independent project from AngularJS or Angular 1, and both have their storage and GitHub account. Angular uses TypeScript and renders on the client-side, while Angular 1 uses JavaScript and is on the server-side.

React, on the other hand, is hosted by Facebook, Google's biggest competitor. Unlike Angular's MVC, React has no native architecture and uses one-way communication.


| Data binding


Data binding is an essential factor that strongly influences the choice of the proper framework between Angular and React. Data binding refers to the synchronization of data between the UI and the business logic.


The main difference between React and Angular is that the latter uses two-way data binding to keep both layers up-to-date with the same data, i.e., it means that it updates the model layer whenever the input changes. Besides, it also binds the template variable to the HTML element's template variable, where it not only displays it but also changes it in the backend.

Bidirectional data linking is also an effective technique for retrieving data from powerful ERP software such as accounting software, medical software, and other software that requires complex requirements. Besides, the two-way nature of Angular makes it easy to create enterprise resource planning software.

Unidirectional linking makes code more stable and creates an application built with React simpler compared to an Angular application. Since React is a library framework, it does not follow an intuitive approach to data binding, which frees developers from handling complex objects.


| Performance and DOM


Angular uses an actual DOM, which has a significant impact on performance. Let's understand this with an example. For example, you want to update only the last name of a user's profile. So the Real DOM changes the previous word and updates the entire tree structure of the HTML table, and makes the process slow and less efficient.

Not only the Real DOM but also the two-way data communication affects the overall performance of Angular applications. Each binding is assigned a new observer to track changes. The cycle continues until all observers are check. More bindings create more observers, making the process more cumbersome. However, a recent update to Angular has significantly improved its performance.


Angular is a dynamic and extensive library which makes it difficult for developers to learn all the related concepts and languages like Pipe Dependency Injection, TypeScript, RxJS, Templates, etc. Knowing all these concepts takes longer for a developer than React, so Angular's learning curve is steeper.


Angular also consists of much more unnecessary component management and syntax complexity. The framework is also constantly evolving, which means a developer needs to know and learn what's new in the Angular ecosystem to update their skills. There are also many complex and built-in features in the core of the framework that a developer cannot avoid using and learning.




Unlike Angular, React is minimalistic in that it has no classic templates, dependency injection, or overly complex features. Developers will find it easy to understand this framework if they already have a good knowledge of JavaScript. However, it may take some time for the developer to get used to the project structure as it is not predefined.


| Languages


In terms of languages, Angular uses TypeScript or JavaScript, which is also a JS superset designed mainly for larger projects. TypeScript makes it easy to spot typos and navigate the code. It also makes the code refactoring process faster and easier. As a result, TypeScript is more compact than JavaScript.


| React


When we talk about React, it is base on JavaScript ES6+ with JSX script. JSX is nothing but a syntax extension that makes JavaScript code look like HTML code. It makes the principles understandable and straightforward. It also makes it easier to spot typos. React has also been extended with Babel, a code translation tool for creating JSX code in the browser.


| Angular


Angular has an improved CLI, consisting of commands like ng update, making it easier and faster to update your app with the latest Angular version and make Angular development less painful. It's also important to note that most of the update process is automated, making it even easier.

React also offers developers a smooth transition from one version to another. However, front-end development libraries rely heavily on external libraries to allow upgrades and migration to third-party components. Besides, developers need to check whether the third-party libraries they use are compatible with newer versions of the JavaScript framework.


| Angular


Several code processing tools support angular. For example, it works with code editors such as Visual Studio, Sublime Text, and Aptana. Can be used the Angular CLI  to create a project. Similarly, Angular Universal can use for server-side rendering.   Can also be used Platforms such as Karma, Jasmine, and Protractor test the Angular page.


| React


Like Angular, React supports several code editors such as Atom, Sublime Text, and Visual Studio. Developers can also use the Create React APP (CLI) tool to run a project. The Next.js framework uses for server-side rendering. Several tools are needed to test the entire application, such as Jest for JS code, Enzyme for unit tests, and React-unit for unit tests. There is also a tool called React 360, which is a library for building VR and AR applications.


| Angular


Angular's structure is complex and fixed, making it suitable for experienced developers. There are mainly three layers in Angular, namely Model, Controller, and View. In the second layer, the controller calls the object responsible for the model.


| React


React's design gives developers the freedom to make choices. There is no one right structure for a React application. React provides a View layer. The other two layers, Model and Controller, are added with other libraries.


It is important to note that the architecture of a React application is component-based. The code also consists of React components that are renderers using the React DOM library in two ways, namely:



| Angular

Developers tend to be skeptical about Angular compared to React. It is mainly due to Angularity's unpopularity after Angular 1.0 when developers found the framework too complex because it required a long learning curve. However, Angular develop by Google, which guarantees continuous improvements and long-term support for the framework. Angular use by Nike, HBO, Forbes, Apple, AT&T, and Microsoft, among others.


| React


Compared to Angular, React has a larger community on both GitLab and GitHub. However, according to the 2018 StackOverflow Developer Surveys, more developers worked on Angular than React. Working with React requires constant education of the developer, as the framework is updated quite frequently.

Although the community does its best to keep the documentation up to date, it is not always easy to keep up with the frequent changes. Therefore, the lack of documentation is quite a common problem. React is used by big companies like PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Netflix, etc.


| Advantages of Angular


If we take community support as a factor, it beats no other JavaScript framework. Developers and designers constantly collaborate and support the community, which increases the reliability and consistency of the framework.


It is the perfect framework that works in any browser environment, regardless of platform. It is also reliable, includes out-of-the-box tools, ng components are robust and quite advanced compared to React.

The two-way data binding is perhaps the essential feature. It decomposes the effect after each data change and removes the need for additional data synchronization in the model and view.


| Advantages of ReactJS


JSX is a JavaScript syntax that allows HTML code and HTML tag syntax to render subcomponents. It supports machine language development and provides the ability to compile components into a single compilable test file.


Fast rendering is one of React's essential features, giving it a distinct advantage over Angular. The technology incorporates advanced approaches to reduce and improve DOM operations and speed up the update process. The virtual DOM (Document Object Model) helps manage large databases.

The fundamental difference between ReactJS and AngularJS is that React base on JavaScript, while ng2 is a superset of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). JavaScript is a better programming language than HTML, so React is preferred for easy, intensive, and reliable programming.


| The disadvantages of Angular


Despite a comprehensive and transparent user guide and extensive documentation, Angular's steep learning curve and complexity are significant limitations. As with other client-side rendering techniques in the JavaScript framework, programmers must pay particular attention to application security. CLI documentation's current state is another issue, as no comprehensive documentation can be found on GitHub.


| Disadvantages of ReactJS


The main thing to note is that ReactJS is more of an advanced JavaScript library that can act as a framework than a complete framework like Angular, so integrating the UI library into a common MVC framework requires more excellent development skills. Angular is still in development, young and immature in terms of tutorial dimensions and incomplete ecosystem.

In addition to the challenges and limitations of ReactJS, Flux is also worth mentioning to add structure and architecture to web applications. The use of both technologies remains a challenge for inexperienced developers, as there is no well-structured and complete documentation.

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