So, what is a framework? Basically, a framework is a working environment that lets you define how a web application (in our case) will be designed and how the code for the application will be organized. Most people who use frameworks for getting something done, do it because it makes the working process easier and more efficient.
Maybe that’s the case for you too. But no matter why you choose to use a framework, it will surely help you get the job done more efficiently and possibly even faster. These days there are 2 types of frameworks: the ones that are more like a library (give you more freedom in the development process) and traditional frameworks that have their own way to create a project and finish it (in this case you might need to learn the core concepts before beginning to build anything).
The answer is maybe you do. Nowadays most websites rely heavily on JS code, especially on the client side. Not that long ago, many of these websites were using poorly structured code that needed testing like any other application. Because of the introduction of frameworks for JS as well, the websites and web applications can be tested more easily because the code has a better structure. Besides, a well- structured code is important for any web developer.
Now that we refreshed what a framework is and why it can be helpful, let’s move on and talk about Angular and React, and what could be your best choice for using in your web projects. First, we’ll talk about Angular.
What is Angular?
Angular is a JS framework first released in 2012 by Google. It was created with the Model-View-Controller (MVC) concept in mind. This framework came with the possibility that its user could create very rich single paged web apps pretty easily.
For example, Angular was the first tool that came with the option to create your own HTML tags. That’s right, you can make custom tags using Angular. This is done by coding the appropriate directive that will be processed by Angular and turned into your custom HTML tag.
But what are the advantages if you choose to go with this framework? Let’s list some of them right now:
- The first pro if you use Angular (this one is very important) is the fact that it’s suitable to build applications on various platforms such as web, mobile and native desktop. This way your application can be ready for use on all types of platforms.
- The community behind it. This is another great bonus. There’s a high chance you’ll come across different problems that need solving and the community behind Angular is there to help you out. The framework is actively maintained, which means that lots of new features and helpful tutorials come out regularly to help newcomers learn all the ins and outs of the tool.
- I already mentioned that any new application needs to be tested before it’s being published for wide use. Angular really excels in this area. The framework is built to be easily tested using unit testing and end-to-end testing as well.
- You can start using it right away. There are many pre-built tools and features that make the framework user friendly for first time users. The set-up is also easily handled to give you better productivity and more time to get accustomed with using the framework.
Is there any downside if you choose to go with this framework? There may be one that is quite significant. It’s important that you assess what the final product has to be. Why am I saying this? Just think about it. Angular was built to help developers create complicated and rich applications that need a better foundation.
Now let’s move on and see what React brings to the table and how does it stack up against Angular.
What is React?
Differently from Angular, React, is more of a JS library (I mentioned above the difference) then a normal framework. It was first developed by Jordan Walke, a software engineer working for Facebook. React is an open-source project. This means that the source code is open to anyone for change. You can tweak it as much as you want.
React is used specifically to build user interfaces for mobile and web applications. Something that’s interesting about this tool is that you can use it in combination with other JS frameworks, like Angular that we already talked about. This gives it a high usability rate.
What are the positive parts if you choose to use React over another tool? We’ll list some of the pros right below:
- Open-source. This is a highly appreciated thing about React. Because of the fact that the framework is an open-source library, any developer can change the source code for a certain project to fit his needs even better.
- Just like Angular, React, also has a great number of users, thus you can take advantage of the growing community behind the platform. If you stumble upon an issue, there’s a high chance that somebody else has already dealt with it. So, look around in the forums and learn to be a better user of this tool.
- Learning a new framework can be a little bit daunting at first thought. This is especially true if you take into consideration that any framework can become obsolete in a matter of time. So, the idea is to learn something that will be used for some years, and won’t become a dead end. React is a good choice because it’s a modern framework, that is simple to learn and it’s becoming more and more popular.
- Code reusability. Why is this a pro? React being a supporter of extensive code reusability, you can easily create applications for different platforms at the same time (IOS, Android and Web). If efficiency and a quick turnaround time is essential for you, then React can be a real asset in that matter.
- I briefly mentioned already that React is easy to learn. Why is this the case? Because in essence React is simple JS with some new functions and a very small API. So, you don’t have to learn a lot of new things to be proficient using this framework. After all, the only requirement for being a great React developer is that you know good old JS very well.
Now that we’ve covered some of the pros for using React, are there any minuses? Like any software (or product for that matter) it does have some negatives:
For instance, React has a poor documentation behind it. Because of the rapid change in the web development industry, many contributors consider that adding a documentation is not necessary. The updates just keep coming out and it’s hard to keep the pace.
JSX. This is a syntax extension that React uses. The basic idea for it is to help you mix HTML with JS to better handle development. This might sound as a positive, and in a way it is. But being a solely React feature (and pretty complicated) it can be a bit time consuming to learn it from the bottom up.
Besides these 2 minuses there aren’t many more in the case of React. If we consider functionality, this framework has no negative parts. Because of the growing popularity of the platform, there is new functionality developed by the day. In the future, you’ll be able to use this tool to back up many of your web or mobile projects.
Read: Polymer vs Angular
The only question that remains is: Should you use Angular or React? After all, the title of the article is ‘’Angular vs React’’. Which one is the best JS framework out of the 2?
The answer is: it depends on your specific needs. ‘’But how?? That’s not possible!’’ (you may be thinking) Yes, it is possible. Let me tell you why.
As you know by now, Angular is best if you have a bigger and more complex application to create. For such tasks, Angular can probably be the best candidate.
If you need to develop user interfaces that work well on all kinds of platforms (IOS, Android and Web based), then React could be a good choice. In this area it’s better than Angular.
You need to weigh the pros and cons for using one of the 2 possibilities and go with the one that fits your application’s needs the best. But know that both Angular and React are the best at what they do!