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Which Front-End Framework Is Better? A Comparison Between Angular and Reactby@froalalabs
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12,284 reads

Which Front-End Framework Is Better? A Comparison Between Angular and React

by Froala LabsDecember 9th, 2022
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Front-end development frameworks have become an integral part of web development in recent years. They make it easy for web developers to make beautiful, responsive interfaces, easy-to-use routing and navigation, and code that works well. They also let developers work faster and cleaner. They’re a huge timesaver, especially in bigger applications, and they’ll be more focused on the more important aspects of your project. Back to the page you came from: http://stackoverflow.blog/2020/02/03/ Is it time for a front-end framework?

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As web developers in a world with complex requirements and looming deadlines, we’ll need all the help we can get. If you have trouble turning these requirements into code that works and fixes major bugs, your deployment date could be pushed back a lot.


Also, the more delays you have, the more likely you will fall behind competitors or lose customers. And we haven’t even talked about the burdens that come with software maintenance yet.


Thankfully, as you might already know, there’s a much easier way to accomplish your development goals: using front-end development frameworks. But which framework should you choose? And how can these frameworks help you?


These are all questions that we will answer in this article. Before we get to that, though, let’s review what a front-end development framework is.

What Are Front-End Development Frameworks?

Frameworks are code libraries that have already been written. You can add them to your application to improve its structure, abstraction, maintenance, and development.


So, front-end frameworks are just frameworks used for building the interface of a website or application. You can think of them as blueprints to build your code upon. Examples of such frameworks are:


  • React
  • Angular
  • Vue.js
  • Ember.js
  • Bootstrap
  • Django


They make it easy for web developers to make beautiful, responsive interfaces, easy-to-use routing and navigation, and code that works well. Not only are they capable of that, but they also let developers work faster and cleaner.


Put, a front-end framework is a modern web developer’s best friend. And like any good friend, a framework will save you on tough days. So, what exactly can they bring to your application and development process?

What Are the Benefits of Using These Frameworks?

Front-end frameworks have become an integral part of web development in recent years. Some people might find it hard to imagine how to build a big website or app without a front-end framework. That’s because of the numerous benefits they bring.


Although using a framework in your projects is not required, it will greatly help, especially in bigger applications.


In this section, we'll discuss why using a front-end framework is a good idea when making web apps.

1. They’re a Huge Timesaver.

The “why reinvent the wheel?” notion also applies to front-end frameworks. That’s because if your projects get bigger in terms of pages or functionality, you’ll spend more time coding.


And then you’ll probably think, “Oops, my code’s a mess." It’s time to refactor it and add more abstraction layers.


Moreover, you could also think about making your code reusable for future projects to be efficient in the long run. Finally, after weeks or months of improving your code’s readability and structure, you will have created a framework or library. A not-so-mature or an incomplete one, at that.


All that time spent on extra coding work could have been better spent on other features of your website instead. If you use a framework, you’ll be more focused on the more important aspects of your project.


Hence, unless your project is personal or very small and non-commercial, you should probably use a framework.

They Provide Superb Routing and Navigation.

Users appreciate good web navigation and routing. For them, it could mean not loading or refreshing the website after making small changes. One of the best qualities of modern websites and apps is their ability to make as few changes as possible.


This is because the more changes you make after a user action, the more server calls and resources you’ll need. This leads to slower performance and a much more frustrating user experience.


Luckily, most front-end frameworks have built-in routing. But can’t you handle that using plain HTML, JavaScript, and AJAX calls? You can, but routing in most frameworks allows you to do much more.


With it, you can set up routing options like how to handle navigation errors, how to check the router's state, and even how to restore canceled navigation. It lets your website behave like a mobile application, with a single page that changes views depending on certain conditions.


Frameworks with routing capabilities also allow developers to create complicated page navigation and keep track of variables and data more easily.

3. They Let You Use Data Binding.

Data binding is one of the best perks of having a front-end framework. It refers to a technique in which you bind a data source to a data target, which will automatically take the source’s value. Whatever changes happen to the data source are then applied to the data target.


In other words, you won’t have to explicitly update the target every time the source’s value changes. Instead, you only need to bind the source and target once, and that’s it.


For example, let’s say you have a text input field. Normally, to get its value, you’d do something like


var myText = document.getElementById(‘myInput’).value;


However, whenever the input field’s value changes, you must call this line of code again. On the other hand, data binding allows you to declare an HTML element as a data source (e.g., {{myInput}}). After that, you can bind the target (e.g., var myText) to the source.

4. They’re Reusable.

Front-end frameworks are readily available and continuously maintained. Large teams of experienced developers have worked on them to help others write code faster and better.


Thus, you can keep using them across different projects. This helps your team stay more efficient when handling multiple or successive projects.


Other benefits might not be included here, but these are some of the best ones. Once you have your framework of choice, developing your application should be much easier. However, here comes the not-so-easy part.


With so many front-end frameworks to choose from, it might be hard to find the right one. In the next section, we’ll help you choose between the two most popular and well-loved front-end frameworks.

Choosing Between Angular and React

The open-source frameworks Angular and React are two of the most popular and widely used ones on the market today. This is because they work well with other programs, are fast, have many features, have a large user base, and more.


They both get the job done as front-end frameworks but have differences and unique properties.


For instance, Angular is based on TypeScript, while React is based on JavaScript. There are areas in development where one framework outshines the other.


Because they both increase a developer’s efficiency while improving code structure, you may find it hard to choose between them. To help you decide, continue reading below and learn more about these two frameworks.

Angular

Angular is a TypeScript-based front-end framework that was developed by Google in 2016. It stemmed from AngularJS, a now-archived JavaScript-based framework by the same company and team.


In its first few years, AngularJS faced various limitations, which led to Google rewriting the framework completely.


And from there came Angular 2.0, the first version of the TypeScript-based Angular. It started off confusing to developers, especially those who used AngularJS at first. But when it hit maturity a few years later, Angular became one of the most popular frameworks.


Anyway, that’s enough about history. You’re here to know what these frameworks can do, right?

Pros:

  • Component-based, which means that functionalities are encapsulated into different and separate components. In other words, you can use only the necessary components and reuse any component in other projects.
  • MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture separates an application into three aspects: namely the data, the interface, and the logic that connects the other two. This contributes to the readability and easier maintenance of the code.
  • Libraries for routing, forms, server calls, and other requirements
  • Two-way data binding (data target and data source are synchronized automatically without additional/explicit coding)
  • Cross-platform can even be used for building mobile apps using Cordova or Ionic.
  • Perfect for SPAs (Single-Page Applications)
  • Templates that allow you to build views quickly
  • High performance
  • It has Angular CLI, a command-line interface where you can create projects, add components, perform testing, and deploy more efficiently.
  • Comprehensive documentation and support by Google
  • Ranked as the 5th most popular framework on Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey

Cons:

  • Difficult to migrate from AngularJS
  • The higher learning curve, when compared to other front-end frameworks, is not suitable for beginners
  • Its MVC architecture means your code looks better, but you’ll also have to create and maintain more code.
  • Ranked 9th (out of 25) among the most dreaded front-end frameworks on the 2022 Stack Overflow survey (47.73% seemed to dread it)

React

Okay, before we discuss React, let’s get one thing straight: React is actually a library, not a framework. This is because React relies on pre-made third-party packages instead of built-in features.


This gives React more flexibility and freedom compared to the blueprint-like mindset of frameworks.


But why is it always compared to other frameworks like Angular? It could be because it made component-based architecture popular, which led other frameworks, like Angular, to do the same thing.


React is a JavaScript-based library made by Meta (then called Facebook) and used by them. It was made available to the public in 2013. Its modularity makes it easier for developers to add, remove, and maintain certain app functionalities.


Read on below to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of using React.

Pros:

  • Component-based
  • Virtual DOM-based approach. Virtual DOM is a concept wherein libraries or frameworks create custom objects in place of actual DOM elements. These libraries or frameworks then manipulate these objects without changing the true DOM. To understand this better, think of the virtual DOM as a draft and the actual DOM as a published article. And it’s much easier to make changes to a draft than a published article, right? This approach makes React way faster than most libraries and frameworks.
  • Components and packages for routing, forms, server calls, and other requirements
  • One-way data binding (relies on an HTML event to update the value of a data target based on a source, i.e., components are not updated automatically)
  • Cross-platform
  • Perfect for web apps that need top-notch performance and more flexibility
  • Extremely fast and lightweight
  • Comprehensive documentation and support by Meta
  • Easy to learn and migrate to
  • Developers can spend less time learning and more time working on their core features.
  • Easy to integrate with other tools (e.g., a WYSIWYG editor)
  • In the 2022 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, React ranks as the 1st most wanted, 6th most loved, and 2nd most popular web technology.

Cons:

  • Because it’s a library, React has many more ways to solve a problem than frameworks. This might lead to indecision or confusion.
  • Its lack of MVC architecture means that the view is mixed with the logic, making frameworks better in terms of readability and maintenance.


So, which one should you use? The answer is that it depends entirely on your needs. Are you working on a SPA with app-like behavior? Do you want to prioritize code structure and readability? Are you willing to put in extra effort and time to learn a framework?


Then maybe you should go with Angular.


On the other hand, do you want fast, modern, and easily customizable applications? Do you want to start working right away with minimal learning or training? Do you want more control and flexibility in developing your web app?


Then React might suit your needs better. But whichever of you choose, you’ll have a better development experience than choosing none.

Conclusion

This article compares two powerful open-source front-end technologies, Angular and React. To understand the importance of frameworks, we looked at how using such technologies takes web development to the next level.


Furthermore, we explored Angular's and React's history, features, benefits, and disadvantages.


In the end, the choice between Angular and React is yours. Assess your needs, take time to learn the capabilities of these technologies, use this guide, and try them out. Because any amount of time you invest in learning these frameworks (and libraries) will be worth it.