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Making the right tech choice for your future project is always a challenge. The framework you pick to build your solution will directly affect your future application performance, scalability, and security, along with the development cost, speed, and time.
In this article, we will compare three popular technologies for web application development – React.js, Vue.js, and Angular.js, revealing the pros, cons, and use cases of each of them.
The Concept of a Framework vs. Library
Before putting Angular, React, and Vue head-to-head, let’s examine the most important difference between them. Technically, Angular and Vue are considered web development frameworks, while React.js is viewed as a library.
Compared to a library, a framework is a more comprehensive tool that comes with more features for application development, while a library comes with a set of specific and pre-defined functions only.
That being said, the distinction between a library and a framework is somewhat blurred. Some programmers believe that all the three technologies we discuss in this post are frameworks. Others disagree.
The possibilities of a library as a development tool may seem a little limited compared to those of a framework. However, in some cases, they are enough to build quite a powerful solution.
So, let’s get started with React.js overview to see how this technology can be effective for the web development process, especially when its technical features are correctly tailored to the use case.
React.js in Simple Terms
React.js is a web development library written with JS. It was created by Facebook and used for front-end development. This is the most popular library and the top-picked technology for web development in 2021 globally, according to Statista.
Developers worldwide choose React.js in more than 40% of use cases, so there is also no surprise that this technology powers famous solutions, such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and The New York Times. That is why React.js has a growing community and large talent pool.
React.js Main Features
- Virtual DOM. DOM or Document Object Model is a concept that defines the logical structure of the documents and the ways the developers can manipulate them. React.js uses virtual DOM, replicating a web page in a virtual memory, allowing for faster response. For example, when the developer changes a particular element, a virtual DOM updates only this element instead of re-rendering all of them.
- Components. React.js is a very extensive JS library that comes with a lot of pre-developed UI components that can be either reused instantly or slightly changed to better tailor your project’s needs.
- One-way data binding. This approach means that data flows in a single direction, so each time the developers change the component, the view is instantly changed as well, saving the development time and effort.
From a technical standpoint, React.js is almost a versatile technology that allows for creating small to medium websites with good performance and clear UI. As for the disadvantages of this library, some developers say that its supporting documentation lacks clarity.
React.js Is Best for
- eCommerce projects. Because of a wide choice of components, React.js is a top choice for eCommerce project development. With the help of this library, websites from this niche come with interactive UI elements, such as sliders, drag-and-drops, and so on. React.js can also promise good opportunities for SEO, which is essential for promoting eCommerce projects.
- Single Page Applications. React.js is also good for SPAs because of fewer client-server requests. That’s why SPAs created with React are speedy and pleasant to use.
- Social media projects. Because of the components’ reusability, security, and enhanced performance, React.js can also be a good choice for building social media apps. This library also allows for creating numerous animated components for better engagement without affecting the web app performance.
- Startups. React.js has many features that are particularly valuable for startups. These include SEO-friendliness, easy scalability, and compatibility with React Native to target customers with mobile devices, among the rest.
Vue.js is another front-end development framework worth paying attention to in 2022. This is the tiniest framework ever, but its technical power can exceed that of React and Angular. It combines the best features of both solutions but is still easier to use, more flexible, and performant.
What’s more, Vue.js boasts a large talent pool and streamlined development speed. It frequently becomes the top choice for an idea validation process, quick MVP development, and rapid development. The solution’s flexibility is its most outstanding feature, plus it is easy to learn.
According to the State of Vue 2021 report, 60% of surveyed respondents have chosen this technology because it is very intuitive to get started with, and 90% consider Vue.js as the main tool to power their next project. As for the companies already using it, Grammarly and Trustpilot are among the most famous ones.
Vue.js Main Features
- Two-way data binding. Vue supports the Model-View-View-Controller approach and two-way data binding. This means that each time the model changes, the view changes as well, and vice versa. Such an approach can be a challenge for developers who are used to traditional MVC, but this is just the feature that adds great flexibility to Vue.
- Virtual DOM rendering. Like in React.js, virtual DOM rendering makes web pages more robust.
- Components. Vue.js also comes with many perfectly reusable components the developers can embed, saving development time and cost.
The talent pool of Vue.js isn’t as large as that of React and Angular. Some developers also say that the flexibility of Vue is sometimes a drawback since, in this case, Vue lacks predictability. The websites created with Vue are also difficult to scale.
Vue.js Is Best for
- MVP development. Because of the enhanced development speed, Vue.js is good for quick MVP development. The tool supports the Rapid Development approach, which allows the developers to come up with the first MVP pretty quickly and gather user feedback in an instance.
- Animated websites. Vue.js is also suitable for websites with complex animations.
- UI-centered websites. Vue.js is a UI-focused framework that can promise almost unlimited opportunities for websites, prioritizing user interface clarity and convenience.
Angular.js and Its Features
Part of the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, Node.js), Angular is one of the most popular and ever-green technologies. Google created the framework in 2010 and it is still relevant for web app front-end development. Angular.js continues to evolve. It also has a great community and large talent pool.
Such famous projects as Forbes and Upwork have been created with Angular. According to Stack Overflow, it is also one of the most favorite frameworks among web developers. With that said, React and Vue are still ranked higher. Let’s find out why and what technical features Angular.js has.
Angular.js Main Features
- Model-View-Controller architecture. This feature allows for creating UI components faster since each time changes are made in the Model they are instantly showcased in the View. Angular.js also uses two-way data binding, unlike React.js. That means that changes are instantly made to both parent and child UI components.
- Server-side rendering. This option makes Angular web pages more robust and performant because of the API calls to the server.
- Dependency injection. With the help of this feature, the developers can make specific UI components independent from each other and test them as separate units. Dependency injection makes the process of testing and debugging easier and more effective.
Despite all the benefits, Angular.js still has its limitations. Firstly, Angular.js is a heavy framework that’s difficult to master. Some developers also claim that it lacks security. The websites created with Angular may have troubles with SEO as well. That’s why it is chosen for the software intended for internal usage.
Angular.js Is Best for
- Enterprise applications. Angular is powerful and stable enough for building web applications with a complex architecture and many dependencies. This framework also allows for deploying complex business logic and using TypeScript to add static type to the code.
- Progressive web applications. This is not the most popular Angular.js use case; however, developing PWAs with its help is still possible, mainly because of the service worker add-on.
- Dynamic and static content applications. Angular.js can be a winning option for both lightweight pages with static content and more interactive solutions with dynamic content without the risk of making the website slower.
Angular.js vs Vue.js vs React.js Comparison and Applicability Checklist
Below is a comparison chart of the frameworks we have reviewed above. Use it as a checklist to make the right choice, depending on the specifics of the project, the stakeholders’ expectations, and the technical opportunities each of the technologies can offer.
|Performance||Performant but may have some issues in the case of overloading||Depending on the use case||Highly performant|
|Ease of mastering||Difficult||Relatively easy||Easy|
|Ease of usage||Depending on the use case||Relatively easy||Easy|
|Popularity||The third-ranked tool||The second-ranked tool||The most popular web app development tool|
|Most suitable for||PWA |
|Animated websites |
Idea validation projects
|eCommerce development |
Idea validation projects
|Development time*||Medium||Relatively short||Short|
|Average Hourly Rate**||Angular 2: $61-80 |
Angular 4: $61-80
*The development time and speed depend on specific project requirements. For example, Angular is better suited for building large, complex websites and apps. Thus, it takes more time to complete an Angular-based project.
**Developers’ hourly rates differ from platform to platform. We have taken the numbers in the table from Codementor as an example. As for our rates, they start at $47/hour regardless of the technology.
How to Choose the Right Framework for Your Project?
Angular.js, React.js, and Vue.js are popular and powerful tools for creating web projects. Here is how you can make the right choice step by step, being well-aware of the specifics of each of the technologies.
- Evaluate project scope and size. While Vue.js is better suited for small projects, the features of React.js can cover the small to medium website development necessities. Angular.js, in turn, can be a good fit for large projects with complex architecture.
- Highlight the most important features. Next, highlight the key features the website’s UI should have and find out how each framework may facilitate its development.
- Get an idea of the expected performance. Proceed with making the right choice of the framework, depending on the performance the future solution should have. React and Vue can promise good performance, which can be an issue with Angular.
- Find a balance between development time, cost, and speed. Depending on the project complexity, Angular.js development can be slower and pricier compared to building a website with React.js or Vue.js. React.js, in turn, is a less expensive technology, mainly because of the talent pool availability and the ease of use.
- Research the talent pool. As the last step, research the talent pool available. This step is especially important for a project with strict deadlines. As an option, you can also consider a dedicated development team to save time, costs, and efforts on team hiring, gathering, and supporting.
Angular, React, and Vue can be winning technologies for web project development in 2021, but it is still necessary to carefully tailor them to the use case, keeping their pros and cons in mind.
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