Despite the terminology, both options are sought-after in contemporary front-end development. Railsware has even published a blog post dedicated to Angular vs. React. Our task here is to find out which technology is worth the attention of beginner-programmers or those who want to discover the intricacies of the front-end.
Facebook introduced this JS library in 2013. For five years, this open source technology has attracted numerous famous names including Dropbox and WhatsApp. Meanwhile, there are many articles and posts on the web where React is called a framework. However, building web apps is not what the library is meant for. It was designed as a tool for creating views and interfaces, and it’s good at it.
There are several things that make React different from a variety of miscellaneous JS libraries. Virtual document object model or virtual DOM is the principal one. Unlike the real DOM, which is typical for most JS libraries including jQuery, virtual DOM does not perform all operations and minimizes their number to changes in the UI. As a result, the performance goes up, and users obtain an incredibly responsive UI.
Other prominent features associated with React are the unidirectional data flow (children elements do not affect parent data) and the syntax called JSX, which rests on mixing JS and HTML.
Reasons to learn React
- Facebook is not only the biggest social network but also a huge community that powers the technology. React boasts a large ecosystem of supportive tools.
- The technology is known for code reusability which significantly improves the pipeline efficiency. Not only engineers can reuse code components, but also designers can make use of reusable chunks of UI. That, in turn, makes it more efficient to create new pages using the same building blocks.
- Debugging with React is easy due to downward data flow, the components simplicity, and the availability of great auxiliary extensions like React Developer Tools.
- React Native – a mobile app framework built on the major principles of the React library. With React Native, React-savvy engineers can create close-to-native mobile products.
This technology is associated with Google. In 2011, this global company introduced the first version of its front-end web app framework called AngularJS. It captured the headlines in the developer community due to numerous attractive hallmarks like quick prototyping and dependency injection system. Five years later, the second version was released and heralded the epoch of Angular deprived of the ‘js’ ending in the title. Ever since no numeric indexes are used to denote the framework version. The latest one is No. 7 as of October 2018.
Angular is a proper tool for architecting web apps – single-page apps in particular. It follows the model-view-controller (MVC) architectural pattern, which evolved into model-view-viewmodel (MVVM) for the latest versions. Developers are provided with multiple features including HTML-based templates, platform-independent rendering, component-based approach, etc. Besides, Angular denotes A in the MEAN acronym which is meant to name a stack of technologies for software production.
Reasons to learn Angular
- Unfortunately, Angular cannot boast a short learning curve, but the fact that it is a full-fledged development tool is a major reason to learn it.
- Two-way data binding has two sides of the coin. The bright one is that it minimizes risks of potential errors due to the app singular behavior.
- The abovementioned MVVM facilitates teamwork. Engineers can collaborate separately on the same section of the product without any interruption. Meanwhile, they can use the same set of data.
- Opinionated is a good term to characterize Angular. Some say it’s a drawback. Nevertheless, it is better to have one way of doing things, so fewer decisions can be made along the learning journey.
- Angular has a huge ecosystem covering plugins, add-ons, and miscellaneous dev tools.
- Documentation is good and detailed. There is hardly anything unresolved within the community.
- Certainly, being a Google’s child entails membership in a vivid and helpful community. That’s one of the Angular’s core trump cards.
- Typescript support.
So which one?
A perfect answer to the question which technology to learn would be both. They are not direct competitors. React deals with UI and view, and Angular is a complete solution for web app building. They differ in many things including data binding, syntax, and even the main purpose. However, they are both front-end solutions that are actively leveraged by leading businesses..sometimes even both of them together (e.g., Netflix, The New York Times). From a beginner’s perspective, React is preferable because of a short learning curve.