When it comes to frameworks, you’re almost poor for choice these days. In this article, we hope to make that decision a little easier.
Choosing a tech stack sometimes becomes a tedious task as you need to take every factor into consideration, including budget, time, app size, end-users, project objectives, and resources.
Whether you are a beginner, a developer, a freelancer, or a project architect forming strategies, it is a wise decision to be aware of the advantages and drawbacks of each framework in detail. So, this post will not help you select the best one, because that decision depends on the scope of your project and the framework’s suitability to your needs. But, this post can help you gain a better understanding of each framework along with trends and insights.
Let’s Get Started
Take a look at this comparison of React vs Angular vs Vue.js according to the Google trends.
If we consider the past year, Angular seems like the winner, React comes in second on the list, leaving a small share for Vue.js.
React vs. Angular vs. Vue
Here are some questions that can help you get a better comparative understanding of these frameworks:
- Are they mature enough to build scalable applications?
- Is it easy to find developers for each of these frameworks?
- Do you know the core concepts behind each framework listed here?
- Have you analyzed performance, speed, and the learning curve of each framework?
- Are there any tools to develop an application using these libraries?
Let’s find answers to each question, one by one.
History of Each Framework
Before we get into the technical details, let’s first talk about the history behind these frameworks – just to better appreciate their philosophy and their evolution over time.
Here’s a short summary of Angular vs Vue vs React, in terms of their status and history:
|Approx. size (KB)||500||100||80|
|Used by||Google, Wix||Facebook, Uber||Alibaba, GitLab|
Before you use an open source framework, make sure you go through its license. Interestingly, all three frameworks use the MIT license, which provides limited restrictions on reuse, even in proprietary software. Make sure you know the implications of the license before using any framework or software.
Here is a quick summary of the MIT license in plain English terms.
As “angular” and “react” are common words, it is difficult to grasp their popularity from Google Trends. Though, a good proxy for their popularity is the number of stars that their GitHub repositories get. A sudden shift in the number of stars of Vue occurred in mid-2016 and, recently, Vue has been up there with React as the most popular frameworks.
According to the 2017 Stackoverflow survey, Angular is loved by 51.7% of developers and React is embraced by 66.9% of surveyed developers. React and Angular have almost the same level of users in the category of popular front-end frameworks. Vue hasn’t occupied a place in any of the above lists but has an ability to participate in this battle.
This GitHub stars history for Angular, React, and Vue is showing the popularity of Vue.js among developers. Currently, Vue has 108,086 stars, React gained 106, 807 stars, and Angular received 38,654 stars.
Vue.js seems to be popular if we observe the above statistics. Despite it being a “one-man-show,” it has the ability to grab the attention of developers due to its well-built and easy architecture.
Above all, you should not forget that Angular and React are being used by big names in the industry. Google uses Angular a lot in their projects and brands such as Facebook, Airbnb, Dropbox, WhatsApp, and Netflix are using React in their development environment.
It Is Easy to Find Developers?
Angular is a pretty good option in such cases. You can easily find Angular developers and it has a well-established community with lots of projects, updates, resources, and it has a sustainable future.
Let us check how the job market is for Angular vs Vue vs React, which is also a good measure of popularity:
Job market 👷♂️
The best sources of data that indicate the trends on the job market are the various job boards.
Job market for Angular vs Vue vs ReactAngularReactVueLinkedInIndeedSimplyHiredDiceAngelListHiredRemote020,00040,00060,00080,000
(Chart by Visualizer Lite.)
As seen from the trends of late 2018, the number of jobs that require a skill set of Angular or React is roughly the same, whereas that of Vue’s is still only a fraction of this number (about 20%). This list is definitely not exhaustive but gives a good picture of the overall tech industry.
If you are looking strictly from the point of view of the current job market, your best bet is to learn Angular or React. However, given that Vue has gained popularity over the last two years, it may take some time for projects to use Vue or new projects that adopt Vue to reach a maturity level that commands a higher number of developers.
Community and development
Now that you are familiar with the history and trends of each of these frameworks, we will look at the community to assess the development of these frameworks. We have already seen that for all of the frameworks, a major release has been shipped in the last four months, which indicates that development is going on in full swing.
Let us look at Angular vs React vs Vue with respect to statistics on their GitHub repositories:
|# Commits in last month||446||339||81|
Vue has a huge number of watchers, stars and forks. This shows its popularity among users. However, the number of commits and contributors for Vue are lower than Angular and React.
One possible explanation is that Vue is driven entirely by the open source community, whereas Angular and React have a significant share of Google and Facebook employees contributing to the repositories.
From the statistics, all three projects show significant development activity, and this is surely going to continue in the future — just these statistics cannot be the basis of not deciding to use either of them.
As React is powered by Facebook and Angular is maintained by Google, there’s no doubt on the growth of both these frameworks. In both frameworks, updates and releases are published frequently but they are well maintained when it comes to migrations. Upgrades are not a problem according to the developers in React and in Angular, there will be one major update every six months. The Angular team regularly announces version updates, releases, and depreciation periods.
If we consider Vue.js in this way, there’s a migration helper tool which makes migration easier. But in the large app, it might cause a problem as there is no proper roadmap which focuses on versioning and their plans.
React is more flexible than Angular because Angular is a full framework and React is a set of independent, faster, and evolving libraries, and, for that, you have to keep an eye on every little module that is no longer supported or maintained.
As you’re working with your framework of choice, you don’t want to have to worry about a framework update coming along and messing up your code. Though in most cases you won’t encounter many issues from one version to another, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse because some updates can be more significant and require tweaks to keep things compatible.
Angular plans major updates every six months. There is also a period of another six months before any major APIs are deprecated, which gives you the time of two release cycles (one year) to make necessary changes if any.
Facebook has stated that stability is of utmost importance to them, as huge companies like Twitter and Airbnb use React. Upgrades through versions are generally the easiest in React.js, with scripts such as react-codemod helping you to migrate.
In the FAQ section for Migration, Vue mentions that 90% of the APIs are same if you are migrating from 1.x to 2. There is a migration helper tool that works on the console to assess the status of your app.
Working with the frameworks
There are a handful of important characteristics to look at here, chief of them being the overall size and load times, the components available, and learning curve.
Size and load times ⏲️
The sizes of the libraries are as follows:
- Angular: 500+ KB
- React: 100 KB
- Vue: 80 KB
Although there is a significant difference between the sizes of the frameworks, they are still small as compared to the average webpage size (2+ MB in 2018). Additionally, if you use a popular CDN to load these libraries, it is highly probable that a user has the library already loaded in their local system.
Framework? Library? What’s the Difference?
Angular:Angular is a framework because it provides you with a good start to build an application with the complete setup. You don’t need to look into libraries, routing solutions, and the structure. You can simply start building. React and Vue, on the other hand, are more flexible and universal than Angular.
React:With React, you can do multiple integrations as you can pair, exchange, and integrate libraries with other great tools out there. At this point, React works out of the box due to its flexibility to offer seamless integration but, with this, there are more chances to wrong and it requires more dependencies.
Components are integral parts of all three frameworks. A component generally gets an input, and changes behavior based on it. This behavior change generally manifests as a change in the UI of some part of the page. The use of components makes it easy to reuse code. A component may be a cart on an e-commerce site or a login box on a social network.
- React, interestingly, combines the UI and behavior of components. For instance, here is the code to create a hello world component to React.js. In React, the same part of the code is responsible for creating a UI element and dictating its behavior.
- In Vue, UI and behavior are also a part of components, which makes things more intuitive. However, Vue is highly customizable, which allows you to combine the UI and behavior of components from within a script. Further, you can also use pre-processors in Vue rather than CSS, which is great functionality. Vue is great when it comes to integration with other libraries, like Bootstrap.
To compare how the same app looks with different libraries, here is a great post on creating the same to do list app on React and Vue and contrasting the differences between the two frameworks.
Learning curve 🎓
So how difficult is it to learn each of these frameworks?
- Angular has a steep learning curve, considering it is a complete solution, and mastering Angular requires you to learn associated concepts like TypeScript and MVC. Even though it takes time to learn Angular, the investment pays dividends in terms of understanding how the front end works.
- React offers a Getting Started guide that should help one set up React in about an hour. The documentation is thorough and complete, with solutions to common issues already present on StackOverflow. React is not a complete framework and advanced features require the use of third-party libraries. This makes the learning curve of the core framework not so steep but depends on the path you take with additional functionality. However, learning to use React does not necessarily mean that you are using the best practices.
- Vue provides higher customizability and hence is easier to learn than Angular or React. Further, Vue has an overlap with Angular and React with respect to their functionality like the use of components. Hence, the transition to Vue from either of the two is an easy option. However, simplicity and flexibility of Vue is a double-edged sword — it allows poor code, making it difficult to debug and test.
Although Angular, React and Vue have a significant learning curve, their uses upon mastery are limitless. For instance, you can integrate Angular and React with WordPress and WooCommerce to create progressive web apps.
Angular vs Vue vs React: Who wins?
Towards the end of this post, let us recall the characteristic features of each framework to try to answer the question: Angular vs Vue vs React: which one should you choose?
The answer to the debate of Angular vs Vue vs React is that there’s no absolute right choice, which you’ve probably expected.
Each of these libraries has its own benefits and drawbacks. Based on the project you’re working on, and your individual requirements, one of them is going to be more suitable than the others. It’s always key to do your own research before deciding, especially if you’re going to be working on a business venture and not on a personal project.
Which framework do you think is the winner here – Angular vs Vue vs React? Do let us know in the comments below.
Angular development is widely popular among developers across the globe and used by giant organizations such as Google, Forbes, WhatsApp, Instagram, healthcare.gov, and many Fortune 500 companies.
JSX or HTML? What Would You Prefer?
Note: You can use JSX in Vue with the help of a Babel plugin.
Other Important Things You Need to Look At
Angular involves dependency injection, a concept where one object provides the dependencies to another object. This makes the code cleaner and easier to understand. On the other hand, there’s an MVC pattern which splits a project into three different components – model, view, and controller. React does not have any such concept and is used only to build the View of your application, whereas Angular is based on the MVC architecture.
Performance: Which Is Better?
The Virtual DOM model is very helpful in terms of performance. Both React and Vue have a Virtual DOM. Due to a well-built structure, Vue delivers great performance and memory allocation. React, on the other side, works well and Angular is already ahead in the competition.
Is Native App Development? Possible?
Native apps are built for a specific platform. React has React Native, using which you can develop native apps for iOS and Android. Angular’s NativeScript is already embraced by many to develop native apps, and the Ionic framework is widely popular for crafting hybrid apps.
Vue’s Weex platform is evolving and, currently, there seems to be no plan to take it further, making it a full-fledged cross-development platform.
Which Platform Provides an Easy Learning Curve?
Angular provides a quite informative and clear error message that actually helps developers to fix the issues.
One-Way Data Flow vs. Two-Way Data Binding
This is one of the major differences between React and Angular. Two-way data binding refers to the mechanism where UI fields are bound to model dynamically. When UI elements change, model data is being changed accordingly. On the other hand, one-way data flow means there is only a single source of truth – the model. An application’s data flow in a single direction and only the model can change the app’s state.
One-way data flow is easy to understand and deterministic whereas two-way data binding is tough to understand and implement due to its complexity.
Now, if we consider our frameworks in this case, Angular uses two-way data binding, React goes for single-data flow, and Vue supports both. Here, the point is, Angular’s two-way approach provides efficient coding structure and developers find it easy to work with. React offers a better overview and understanding because the data is managed in one direction.
The Rise of Mircoapps and Microservices
The tech world is embracing mircoapps and microservices at present. React and Vue both provide flexibility to select the things which are important for the app. You need to simply add the required libraries to the source code in React and Vue. Angular uses TypeScript and that’s why it is more suitable for SPAs rather than microservices. React and Vue both offer more flexibility for developing microapps and microservices.
Finally, What Should I Choose?
If you like flexibility more than other features, use React.
If you love coding in TypeScript, go for Angular.
If you are a fan of clean code, use Vue in your application.
Vue provides the easiest learning curve and it’s an ideal option for beginners.
If you want separation of concerns in your application, use Vue.
If you are fond of object-oriented programming, Angular is definitely the pick for you.
Vue is ideal for a small team and a small project. If your app seems to be large and has significant future expansion plan, pick React or Angular.
A Quick Comparison Angular vs. React vs. Vue
|Type||A Framework||Library to build UI||A library|
|Founders||Powered by Google||Maintained by Facebook||Created by Former Google Employee|
|Initial Release||September 2016||March 2013||February 2014|
|Application Types||If you want to develop Native apps, hybrid apps, and web apps||If you want to develop SPA and mobile apps||Advanced SPA and started supporting Native apps|
|Ideal for||If you want to focus on large-scale, feature-rich applications||Suitable for modern web development and native-rendered apps for iOS and Android||Ideal for web development and single-page applications|
|Learning Curve||A steep learning curve||A little bit easier than Angular||A small learning curve|
|Developer-friendly||If you want to use the structure-based framework||If you want to have flexibility in the development environment||If you want to have separation of concerns|
|Model||Based on MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture||Based on Virtual DOM (Document Object Model)||Based on Virtual DOM (Document Object Model)|
|Community Support||A large community of developers and supporters||Facebook developers community||Open-source project sponsored through crowd-sourcing|
|Popularity||Widely popular among developers||More than 27,000 stars added over the year||More than 40,000 stars added on GitHub during the year|
|Companies Using||Used by Google, Forbes, Wix, and weather.com||Used by Facebook, Uber, Netflix, Twitter, Reddit, Paypal, Walmart,
|Used by Alibaba, Baidu, GitLab, and others|
Here, we have tried not to be biased toward any frameworks. We believe your requirements must be met regardless of the technologies or frameworks. If we are missing any important points or concepts which can make this article more comprehensive, you can tell us via comments below!