Technology has a way of evolving continuously. Based on how it keeps changing, user behavior and web based apps too continue to change. Programming languages and tools are most certainly directly affected by these changes. What may be the most popular language today may be a forgotten story tomorrow. Each day, a new enhancement threatens to turn a familiar language or framework archaic and obsolete. While out of the two that we are about to discuss in today’s blog none have been pushed over to the edge of extinction, we have most assuredly sensed a general migration from Angular towards React. Today, we will try to understand why this drift is occurring amongst modern developers.
Evolution and Change
As discussed right at the beginning, there is no doubt about the fact that the entire industry of technology and related businesses rely largely on evolution. This maybe because we, as customers, have probably learnt to demand more from our devices. It may also be perhaps because of the extremely competitive nature of the present day market. In order to survive and stay relevant every technology stack has to update itself.
This, in part is a very big reason so as to why many programming languages and technologies lost graces in the eyes of developers. So, without any further ado, let us dive into the most prominent reasons that have contributed towards the drift from Angular to React JS.
Angular is essentially an open source software engineering platform, supported by Google. It is primarily used for building the ‘front end’ or the user interface. Misko Hevery and Adam Abrons developed this framework in 2009 and eventually launched it in 2010.
Its two most popular features include:
a. Data Binding
b. Dependency Injection
Interesting fact about Angular is that before its time, HTML, the web mark up language could not be interactive and had to remain static. This meant that the final website that a user would see would only be a display of the content rather than any interactive interface. With the advent of Angular, HTML based documents could be converted into dynamic content, thereby making it a very popular and hot choice for developers.
a. Deep Linking for dynamic pages: With the help of this feature, the state of the application can be encoded into the URL for bookmarking. This allows restoration of the app from the URL to the same state.
b. Directives: Creating custom HTML Tags which essentially work as custom widgets can be done using directives. In case you wish to manipulate GOM attributes, or decorate elements with behavior, then having the right set of directives makes it extremely easy.
c. Full Testing Environment: Angular is omnipotent in the sense that it doesn’t require any additional plug in for testing.
a. Substandard Performance: While this may not always be the case, for the most part, dynamic apps showcase slower performance and don’t necessarily work as expected.
b. Scope of ambiguity: Angular is huge. It is a mammoth. This is why; there is always a scope of ambiguity and lack of clarity in terms of exploring the framework in its entirety. There’s always more than one way to complete the tasks. However, the huge developer community is very helpful in case anyone is getting stuck anywhere.
Moving on to React JS
React brings a whole new set of possibilities that make viewing a page an easy and uncomplicated experience for the user. To understand this better with an example, let us look at page updates. Earlier, the user would be forced to refresh the entire page in order to see new notifications, but today, because of cool new features such as the live text editor and so on and so forth; one can view notifications and messages without having to wait for refreshes.
However, it is important to note that React is just a component based library and not an entire framework. It is a front end library and involves the view components of MVC (Model View Controller)
a. DOMS: constructing effective virtual DOM known as Document Object Model or vDOM, React facilitates the creation of light DOM tree and the ability to save it on the server-side. This is how it works:
· While user is interacting with Internet resource, new vDOM is being continuously being created.
· Existing DOMs are compared to the existing or the recent ones.
· In case both of them have differences, the vDOM is rebuilt.
c. SEO Friendly: React presents the ‘first-load experience’ by server side rendering and connecting event-handlers on the side of the user. This makes it innately SEO friendly.
d. Always Up to Scratch: The React library enjoys the support of the Facebook community and therefore all its code samples and libraries are always up to date.
a. May take time to learn: There is definitely a learning curve to using React. This may be partially because of the fact that it isn’t a full fledged framework and just a component library.
b. Huge Library: While many attribute this as an advantage, having such a large library can also be one of the major causes for concerns for developers as it makes simple tasks very ambiguous to approach and finish.
When to Use Angular Over React?
Every developer has his or her own style of working. Each brand brings its own unique set of requirements for their websites and web apps. This is why; there may not be a single fool proof answer to why you may choose react over Angular. However, in the following table, we have tried to showcase the various parameters that a developer may want to look into before making that decision.
|Parameter||React JS||Angular JS|
|Use Of Libraries||Can Be Packaged With Other Libraries||Complete Solution|
|Best Feature||Allows you to choose tools, architecture, and libraries||Limited freedom & flexibility|
|Testing & Debugging||Require Set Of Tools||One Single Tool|
|Ideal For||Native-Rendered Apps||Large-Scale Apps|
|Template||JSX + J5 (ES5/ES6)||HTML + Typescript|
|GitHub Stars||180 K||80.8 K|
React Benefits over Angular
React is Fast and Efficient
We’ve already discussed how React, unlike Angular, is a component library and not a framework. This means that with React, you are no longer restricted to work upfront with the DOM (Document Object Model). You now have the advantage of working with a layer of the vDOM (Virtual Document Object Model). This plays a large role in lending speed to React solutions, as is the need of the hour.
For situations where in a developer is in rendering mode continuously, React would automatically diff on the Virtual DOM. What this means is that instead of the whole paraphernalia, React only updates the particular part of the actual DOM that requires an update.
vDOM also facilitates in limiting problems related to cross browser issues with access to unified cross browser API.
React Does Exceedingly Well with Component Based UI
React is just hand in glove with component-based User Interface. The biggest advantage is that by modularizing the components, React is able to separate the concerns for each of them. Each component is ready to now be created or tested individually. The beauty of working with React is that it innately focuses on solving a problem by presenting a tool to develop the component.
React Allows You to Exploit the Advantage of JSX
React, Unlike Angular Offers Single Data Binding Benefit
As mentioned above, each developer has his or her own set of favorite tools and languages. It may not be wise to say that Angular’s days are numbered or that React is the only option that developers are looking at today, however, there is no denying the fact that there are so many advantages that React brings over Angular that many developers are opting for it.
In the community of web apps developers, a very apparent shift in tastes and preferences is observable. This blog post has tried to showcase some of the reasons that have made React so popular over Angular, but if we’ve missed any, or if you strongly disagree with us, feel free to put down your points in the comments section.
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