AngularJS vs ReactJS: Pros and Cons

11 min to read 07.13.2021
A programmer working on a computer

What programming language is best for a particular project: AngularJS or ReactJS? If this question arises, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t professional enough. It doesn't show the level of your knowledge and skills. This question is common for both beginners and experienced developers.
So, let us have a look at the factors that will determine your choice and choose the correct programming language for your project. 

What Is AngularJS

AngularJS takes its place among the most frequently applied JavaScript frameworks. It is open source. This means that anybody can access it and use it. It is commonly supported by its dedicated community and by Google.
It is great if you intend to do apps for a single page. 
However, while the framework seems to look ok, it has some drawbacks. The most significant are:

  • A high learning curve;
  • Weak packaging.

If you can ignore those drawbacks and prioritize such features as ease of use, this might be the right choice for you. Also, AngularJS is a perfect option for those who would prefer a fully-featured framework instead of an open-source library.
 

What is ReactJS

ReactJS is not a framework at all. ReactJS is a user interface library. Its creator is Facebook. The library is commonly applied to create interface components. The interface components should be convenient and reusable.
So, the ReactJS main applications are derived from the explanation given above. ReactJS is used to render complex UI with high-performance levels.
ReactJS applies the virtual DOM. The DOM can be rendered from both the client & the server side. If you use AngularJS, you can count on DOM rendering from the client-side solely.
ReactJS is significantly lighter than AngularJS because it does not have as many conditions and does not need plugins to be used. This is also considered a significant benefit by some developers, though it is a matter of taste and project.
 

Complete Comparison

This table shows you what features you can count for each application.

 ReactJSAngularJS
Created ByFacebookGoogle
TypeOpen-source libraryFully featured framework
ToolchainHighLow

Programming language

JSXJavaScript, HTML
Learning curveLowHigh
RenderingServerClient
PackagingStrong Weak
Data BindingUni-directionalBi-directional
DOMVirtualRegular

Now, it is time to check the key factors that will determine whether you choose AngularJS or rather ReactJS for your future ambitious project. Check each of the factors given below before starting any project. Then, you will be able to produce something that is efficient to use.

 

Key Factor 1. Maturity

So, what does “maturity” mean in this case? Before you even start considering one or the other, check what technology you are going to use. Is it mature? Is it new?
Advanced things appear almost every month, and some developers cannot resist the temptation to use them. That is fine, but before you opt for completely new technology, you should understand clearly that:

  • Its main feature might have a lack of stability;
  • Most likely, it will be full of bugs. In most cases, testers are not able to detect all of them right away;
  • If you face problems, you might not receive assistance quickly. Moreover, if it is a typical open-source technology, the community might not be able to help you, and the solutions will be up to you.

AngularJS

AngularJS is a proven technology and a completely mature one. While the most updated AngularJS versions might have some issues, they are less likely to happen in older releases. Regarding maturity, AngularJS is pretty good.

ReactJS

ReactJS has been around for more than four years. It is successfully applied in popular message apps like WhatsApp and Instagram. So, there is no reason to doubt the maturity of ReactJS.

 

Key Factor 2. Features

Many developers still insist that AngularJS is incomparably more convenient when it comes to the set of its features. Such statements might exist only because such developers lack knowledge about ReactJS. Both of these stacks are functional and share a lot of features. There are differences, too. So, let’s take a detailed look at them to make sure you understand which one best suits your needs.

ReactJS

  • It doesn’t support dependency injection (we bet you know what it is).
  • Classic templates are just absent, completely. Instead of them, it uses a language that looks like XML and it runs on top of JavaScript.
  • XSS protection is applied.
  • All the needed utilities used for unit testing are available.

Well, ok, compared to Angular, the features aren’t so extensive. But if you want more features, you can always pick up an additional library, and the problem is solved.

AngularJS

AngularJS offers developers all the possible and impossible features that are absolutely needed to build a complete product. Here are just some of the functionalities:

  • It supports dependency injection.
  • You can use templates.
  • It offers component CSS encapsulation.
  • XSS protection is available.
  • You can use all the utilities for unit testing.

 

Key Factor 3. Ecosystem

Both AngularJS, as well as ReactJS, offer several useful things. It is worth having a much closer look at these details.

AngularJS

CLI
It is always nice to have a CLI toolset. It allows developers to generate and run the entire project with a minimum of commands. You can also write a new code with much less effort.
Ionic 2
Ionic 2 is perfect if you need to build hybrid apps. Mobile applications are easily handled with the Ionic Cordova Container.
@ngrx/store
This is a library. If it is integrated with RxJS, you can use the strategy of push detection to increase the app’s performance.

ReactJS

Next.js
It is a stack. It allows developers to reproduce the apps they develop on a server. Next.js is typically applied to demonstrate the results of their work to clients.
Storybook
It is a ReactJS environment. With it, you can set up an app to demonstrate some of its features. It offers extensive functionality for those who need to build, document, test, or perform other functions with different app components.
ReactJS Native
It is a special platform developed by Facebook. It is used for building native applications. Within it, you can find a set of standard components or build your own ones.
Create ReactJS App
It is a CCL tool for ReactJS. You can use it to restart or launch a server, to create a new product, or even to create a bundle for a batch of new flexible apps.
MobX
It is a ReactJS library. With it, you are enabled to handle the state of apps, use a set of decorators, etc.

So, as you can see, both ReactJS and AngularJS have extensive ecosystems. In their own ways, both ecosystems provide the developers with whatever is needed.
 

Key Factor 4. Learning Curve

Is your preferred option easy to learn? Of course, your experience plays an important role but still, everything should be fast and easy to learn.

ReactJS

Here, you need to learn how to code in JSX. It is very similar to JavaScript. Also, you will need to learn to create components, study some internal state management, apply props, etc.
The main complication for developers is learning to manage old and already well-known tasks in new ways as suggested by the library. The main concepts can be easily handled after you watch free video courses. Additionally, you will have to learn how to use complementary libraries.
All in all, ReactJS is easy to master even for a complete beginner with no background at all in development.

AngularJS

There is no doubt that AngularJS is much deeper than ReactJS. The first thing to start with is TypeScript. It helps if you have some experience either with .NET or with Java. AngularJS is more suitable if you have some experience or if you are going to invest some time in learning. However, the time investment pays off.

 

Key Factor 5: Languages and Patterns

The UI design is also one of the major factors that differentiate ReactJS from AngularJS. The approaches to the UI differ significantly in both cases.

ReactJS

All the UI components are completely created by the dedicated community. There are both free components as well as paid ones.

AngularJS

AngularJS uses a completely featured stack. It is inbuilt. Most components are pre-developed. That’s why everything, the entire infrastructure, is very sleek and everything is easy to use and even easier to integrate.
To some extent, AngularJS is more convenient. It already has everything that you need. Of course, you can always add a new library in ReactJS if you see that something is missing, but again, you need to know how to do it.
 

Key Factor 6: Componentization

The approach to componentization is completely different in ReactJS and AngularJS.

AngularJS

When we speak about AngularJS, we mean a highly structured robust architecture. This infrastructure depends on some of its layers, such as Controller, for example.
It enables a developer to break a code into some files. It also means that developers can create fixed templates and use them for different projects.

ReactJS

ReactJS uses a completely different approach, though. ReactJS allows you to build what is called element trees. It also provides definitions of the components. All the codes are completely logical and are easy to read.
Here, your choice will depend mostly on the project, and on your preferences. If you need or prefer to work with templates, AngularJS is your best option. Otherwise, you might consider ReactJS because of its ease and transparency.
 

Key Factor 7. Toolset

The toolset is crucial for any developer. However, along with the absolute availability of various tools, it is also important that they are easy. Let us compare how ReactJS and AngularJS compete.

AngularJS

AngularJS uses a complete variety of tools for code editing. Visual Studio is just one of them.
To handle any type of project, CLI is available. For other functions, other tools are responsible.

ReactJS

ReactJS uses plenty of various tools for editing code. The most popular among them are Visual Studio and Sublime texts. A special tool called THE Create ReactJS App is responsible for project creation. Next.js framework is responsible for server rendering.
When comparing both AngularJS and ReactJS, you might not find significant differences between them. However, if you know them well, you will see the difference immediately. AngularJS is supposed to be properly tested with one tool. It can be, for instance, Protractor, or something else. It is up to you or the project, But one tool is enough to test everything.
In the case of ReactJS, things are different. Testing cannot be performed with just a single tool. Moreover, in different cases, the toolset will differ.
 

Key Factor 8. Documentation

Documentation is crucial when it comes to convenience. So, we cannot stop now without giving it some attention.

AngularJS

In the case of Angular, something is always under development. Documentation is always being worked on but, there are also a plethora of very outdated components. So, tutorials are not valid there. This is the major inconvenience with the documentation.

ReactJS

ReactJS is completely supported by its dedicated community members. Everything is upgraded, updated, and mostly usable in the current reality. So, ReactJS is incomparably more updated even if you check the older components. The same can be confidently said about all the documents.
In this regard, ReactJS is more convenient because there, everything is still valid and can be used. In the case of Angular, inexperienced developers might waste their time on documentation that is not needed anywhere anymore.
 

Key Factor 9. Development Speed

Speed is the most crucial factor for developers. It matters, indeed, whether you can complete a product within a couple of months or if it will take more than a year. In this regard, AngularJS and ReactJS are very different.

AngularJS

AngularJS allows developers to create services and elements with one-line commands only. CLI makes the entire development procedure relatively smooth. There are also inbuilt tools for fixing issues.
AngularJS provides an improved experience. It is very convenient for developers.

ReactJS

ReactJS is all about the application of libraries, including the libraries provided by third parties. So, the reliability and smoothness of such libraries is sometimes under question. There is no fixed architecture, so developers are forced to make decisions themselves. The same is undeniably valid for all the available tools – developers are forced to make their choices. It might work out for tech-savvy developers but for beginners, it is pretty challenging.
The development speed is higher if you use AngularJS. ReactJS is also fine for specific projects and only if you have some experience or somebody can assist you in making the right choice.
 

Key Factor 10. Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the most crucial components to which the majority of developers pay attention. AngularJS and ReactJS differ significantly when it comes to the flexibility level.

AngularJS

AngularJS has a predetermined structure and specific components. In this regard, your flexibility is very limited.

ReactJS

ReactJS, on the contrary, offers a very high flexibility level. You can select the architecture and more. You can create tailored solutions with any functionality.
We would say that for those developers who prefer stability and clarity, AngularJS is better. However, if you want to create unique solutions, ReactJS should be your choice.
 

Bottom Line

ReactJS or AngularJS? It is impossible to reply to this question with one word only. Everything depends on the project, its’ aims, your experience, and your preferences. Check the project carefully, assess all the details and requirements, and choose your most convenient option.

 

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