React versus Angular. What are the key differences

React versus Angular. What are the key differences?


Published on: 07 May 2019

By Rahul Jain

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There are a lot of similarities, differences, pros, and cons of both React and Angular. If you’re a developer in a startup on the brink of starting your next project and you’re trying to figure out which tool is perfect for the job, keep reading!

History of React vs. Angular

Angular was developed and maintained by Google, and it is a JavaScript framework written in TypeScript. Often described as a “Superheroic JavaScript MVW Framework”, Angular was used in one of Google’s most important projects – Google AdWords. Also, since it is developed and supported by Google, we can expect a pretty good lifespan from this framework. Angular was originally released in September 2016 and is a complete rewrite of AngularJS which was released in October 2010

React was developed and maintained by Facebook, and it is a JavaScript library. React is described as “a JavaScript library for building user interfaces”. It’s interesting to note, that React is used far more at Facebook than Angular is at Google. This could be an indication of how much Facebook is backing this technology. If we were to speculate lifespans of the two, React is probably going to be around a little longer than Angular. React was released in March 2013.

Architecture of React vs. Angular

Framework vs. Library

While Angular and React have many similarities, these are actually quite different from each other. For example, Angular is considered a full-fledged MVC framework and React is merely a JavaScript Library. Angular allows developers to build applications from a structural approach. Angular also provides a lot more functionality. There is no need to decide which routing libraries to use. Without any other type of consideration, developers can immediately start coding with Angular. However, there is less flexibility as you are forced to use what is provided in the framework.

Angular provides the following functionalities:

  • Templates, based on an extended version of HTML
  • XSS protection
  • Dependency injection
  • Ajax requests by @angular/HTTP
  • Routing, provided by @angular/router
  • Component CSS encapsulation
  • Utilities for unit-testing components.
  • @angular/forms for building forms

React gives developers a lot more freedom and flexibility. Developers can pick the Model and Controller parts of the architecture while React provides the “view” in MVC. Thanks to this, you can choose your own libraries. However, you might end up using many independent, fast-moving libraries, which will require you to take care of the corresponding updates or migrations you do. React projects are unique and require folder hierarchy and architecture. A lot can go wrong easily. So, tread with caution!

React provides the following functionalities:

  • Instead of classic templates, it has JSX, an XML-like language built on top of javascript
  • XSS protection
  • No dependency injection
  • Fetch for Ajax requests
  • Utilities for unit-testing components

Some popular libraries to add functionality are:

  • React-router for routing
  • Redux or MobX for state management
  • Enzyme for additional testing utilities

Companies Using React & Angular

Here are a list of companies using React and Angular:

React:

  • Facebook
  • Airbnb
  • Uber
  • Netflix
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp
  • Dropbox

Angular:

  • Google 
  • Nike
  • Forbes
  • Upwork
  • General Motors
  • HBO
  • Sony

Conclusion

Right now, Angular and React are two competing front end technologies running some of the most profitable businesses in the modern world. Adopting the latest technologies in the market is one way to stay ahead in the competition. However, when adopting these technologies, lifespan and support is definitely worth considering. Since we have Internet titans such as Google and Facebook backing these two technologies, they appear to be safe bets for now. As for picking one over the other, to be honest, you can’t go wrong with either one. They are literally some of the best front end technologies in the industry right now.

Rahul Jain Rahul Jain