Angular vs. React: Uses, Differences and Importance

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 6 October 2022 | Published 7 May 2022

Updated 6 October 2022

Published 7 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you're working on an IT or software project, choosing the right frontend framework can be an important step in the development process. Angular and React are two popular JavaScript frameworks that many developers use to aid their projects. Knowing the differences between Angular and React can help you choose the right framework to use for your projects. In this article, we explain the definitions of Angular and React and discuss their differences.

Angular vs. React

If you're deciding on which framework you want to use for your web development projects, it's important to discern the differences between Angular vs. React. But first, it's essential to define these frameworks and list their main features:

What is Angular?

Angular is an open-source JavaScript framework built on TypeScript that many developers use for their web development projects. Its main purpose is to help develop single-page applications, like GPS apps. They also provide developers with a standard and straightforward structure to work with while enabling them to create large applications that are easy to maintain. Here are some features of Angular:

  • component-based framework to build web applications that are scalable

  • suite of developer tools that help developers build, test, develop and update their code

  • collection of libraries that include a variety of features, such as forms management, routing and client-server management

What is React?

React is another popular open-source JavaScript framework that many developers use for their development projects. It's a tool that helps developers build user interfaces. Developers typically use React to create user interfaces in JavaScript for different platforms, such as web applications, mobile app development and cross-development hybrid applications. Here are some features of React:

  • component-based framework to build web applications that are scalable

  • a virtual DOM, which allows developers to speed up their development processes during their projects

  • a markup syntax called XML or JSX that replicated the interface of the app to simplify the coding process for developers

  • a declarative user interface that allows developers to read and fix bugs in their codes easily

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What are their differences?

Here are more comparisons between the two popular frameworks:

Programming language

Angular is a JavaScript framework built using Typescript, while React is better known as a JavaScript library that's built using JSX. Developers typically use Angular to build complex grade applications that enterprises use, such as single-page applications or progressive web applications. Developers usually use React to build user interface components in any application that make use of variable data.

Related: What Does a Java Developer Do? And How to Become One

Popularity

While both Angular and React have gained popularity in the developer community over the years, React currently has a higher rating compared to Angular. This can be because React is a JavaScript library, while Angular is more of a framework. This can lead to different types of uses and affect how developers rate them in polls.

Usage

There are some differences in the types of projects that require the use of Angular and React. Developers typically choose to use Angular when they're working on large projects because it already has many features and doesn't require any additional integrations of pins or third-party functions. Since it's not necessary for developers to add any external elements, they can use Angular to work on their projects more efficiently. Angular is a full Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework that's more advanced. Therefore, experienced developers who're working on more complex projects typically use it.

For React, developers normally use them for brand new user interface projects that they're working on. React is simpler to use so it's easier to learn. React also has a library that includes many features so it contributes to faster development in projects for scalable applications.

Templates

Templates may be important when you're working on web development projects since it's important to use what you're comfortable with and already know. The Angular framework uses templates based on an extended version of HTML, built with directives from Angular. To use Angular, it's essential to learn how to key in a specific syntax.

To use React, you only require JavaScript knowledge since it uses JSX templates. A JSX template is a component that's created from JavaScript logic and markup within the same file. This allows you to write your markup in JavaScript code. As you can code everything in one setting, code completion may work more fluidly.

Testing of the frameworks

When you're doing testing for your projects, you may face limitations while doing it in programming languages like JavaScript. This is why developers who write code in JavaScript often develop a strong set of tests too. In Angular, there are features such as unite code isolation that helps with testing in these projects. Other built-in features like dependency injection can make testing of components easier in your projects too since they're able to recreate the respective components in the project.

In React, you can conduct tests that can predict results since they have a suite of mocking functions. Mock functions typically help to make your project testing more functional and fetch data for your test scenarios better. In React, you can also execute test suites to run any test cases during your development process using multiple test runners that are built into the system.

Server rendering

Server rendering is important to many web developers since it shows an application's ability to convert HTML files into a fuller render HTML page that looks and works well. Angular facilitates this by developing static versions of the application that are easily searchable and likeable. Since it uses server-side rendering, it creates a static page of your application before it becomes interactive. Thus, you can easily see what your project looks like before making any changes to it.

In React, the framework renders your application to its server by using functions like RenderToString and RenderToStaticMakeup so that you can create a simple static page generator of your project. React also has very high-speed rendering that can help you create renders of your project quickly.

Document Object Model (DOM)

Document Object Model (DOM) is how data represents any object that makes up the content and structure of a web document. It defines how you can manipulate or access web documents and applications. Angular makes use of real DOM, which means that the framework goes through the complete structure of HTML in your web projects to find out what you want to change and applies the changes accordingly.

React uses a virtual DOM implementation, so it doesn't update all the HTML in your project when you require a change. In React, the framework only looks for any differences in the old and current HTML and creates updates to the old one where required.

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Other frameworks to consider

If you're still looking for another web development framework, here are some other frameworks you can learn about and try out:

  • Vue.js: Vue.js is a JavaScript-based community-driven framework that is similar to Angular and React and it provides end-to-end application development functionality and state management. It's also easy to use with JavaScript framework, provides two-way binding and supports virtual DOM and event sourcing.

  • Django: Django is a model-template-view framework that offers a suite of functions like middleware, caching and security to develop enterprise-grade quality rapid applications. This framework also lets you plug in third-party apps so that it's extensive and it also works with Python.

  • Ruby on Rails: Ruby on Rails is a server-side web development framework that supports the Ruby programming language, and also includes a suite of features like database migration, middleware, caching and security to develop enterprise-grade quality applications.

  • Flask: Flask is a Python-based micro web framework that supports huggable extensions for your web and app development projects. It also provides an extensive Command-Line Interface (CLI), which can help developers access applications during the development phase.

  • Express.js: Express.js is a server-side rendered web framework that developers typically use for backend development projects, but it can also support end-to-end application development. Express.js also supports templating, routing and middleware.

  • Laravel: Laravel is a server-side web development framework that uses PHP, a popular programming language that's specially made for web development. It's a model-view-controller (MVS) web enterprise-grade framework that provides support for asynchronous programming.

Related: Backend Developer Path: Steps on How To Become One

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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