AngularJS vs. React

The web is full of articles debating which is better – AngularJS or React (also known as React.js or ReactJS). It is true that you can be successful with AngularJS and/or React and learning one framework makes it easier to learn another. Picking a framework is important for the long-term success and scalability of the project, but it is far more important to learn the concepts shared between the two frameworks.
By learning a given framework, you won’t just learn about that particular framework, but you’ll also learn about the following shared concepts:

  • Single-Page Applications (SPAs) ArchitectureSPA is a web app that loads a single HTML page, and then dynamically updates that page as per the user’s interactions with the web application. It eliminates the traditional request-response model upon which the classic web was built. Instead, it requires only that a single page be retrieved from the server.
  • Data Flow through an Application – defines the flow pattern of the data in a Model, View and Controller (MVC) architecture.
  • Templating – a process of creating templates. The templates take simple web applications to the next level, keeping your application logic separate from your presentation.
  • State Management – state is all the information retained by a program, and state management is the technique to manage the states. States can be a difficult part of web application development, especially when there are multiple user interactions to manage. The inherent ability of DOM to manage states helps, but for a complex application, keeping everything organized can become difficult.
  • Design and Development of Components – the concept of components is to make reusable pieces of code, for example Date Pickers, Sliders, etc. Components are important in building larger web applications as they make web application development simple and quick.
  • Client-Side Routing – a client-side routing occurs when the route is handled internally by the JavaScript which is loaded on the page. Clicking a link will change the URL, but a request to the server is prevented. Changes in the URL will result in a change in application state, which will ultimately result in a different view of the webpage.
  • Testing Methodologies – used to test a web application or a webpage.


React uses old-school JavaScript and builds HTML around it, which makes it seem easier at the initial phase. However, the use of additional tools makes it ultimately more difficult. On the other hand, AngularJS uses syntax and questions, which makes it challenging for programmers in the beginning, but the features it brings to the table tend to benefit the programmer more than those of React.

The main difference is state management. AngularJS has two-way data flow, whereas React uses one-way data flow. AngularJS has a built-in data binding, whereas React uses Redux to provide unidirectional data flow. Redux is a state management library based on Flux but has lower complexities. It is often used as a solution in React, however, it is not always required in AngularJS.

Also, AngularJS has less dependency on additional tools, utilities, and libraries in order to build applications, whereas in React, the dependency is high. Another key differentiator between AngularJS and React is the methodologies used to handle debugging. AngularJS uses runtime debugging which tends to provide less information than the information provided by React’s compile time debugging.

Next week we will provide a quick side-to-side comparison between AngularJS and React.

STAY TUNED!

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