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Angular vs. React vs. Vue: Which Framework is Best in 2021?

You may be a React developer, a Vue developer, or an Angular developer specializing only in these technologies. Still, you cannot ignore the constant comparison that the development community keeps making. And for good reason. One is a UI library (React), another is a seasoned full-fledged front-end framework (Angular), and the youngest among them (Vue) may be termed as a progressive framework. Each of these possesses some unique benefits and performance metrics that compel people to analyze the three.

Each of these frameworks is component-based and facilitates the rapid creation of UI features. They can be used interchangeably, well, almost for building front-end applications. However, they are not 100% the same.

This is why we decided to create a short guide for you but, most importantly, a structure for you to help decide on technologies in the future as well.

Let’s dig in.

License

As obvious as it may sound, make sure to thoroughly check its license before using an open-source framework or library. Luckily, React, Angular, and Vue all use the MIT license, which is bliss because it provides limited restrictions on reuse, even in proprietary software. However, always go the extra mile and understand the implications of the license before using any framework or software.

Architecture

Angular

Angular framework belongs to the MEAN stack, which is today the hottest technology stack for startups. Angular is a complete framework for web application development based on TypeScript and is mainly used for building single-page web applications (SPAs).

Unlike AngularJS — the original framework, Angular 2 doesn’t have a strict association with MV*-patterns because it is component-based. The way Angular is structured, there are Modules, Components, and Services.

In the Angular framework, each component has a Class or a Template that defines the application logic and MetaData (Decorators). This metadata of the component provides guidance about where the building blocks needed to create and present its view are.

Another important factor in the Angular architecture is that the templates are written in HTML. They may also include Angular template syntax with special directives to output reactive data and may render multiple elements.

Services — a distinct element of Angular applications — are used by Components for delegating business-logic tasks such as fetching data or validating input. While using Services is not strictly enforced, it is always wiser to structure apps as a set of disparate services that are reusable.

React

React is an open-source, front-end library primarily used for developing user interfaces. This flexible front-end solution doesn’t enforce a specific project structure. A React developer may start using it with just a few lines of code.

React is based on JavaScript, but for the most part, it is combined with JSX (JavaScript XML), which is a syntax extension that allows a developer to create elements containing HTML and JavaScript at the same time. Effectively, anything that a developer can create with JSX can also be created with the React JavaScript API. React Elements are more powerful than DOM elements and are the smallest building blocks of React apps.

React components are building blocks that determine independent and reusable pieces to be used throughout the web application.

Vue

Used for developing user interfaces and SPAs, Vue is an open-source Model-View-View-Model front-end JS library. Called a progressive framework, it is used with other tools for front-end development. Vue’s popularity is owing to its versatility, high performance, and its optimal user experience on a web application.

With Vue, a developer mostly works on the ViewModel layer to make sure that the application data is processed in a manner that allows the framework to render an up-to-date view.

Vue’s templating syntax combines recognizable HTML with special directives and features. The syntax lets a developer create View components.

Now Components in Vue are reusable, self-contained, and small. The SFCs or Single File Components with the extension .vue have HTML, JavaScript, and CSS so that all the relevant codes stay in one file.

In larger Vue.js projects, SFCs are usually recommended to organize code. To transpile SFCs into working JavaScript code, you need tools like Webpack or Browserify.

Purpose and Scope

Angular

Angular is best suitable for large-scale and advanced projects. These may include but not be limited to: 

  • Developing Progressive Web App (PWA).
  • Redesigning of a website application.
  • Building dynamic content-based web designs.
  • Creating large enterprise application that needs complex infrastructure.

React

React comes from the family of the MERN stack — a technology stack known for building sophisticated business applications. React becomes a powerful tool when used along with Redux or MobX, or any flux patterned library. React is best suited for the following projects:

  • For applications that involve many components with navigation items, collapsed/expanded accordion sections, active/inactive states, dynamic inputs, active/inactive buttons, user login, user access permissions, etc.
  • For projects that have scope for scale and growth because React components have declarative nature that makes way for easy handling around such complex structures.
  • When UI is the center of the web app.

Vue

Vue is best suited for solving short-term problems because Vue has an affordable and quick learning curve. It can integrate with existing code blocks easily.  Vue may be required when:

  • You need development projects of web apps with animations or interactive elements.
  • Prototyping without the need for advanced skills.
  • Applications requiring seamless integration with multiple other apps.
  • Faster launch of MVP.

Performance and Development

Angular

Some highlights in Angular’s performance are:

  • Has seamless third-party integrations for enhancing the functionality of the product/application.
  • Provides a robust collection of components leading to simplified art of writing, altering, and using the code.
  • Its ‘ahead-of-time-compiler’ bestows faster load times and security strength.
  • The MVC model helps in curtailing queries in the background by allowing separation of views.
  • Facilitates the use of dependency injection as external elements for decoupling components that make way for reusability and ease of management and testing.
  • Reduces the initial load time of a webpage by splitting the tasks into logical chunks.
  • Fully customizable designs.
  • Facilitates the compiling of HTML and TypeScript into JavaScript — leading to the faster compilation of the code much before the browser starts to load the web app.

React

React is comparable to Vue when it comes to performance because both have the same architecture, i.e., interaction with DOM. The performance of React web development can be assessed as follows: 

  • Supports bundling and tree-shaking — a feature crucial for reducing the end users’ resource loads.
  • Offers better control over the project due to one-way data-binding support.
  • It can be easily tested and monitored.
  • Best for complex applications that require frequent changes.

Vue

Incredibly fast is the phrase that’s most attached with Vue. Some of its performance metrics are:

  • Faster learning curve.
  • Efficient and sophisticated single-page application.
  • Versatility due to high-end features.

Benefits of Angular, React, Vue

Angular

Well-documented understanding of templates, forms, bootstrapping or details about architecture, components, and interaction between components:

  • Smooth two-way data binding.
  • MVC architecture.
  • Built-in module system.
  • Significant reduction of the initial load time of a webpage.

Popular applications built using Angular:

Youtube TV | PayPal | Gmail | Forbes | Google Cloud

React

  • Flexible code due to its modular structure. Saves time and cost.
  • Facilitates high performance of complex apps.
  • Easier to maintain code during React front-end development.
  • Supports mobile native applications for both Android and iOS platforms.

Popular applications built with React:

Tesla | AirBnB | CNN | Nike | Udemy | Linked-in

Vue

  • Small size facilitates easy installation and download. 
  • When properly harnessed, Vue can be reused.
  • Vue.js allows updating of elements in a web page without rendering the whole DOM since it is virtual. 
  • Requires less optimization.
  • Stimulates web application development and allows the experts to separate template-to-virtual DOM from the compiler.
  • Proven compatibility and flexibility.
  • The codebase remains light regardless of the scaling of the application.

Popular applications built with Vue:

Gitlab | Spendesk | Behance | 9Gag | Wizzair | Nintendo

Community Support and Learning Curve

React JS library is created by Facebook that enjoys a large community of coders and developers offering solutions to the biggest problems. Angular has a large community of developers who have answers to the most challenging and weirdest cases. Vue has a decent ecosystem and enjoys all the right characteristics of React library and Angular framework. When it comes to the learning curve, React is the quickest to learn and adapt, followed by Vue and Angular. 

Final Thoughts

From the point of view of front-end development, React will be the quickest to learn in 2021. Both Vue and React are lightweight, intuitive, and perform flawlessly.

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