In the project development cycle, there is always a step when you finish one project and you are beginning the second one. It usually puts you in front of deciding which tool to use for the implementation of the new frontend application. You will probably have to choose between React, Angular, and Vue. Which one will be the best choice? The answer is: it depends!
Script gives you the possibility to choose within a wide range of frameworks or advanced libraries to build modern applications. These times, the most popular ones are React, Angular, and Vue. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages, and what is most important, each of them has big support and community. It allows you to find you a solution very fast in case of any problems. All those tools are really great and you can do everything in each of them, but before the final decision, there are several topics that you should think about:
- project scope,
- team experience and learning curve,
- project setup and configuration.
React-based apps consist of multiple components. Each component contains JSX markup and business logic. Communication between components can be managed by Flux.
The best advantage of using React is flexibility. React does not impose on you the structure of your project or library you have to use. You are the decision-maker, and you can use whatever you want and arrange your implementation in every way you want. The large community ensures multiple React-based libraries between you can choose to add to your app. React is also quite easy to learn for the newbies.
Paradoxically, flexibility is also the biggest disadvantage of React. During work with React, you have to create your own workflow. You don’t have a built-in solution and a standardized architecture. You have to work it out by yourself. The plenty of given React libraries will make you a headache during the selection of the proper one. You might also waste some time testing the given solutions.
Angular 2+ is the newest and improved version of the Angular framework. Angular is a powerful tool with a lot of built-in solutions. It allows you to create a component-based application, which is a big change compared to the previous version of Angular.
With Angular CLI, it’s really easy to create a full configuration of a new application. After a few seconds of installation, you have a project ready to start the implementation. You don’t have to install any other dependencies, you have whatever you need: routing, HTTP client, TypeScript support - just ng new [app_name], and you’re able to write your application without any additional configuration. Angular 2+ forces you a bit to use its project architecture that consists of components, modules, services, providers, pipes, directives, and dependency injection framework. In the beginning, it may annoy you, but when you are more familiar with Angular, you will probably see more sense in this architecture. In the simplest terms, Angular wants you to design frontend apps in a prescribed way, unlike React or Vue.
In Angular, there is also a two-way data binding that allows you to share data between a component class and its template and vice versa. It’s really helpful because sometimes you won’t need to handle, eg., input events to get current input data. After all, it will be handled directly via ngModel. On the other side, it caused some performance problems in the first version of Angular, but in the newest version, it seems to be improved.
Besides the advantages above, Angular is made for applications where there are plenty of forms. Angular’s Reactive Forms module is gorgeous and allows you to create nested and complicated forms with multiple steps and validation support. It seems to be the best solution for forms support these times.
On the other side, Angular is a complex tool, and it’s really hard to learn at the beginning. To start working with Angular, you have to learn each concept of this framework. It’ll also force you to use its worked-out architecture. First touches with Angular may overwhelm you, and you can be discouraged at the very same beginning. After configuring an Angular app, there are some built-in modules installed that you may never use in your app, which is a big redundancy. Also Angular’s state management tool - @ngrx is advanced but too complicated.
Vue is the youngest tool from this list, and it borrows concepts from both React and Angular.
Vue has the same flexibility as React. Using Vue enables you to organize your architecture in whatever way you want and you are able to use whatever tools or libs you prefer. It’s also related to the same problems as in React. Vuex, Vue’s state management tool, based on Flux is really cool. It’s simple to learn and use. During work with Vue, you won’t have to learn new things like Angular’s concepts or React’s JSX. It means Vue is the simplest tool and also the easiest to learn. If you’re familiar with React or Angular, switching from those 2 to Vue is a piece of cake.
Unfortunately, Vue is still much less popular than either React or Angular, so it has less ready solutions. Working with Vue may sometimes force you to prepare your own solutions because you won’t find any existing ones. The popularity and community of Vue are growing rapidly from day to day, so it is a matter of time when it will be as popular as React or Angular.
The choice of a proper framework or library for your project should be thoughtful. An approach that you’ll never work with Angular or Vue because you fell in love with React is not appropriate. Each of those tools has its own advantages, and you should consider which one to choose. If you like flexibility or you want to start without learning any additional concepts, take React or Vue. When you need great support for forms management, fast project configuration, or worked-out app architecture, Angular will be the best choice for you.
But what’s most important, please stay a framework agnostic! Each of them is a quality tool, and working with each of them can make you really happy.
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