Angular vs React vs Vue: Which Web Development Framework to Choose?

Choosing the suitable front-end tools for a project is quite a challenging task. To see what you need it is necessary to assess and compare all the characteristics of each web development framework. In this article we are going to have a closer look at three of the most popular frameworks: React, Angular, and Vue, and help you decide which one is the most appropriate for your project.

April 26, 2022

12 min

Technologies

When it comes to front-end tools, three major options flock together and let tech leaders make their choice. As you’ve already guessed, we talk about an ever-ending React vs Angular vs Vue debate. Surely, the tech side of web apps requires a thorough investigation into the best and most appropriate toolchain for a specific case.

While it is hard to pinpoint the best web development frameworks without assessing their characteristics, it makes sense to contrast them with one another. To save your time, we’ve already done that for you. Perhaps, you will see which of them suits your project.

Angular vs React vs Vue: Brief Overview

The front-end tools we are discussing here can serve as a foundation for creating a successful web app. React, Angular, and Vue are component-based, which means that they have core functionality already pre-configured by default. 

Between these three contenders, there’s no clear winner in terms of industry standards or reliability of code structure. However, the fun part begins when we start to get off the main road. React, Angular, and Vue are powered by slightly different philosophies and have different evolution paths. Let’s have a quick look at the history of the most popular web frameworks and depict their peculiarities.

What is React?

React is an open-source Javascript-based library and can’t be called a framework in its most common meaning. It uses declarative components and virtual DOM to create fast, interactive user interfaces for Single–Page Applications (SPA) or other apps with multiple web pages. Introduced by Facebook in 2013 for internal project needs, React has eventually brought numerous changes to the web tools ecosystem. 

In short, the main idea was to separate view rendering from a representation layer. To achieve the desired objective, the Facebook team came up with a new approach to architect the workflow. They ideated a Flux architecture, which blocked state changes from affecting the rest of the view layers. Additionally, they introduced a concept of one-directional data flow and binding, which let React developers track the source of bugs in a project more easily.

Once React went open-source, developers rushed to give it a try. As a result, this front-end library attracted a ton of contributors and supporters from tech and business communities from different niches and industries. 

By the way, our company is also part of this project. We actively use React to create innovative applications for clients across the globe. Check out our React development services offering and get familiar with our record of successful cases. 

What is Angular?

Angular is an open-source framework that is home to a comprehensive suite of engineering tools, integration-ready libraries, and extensive features built on top of TypeScript. Launched in 2010 by Google, it went through massive updates, with a major shift occurring in 2016. That was the year of the introduction of Angular 2 as the second version of the original Angular.js framework, which finally introduced a component-based structure to the platform.

With everything a developer might need to create a simple project and then scale it to an enterprise-grade solution, complex ERP applications, or progressive web apps, Angular offers more than just that. It flows in the river of the latest advancements powered by the largest tech giant in the world. Google invests heavily in the Angular framework, contributing to the community growth and rising popularity among prominent names like Forbes and BMW.

What is Vue?

Vue is a relatively new invention, which has already shaken up the web ecosystem. It was launched in 2014 by a former Google employee who came up with the idea to learn from the ups and downs of React and Angular and bring the best from JavaScript worlds. However, Vue is an open-source project and doesn’t receive investment from tech companies.

Vue is a progressive and lightweight JavaScript framework, which avoids the limitations of other monolithic tools for building complex applications and SPAs. It obtains most of its functionality from official external libraries and tools, which reduces the size of the code and eliminates the need for vast storage spaces.

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Angular vs React vs Vue: The Tech Side

A quick summary of the best frameworks for web development is not enough to make a final choice. It is necessary to go deeper and have a showdown of their technical parameters. That will help to identify the difference between Vue, React, and Angular in terms of performance, architecture, data binding, and backward compatibility. 

Performance and DOM

Which of the listed web frameworks will perform better? It is one of the most controversial questions when it comes to choosing the right front-end tech tool for a project. On the one hand, straightforward analytical indicators can help determine the winners and losers. On the flip side, there are important factors to consider to have a full picture of the performance overview.

One of them is the way each framework for web development handles manipulations with DOM. DOM is HTML transformed into a mutable tree structure by the browser. Changing large parts of DOM is generally slow as browsers APIs don’t provide a convenient way to conduct bulk changes. You have to do changes node by node, and after each mutation browser has to do some job. So from one hand, web frameworks need to provide a convenient way to develop declarative interfaces and work with DOM hard. From another hand, they have to deal with DOM as little as possible due to inherent performance issues of DOM. There are differences in the way DOM manipulation occurs in each discussed framework. Let’s review how React vs Angular vs Vue handle DOM instances and study their effect on overall performance. 

React uses Virtual DOM. Virtual DOM is a copy of DOM that is fast to read and modify, but it can’t be seen by the user (presumably that’s why they call it virtual). Before the user can see the changes, React compares the previous Virtual DOM state with the current, and then copies changes to the actual DOM. Performance increases because DOM nodes aren’t touched if they haven’t changed.

Vue.js does the very same thing as React and uses Virtual DOM under the hood.

The Angular framework deals with real DOM, which requires developers to make changes in the DOM tree upon each configuration. At first glance, this may seem like a slowdown factor. However, Angular relies on change detection mechanisms, a.k.a watchers, to reduce the number of DOM manipulations when building applications. 

Let’s go back to crucial performance indicators, which can affect tech efforts in case of the wrong choice between the Vue vs React vs Angular frameworks.

Web development frameworks performance indicators
Web development frameworks performance indicators
Source: https://www.stefankrause.net/js-frameworks-benchmark7/table.html

Based on the above table, we can observe that Vue lags behind React and Angular in a “selecting a row” parameter. However, when it comes to “swapping a row”, Vue offers the most efficiency for developing applications.

Component Architecture

In a React vs Angular vs Vue  battle, it is necessary to figure out if a well-structured framework is suitable for your tech environment. If not, your team may require more flexibility in terms of app creation. Depending on the type of the project and the team’s expertise, you can choose in favor of one of the front-end tools.

So, what type of component architecture do they offer?

As for React, it doesn’t stick to a particular code structure and can be easily utilized as a feature-rich library for building compelling UIs. Discover more details about React architecture and library components in this article. 

Angular, on the other hand, follows a certain structure since it is a robust MVC framework with a ton of features available out of the box. It consists of Modules, Services, and Components, which produce predictable outcomes and highly readable code. 

Unlike Angular, the Vue framework has a simple structure, which is associated with the ViewModel layer of the MVVM pattern. It labels each piece of the app as a component, which is basically encapsulated UI elements written in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. They can be easily reused as single files for future project adjustments.

Backward Compatibility

How do the top contenders on the list of the best front-end JavaScript frameworks behave when it comes to architecture updates? How do Angular vs Vue vs React handle new releases of libraries and new modules?

  • We can’t but give credit to the React library as it provides flexible updates and can be easily compatible with its older and later versions;
  • As for the Angular framework, developers need to overcome restrictions to jump between earlier and later versions of the framework. It is necessary to add updates between the two versions in the first place. As a result, it can affect the size of storage space and slow down the work of the applications. 
  • Vue is backward-compatible with previous versions, yet it requires a developer to add slight changes to the code.

Angular vs React vs Vue: Popularity

Now let’s put the technical details aside for a while. It is time to differentiate React vs Vue vs Angular in terms of its popularity among developers and business entrepreneurs. 

Popularity among developers

If we dig into the data provided by Stackoverflow, which represents the opinion of more than 80,000 developers from the entire world, we can find that React is the most popular web framework or library. Notably, it got ahead of jQuery for the first time in 2021:

Frameworks ranking according to popularity among developers
Frameworks ranking according to popularity among developers

Other findings of this survey suggest that React and Angular lead the pack as the most preferable tools for web development. But the Vue framework tends to have a more favorable “loved” vs “dreaded” ratio as more than 64% of respondents prefer it, and only 35% call it “dreaded”.

To compare, we examined official GitHub profiles of the discussed tools and found that Vue is the most trendy framework:

Official GitHub profiles comparison
Official GitHub profiles comparison

However, GitHub data alone doesn’t give a full picture of the technology’s place in the minds of developers. Some extra digging into the NPM download statistics is required to come up with the final verdict.

Here’s what we found.

NPM trends show that the React library remains on top despite the number of GitHub stars won by Vue:

Number of framework downloads over the past 5 years
Number of downloads over the past 5 years
Source: https://www.npmtrends.com/@angular/core-vs-react-vs-vue

React has 13,5 million weekly downloads, which makes it a clear winner while leaving Vue (2.8 million) and Angular (2.5 million) behind. 

Popularity among companies

Given the popularity of React among developers, companies can relatively easily find and hire a specialist with the required background and experience. However, the Angular vs React vs Vue battle continues as there are numerous adopters of each technology in prominent projects and applications. The three tools grasp the attention of well-known brands and less ambitious names in the industry alike.

World brands and the web development frameworks they use
World brands and the web development frameworks they use

Angular vs React vs Vue: Future Predictions

Will the three projects last over time and remain trendy for a successful project? We’ve already covered the popularity of React vs Angular vs Vue, which shows that both the tech and business sides stick to these technologies. Now it is time to assess what the future holds for the discussed contenders.

React

The tool enjoys ongoing development work and welcomes frequent releases of new features. React v.18.0 has launched great improvements built on top of a novel concurrent renderer. Among them are automatic batching, new suspense features for data fetching, and diversified transitions. 

The React team is also working on server components that will enable developers to bridge the gap between the client- and the server-side for data-intensive applications. 

Angular

The Angular team currently deals with numerous projects related to internal feature enhancements. The framework aims to introduce strictly-typed reactive forms, micro front-end architecture, and work on documentation to make Angular more concise and developer-friendly. 

There are a lot of plans regarding Angular 14, the anticipated version of the well-known framework. Although it is hard to predict the precise pool of changes and innovations, many expect it to have tree-shakable error messages and TypeScript 4.7 and Zone.js support.

Vue

As we already stated, the difference between Angular, React, and Vue is that the latter doesn’t receive direct support from tech industry leaders. However, different contributors maintain a strong interest in the framework and work diligently towards its enhancement.

The community-driven work resulted in a complete rewrite of Vue 2 using TypeScript in 2020. Vue 3 has gone live introducing native portals, virtual DOM rewrite, and a brand new API that enables a function-based way of creating components. It is worth noting that Vue 3 is still evolving, so some work on its open-source components is still in progress. 

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Angular vs React vs Vue: Web Framework Comparison Table

Let’s have a quick overview of how the discussed web frameworks compare in terms of the most crucial parameters:

Web framework comparison table
Web framework comparison table

Even a glance at the table suggests that these three tools have excellent functionality for general and more specialized front-end development goals. 

Angular is the oldest technology, which is backed by a huge base of contributors and Google developers. It is a time-tested framework, which, however, may put off some engineers due to a steep learning curve or lack of well-documented processes.

Vue, on the other hand, is less mature, yet it is hard to deny that its popularity is growing by giant leaps. The number of its adopters grows due to its lightweight characteristics, smooth learning curve, and streamlined time-to-market for complex solutions. 

But we’d say that React is our preferable tool for a number of obvious reasons. We use React because of its progressive nature, extensive community support, and quick development and deployment times. Besides, the job market for React developers is extremely large, as it remains trendy and prestigious to work with this evolving technology.

To Sum Up

In this web framework comparison article, we aimed to go beyond a basic coverage of front-end tools. Rather, our goal was to provide a comprehensive overview of the most essential features that can power your upcoming JavaScript project.

There is no doubt that Angular, React, and Vue have their own architectural peculiarities, more common benefits, and tech-related downsides. Depending on your goals and the web app idea, you can choose the right kind of a framework, tool, or library. But if you need expert help, don’t hesitate to contact us and get consultation about web application development services

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