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React vs. Vue vs. AngularJS: What Is the Best One for 2021?

Nena Vuckovic

One of the burning questions for developers is which framework is the best. Should they focus on AngularJS? Or is React something that will prove to be better for their problem? How does Vue compare to React and AngularJS? Here, we will finally answer this question and take a look at what these three frameworks have to offer. 

For anyone starting a new project, picking the right framework will make all the difference in the world. 

The Main Differences in Structure 

Before we dive into the debate about AngularJS, React, and Vue, we should start from the beginning and see what some of the main differences in structure and architecture are. While all three of these platforms are based on JavaScript, there are a couple of important differences between them. 

AngularJS

AngularJS is a JavaScript framework designed and developed by Google. The framework is open-source, and it is designed for front-end development. Since the entire framework is used and designed by Google, you can be sure that it will be available in the future. There is no doubt that AngularJS is the biggest of the three, and we often call it a platform instead of a framework. 

Each project in Angular is structured into Modules, Components, and Services. AngularJS applications will have at least one root module and one component. We should also mention that AngularJS is written in JavaScript, but Angular supports TypeScript as well. 

React

React, or ReactJS, is based on JavaScript, and it was developed (and used) by Facebook. Unlike the other two on the list, React is, in fact, a JavaScript library, not a framework. Another important difference is that React doesn’t enforce any specific structure. You can start using it with several lines of code. 

Even though React is written in JS, it is most commonly used along with JSX or JavaScript XML. This allows a user to combine JS and HTML at the same time. Like with AngularJS, the company behind React is huge, which means that we can expect support and future updates in the upcoming years.  

Vue

Vue, or Vue.js, is the last framework we’ll analyze here, and it is also based on JavaScript. The main difference between Vue and the other two is that it is a stand-alone project, and there is no big company behind it. However, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be support for Vue in the future. 

The framework is almost a middle ground between the previous two. It is not as big as AngularJS, but it has more features than React. Vue uses a template syntax based on HTML, but it can also support raw JSX or JS.  

Main Advantages of Each Framework

Now that we’ve covered some of the basic elements of these frameworks and libraries, let’s take a look at what they have to offer. As expected, each has something different to offer thanks to their unique qualities and usage. 

AngularJS

The main advantage of AngularJS is its age. It is the oldest and most mature framework on the list, which means that the company behind it (Google) had enough time to polish and perfect every bit of it. 

It is an MVW framework (model-view-whatever), and it is traditionally used as MVC or model-view-controller. The app is divided into three components, allowing devs to easily structure their code. Templates in AngularJS are often in HTML, and it allows two-way data binding. Another iteration – Angular is also an excellent choice for companies already working in TypeScript.

Finally, one of the important things that is almost essential for open-source frameworks is having a large community, and Angular/JS has one.  

React

Even though React is a bit younger than AngularJS, it still managed to get an impressive amount of followers in the past seven years. Those looking to find a job involving React are in quite a good place at the moment, and the future of this library looks rather bright. 

One of the primary advantages of React is how seamlessly it can integrate with other frameworks, and it allows a certain degree of flexibility. React also doesn’t require or use any templates and instead focuses on the component model. 

Furthermore, React uses pure functions instead of focusing on classes. Of course, if a company is interested in developing native mobile apps, React Native might be a perfect choice. When it comes to the community, React has an incredible number of users across the world, and it’s backed up by two of the biggest social media companies. 

Vue

Vue is the youngest one on the list, and it became popular in China. Over the years, the interest in this framework kept growing in the west. Similar to AngularJS, Vue is a framework based on MVC. Once again, that means that the developers can easily write a structured code, which is rather important when they are working on a bigger project. 

Among the primary advantages of Vue is its size. The framework doesn’t offer a lot of tools or features from the box, which is a significant difference. Unlike AngularJS, where the user will get numerous features that they’ll never use, here, they will get a chance to tailor the program based on their needs. 

Interestingly, Vue offers support for one of the best PHP frameworks available — Laravel. Moreover, it uses pure JS, eliminating the need for developers to learn other programming languages. When it comes to the community, Vue is rapidly growing. It might be due to the fact that it has the lowest learning curve, and it is the simplest front-end technology at the moment.  

Main Drawback of Each Framework

Since nothing in life is perfect, each of these frameworks has both pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some of the downsides of each so that we can have a clearer picture. 

AngularJS

Probably the main downside of AngularJS is the learning curve. It is not the simplest tool you could find, and it might even put off beginner developers. And things can become quite complex fast. 

AngularJS doesn’t support shadow DOM as default, nor does it use virtual DOM. Consequently, this will lead to lower rendering speeds and lower performance. 

Furthermore, we already mentioned that other iteration – Angular uses TypeScript, which means that the developer might need to learn the modified syntax. 

React

The most obvious disadvantage of React the fact that it is not a framework but a library. That means that the developer will need to rely on third-party technologies, which can limit the potential and possibilities. It might also take some time to fully learn how to use and implement third-party libraries and modules. 

Another thing we mentioned is that React uses JSX. That means that developers should learn modified versions of JS instead of using JavaScript and HTML. While it might not seem like a big deal, the development process will be significantly slower if a person is not familiar with this modification of JS. 

Furthermore, we previously said that React doesn’t have a structure, which means that it is just another thing that developers must do on their own. Finally, React also has a steep curve similar to Angular, which might be a deal-breaker for beginner devs.

Vue

The framework is the work of Evan You, and over time it gathered an impressive community. However, the number of users is not nearly as high as with AngularJS and React, and while one will still find support from the members, the smaller community might not have all the answers they’ll need. 

With fewer users and a smaller community, Vue also has fewer libraries users can find and try out. 

Finally, Vue became rather popular in China, which might be a problem due to the language barrier. While the official documentation is available in English, that might not be the case with third-party libraries.

The Popularity of Each System

We already talked about React vs. Vue vs. AngularJS popularity, but let’s talk about real numbers now. There are several important aspects when we talk about the popularity of a certain framework. It is important to consider the audience, different parameters, and the number of users for each.

For example, Vue is rather popular in China, and if we take a look at the global interest, Vue and React are almost equal. At the same time, both seem to be more popular than Angular/JS. But if we focus on the U.S. only, the picture is way different. In the U.S., React is a clear winner, while the second place is between Vue and AngularJS. And that is just for the popularity in terms of searches in the past year. 

When it comes to the number of downloads in the past two years, React is an obvious winner, while Vue and AngularJS are once again in second place. Finally, for those looking for a job, React offers the most opportunities. The second place is Angular/JS, and the third one is for Vue developers. 

It seems that React is a clear winner in almost every criterion, and Angular/JS is in second place. This doesn’t mean that Vue is useless, but rather shows the impact these two platforms had. 

React vs. Vue vs. AngularJS: Performance

Performance is an important factor when choosing a perfect framework for the project. However, it is easy to focus on the wrong type of performance and draw incomplete (or rather inaccurate) conclusions. Just because one framework is able to render faster than the other, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better. 

There are different types of performance we will discuss here — startup and runtime performance. The first type refers to the amount of time needed for the app or a page to become usable and interactive. The second is about the speed of the app once it is running, showing how fast it can render, update, or react to the input. 

The startup performance is determined by the size of the code, combined with the size of the framework. In our case, AngularJS is the biggest one, while Vue is the smallest of the three. Theoretically, that means that Vue will be the fastest one, but it is not always the case. In practice, all three will have similar results when it comes to startup performance. 

The second type or runtime performance is based on the internals of the framework and how it handles DOM manipulation and updating. However, the only thing that matters is how users feel and what seems fastest to them. 

In reality, you won’t be basing your choice on performance since each three will run great. Today, there are numerous websites that run on each of these frameworks, and they are quite fast. One thing that might be important for some software developers is that AngularJS is a bit bigger than the other two, which might show a difference when it comes to smaller apps.  

Future Predictions

Since there are two huge companies behind AngularJS and React, there is no doubt that the future is bright for these two, but the same thing might apply to Vue as well. Each of these frameworks keeps improving, and we already have several new versions available. 

During the last year, AngularJS received versions 9, 10, and 11. All three versions have moved to the Ivy compiler and runtime, and each version is backward-compatible. The company announced that they would be releasing upgrades twice per year. 

When it comes to React, the current version is v17.0, and we can expect new updates later this year. Due to the fact that React is a lot easier to learn (at least easier than AngularJS), there is no doubt that it will remain popular in the future and that it has so much more to offer. 

Finally, Vue is currently at version 3.0, which also goes by the name of One Piece. The framework is easiest to learn out of these three, and it makes it easier to transition to either AngularJS or React if needed. 

There is no doubt that the popularity of these front-end frameworks will continue to grow, and we will see many exciting updates in the upcoming years.  

React vs. Vue vs. AngularJS: Which One Is the Best for 2021?

Now that we’ve covered all the important bits, the only question remaining is: Which one is the best for 2021? Should you pick React, Vue, or AngularJS? Unfortunately, we won’t be able to answer that for you. Each of these technologies has its own advantages and disadvantages, and there are many factors one would need to consider before picking a winner. 

The important questions here are what the size is and what type of project the dev is working on, as well as what they are trying to achieve and what type of experience they have working in the field. 

For someone experienced in TypeScript, Angular iteration might be an obvious choice, but others might prefer sticking to React or Vue. It all comes down to personal preference, and the best thing is that there are no wrong answers here. Whichever you pick, there is no doubt that you will be able to do an incredible job if you are skilled enough. 

If you are still wondering about the winner or if you have questions about software development, our team might be able to help you. Here at the BlockBox, we have years of experience in development, and you can contact us with any problem you might face. We’d love to assist you!

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We can build on your idea and provide solutions to take your business to the next level.
Please fill in this form to start the process.