Both AngularJS and ReactJS are widely used front-end frameworks. AngularJS is a JavaScript based structural framework, whereas React is a JavaScript library for developing web user interfaces. According to the usage statistics posted on various websites, AngularJS is currently more popular than React. But a number of reports recently highlighted the growing popularity of React.

AngularJS is an open source framework maintained by Google. It enables programmers to use HTML as a template language. The developers can further extend HTML syntax to express various components of the web application in a structured and readable way.

On the other hand, React is developed and maintained by Facebook. It was designed specifically by focusing on large volumes of data that keep changing frequently. So the developers can use React to manage all user interface (UI) updates while the underlying data keeps changing.

Hence, the two frameworks differ from each other in the categories of feature, functionality, usage and performance. That is why; it becomes essential for web developers to understand the major differences between AngularJS and React.

Understanding Major Differences between AngularJS and ReactJS

User Rating: AngularJS was released in 2009, while React was initially launched in 2013. So AngularJS is more mature than React. Also, AngularJS is comparatively larger then React, and offers additional features and functionality. But the former has over 48,000 stars on its Github page, while the latter has over 40,000 stars on its Github page. The stars indicate that the popularity of React is growing steadily and consistently.

Extending HTML: Unlike React, AngularJS allows developers to express components of the website by extending syntax of HTML. Also, it allows them to use HTML as a template language. AngularJS is also designed with a HTML compiler that makes it easier for programmers to create new HTML syntax, and use HTML in a manner similar to XML. These options further help programmers to keep the code base structured, clean and reusable.

Single-Page Application Development: AngularJS includes a client side framework in its model-view-controller (MVC) architecture. The framework makes it easier for users to create a variety of single-page applications. Hence, it becomes easier for web developers to boost the website’s user experience by allowing visitors to access new and dynamic content without leaving the web page.

Code Packaging: AngularJS provides a variety of HTML templates to simplify web application development. But it does not provide any robust tools package the code efficiently. So users have to put extra efforts to deploy and run AngularJS applications. But React provides several solutions to effectuate code packaging and application deployment. Also, the developers can load the code efficiently using libraries like ReactJS directly.

Bidirectional Data Binding: AngularJS further beats React in the category of data binding. It allows programmers to accomplish two-way data binding. The developers use event listeners to keep track of the changes made to the data in an application. These event listeners are effective in gathering information about the changes made by both users and databases. Hence, AngularJS tracks and delivers updated relational content to users, without requiring developers to write additional code.

Managing the DOM: Both frameworks allow developers to customize the look and feel of a website by manipulating its document object model (DOM). But React outperforms AngularJS when there are a huge amount of data in the DOM. AngularJS cannot render, update and manipulate large amount of data in a faster and more efficient way. The shortcoming impacts the overall speed and performance of data-driven web applications directly. But React enables programmers to manipulate DOM with large amount of data efficiently. The framework further improves the website’s speed by implementing one-way reactive data flow and allowing developers to write virtual DOM in JavaScript.

Debugging: AngularJS requires developers to adopt an event-driven approach. The approach enables programmers to write code easily and quickly, but it affects the debugging of code. However, the users can still debug the code efficiently by using the constructs provided by the framework. On the other hand, React simplifies the code debugging process by enabling users to avail a number of tools and extensions.

Usage: It is always important for developers to pick AngularJS or React based on the nature and requirements of each project. The libraries and features provided by AngularJS make it easier for developers to improve the website’s quality and improve brand interaction. But the developers need to use React when the website is required to deliver dynamic data to users or perform large data operations frequently. However, the developers must avoid using the two frameworks together to prevent the web application from becoming complex.

No developer should pick a JavaScript based on its popularity and market share. He must remember that each JavaScript framework has its own strengths and shortcomings, Angular.JS a good choice for JavaScript frameworks. That is why, the developers must compare AngularJS and ReactJS based on specific needs of the project, and pick the one that meet all needs of the project. They also have option to use both frameworks together. But the combination will make the application complex, and affect its maintenance. Also, the programmers must be proficient in both AngularJS and ReactJS to combine the distinct frameworks seamlessly.