Three of the most popular frameworks for front-end developers and building applications are Angular, Vue.js, and React. Angular is a front-end framework, Vue.js is a progressive framework, and React is a UI library.
What is a UI framework? Well, it is a collection of extensible libraries and components designed for specific functions. Further, they are integrated with reusable code through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Consider a comparison with a pen manufacturer. What if they had to produce every component for a pen with each output? It would take more time and work than is worth the return on investment. Imagine all the various types of pens and following this process for each one. It would be entirely inefficient. On the other hand, what if they could use a prototype and add additional components by outsourcing from partners and suppliers?
The illustration above is similar to how frameworks help with development. They provide the foundation for incorporating other components into the already-provided inputs.
Where does reactive UI come into play?
With UI design, frameworks are the programs. Even the most basic framework saves developers time from building an app from scratch. Today, there are many frameworks available for use, but they are not all created equal.
In this piece, we’re going to compare the most widely-used frameworks: Angular, Vue.js, and React. The good news is each of these frameworks is scalable and flexible. However, there are several critical differences, which we will discuss. Building reactive UI is becoming essential for web applications. Keep reading to learn the differences between Angular, Vue.js, and React UI frameworks and which is best for you.
Why use a UI framework?
Often, many front-end developers believe that using a UI framework means sacrificing customizable features or unique design ideas. Yet, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. While it’s vital to choose the proper framework for your development projects, it’s also critical to optimize cycle and turnaround time. Writing code from scratch is too time-consuming, and it minimizes a time-to-market competitive advantage.
UI frameworks are tools that help developers work smarter, faster, and better. Today, it’s critical for lines of code to be efficient. UI frameworks help developers do more with fewer lines of code.
In addition, frameworks have evolved through continuous input from vast communities. Many of them are highly-touted experts in their field. Why not benefit from their experience and contributions? Moreover, UI frameworks help intermediate developers create unique web applications more rapidly. Still, even expert developers appreciate the convenience, agility, and time savings.
A brief history of Angular, Vue.js, and React
Before we move on to technical components, let’s dive into the background behind each of these frameworks.
Vue.js: Former Google employee Evan You developed and released Vue.js in 2014. The current stable version is Vue.js 3.0, released in September 2020 and has transitioned to TypeScript.
React: Facebook released React in 2013 and uses this framework for many of its products, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook. The most current stable version was released in October 2020, also known as 17.X.
What about their technical components?
Technical components are crucial facets of each framework as it changes the behavior based on inputs. The result is a UI modification. Components make code reuse simple. They receive inputs or props to deploy elements that are displayed to end-users. To illustrate, a component could be a login box on an eCommerce site.
Vue.js: Vue.js is intuitive and highly customizable. Using a script, you can integrate component behaviors with the UI. Also, you can skip CSS and use preprocessors. Vue.js stands out in terms of integration with Bootstrap and other libraries. An open-source community wholly supports Vue.js.
React: With React, you can work with a combination of component behavior and the UI. To explain, it can create and direct the behavior of a UI element using the same instance of the code. Typically, Facebook employees contribute to React’s repositories.
Comparing overall execution
There are critical differences among Angular, Vue.js, and React performance. Concerning swapping rows, Vue.js is more efficient relative to Angular and React. In contrast, Vue.js is slower than Angular and React when it comes to selecting rows. Further, Angular takes longer to boot than either Vue.js or React. Angular is a heavier application. Thus it has a slower performance and overall execution compared to Vue.js or React.
Which framework is easier to learn?
It’s essential to pick the right framework for your business applications. Moreover, the learning curve can play a significant role in your final decision. So, which framework has a more manageable learning curve?
Angular: Since Angular is a heavier and more robust solution, it has a more significant learning curve. It’s also critical to learn MVC and other associated concepts such as TypeScript to understand and use Angular efficiently.
Vue.js: Vue.js has a shorter learning curve compared to either React or Angular. Concerning component use, Vue.js overlaps with Angular and React. You could learn Vue.js first, and it would help mitigate the learning curve for the other two. The primary caveat is that because Vue.js is more straightforward and user-friendly, it is also more challenging to test and debug.
React: You can configure and set up React in around an hour using its “Getting Started” guide. You can also find a list of common issues on Stack Overflow. You will need to use third-party libraries to extend React’s framework and make it more advanced. Therefore, the learning curve isn’t too steep unless you want to include expanded functionality from other libraries.
Angular: Angular seems to be the least popular among the three frameworks, with around 107,500 live sites. While Google developed this framework, they don’t use it for YouTube or Google Search. However, since Angular is designed for larger and more complex projects, this explains why it isn’t used as widely.
Vue.js: According to BuiltWith, Vue.js is used on over 1 million websites. It is probably the most popular framework with the largest number of stars awarded on GitHub.
React: Concerning widespread usage, React takes second place among the three. Facebook does use it internally for many of its products. Further, BuiltWith has found over 2 million websites that use it.
Moreover, according to GitHub’s “Used By” badge, the number of repositories depending on each framework are as follows:
Angular — 1.7 million
Vue.js — 167,000
React — 5.7 million
Many developers, and businesses, may have difficulty deciding between Angular, Vue.js, or React. To make the selection easier, take a look at which types of businesses use each one.
Angular: Google developed Angular, and it’s their favorite framework among the three. Global businesses that use Angular include Nike, Lego, Weather.com, and PayPal. If you have a similar type of company and like what these organizations publish, then Angular would be the right choice for you. Since Angular is the most complete framework, it is recommended for businesses with teams that have large projects already to use TypeScript.
Vue.js: Vue.js has the most supportive community, and it is used by sites such as 9Gag, GitLab, Baidu, and Alibaba Group. Vue.js is best for businesses that like flexibility with simplicity.
React: Facebook uses React for many of its products and services. Other social media sites and platforms such as WordPress, Twitter, and Instagram also utilize React. For startups or developers learning how to use UI frameworks, and projects with tight deadlines, React is a good choice.
UI frameworks provide the scaffolding to empower and facilitate even your most complex development products. As a result, it takes detailed research and learning before picking which framework to use. Think of your project requirements while weighing the pros and cons. In addition, answers to these questions are helpful when making your final decision:
- Will it save time and resources?
- Is it scalable?
- How will it impact our products?
- Can we develop an application just as quickly without using a framework?
If you have answered most of these questions with a “Yes,” then it’s time to select Angular, Vue.js, or React.