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Angular vs. React: Choosing the Right JavaScript Framework

by Henk Bothma
Published on: 10/12/2023

Introduction:

The world of front-end development is rich with choices, and two prominent contenders that often emerge in the spotlight are Angular and React. In this blog post, we will dive into a comprehensive comparison of Angular and React, shedding light on their key features and disparities. We will also explore the merits of each framework concerning aspects such as development speed, app performance, developer upskilling, and security. Our insights are drawn from hands-on technical experience, offering valuable perspective to aid your decision-making process.

Angular: A Comprehensive Framework for Enterprise Applications

Angular’s fundamental nature is characterized by its opinionated structure, extensive tooling, and emphasis on enterprise-level application development. While it may present a moderate learning curve initially, Angular shines when it comes to accelerating development for complex applications.

Time to Develop an App from Scratch:

Angular’s opinionated and comprehensive nature excels at speeding up development for large-scale applications. It offers a structured architecture, pre-built components, and a powerful Command Line Interface (CLI) that streamlines project setup and development.

App Performance:

Angular’s use of a real Document Object Model (DOM) and two-way data binding can introduce performance overhead in some cases. However, Angular’s Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation mitigates this by pre-compiling templates and optimizing code, resulting in high-performance applications.

Time to Upskill for Devs:

Angular may require developers to invest time in mastering its concepts, TypeScript, and Angular-specific tools. However, developers experienced with statically typed languages may find TypeScript adoption easier. Once proficient, developers can efficiently build and maintain applications.

Security:

Angular prioritizes security and incorporates built-in features like cross-site scripting (XSS) protection and a robust security model for data and user authentication. TypeScript integration further enhances security by catching type-related issues at compile-time.

React: Streamlined UI Development with Flexibility

React’s fundamental nature is characterized by its simplicity, performance focus, low entry barrier for developers, and adaptability. It excels in creating responsive user interfaces and is well-suited for various project sizes and types.

Time to Develop an App from Scratch:

React’s simplicity and component-based architecture facilitate rapid development, especially for small to medium-sized projects. Developers can quickly create and maintain UI components, making React an excellent choice for swift prototyping.

App Performance:

React’s use of a virtual DOM and unidirectional data flow ensures excellent app performance. It minimizes direct interactions with the actual DOM, resulting in efficient updates and responsive user interfaces.

Time to Upskill for Devs:

React’s gentle learning curve accommodates developers of varying experience levels. Those familiar with JavaScript and JSX can grasp React’s core concepts quickly, making it accessible and adaptable.

Security:

React primarily focuses on the user interface, offering developers flexibility to choose and implement security measures as needed. While it doesn’t provide out-of-the-box security features, it encourages best practices and customization for security.

Key Disparities Between Angular and React

Time to Develop an App from Scratch:

– Angular’s opinionated nature can initially slow development for smaller projects but accelerates it for larger applications.

– React’s simplicity allows for quicker starts, especially for smaller projects, but might require additional tooling for larger applications.

App Performance:

– Angular may incur performance overhead due to a real DOM but can optimize with AOT compilation.

– React’s virtual DOM and unidirectional data flow provide superior default performance.

Time to Upskill for Devs:

– Angular’s learning curve is steeper but rewards developers with powerful tools.

– React’s gentle curve is beginner-friendly and accommodates diverse skill levels.

Security:

– Angular prioritizes security with built-in features.

– React provides flexibility for custom security implementations.

Conclusion:

Choosing between Angular and React depends on your project’s specific needs, team expertise, and scalability requirements. Angular shines for enterprise-level applications, offering robust tooling and security. React, on the other hand, excels in streamlined development, performance, and accessibility. Ultimately, both frameworks have their strengths, and the right choice depends on your unique project context and goals.

Our experienced Technical Lead gives his opinion of why he prefers Angular from his previous project experience.


Having implemented production grade applications in multiple frameworks , Angular wins because it has structure and support. It does trade off performance and flexibility but building production grade applications with a framework that has too much flexibility can lead to a mountain of technical debt as developers will custom build features that Angular has out of the box , this makes it difficult to maintain and enforce a level of consistency but can also completely mitigate the performance benefits of the lighter frameworks as you need a strong technical lead to implement custom solution appropriately. Angular’s structure also has definitive support and resources for bug resolution as it’s much easier to find support for issues on a structured , consistent implementation rather than a custom one.” – Yashlin Naidoo

Another skilled developer in our team weighs in with her thoughts on why she prefers React: 

After having primarily focused on Angular projects throughout my career,  I faced a learning curve working on my first React project. I found that setting up essential features like route guards, which were already included in Angular, was more challenging than I anticipated. Additionally, I found myself somewhat disoriented due to the absence of the structured file separation paradigm to which I had grown accustomed within Angular.

Despite the challenges, this project encouraged me to approach things differently and work closely with my colleagues to create a strong project framework that fits our project’s unique requirements. React was surprisingly easy to learn as it provides a more modular and reusable approach to building user interfaces. We opted to use React Typescript to introduce the strong static typing we were missing from our Angular days. With this foundation in place, we could develop new features at lightning speed.

From this experience, I have found that utilizing React, a lighter and less opinionated library, empowers developers to have more control over their projects and to write more concise code. Additionally, I think that React’s improved performance and smaller bundle size create a better environment for both developers and end users.” – Isobel Bosman 

Every industry and company has it’s requirements and each should be taken into full account when building and scaling. 

Let’s set up a consult on how we can support your development teams in this time of skills shortage. Contact us on hello@runninghill.co.za to set this up.

WRITTEN BY

Henk Bothma

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