React Native vs Angular: Which Open-Source Platform You Should Choose

Troy Walter
9 min readAug 9, 2019

Do you want to learn about and discover the differences between React Framework vs. Angular Framework? Then keep on reading! Today in this article we are going to explain to you the similarities, differences, pros, and cons of both React and Angular in this article. You don’t need to be an expert programmer to understand this post but it is encouraged that you are familiar with JavaScript.

Reactnative-vs-Angular

History of React vs. Angular

Angular is a JavaScript framework written in TypeScript. It was developed and is continuously maintained by Google.Inc till now, and is described as a “Superheroic JavaScript MVWFramework” on Angular’s webpage. Angular (version 2 and above), originally released in September 2016, is a complete rewrite of AngularJS (released in October 2010). The newest major release of Angular Framework is version 9 at the time of writing. Google AdWords is one of the most important projects at Google as it brings so much revenue to google yearly, uses Angular — so Angular Framework is likely to be around for a while.

React is a JavaScript library developed and continuously maintained by the Facebook company. It was released in March 2013 and is described as “a JavaScript library for building user interfaces”. React is used far more on Facebook than Angular is at Google if it’s any indication as to how big Facebook is betting on this technology. By this metric, you can also conclude that the React javascript library will be around for a very long time.

Both Frameworks are available under the MIT license.

The architecture of React vs. Angular

Framework vs. Library

Angular has a framework architecture and React has a javascript library that has many similarities and many differences. One of them is that Angular is a full-fledged MVC framework and React is merely a JavaScript Library (just the view). Let me elaborate. Angular Framework is considered a framework because it offers strong opinions as to how your application should be structured. It also has much more functionality “out-of-the-box”. You don’t need to decide which routing libraries to use or other such considerations — you can just start coding. However, a drawback is that you have less flexibility — you must use what Angular provides.

Angular provides the following “out of the box”:

Templates, based on an extended version of HTML

XSS protection

Dependency injection

Ajax requests by @angular/HTTP

Routing, provided by @angular/router

Component CSS encapsulation

Utilities for unit-testing components.

@angular/forms for building forms

React, on the other hand, gives you much more freedom. It only provides the “view” in MVC — you need to solve the M and C on your own. Due to this, you can choose any of your libraries as you see fit. You will most likely end up using many independent, fast-moving javascript libraries. Because of this, you will need to take care of the corresponding updates and migrations by yourself. Also, each React javascript project is different and requires a decision for requiring its folder hierarchy and architecture. Things can go wrong much more easily due to this.

React provides the following “out of the box”:

Instead of classic templates, React Javascript has JSX, an XML-like language built on top of JavaScript

XSS protection

No dependency injection

Fetch for Ajax requests

Utilities for unit-testing components

Some popular libraries to add functionality are:

React-router for routing

Redux or MobX for state management

Enzyme for additional testing utilities

Component-Based Architecture: React javascript has a reusable and Maintainable

Components architecture with Both Tools

Both frameworks have component-based architectures. That means that an app consists of modular, cohesive, and reusable components that are combined to build user interfaces. Component-based architecture is considered to be more maintainable than other architectures used in web development.

Architecture

Both Angular framework and React javascript have component-based architecture, which means they have cohesive, reusable and modular components. But, the difference comes at the point of the tech stack.

React uses JavaScript while Angular goes with Typescript for website development which is more compact and error-free so Angular seems to be good in this.

Regular DOM vs. Virtual Dom

React’s use of a virtual DOM is one of its features that makes it so blazingly fast. You’ve probably heard of it. Let me give you an example scenario:

Let’s say that you want to update a user’s age within a block of HTML tags. A virtual DOM only looks at the differences between the previous and current HTML and changes the part that is required to be updated. Git employs a similar method, which distinguishes the changes in a file.

Conversely, Angular opted to use a regular DOM.

Templates — JSX or HTML

React javascript decided to combine UI templates and inline JavaScript logic, which no company had ever done before. The result is called “JSX”. Although it may have sounded like a bad idea, Facebook’s gamble paid off big-time. React uses something called a component, which contains both the markup and logic in the same file. It also uses an XML-like language that allows you to write markup directly in your JavaScript code. JSX is a big advantage for development, because you have everything in one place, and code completion and compile-time checks work better.

Conversion Full of Bugs

Many bugs may reveal themselves when the HTML code is converted to the native code. In most cases, fixing it is problematic and time-consuming. The difficulties arise because React Native was created for iOS development, so some specific knowledge is required when dealing with complications.

Code: TypeScript vs. JavaScript and JSX

Angular uses the typescript language (but you can also use JavaScript if needed). TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript which is the best fit for larger projects. It’s more compact and allows for spotting mistakes in typing. Other advantages of TypeScript include better navigation, autocompletion, and faster code refactoring

React uses JavaScript ES6+ and JSX script. JSX(Jakarta Stock Exchange) is a syntax extension for JavaScript used to simplify UI coding, making JavaScript code look like HTML. The use of JSX visually simplifies code which allows for detecting errors and protecting code from injections. JSX is also used for browser compilation via Babel, a compiler that translates the code into the format that a web browser can read. JSX syntax performs almost the same functions as TypeScript, but some developers find it too complicated to learn.

DOM: Real vs. Virtual

Document Object Model (DOM) is a programming interface for HTML, XHTML, or XML documents, organized in the form of a tree that enables scripts to dynamically interact with the content.

There are two types of DOMs: virtual and real. Traditional or real DOM(Document Object Model) updates the whole tree structure, even if the changes take place in one element, while the virtual DOM is a representation mapped to a real DOM that tracks changes and updates only specific elements without affecting the other parts of the whole tree.

React uses a virtual DOM, while Angular operates on a real DOM and uses change detection to find which components need updates.

While the virtual DOM(Document Object Model) is considered to be faster than real DOM manipulations, the current implementations of change detection in Angular make both approaches compare in terms of performance.

Learning Curve

Angular Framework has a steep learning curve when compared to React. The Google Angular IO framework offers multiple ways to solve a particular problem, has a complex component management system, as well as demands familiarity with different concepts and languages like templates, pipes, dependency injection, RxJS, TypeScript, etc.

Besides, the framework is developing constantly — making it necessary for the developers to look into what’s new in the Angular ecosystem and upgrade their skills accordingly.

Whereas, the same is not true for the React JS framework. Reactjs allows you to easily learn and make an app in the React ecosystem if you are good with JavaScript.

React JavaScript provides multiple useful resources for newcomers to understand the framework and look forward to developing an application, even after frequent updates are rolled out.

Mobile Application Size and Performance:

Angular Has a Slight Advantage

AngularJS Framework is famous for its low performance when you deal with complex and dynamic applications. Due to the virtual DOM, React apps perform faster than AngularJS applications of the same size.

However, newer versions of Angular Framework are slightly faster compared to React and Redux, according to Jacek Schae’s research at freeCodeCamp.org. Also, Angular Framework has a smaller application size compared to React with Redux in the same research. Its transfer size is 129 KB, while React JavaScript + Redux is 193 KB.

The recent updates to Angular made the competition between the two even tenser as Angular no longer falls short in terms of speed or app size.

Pre-Built UI Design Elements:

Angular Material vs. Community-Backed Components

Angular Framework’s. The Material Design of Angular Framework language is increasingly popular in web applications. So, some engineers may benefit from having the Material toolset out of the box. Angular has pre-built material design components. Angular Framerwok’s Material has a range of them that implement common interaction patterns: form controls, navigation, layout, buttons and indicators, pop-ups and modules, and data tables. The presence of pre-built elements makes configuring user-interface much faster.

React JavaScript. On the other hand, most of the user-Interface tools for React JavaScript come from its community. Currently, the user-Interface components section on the React portal provides a wide selection of free components and some paid ones. Using material design with React JavaScript demands slightly more effort: you must install the Material-UI Library and dependencies to build it.

Companies Using

HUGE companies are utilizing both React and Angular. I’m talking about some of the biggest in the world. Here is just a small sample:

React:

  • Facebook
  • Airbnb
  • Uber
  • Netflix
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp
  • Dropbox

Angular:

  • Google
  • Nike
  • Forbes
  • Upwork
  • General Motors
  • HBO
  • Sony

React Native vs Native Scripts: The Main Differences

The research on who would win the race led us to reveal the following differences:

Used Technologies.

React Native uses only React JS for the development, meanwhile, Native Script employs AngularJS. According to the experience in the defined field, the React Native vs Angular-friendly framework choice can be simplified.

Performance

React Native provides the user experience that is as close to native as ever possible, and React Native applications show top performance. Rendering slows down a NativeScript application. Furthermore, in some cases, the large size of the application influences performance negatively.

Extensions and Community

Both tools have strong dedicated communities, but the difference is obvious. React Native is created by Facebook, one of the leading IT companies nowadays. The creators and the whole community extend the React Native functionality with different plugins every day.

NativeScript is an open-source as well, but its development is not so rapid. The number of plugins is lower, and some of them did not even pass the proper verification.

To put it in numbers, we decided to demonstrate the GitHub statistics:

React Native: more than 1600 contributors;

NativeScript: 109 contributors at the moment.

Evidently, the React Native community is larger and more developed.

Which Framework Should You Choose For Your Mobile App Development

Open-source-development

The base idea behind Angular is to provide powerful support and a toolset for a holistic front-end development experience. Continuous updates and active support from Google.Inc makes it clear that the framework isn’t going anywhere and the engineers behind it will keep on fighting to preserve the existing community and make developers and companies switch from Angular Javascript to a newer Angular 2+ version with high performance and smaller mobile application sizes.

React JavaScript gives a much more lightweight approach for developers to quickly hop on work without much learning. While the library doesn’t dictate the toolset and approaches, there are multiple instruments, like Redux, that you must learn also. Currently, React JavaScript is comparable in terms of performance to Angular Framework. These aspects make for broader developer appeal.

Author Bio: I am a React Native App Developers at Tech Pathway, a top-notch mobile app development company to provide Open Source Development Services all around the globe. We use all the latest technologies to make a perfect mobile app for our clients. Platforms that we use to develop an app are React, Angular, Flutter, Ionic, NodeJS, Bootstrap and many more.

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Troy Walter

Blogger and Entrepreneur since 2010. Helping startups and brands in lead generation . Write to me at troywalter239@gmail.com