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JavaScript is a high-level programming language that can be used in the front end and backend. If you're just getting started with JavaScript, you might want to read how to learn JavaScript from scratch. In this article, we'll review the pros and cons of the three most popular JavaScript frameworks used in the front end and share suggestions on which to choose based on certain circumstances.

Increased demand for better design and simplicity has caused more JavaScript frameworks to be developed, as well as continuous updating of JavaScript frameworks. In 2020, the most common JavaScript frameworks among developers were Angular and React. Developers have argued for years whether React or Angular is better to use in applications - until recently - when another framework became popular, VueJS. 

React is by far the most used framework by developers with 36.8% of them using it, according to Stack Overflow. On the other hand, Angular is used by 25.1% and Vue by 17.3% of developers.

If we compare the NPM downloads of these three in the past year (below), we can see that React remains the most popular. However, the results change with Angular and Vue, where the latter was downloaded more.

NPM downloads past 3 years
Source

In order to make your decision easier, let's compare these frameworks and their pros and cons so you can decide which suits you better. 

Angular

AngularJS was developed by Google in 2009 and its first version was Angular.JS. As it was developed by Google, all Google projects have been developed with it. Angular is also an MVC framework and has its own framework for mobile applications which is called Ionic.

Advantages

Overall, web applications built with Angular have very good performance and good maintainability. 

Nowadays, projects can be expanded, developed, and generated quicker because of technologies like Angular-CLI (command-line tool). Also, it presents a basic framework for starting a project that is managed without extra libraries. Compared with other Javascript frameworks, unit and end-to-end testing in Angular are also easier. 

Disadvantages

One significant disadvantage of Angular is the usage of the regular DOM. Due to this, the entire structure of the HTML is updated whenever the state updates, which has a huge impact on loading time. 

Besides the above-mentioned disadvantage of using the real DOM, which increases the loading time. Angular is also relatively inflexible due to the given framework. Learning Angular is more complex than the other two frameworks, and it doesn’t always support unfamiliar and outdated browsers.

ReactJS

ReactJS was released in 2013 by a Facebook employee, Jordan Walke. Firstly it was used in 2011 in Facebook’s news feed and in 2012 by Instagram and Whatsapp. It was relesad to the public in 2013. 

Advantages

One of the biggest advantages of React is the usage of the virtual DOM which in turn re-loads only the parts of HTML that previously changed. Contrary to Angular, this significantly reduces the loading times. Also, with React you handle the logic and markup in the same file. It is also simple to start and relatively easy to learn, and it works smoothly - even with a lot of database queries and complex operations. 

Disadvantages

React is not suitable for developing MVC architecture because it provides only one view, therefore the developer must build the controller and model itself. Additionally, React is usually insufficient for building complex apps without the use of other libraries. React is worth using only if the web you are building needs to be highly interactive.

VueJS

VueJS is a JavaScript framework used for building single-page applications. It is known mainly for its incrementally and scalability and is also very easy to integrate with other frameworks. The idea behind Vue’s creation was to be adaptable - unlike other frameworks.

Advantages

Vue is very easy to use and connect with other applications or libraries. Vue’s fast learning angle is what makes this framework special. It is also more flexible than React and Angular and it can also be used for large web applications. Vuejs is a combination of Angular’s and React’s useful principles and presents them in a modern style.

Disadvantages

Compared to React and Angular, VueJS has a limited community and an even more limited English-speaking community. Additionally, there is so much flexibility that makes certain areas of web development with Vue overcomplicated.

Which should you choose?

React is favored for applications that require heavy results in the front-end. Since React provides no definitive structure, cooperation among your team is necessary when using it. React render support is stronger though, making the library more friendly.

Angular provides a lot of features and a clear structure. Because of this teams can move faster in implementation, without having to worry about the structure or need additional libraries. That said, it is not recommended for small projects because it brings redundant ballast.

VueJs can be used for a variety of applications. It can give you a great solution for practically any project type because of its ability to be used with other JavaScript frameworks and the ability to increase the logic of the current frameworks.

To sum it up, I suggest you go with:

Angular if you want...
  • A multifunctional and large application
  • Reliable framework
  • Online chats, apps, messengers
React if you want...
  • Lightweight apps developed in a shorter timeframe
  • A single-page or cross-platform mobile apps
  • Add new and interesting features to an already existing program
And, Vue if you want...
  • Single-page apps
  • High-performance and dynamic applications
  • A framework that is easy to use

Which JavaScript Framework is Best?

Choosing between Vue, React and Angular mostly depends on the type of application that you want to build. All three have advantages and disadvantages, and all of them are always evolving and improving. Take a look at the pros and cons of each, think about what you’re building, and then get to work. And, if you’re interested in diving into JavaScript further, we also talked about popular javascript frameworks and their lifecycles. Happy coding!

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