Angular, React, or Vue in 2019?

Although the dynamic world of web development promises very few constants aside from the use of servers as platforms and browsers as clients, the use of JavaScript frameworks has become a mainstay. We might as well assume that JavaScript will probably be around for another decade or so, nonetheless, its practical deployment will depend on the future development of frameworks.

Angular

Angular.js will soon hit its 10th anniversary, and its impact in the web development community can be described as significant. Angular is part of a number of JavaScript frameworks developed by tech giants (in this case Google) on an open-source basis. This framework made quite a splash in 2010, so much so that it prompted Facebook to come up with React, a JavaScript library that offers rich framework functionality, in 2013.

With Google and Facebook as lead developers in these major open-source projects, competition was expected from the beginning. Within the development community, opinions about the merits of using Angular vs. React date back more than four years.

The React vs. Angular Debate

Right around the time the React vs. Angular debate was heating up, another JavaScript framework arrived on the scene, and it certainly merits discussion in 2019.

The current version, Angular 7.0.0, was released in October 2018 and will be active through April 2019. Each time a new Angular version is released with a .0.0 enumeration, it means major updates to the core framework, the command line tool and the Material Design components. Here are some of the improvements:

  • Performance: Virtual scrolling improves rendering for projects that involve single pages that seem to go forever. This improvement will come in handy for websites that tease and entice visitors to keep scrolling down for clickbait and viral content. Another performance highlight is known as Bundle Budgets, which essentially warns developers as to how much JavaScript they are serving. These warnings start at the 2MB level and become more prominent after 5MB.

  • Command line interface prompts: When certain commands are typed into the CLI, Angular 7 will display adequate prompts to streamline the coding experience, discover new features or provide inspiration.

  • Visual styles: Google had already updated Material.io in 2018 before Angular 7, and the changes carried over to the framework. The default type hierarchy is larger and bolder for headers, and the corners of square and rectangular shapes are now softer. As for icon variety, it has been increased by five more styles. There is also a new drag-and-drop module that is very sleek and modern.

An interesting aspect of the way facet of Angular version development is that Google engineers have acknowledged its growing complexity and are committed to reducing it in the future, but only to an extent. Angular is aware of competing frameworks, but Google seems comfortable with the current state of framework utilization, which involves a significant number of large-scale projects. Developers generally want better performance, and this is what everyone expects to find when Angular 8 is released later this year.

Right around the time the React vs. Angular debate was heating up, another JavaScript framework, Vue, arrived on the scene, and discussion around the web development water cooler got more interesting.

Vue

Vue.js is a project envisioned by a software engineer who was familiar with Angular during his time working at Google. In February 2014, Evan You released the first stable version of Vue on GitHub, four years before the coding platform was acquired by Microsoft.

Despite not having the backing of tech giants such as Google and Facebook, Vue has enjoyed significant interest among developers since 2018. According to the 2018 State of JavaScript, most GitHub participants who hear about Vue express interest in learning it. This trend is inverse to Angular, which currently features waning interest, and it is second only to React.

There are various reasons developers who have already worked with the Angular and React front-end frameworks should take time to learn about Vue:

Reasonable Learning Curve

Both React and Vue share an advantage over Angular in the sense that they do not have a TypeScript learning requirement. While TypeScript is often considered to be an improvement over plain JavaScript, there is still a need to learn class handling processes that may result in additional lines of code. When compared to React, many beginner developers feel that Vue presents a more user-friendly approach, but this may be related to available documentation.

The vibe developers get when they are introduced to Vue is that their current HTML and JavaScript skills will be sufficient to learn this framework; however, it should be noted that this probably has a lot to do with the most popular training courses (you can find on Udemy) which will have you building simple web applications on the second lesson.

The reality of the Vue and React learning curves is that they are about the same, but the focus of many Vue training materials, which jump right into single-page app development, will make you believe that it is easier to learn than React. By the time you need to develop complex web apps, you will likely feel that Vue and React are similarly complex.

Vue Community Support vs. React

Since React is a Facebook open-source project that has been around for nearly a decade, it stands to reason that it enjoys greater community support. Still, Vue has managed to build a considerable following in just a few years, but it will likely take a few more before it can be deemed to have a rich ecosystem.

When you look at many of the projects that have been completed with Vue, you will notice that the design sensibility tends to be modern, and this makes sense insofar as this being a relatively new framework. The website for the Vue Conference in Toronto, for example, is a perfect example of a single-page app that could have been created with React.

As can be expected, the number of tools, libraries and code bundles available for React is greater, but the smaller showcase of Vue is quite impressive.

Overall Framework Security

Since Vue can be described as a more exotic framework, it would be tempting to call it more secure, but only because React is a larger target for hackers based on popularity.

Both Vue and React are vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, fairly common vulnerabilities in web apps, regardless of their framework. XSS attacks, which enables attackers to inject client-side scripts into web pages viewed by other users, can affect just about any JavaScript web app.

The best ways to mitigate this issue include keeping trusted data out of scripts, checking against blacklists, and validating from whitelists.

Development Flexibility

Here is where opinions tend to differ the most. Vue is a progressive framework stripped of many elements that make React a comprehensive development environment. If you are looking for less JavaScript boilerplate, Vue is more suitable, and the same goes if you intend to use old-school or legacy jQuery code.

A simpler framework does not provide greater flexibility; if anything, React can be described as more flexible because there are more tools, libraries and tutorials available to complete complex projects.

If your development philosophy pushes you towards tackling complexity from scratch, you will like Vue, but if the deadline for your mobile project is tighter, you are probably better off with React because you will have more tools at your disposal.

The Future of Vue Development

As of early 2019, competition between Angular, React, and Vue continues to heat up with more developers leaving the Google project behind. As far as providers of commercial development tools are concerned, the future looks bright for Vue because of the way the community is forming.

There is a marked trend towards choosing Vue for single-page web apps, but this could be related to prevailing development styles. At this point, React can handle more complex projects, but this could change. All it takes is one massive tech giant to get behind Vue to even the score.

What framework do you work with and why? If you have questions or comments be sure to enter them below.

Empower your development. Build better applications.

Try GrapeCity's Tools for JavaScript and .NET

Download Now!