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React or Angular? The Question Every Java Developer Going Full Stack Must Answer.

12/29/2023 Radosław Jała


Ready to go Full-Stack in 2024? We got you! Read the comparison of two popular frontend technologies to learn in order to become a Full Stack developer when you are fluent in Java. Radosław Jała, Full Stack Developer at Clurgo, shares some insights and compares two of the most renowned frontend technologies – Angular and React.

React: a JavaScript-based library

React is a JavaScript-based library created in 2013. It’s significantly more popular than Angular, supported by Meta (Facebook), and boasts a larger online community than Angular. React mainly uses JSX (a JavaScript extension allowing DOM trees to be created in XML) but can also be written in TypeScript. It is used mainly for writing interactive GUI components. Additionally, its code is reusable, with components applicable in various applications such as single-page apps. React employs one-way data binding (where data consumers are automatically updated when the source data changes). It’s faster and smaller in size compared to Angular. Some of its users include Facebook, Netflix, Yahoo, and Microsoft.

Angular: a JavaScript framework developed by Google

Angular is a JavaScript framework started in 2010 as AngularJS, with “Angular 2+” emerging in 2016 and continuing to evolve. Written in TypeScript, it includes built-in libraries for creating complete web applications. TypeScript’s type control makes it more Java-friendly, mirroring Java’s strict type control. Angular also features dependency injection, familiar from Spring, and uses two-way data binding (where changes automatically update both the data consumer and source). Primarily used for complex “enterprise-grade” applications like single-page apps or progressive web apps, its users include Google (Gmail), Cisco, Forbes, and PayPal.

Angular VS React: main differences

Angular is a full-fledged framework for building web applications, while React is an open-source library for creating interactive user interfaces. Angular offers features like component-based routing, form validation, and project generation, making it more suited for large enterprise web applications as it includes all necessary libraries. In contrast, React requires additional modules/dependencies to be manually installed.

In terms of performance, size, rendering optimization, and backward compatibility, React surpasses Angular. The reusability of components in React saves cost and time, and developers can leverage pre-built solutions in application development.

Look at the table below, where we compare Angular and React across various dimensions:

Feature Angular React
Programming Language TypeScript JavaScript, JSX, TypeScript
Learning Curve Steeper, more complex Easier, more accessible
Data Binding Two-way data binding One-way data binding
Primary Use Enterprise-grade applications (complex web applications) Interactive GUIs, single-page applications
Community Support Strong, backed by Google Very strong, larger online community
Performance Good, but generally considered slower than React Faster, more efficient
Size Larger, due to being a complete framework Smaller, as it’s a library
Built-in Features Extensive (e.g., routing, form validation) Less built-in, relies on third-party libraries
Component Reusability Supports reusability, but can be complex High reusability of components
Suitability Better for large-scale, complex applications Better for fast-paced development, smaller to medium applications
Integration More rigid, less flexible with other tools Highly flexible and integrable with various tools and libraries
Similarity to Java Higher, due to TypeScript and concepts like dependency injection Lower, although can use TypeScript

Learning Angular is more challenging and time-consuming due to its complexity. However, Java developers might prefer TypeScript used in Angular due to its similarities with Java (type control and dependency injection). On the other hand, those unfamiliar with object-oriented programming and more versed in frontend tools like HTML, JS, CSS might find React more accessible. It’s important to note, though, that React’s lack of standardization brings certain risks, especially for inexperienced developers. They might encounter various potential issues or make mistakes due to this lack of a structured framework.

Common Features Between Java and Angular

TypeScript in Angular supports object-oriented programming concepts, and Angular components can be organized in an object-oriented way. Like Java applications, Angular applications can be divided into components, services, and modules. They also share the use of design patterns like Component, Service Layer, and Observer. An important feature in Angular is Dependency Injection, a staple in Java web applications using Spring. Both Java and Angular commonly use unit testing, with libraries like Jasmine available for unit tests in Angular.

What is worth investing in?

Overall trends indicate that React is more popular than Angular (42% of surveyed developers prefer React over 20% for Angular). The number of React users is increasing, while Angular’s user base remains relatively stable. The preference for React over Angular is also evidenced by job market trends, with 354k job offers for React developers and 211k for Angular developers in 2022.
In summary, Angular shares more similarities with Java than React does, but it’s more challenging to learn, and front-end developers generally prefer React.
Are you interested in going Full Stack in 2024 and looking for some recommendations? Don’t forget to come back to our blog for more information on trending technologies. Coming soon!

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