Developers
August 4, 2020

Vue.js vs React—Battle of the JavaScript Frameworks

Vue.js and React are two of the most popular JavaScript frameworks in use. What accounts for their popularity, and which should you use?”

JavaScript frameworks are one of the most important advancements in the world of development in recent years. Thanks to these frameworks, the barrier to cross-platform development is much lower and web applications are much richer.

In the world of JavaScript frameworks, Vue.js (Vue) and React are two of the most popular options, both of them encroaching on a market once firmly held by AngularJS.

What has led the rise of Vue and React? Why are they gaining in popularity? Which should you choose?

AngularJS: The First of a Breed

Angular first appeared on the scene in 2010, the brainchild of Miško Heveryat from Brat Tech LLC. Angular was one of the first full-featured JavaScript frameworks that made it easier to create single-page applications (SPA).

SPAs are the next generation of web applications, essentially duplicating the desktop experience. Rather than moving to a new page with every clicked link, an SPA allows the Document Object Model (DOM) to be manipulated and updated live. This provides a similar experience as a desktop application, live-updating information as the user interacts with it.

In addition, Angular—with the help of third-party frameworks, such as Electron and NativeScript—enables developers to use web languages to create desktop and mobile applications. Rather than learning languages and APIs for each target platform, Angular allows developers to use the languages they’re already familiar with to develop for desktop, mobile and web. All the while, the frameworks handle the heavy lifting in the background.

Needless to say, thanks to Angular’s popularity, it was only a matter of time until other frameworks rose up to improve on it.

React: Facebook’s Foray Into JavaScript Frameworks

React was released in 2013, the work of Jordan Walke, one of Facebook’s software engineers. React quickly found its way into a number of Facebook products, before being open-sourced in 2015.

Since going open source, React has steadily gained in popularity. Much of this is due to Facebook’s backing, but is also a reflection of how powerful and capable React is.

React has a strong focus on SPA development. There are also frameworks, such as React Native, that provide the ability to create completely native cross-platform applications.

These features have paved the way for React to be adopted by a wide array of companies and become the premier cross-platform JavaScript framework.

Vue: The Plucky Upstart

Vue was released in 2014, making it the youngest of the three major frameworks. Vue was created by Evan You, a former software developer at Google. During his time there, he worked on projects using AngularJS, which helped shape his approach to JavaScript frameworks. One of his stated goals was to build something more lightweight than Angular.

In a Between the Wires interview, You outlined his approach: “I figured, what if I could just extract the part that I really liked about Angular and build something really lightweight without all the extra concepts involved? I was also curious as to how its internal implementation worked. I started this experiment just trying to replicate this minimal feature set, like declarative data binding. That was basically how Vue started.”

While it doesn’t offer as many features as React, Vue is quickly becoming a serious contender among the frameworks. True to You’s goal of creating a lightweight alternative to Angular, Vue is lightweight, easy-to-learn and offers arguably better performance as a result of its lower overhead.

Like Angular and React, additional frameworks make it possible to create full-fledged desktop apps using Vue.

Vue vs React: Which Should You Choose (And Why Both Are Better Than Angular)

When it comes to choosing a modern JavaScript framework, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the major choices. Each of them offers powerful features and abilities. Each of them provides a way to create rich, dynamic web applications and all of them provide a means to create mobile and desktop applications—albeit with the use of third-party libraries or frameworks.

One of the big advantages Vue and React both offer is the ability to use native controls when developing for non-web platforms. React Native is the preferred framework for use with React. React Native is designed to make native calls to the iOS and Android APIs, giving an app a truly native look and feel.

Similarly, Vue Native is one of the preferred frameworks to accomplish the same thing with Vue. As its name suggests, Vue Native is based on and transpiles to React Native. As a result, Vue Native internets the same native controls. This gives both Vue and React a significant advantage over the older Angular.

Another issue with more recent versions of Angular is its dependence on TypeScript. TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript created by Microsoft. For some developers this may be an extra hassle they don’t want to deal with.

When it comes to choosing between React and Vue, the decision becomes a bit murkier. Both platforms offer some advantages and disadvantages.

React is generally considered to be the more robust of the two frameworks, including more features out-of-the-box, and has a bigger collection of third-party libraries. Similarly, more companies use React. Facebook’s framework is also a better option for more complex SPAs.

Vue, on the other hand, is generally easier to learn and can offer performance advantages due to its lightweight design. While it’s not quite as popular as React, it is quickly growing in popularity and third-party support. Both applications offer similar cross-platform options.

For some companies and developers, Vue’s independence is another selling point. Whereas React is maintained by Facebook and Angular is maintained by Google, Vue is wholly independent.

Either of these frameworks will provide the features and abilities most developers need. In fact, Vue and React are such powerful frameworks that both they, and their respective developers, have a bright future ahead.

TagsVue.jsReactJavaScript
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

Related Articles

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DevelopersAugust 4, 2020
Vue.js vs React—Battle of the JavaScript Frameworks
Vue.js and React are two of the most popular JavaScript frameworks in use. What accounts for their popularity, and which should you use?”

JavaScript frameworks are one of the most important advancements in the world of development in recent years. Thanks to these frameworks, the barrier to cross-platform development is much lower and web applications are much richer.

In the world of JavaScript frameworks, Vue.js (Vue) and React are two of the most popular options, both of them encroaching on a market once firmly held by AngularJS.

What has led the rise of Vue and React? Why are they gaining in popularity? Which should you choose?

AngularJS: The First of a Breed

Angular first appeared on the scene in 2010, the brainchild of Miško Heveryat from Brat Tech LLC. Angular was one of the first full-featured JavaScript frameworks that made it easier to create single-page applications (SPA).

SPAs are the next generation of web applications, essentially duplicating the desktop experience. Rather than moving to a new page with every clicked link, an SPA allows the Document Object Model (DOM) to be manipulated and updated live. This provides a similar experience as a desktop application, live-updating information as the user interacts with it.

In addition, Angular—with the help of third-party frameworks, such as Electron and NativeScript—enables developers to use web languages to create desktop and mobile applications. Rather than learning languages and APIs for each target platform, Angular allows developers to use the languages they’re already familiar with to develop for desktop, mobile and web. All the while, the frameworks handle the heavy lifting in the background.

Needless to say, thanks to Angular’s popularity, it was only a matter of time until other frameworks rose up to improve on it.

React: Facebook’s Foray Into JavaScript Frameworks

React was released in 2013, the work of Jordan Walke, one of Facebook’s software engineers. React quickly found its way into a number of Facebook products, before being open-sourced in 2015.

Since going open source, React has steadily gained in popularity. Much of this is due to Facebook’s backing, but is also a reflection of how powerful and capable React is.

React has a strong focus on SPA development. There are also frameworks, such as React Native, that provide the ability to create completely native cross-platform applications.

These features have paved the way for React to be adopted by a wide array of companies and become the premier cross-platform JavaScript framework.

Vue: The Plucky Upstart

Vue was released in 2014, making it the youngest of the three major frameworks. Vue was created by Evan You, a former software developer at Google. During his time there, he worked on projects using AngularJS, which helped shape his approach to JavaScript frameworks. One of his stated goals was to build something more lightweight than Angular.

In a Between the Wires interview, You outlined his approach: “I figured, what if I could just extract the part that I really liked about Angular and build something really lightweight without all the extra concepts involved? I was also curious as to how its internal implementation worked. I started this experiment just trying to replicate this minimal feature set, like declarative data binding. That was basically how Vue started.”

While it doesn’t offer as many features as React, Vue is quickly becoming a serious contender among the frameworks. True to You’s goal of creating a lightweight alternative to Angular, Vue is lightweight, easy-to-learn and offers arguably better performance as a result of its lower overhead.

Like Angular and React, additional frameworks make it possible to create full-fledged desktop apps using Vue.

Vue vs React: Which Should You Choose (And Why Both Are Better Than Angular)

When it comes to choosing a modern JavaScript framework, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the major choices. Each of them offers powerful features and abilities. Each of them provides a way to create rich, dynamic web applications and all of them provide a means to create mobile and desktop applications—albeit with the use of third-party libraries or frameworks.

One of the big advantages Vue and React both offer is the ability to use native controls when developing for non-web platforms. React Native is the preferred framework for use with React. React Native is designed to make native calls to the iOS and Android APIs, giving an app a truly native look and feel.

Similarly, Vue Native is one of the preferred frameworks to accomplish the same thing with Vue. As its name suggests, Vue Native is based on and transpiles to React Native. As a result, Vue Native internets the same native controls. This gives both Vue and React a significant advantage over the older Angular.

Another issue with more recent versions of Angular is its dependence on TypeScript. TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript created by Microsoft. For some developers this may be an extra hassle they don’t want to deal with.

When it comes to choosing between React and Vue, the decision becomes a bit murkier. Both platforms offer some advantages and disadvantages.

React is generally considered to be the more robust of the two frameworks, including more features out-of-the-box, and has a bigger collection of third-party libraries. Similarly, more companies use React. Facebook’s framework is also a better option for more complex SPAs.

Vue, on the other hand, is generally easier to learn and can offer performance advantages due to its lightweight design. While it’s not quite as popular as React, it is quickly growing in popularity and third-party support. Both applications offer similar cross-platform options.

For some companies and developers, Vue’s independence is another selling point. Whereas React is maintained by Facebook and Angular is maintained by Google, Vue is wholly independent.

Either of these frameworks will provide the features and abilities most developers need. In fact, Vue and React are such powerful frameworks that both they, and their respective developers, have a bright future ahead.

Vue.js
React
JavaScript
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

Related Articles