React vs Vue vs Angular vs Svelte

React vs Vue vs Angular vs Svelte

5 min read

As a developer, there are many choices to make when building your next application. The rise of serverless technologies allows developers to build and run applications without thinking about servers and this also allows front-end developers to create full-stack applications and build SAAS web apps.

In Stack Choices, we take a closer look at some technologies that can help us to build these types of applications and try to make a good decision on what to use. In the last episode, I took a look at JavaScript vs TypeScript. This time, let’s take a look at the JavaScript frameworks.

Angular

This JavaScript framework, developed by Google, has been around for a while and it’s not really the cool kid on the block inside the frontend community. The move from angular 1 (AngularJS) to Angular 2, which was so different it required complete rewrites, seems to left some scars, but times have changed and lots of progress has been made.

Updating your application to the next major version of Angular has never been easier. Since Angular 8, you can just use ng update it to update your application and its dependencies. Besides that, with the new Angular CLI, you can generate components, routes, services, and pipes with a simple command. Besides that, Angular is very stable and has support for great technologies like Typescript and Web Workers, etc. Also, the new Ivy renderer is officially released in Angular 9, which decreased payload size and has a lot of other interesting benefits.

My opinion

After first working with React for quite some time I joined a team that worked with Angular. I have now worked with them for over a year and although I was a bit skeptical at the beginning, I started to like Angular more and more. Some people complain about the file size or that the framework is too bloated, but I think it’s nice to have a framework that has lots of features built-in. It’s not as easy to pick up as Vue or React, and I also wouldn't choose it for smaller side-projects, but for production applications, especially those that you need to work on with multiple people, Angular is a very nice framework.

React

According to NPM trends, React is by far the most downloaded framework. Stack Overflow Trends also reveals that React receives the largest percentage. It’s easy to see why lots of people choose React for there new applications: it’s a save bet. Large companies such as Airbnb and Netflix have been using React.js for many years now, and we see that the technology is being embraced by more and more companies. The interest in React among developers is huge and that makes it a technology that will probably gain even more popularity in the upcoming years.

My opinion

Most popular doesn't mean it’s the best, also React has its flaws. But personally, I absolutely like working with it. I have made most of my side-projects with React, like RaterFox, Codestash, MakerMove, and more. I think it’s easy to get started with React, but when you build large applications you find yourself reaching for a lot of other libraries just to get some basic things done, like routing or global state management. These libraries usually all have there strong points and weaknesses. It’s nice to have the freedom to choose but at some point, I think it would help the developer community if we could just all go for the same thing. Instead of introducing yet another state management library or another way to implement CSS-in-JS, I think it might be beneficial to sometimes have fewer choices.

I’ve made a React boilerplate called React Milkshake that can give you a headstart with your new project. And I’m working on a React starter-kit with Nextjs to build full-stack SaaS applications. You can sign up here to get notified when it launches.

Vue

Another amazing JS framework is Vue.js. With very detailed documentation and a fairly low learning curve, Vue.js is a suitable choice when you want to experiment with a new framework as a developer.

Because of the resemblance to React and Angular in terms of architecture, it is an easy transition from other frameworks. Loved for its small size, speed and flexibility, Vue.js delivers even better performance compared to other frontend frameworks.

Vue.js currently still has a much smaller market share compared to React. Due to the positive opinions from the developer community and the growth in the use of Vue, it seems likely that Vue.js will continue to develop positively.

My opinion

I have little personal experience with Vue, but to experiment with it I made RemoteRocket, a platform with all the remote jobs from popular remote job sites. It’s easy to pick up, especially with the Vue CLI, and I definitely recommend giving Vue a try (if you haven’t already).

Svelte

The big underdog of the frontend frameworks: Svelte. It’s been around for a couple of years and in April 2019 version 3.00 was released. Svelte is a little different than React, Vue, or Angular because it compiles your code to tiny, framework-less vanilla JS. And it’s not just very performant, with no run-time dependencies, it’s also very elegant and easy to learn the framework. It’s npm downloads have more than tripled over the last year, and in the results of the 2019 State of JS survey, it showed that 44.9% of JS developers were interested in learning Svelte. Time has to tell if people will actually adopt it in production applications, so I’m curious about what the future will bring for Svelte.

My opinion

I personally haven’t got the time to try out Svelte, but it’s very high up on my list of technologies to explore. If you want to learn more I can recommend you this video of Rich Harris’ (the creator of Svelte) talk about Rethinking reactivity or to listen to this podcast episode of the Syntax.fm where Scott Tolinski teaches Wes Bos about Svelte. It got me really excited and I can’t wait to start trying it out myself!

Conclusion

Angular, React, Vue, or Svelte, these are all great frameworks. I’ve worked with all of them except Svelte. I would really love to work with Svelte, but for my plan to build the best JavaScript boilerplate for building a SAAS business, I need to go with a framework I’m very experienced with. Besides that, popularity plays an important role, and for that reason, my choice has become: React.

If you think differently, please try to change my mind! Any other opinions? Leave them in the comments.


If you’re interested in saving time on your next project and skipping implementing authentication, payments, tests, etc. then subscribe here to follow my progress in building the SAAS starter-kit for JavaScript developers. You can also follow me on Twitter, or at www.jakeprins.com.

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