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Vue vs. React Framework: Which One to Choose for Your Website

The coding framework defines how smoothly and efficiently your site or application will work. Therefore, it’s worth it for every business owner to find out about different options to choose the right one. Unfortunately, most articles about JavaScript frameworks are written from the developer’s side for other developers, which can get too complex for many. We’ve created this guide to help anyone understand Vue and React JavaScript frameworks without previous knowledge of the topic.

In this guide, we’ll explain what exactly Vue and React are and what are their benefits and drawbacks. We’ll also answer whether you really need to use a front-end framework for your application development. In the end, we’ll recommend which of the frameworks is better suitable for certain applications.

First, What’s a Framework and Why Is It Important?

The word “framework” will be used often thought this article, so properly understanding its meaning is crucial. A framework is a foundation for application code development. It features predefined functions used for processing data input, controlling hardware, or interacting with software.

While coding is possible without a framework, it significantly eases the development process. A plain code quickly gets unorganized, and the more complex application you want to develop, the higher is the need for a framework. Even a minor change in plain code can affect your whole application. Rewriting the code to fix this issue often takes lots of time unnecessarily, especially if the code was written by a different professional. Utilizing a front-end framework solves it all.

Frameworks establish order in the application’s code, organizing page components and thus easing the data updating process. Furthermore, a framework affects how stable your code is, how quickly it runs, and how correctly elements render for the end-user. A correctly chosen and applied framework delivers a seamless user experience.

What Is Vue.js

Vue.js, commonly shortened to Vue, is a progressive open-source programming framework built on JavaScript. It’s commonly utilized for developing user interfaces and simple, one-page applications. A single-page application stands for a site that can be accessed via one entry point, typically index.html. The framework has gained popularity among front-end developers due to its HTML extension and is favored by Xiaomi, Gitlab, Alibaba, 9GAG, and other large-scale companies.

Vue’s creator, Evan You, reveals in his interview that the framework was developed in an attempt to build a lighter version of the Angular framework. The name phonetically resembles the English word “view,” which relates to model-view-controller architecture. In other words, Vue focuses on the building of the visual user interface. However, it can also be utilized for component-based architecture (CBA) like one offered by the React framework.

What Are Vue’s Pros?

We’ve cleared out what the Vue framework is. But why did it become the second most-used framework of 2019? Let’s look at the characteristics that differentiate Vue from other JavaScript frameworks.

The first point worth noting is Vue’s tiny weight. The initial installation zip file weighs only 18 kilobytes. For the record, Vue’s inspiration, the Angular framework, takes up over 500 kilobytes of space. That’s beneficial not only due to storage-saving reasons but also due to reduced impact on the UX.

Vue features a document object model (DOM), which is a visual depiction of HTML page style and content elements. By default, these elements are stored in a family-tree-like structure where the page divides into elements and each element divides into attributes such as color or text. When a site visitor interacts with the page, elements change their appearance, and the browser renders updated data on their screen. However, rewriting the whole page element tree is cumbersome. Vue uses virtual DOM that only renders the updated elements, consequently improving app loading speed. One point to note is that in practice, application performance hugely depends on code optimization.

Vue’s two-way data binding, the same as used in Angular, enables the admin to easily edit related elements and track previous changes. Simply put, this feature makes Vue ideal for apps utilizing real-time updates.

We’ve previously mentioned that Vue supports component-based architecture (CBA), though we didn’t explain what this means. In CBA, each page element is an individual component that can be written in CSS, HTML, or JavaScript. So, CBS splits your application code into separate components. These code chunks can be later reused for another code or utilized in unit-testing. CBS also improves the readability of the site’s code, as specific components are easier to locate.

Vue offers wide integration possibilities as it only relies on JavaScript and features a solid ecosystem of tools.

Vue’s Drawbacks

Like any framework, Vue isn’t perfect. However, most of Vue’s drawbacks relate to developers and do not concern the client.

One potential con for the end-user rises from Vue’s reactivity or the two-way data binding. As you remember, the system only updates the site elements that have been triggered. The issue is, this system isn’t that advanced and may make unexpected mistakes during rendering. Another potential issue is fewer extensions compared to React or Angular, so Vue may simply not be suitable for some applications.

What Is React.js

React.js or simply React is an open-source JavaScript library used for developing user interfaces. It’s commonly called a framework, though there’s an important academic distinction. Simply put, a framework is what you enter your code into, and a library is what you enter into your code. However, this distinction makes no difference for the end-user, so we’ll call React a framework for convenience.

The framework was created by Jordan Walke, who was working for Facebook back in 2011. Today, it’s used by enterprises such as Instagram, Netflix, and Airbnb. Just like Vue, React is essentially a lighter version of Angular, though there are some distinctions we’ll review later on.

React’s Pros

React features CBA, and therefore it shares all the structure-related pros with Vue. Code written on React is divided into numerous components. Each page element code can be viewed independently and reused for another purpose, easing the data updating process for developers. Another similarity with Vue is that React also has a virtual DOM system that improves the user experience and site loading speed.

Here come the differences between the two frameworks. React Hook API enables developers to separate each code component into even smaller functions. Instead of reusing a whole page element, you can apply only the style or the relations between components onto the new page. As a result, developers can save plenty of time by copying specific page component code parts rather than the entire page components. For the client, this typically means lower costs and shorter deadlines.

While Vue utilizes two-way data binding, React features one-direction data flow. Thanks to downward data binding, updates in “child” elements don’t affect the “parent” page components. This ensures code stability, leaving no chance for rendering error.

React is also a better choice for large applications. The system utilizes solely JavaScript, enabling developers to use traditional code organization for improved scalability. Vue is also scalable, however, developers need to implement various Vue libraries and additional elements to pass the limits. Furthermore, React’s toolset is even wider than that of Vue.

React’s Drawbacks

Coding on React is arguably more complex than on Vue. That’s because React utilizes JSX syntax extension for mixing HTML with JavaScript, while Vue supports CSS and HTML by default. JSX protects code from external injections, but it also adds complexity to the code. Consequently, the key to React application success is finding a skilled enough developer.

Which Framework Should You Choose?

The answer to which framework is better suitable for application and site development depends on the project specifics. Both Vue and React provide excellent performance and convenient code structure. However, React has some major advantages such as better scalability and stability, wider toolset, more detailed code organization. Vue, on the other hand, is more developer-friendly and supports both JS and HTML without the need for additional libraries.

A common mistake of beginning entrepreneurs is not leaving any place for growth, i.e., not taking scalability into account. Even though Vue is great for building small applications, coding becomes tricky with more serious apps. React lets you expand and test existing applications without hassle. Thus, if your developer team knows how to handle React, this framework delivers more opportunities for future progress.

Professionalism Is Key

As you can see, Vue and React have a lot in common. Furthermore, most of their differences are possible to overcome if you know how to. In other words, both frameworks are suitable for applications of different sizes and purposes and loved by developers around the globe. The framework is important for your application performance, though at the end of the day, it all depends on the developer’s professionalism. Our team utilizes numerous JS frameworks to bring your ideas to life. Contact us for a consultation or quote to start creating your application soon.

By interactivated • on September 1, 2021

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