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React or AngularJS?

When Should You Use React?

React shines when you have lots of dynamic content changing within the view. Most client-side solutions on the web today struggle with rendering large lists of items within a single view. This “struggle” may be on the order of milliseconds, but in this increasingly digital world, a half a second delay is all it takes to kill your user experience. It’s why sites that have a lot of dynamic, constantly changing, data-intensive content like Instagram or Facebook choose to power their applications with React.

As a library, you can also use React as the view component of AngularJS or other frameworks, because it does not tie you to a specific technology stack. That said, there’s a quickly growing community and a number of existing libraries and add-ons that can help you build an app from scratch. 

When Should You Use AngularJS?

Development time is at a premium, and you need a full, comprehensive framework that will get you running quickly out of the box. As we mentioned earlier, comparing a library to a framework isn’t really a valid question, as you can always use one with the other.

The real question to ask is when shouldn’t you use React? React is not backward compatible with browsers older than IE8. Also, the community is young, so it’s possible you’ll have to do a lot of “reinventing the wheel” in order to get the specific features you’re looking for. It’s also up for debate whether or not installing React is worth the trouble if your project is either a simple web page or if AngularJS is already more than capable of rendering your view.

With the recent releases of Angular, Angular devotees have another reason to stick with their framework of choice. Angular shipped with a huge performance boost, including support for server-side rendering and a similar approach to using one-way data binding to only manipulate the parts of the DOM that need to be changed. However, Angular also involved a major rewrite of the framework, so whether you choose to install React or upgrade to the next generation of Angular, there’s still going to be a learning curve to overcome.

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