React JS vs Vue JS – Which Javascript Framework To Use?

React JS vs Vue JS – Which Javascript Framework To Use?

ReactJS in 2016 has positioned itself as the king of Javascript web frameworks. The year 2017 has been observing a rapid growth of both its web and native libraries which also takes a comfortable lead over the chief rival Angular. But 2016 has been sheepishly a really impressive year for Vue.

Both React and Vue are lightweight component-based libraries for building user interfaces which focus on the view-layer only. Both of them can be used in a simple project or they can be scaled up to a sophisticated application by using cutting edge tools, therefore, the scope of both ReactJS and VueJS is truly similar.

This makes web developers wonder which one they should be using. Does any one of them is superior to the other? Do they have separate merits and demerits or they are basically the same?

A- Dealing Dilemmas

Choosing development environments for products is very acute many software development companies. Selecting right libraries and framework is a complicated subject. As various suppliers offer products which have really similar properties and the content hence judicious decision is made by understanding the capabilities of each.

This can be understood while there comes a comparison of React JS framework and Vue JS. With this write-up, we will see a comparison between Vue and React JS. What to choose? How to choose and with full analysis on differences it is easy to consider the pros and cons of each framework.

Note: We cannot say ReactJS or VueJS as a full-scale framework.

As full frameworks include representation layer, React in fact is itself a representation and Vue is simply a useful library which is considered as a full-fledged framework for the development of front-end projects.

Let us observe the positive and negative features of both and understand which tool is better:

A1- ReactJS framework: Big and Capable

Developers like its most valuable and important React’s feature – the ability to build large web add-ons which can be updated without any additional page reloads. The main aim of ReactJS is user-interface processing in applications. Of course, React is useful in development but building a complete application using only ReactJS is very hard.

A1.1- Merits Of React JS

ReactJS developers find that ReactJS has the ability to see the rendering of the developed component along the source code. This capability was reached by simplifying the manipulation of virtual DOM. ReactJS renders the DOM in the browser interface, therefore, visualizing in real time. This is very useful in the development of websites and application interfaces, therefore, allowing the developer to view the product from user’s perspective.

Another great advantage of React is React Native which is a standalone product that allows cross-platform user interfaces for mobile apps. This requires minimal changes to turn them into native.

A1.2- Demerits Of React JS

The main disadvantages of ReactJS are:

  • The size of library is comparatively larger than Vue.
  • The manuals and documentation is too complicated for novice developers.

A1.3- Summary – ReactJS

With a number of essential features for development of high-quality applications, ReactJS is a great instrument. Immediate visualization of work result, high rendering speed and proficient operation of elements associated with the React is the biggest advantage of this tool.

As far as some deficiencies are concerned we can summarize that ReactJS was designed from start as a great representation layer and it just performs this primary role with excellence.

React holds wide and highly developed ecosystem which consists of compatible add-ons, plugins, libraries, and frameworks. On the contrary, great thanks to specifics of its DOM manipulation system, using React in parallel with any other tool which changes DOM or part, therefore, is quite a challenging task.

A2- VueJS Framework: Handy and Responsive

Same as ReactJS, Vue JS is also not a framework as a whole but it is an MVVM template layer. VueJS is among the fastest-growing libraries which is an important indicator of its popularity.

Let us closely view the pros and cons of Vue JS:

A2.1- Merits Of Vue JS

VueJS eases the development. One of the most important advantages of VueJS is that it enables the development of large-scale templates. The simplified Vue’s structure of Vue makes easier for programmers and saves a lot of time, also the time spent searching the block containing the error is greatly reduced.

Also, the two-way communication in VueJS which is similar to AngularJS framework greatly facilitates and speeds up the HTML blocks handling. VueJS also monitors the development of interface in real time. With the help of props() and data() classes VueJS control is executed.

A2.2- Demerits Of Vue JS

Here are few demerits of VueJS:

  • Small developer community.
  • A single creator whose opinions are final.
  • The creator of VueJS is Chinese American who is very supportive of Chinese development community. This is the reason that many existing plugins are in the Chinese language.

A2.3- Summary VueJS

VueJS is an easy and quick tool for applications and interfaces development. Certain plus points like simplicity in code, real-time state management, high rendering speed and efficient component operation are few merits of VueJS which make VueJS stand out. Its meager English language documentation and a few developer communities are among few disadvantages of VueJS.

B- Two Frameworks Two Advocates

Let’s understand differences with examples. Here is an example of an application performing certain common tasks while building a feature rich web application which includes iterations, props in components, two-way binding and conditional rendering.

B1- Iterating

Iterating In ReactJS

// React.js  (.jsx)

const array = [1, 2, 3, 4];
const Iteration = ({ items }) => <div> {items.map(item => <span>{item}</span>)} </div>;

ReactDOM.render(<Iteration items={array}/>, document.getElementById('array'));


<!-- React.js (html) -->

<div id="array"></div>

Iterating In VueJS

// Vue.js (js)

var Iteration = new Vue({
  el: '#array',
  data: {
    array: [1,2,3,4]
  }
});


<!-- Vue.js (html) -->

<div id="array">
  <span v-for="value in array">{{value}}</span>
</div>

Iteration Winner: VueJS

We can easily see that there are just a few lines of code in Vue.js and it seems pretty intuitive as compared to React’s code. Also, initializing a Vue instance just takes a plain Javascript object as the data, whereas as with React we need to use getInitialState() function and return the state data that way.

B2- Props

Another comparison is where we are initializing an example which is almost similar to above. Except for the array, which is an array of objects and we are looping through passing each object as a property into a component.

For Example:

[
  {
    id: 1,
    title: Foo
  },
  {
    id: 2,
    title: Bar
  }

  //...
]

Props And Components The React Way

// React.js (jsx)

const Component = ({ object }) => <span>{object.title}</span>

// Rendering the Component with the Prop
    // ...

    this.state.array.map( object => <Component key={object.id} object={object} />

    // ...

Props And Components The Vue Way

// Vue.js (js)

var Component = Vue.component('component', {
  template: '<span>{{object.title}}</span>',
  props: {
    object: Object
  }
});


<!-- Vue.js (html) -->

<component
  v-for="object in array"
  track-by="id"
  :object="object">
</component>

Props And Components Winner: Tie

As creating component in Vue seems a little more intuitive but even the actual rendering of components is almost equivalent while you compare it with React.

Note: React here throws a warning when you don’t pass in a key.

Vue does not require this, but can be accomplished using track-by or defining the property as object: {type: Object, required: true}.

B3- Two-Way Binding

The main aim of using any popular Javascript libraries is to take advantage of Two-Way binding. The simplest way is inserting some text into a text box and have some text appear as you are typing it.

Two-Way Binding In ReactJS

// React.js (jsx)

var Message = React.createClass({
  getInitialState() {
    return {
      message: ''
    }
  },

  handleMessageChange(e) {
    this.setState({message: e.target.value});
  },

  render() {
    return (
      <div>
        <input type="text" onChange={this.handleMessageChange} />
        <span>{this.state.message}</span>
      </div>
    )
  }
});

Two-Way Binding in Vue

// Vue.js (js)

var Message = new Vue({
  el: '#message',
  data: {
    message: ''
  }
});


<div id="message">
  <input type="text" v-model="message" />
  <span>{{message}}</span>
</div>

Two-Way Binding Winner: VueJS

Here Vue.js takes the cake. Two-way binding in Vue.js is as simple as adding a v-model attribute to input tag and Vue takes good care of it. While in React you have to define a function and call setState to apply changes.

Don’t miss to grab out a little extra javascript knowledge here:
Which JavaScript Frameworks Take Along With You In 2017
Choosing Right Javascript Development Framework: AngularJS vs React vs Ember
Top 5 Javascript Frameworks for Web and Mobile App Development
Most Popular Node.js Frameworks for App Development
Best Practices For Node.js App Development
Node.js 8.0 – Awesome Features To Look Out For

B4- Conditional Rendering

Let’s take an example that you want to conditionally render some HTML based on the current state. The example is like if user is not logged onto the site, display the login form, otherwise, display appropriate markup.

Here we’ll assume that we have a state variable called loggedIn which is a boolean value. Here we will assume that we have two components defined. One is for LoginForm and another is General Component which can be viewed once the user is authenticated.

How Conditional Rendering Works In React?

// React.js (jsx)

  render() {
    if ( this.state.loggedIn ) {
      return( <Component /> );
    } else {
      return( <LoginForm /> );
    }
  }

How Conditional Rendering Works In Vue?

<!-- Vue.js (html) -->

<component v-if="loggedIn"></component>
<login-form v-else></login-form>

Conditional Rendering Winner: Tie

Vue.js is simpler to use the v-if and v-else attributes when you are using a simple boolean to determine whether or not you render something. While if something complicated has to be done, it requires you to separate some logic out in JS function. With React, you can see the logic more clearly because everything is in one place.

C- Which To Choose? Mixed Opinions

Seeing the similarity in the features and capabilities of React and VueJS we can say that these features are achieved in absolutely different ways. React seems inflexible in comparison with Vue and React is also a little behind on the execution side of efficiency parameters. In reactive elements management, React rewrites the whole structure of DOM browser and replicating it from virtual one in case there are any updates in latter. Vue directly updates the individual nodes, therefore making it much more compatible with DOM manipulating tools. VueJS is also a great tool as its creator has implemented a lot of ideas which are inspired from other frameworks but it is still in developing stage. So which is the best tool for development? What worked for you? Surely you must disagree with some of the findings in this blog, do share!

References: erminesoft.com, rlafranchi.github.io, medium.com

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Rachit Agarwal

Rachit Agarwal

Director and Co-Founder at Algoworks Technologies
Rachit is leading the mobility business development function, mobility strategy and consulting practice at Algoworks. He is an expert of all mobile technologies and has experience in managing teams involved in the development of custom iPhone/iPad/Android apps.
Rachit Agarwal

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