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Comparing Progressive JavaScript Frameworks: Angular and Vue.js

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Comparing Progressive JavaScript Frameworks: Angular and Vue.js

Having trouble deciding which framework to use to help you build your web app? Read on to get a look at Angular and Vue.js.

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Vue.js, the open source JavaScript framework, helps build beautiful web interfaces. Its excellent features can be strongly leveraged when it is paired with other web tools. Nowadays, many developers are replacing Angular and React.js with Vue.js.

This brings us to the topic of the article – should I go for Vue or Angular?

Vue.js, the brainchild of an ex-Google employee, Evan You, was released in 2014 and has already gained more than 57,000 GitHub stars. Many developers vouch for Vue because it is very easy to learn. If you have strong fundamentals in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, then learning Vue.js is just a matter of hours.

What makes Vue attractive to developers is that it is fresh, lightweight, and comes with little or no complexities. Though Vue is extremely flexible and simple, it is very powerful and offers a two-way data binding feature, just like Angular and React's Virtual DOM features.

Being less opinionated, Vue lets you structure your app in whichever way you want. Angular doesn’t let you do that because you will have to do many things the “Angular way.”

Upwork, Netflix, Freelancer, Paypal, Lego, and iStock Photo are examples of Angular apps. Collate and Remote Pad GUI are examples of apps made with Vue.js

Vue.js – The Versatile JavaScript Framework

Being a cross-platform, highly progressive framework, Vue is the first choice for many developers who need to create single-page applications. In the typical MVC architecture for developing web applications, Vue acts as the View, meaning it lets you see display portions of the data. Vue has a number of features apart from the basic ones mentioned above.

Let’s look at those:

1. Easily Adoptable

If you have been using some other framework, then you can easily adopt Vue because the core library is focused on the view layer, and you can easily pick it up and integrate it with third party libraries to use with existing projects.

2. Lightweight

As it focuses mainly on the ViewModel or the two-way data binding, Vue is lightweight, with fairly basic docs. And Vue is an interface layer, meaning you can use it as a light feature in pages, providing a better option than full-blown SPA.

3. Lower Learning Curve

Developers working with HTML will find that Vue has a low learning curve. This makes it perfect for less experienced developers and beginners to learn and understand Vue quickly.

4. Two-Way Binding

Vue provides the v-model directive (for updating data on user input events) that makes it easy to have a two-way binding on form inputs and texture elements. It can choose the right way to update the elements with regard to the input type.

5. Virtual DOM

The performance factor of Vue is slightly elevated due to its lightweight virtual DOM implementation, based on Snabbdom. This is one of the main new features of the virtual DOM and makes computation inexpensive because you can directly make the updates. When you need to make the changes in the actual DOM, you can use the function that does it just once.

6. HTML-Based Template Syntax  

This allows you to directly bind the rendered DOM to the underlying Vue instance’s data. This is a useful feature because it lets you extend the basic HTML elements to save reusable codes.

Angular: The Dynamic Framework

Angular is a full-featured framework that supports Model-View-Controller programming structure and is perfect for building dynamic, single page web apps.

Developed and supported by Google in 2009, Angular contains a library of JS code based on standard JavaScript and HTML. Angular was initially a tool that enabled designers to interact with both the backend and frontend.

 Some of the best features of Angular are:

1. Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM)

For building client-side web applications, Angular incorporates basic principles behind the original MVC software design pattern. However, it does not implement the MVC, in what we know in the traditional sense, but rather in an MVVM or Model-View-ViewModel pattern.

2. Dependency Injection

Angular comes with a built-in dependency injection subsystem feature that makes an application easier to develop and test. Dependency Injection allows you to get the dependencies by asking for it, rather than searching for it. This is greatly helpful to the developer.

3. Testing

Separate unit testing for controllers and directives is possible in Angular. And it allows the developers to do an end-to-end and unit test runner setup, which means you can test from the user-perspective as well.

4. Cross-Browser Compliant

An interesting feature of Angular is that the applications written in the framework work well in multiple browsers. Angular can automatically handle the code required for each browser.

5. Directives

Directives (DOM template for rendering instructions) like elements, attributes, CSS can be used to create custom HTML tags. These are markers on DOM elements as you can extend the directive vocabulary and make your own directives, or convert them into reusable components.

6. Deep Linking

As Angular is mainly used for making single page applications, you have to make use of the Deep Linking feature to allow you to load sub-templates on the same page. The purpose of deep linking is to look at the location URL and arrange for it to map to the current state of the page.

The deep linking feature does this by setting URLs by looking at the state of the page and taking you to the specific content rather than traversing the application from the home page. Deep linking allows web applications to be easily searched by all the major search engines.  

Vue.js vs. Angular – Which Is the Best?

Now comes the million dollar question. Which is the best out of the two – Angular or Vue? Let’s go deeper into this by looking at the following factors:

Learning Curve

As we've already mentioned, Vue.js is relatively simple to learn and understand. You need time to get used to Angular. Developers are of the opinion that they are both great for projects, but most of them like to use Vue because it is simpler and scales really well when you add Vuex to the project.

Though a few of the syntaxes of Vue and Angular are similar, like API and design (this is because Vue was actually inspired from Angular in its early stages of development), Vue has endeavored to improve itself in areas where developers find it difficult with Angular. You can build a non-trivial app with Vue.js in a few hours; this is not possible with Angular.

Flexibility

Angular is opinionated, meaning there are certain ways which your app should be structured. Vue is gentler and offers a modular, flexible solution for creating apps.

Vue is probably considered a library instead of a framework. By default, it doesn’t come with a router, HTTP request service, etc. You have to install the “plugins” that you want. Again, it's very flexible and also compatible with most libraries you may want to use.

Developers who don’t like to listen to opinionated frameworks gladly adopt Vue for their projects. However, there are developers who prefer Angular because they prefer the support it offers to the overall structure of their apps. This helps some save on coding time.

Document Object Model (DOM)

With the minimal amount of components for re-rendering, Vue lets you precompile your templates to pure JavaScript. This virtual DOM allows for massive optimizations. This is the major difference between the two. Vue allows for a simpler programming model, while Angular manipulates DOM in a cross-browser compatible way.

Speed/Performance

While both Angular and Vue delivers comparable performance, we can say that Vue is slightly ahead, thanks to its lighter-weight Virtual DOM implementations.

The simpler programming model enables Vue to provide a better performance and, hence, it emerges as the winner. Vue can be used without the build system as you can just include it into the HTML file. This makes Vue approachable, thereby improving its performance.

The reason why Angular can be slow is that it uses dirty checking, meaning the Angularmonitors continuously to see if there are any changes to the variables. It is a change detection technique.

Two-Way Data Binding

Both frameworks support two-way data binding equally, but Angular is more complicated because of its heavy weight nature when compared to Vue.js. The two-way data binding is much simpler in Vue, while in Angular, it is way down.

When to Choose Vue.js

Developers looking to kickstart their career by making products in the easiest way should choose Vue. This would be a more helpful option if your Javascript basics are not too strong or if you are dogged by strict deadlines.

It is also a good idea to choose Vue if your front-end is Laravel because the Laravel community considers Vue to be their most preferred framework. It cuts the total process time by 50% and frees up space on the server.

The thing with Angular is that it requires using TypeScript because all the documentation and learning resources are TypeScript based. Of course, a Typescript is a good option when you are creating large-scale applications and you can achieve greater productivity when your Java and C# background is very strong.

But this wouldn’t be a good choice for small-scale use cases because it could lead to more overhead costs. Using Angular without Typescript is virtually impossible. In such cases, the obvious choice would be Vue, and you also have the added advantage of using Typescript with Vue through official typings and decorators.

You can also choose Vue if you like your freedom while structuring your application because Angular has some strong opinions and offers official support for a number of build systems.

If you are familiar with ES5 Javascript and HTML, then you can go ahead with your project using Vue, but Angular entails that you familiarize yourself with several concepts before becoming productive.

Using the standalone version of Vue would be good if you want to compile the templates in the browser and developers use it for its simplicity - there are no file formats of special build steps. But it could affect performance a tad bit. However, kindly note that the first component render would be longer than the rest of the process because the template would have to be compiled to JS first.

Vue's single-file components are perfect if you are looking to build performance-critical SPAs or need feature scoped CSS.

When to Choose Angular

Your first choice would be Angular if the aim is to build large and complex application because it offers a complete and comprehensive solution for client-side app development.

Angular is a viable option for developers looking to deal with client-side and server-side modes. The main reason devs like Angular is that they get to focus on any kind of design with any jQuery-call or DOM configuration distractions.

Angular would also be good for developers creating heavy web applications with several components and complex requirements. When you choose Angular, native developers find it easier to understand the application functionality and coding structure.

You can also go for Angular if you want to choose the existing component in a new project because all you need to do is copy and paste the code.

Angular can help you considerably through its two-way data binding feature as it manages the synchronization between the DOM and the model. This makes it a more beneficial tool for web app development.

Developers looking to make lighter and faster web applications can make use of the MVC structure in Angular and separate logic and data components, which helps to speed up the development process.

It is also worth mentioning that Vue’s companion libraries for routing and state management are officially supported and updated with the core library. But this is not so with Angular, because the community manages these libraries, leading to a more fragmented ecosystem.

Code Comparison

It’s interesting to analyze the code for both the frameworks. Code that contains the markup, style, and behavior can help you compose highly efficient and reusable interfaces. In Angular, entities like controllers and directives are contained in the module, while in Vue the module contains the component logic.

Vue Components

  Vue.extend({ 
    data: function(){ return {...} }, 
    created: function() {...}, 
    ready: function() {...}, 
    components: {...}, 
    methods: {...}, 
    watch: {...} 
    //(other props excluded) 
});

Angular Modules

angular.module(‘myModule’, […]);

Directives are more powerful in Angular. They mean a lot; similar to the function of a component in Vue.js.

Vue Directives  

Vue.directive('my-directive', {
       bind: function () {...}, 
      update: function (newValue, oldValue) {...}, 
      unbind: function () {...}
  });

Angular Directives  

myModule.directive('directiveName', function (injectables) { 
      return { 
            restrict: 'A', 
            template: '<div></div>', 
            controller: function() { ... },
             compile: function() {...},
             link: function() { ... } 
            //(other props excluded) };
            });

As Vue.js was inspired by Angular, the former has borrowed the latter’s templating syntax. Hence the syntax for loops, interpolation, and conditionals are all very similar. However, templating for both is very easy.

Look at the code snippets given below:

Vue Interpolation

{{myVariable}} 

Angular Interpolation

{{myVariable}}

Vue Loops

<li v-repeat="items" class="item-{{$index}}">
{{myProperty}}
</li>

Angular Loops

<li ng-repeat="item in items" class="item-{{$index}}"> 
{{item.myProperty}}
</li>

Vue Conditionals

<div v-if="myVar"></div> 
<div v-show="myVar"></div>

Angular Conditionals

<div ng-if="myVar"></div>
<div ng-show="myVar"></div>

 Credits: Fadeit

However, the coding of Vue.js makes page rendering very easy and it beats both Angular and React on this count.

The fact is that Vue.js is more like a library than a framework, so it does not provide all the functionalities of Angular. You will have to rely on third-party code for Vue.js, while Angular provides features like HTTP request services or routers.

You can try mixing and matching the libraries as you go. If you are used to Angular, then you may not be comfortable with Vue because it doesn’t tackle the challenges that are already covered in Angular.

Before winding up, let’s take a quick look at Progressive Web Apps or PWAs. These are nothing but websites, or rather web pages, that utilize the most modern web technologies like service workers and web app manifests to give the user an app-like experience. PWAs are, more or less, hybrid apps that present the user with the benefits of both mobile web apps and native mobile apps.

Ionic is the most popular JavaScript framework used to create Progressive Web Apps. It not only builds PWAs but also deploys the app in the native app store through Cordova. The combination of Ionic and Angular along with HTML5, CSS3, and Cordova, works magic by delivering the best quality PWAs.

Version Releases of Angular and Vue.js

The latest stable version of Vue.js, v2.3.4, got released on June 8, 2017. Prior to this release, there were 13 other versions that were released this year starting from version 2.1.9.

Angular 4 was released in March 2017. The earlier versions are Angular 1 and 2; there is no Angular 3. Version 5 of Angular was released November 2017. Version 6 is anticipated to be released in March 2018 and Version 7 is expected in September/October 2018.

Conclusion

Vue.js is lightweight, and behaves like the fitter little brother of Angular, making it a better option if you want a less opinionated framework. And just like a big brother, Angular shows you the way to build complex, yet good quality apps.

So, ultimately, the answer to which is the perfect tool boils down to the nature of your project and your learning capability. But, nevertheless, both these JavaScript frameworks can yield the best results for your app development.

Deploying code to production can be filled with uncertainty. Reduce the risks, and deploy earlier and more often. Download this free guide to learn more. Brought to you in partnership with Rollbar.

Topics:
ionic framework ,web dev ,angular ,vue.js

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