Being in charge of software development is not an easy task. There’s a lot of things you have to take into consideration in order to develop a successful web product, such as the project timeline, learning curve, framework performance, and team size.
One of the key things you have to look into is the technological stack. If you’re developing a web application, chances are that you have stumbled upon two major front end technologies players – Vue and React.
But which one should you choose for your application? Which is better in your case? Which one better suits your business needs?
From this article, you will learn:
- What the Jamstack approach is
- What React and Vue are, as well as their main pros and cons
- The similarities between the two technologies
- The differences between Vue and React concerning various aspects
- When to choose React or Vue
Let’s dive into the details – it’s simpler than you think!
The Jamstack approach
Before we take a look at the features of React and Vue, it should be said that both solutions can be used while creating web projects within the Jamstack approach. We have already discussed it here, so we will just recap what Jamstack is quickly here, including its main advantages.
In short, it connects the stability and speed of static websites with the benefits of full interactivity, which were formerly only possible with dynamic websites.
Thanks to this approach, you can build scalable projects containing a lot of data, which at the same time are fast and efficient. Its benefits are being increasingly recognized by developers, and more and more of them are creating websites in this approach. Why are developers choosing Jamstack more often? Learn here.
What is React?
It also enables the quick rendering of web pages, which makes it more SEO-friendly. Thanks to React, you can build lightweight, and at the same time complex, applications.
React.js is simple and focused on user experience.
Examples of React development
React can be used for web apps, media sites, SaaS tools, mobile apps (React Native), desktop apps or progressive web apps.
Examples of well-known solutions built using React include PayPal, BBC websites, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Netflix, and Twitter.
Facebook support for React developers
React originated at Facebook in 2013 and is still being developed there.
The pros and cons of React
We have listed the most prominent advantages and disadvantages of React, just to give you a quick overview for the start.
The pros are as follows:
- Efficiency – the web pages load quickly, and data is updated instantly
- Cleanliness of code – the code is organized for future optimization, and the elimination of dead code is easy
- Reusable components – you can build complex functionalities quicker, using ready-made custom components
- Great performance – the data is updated in the virtual DOM, which leads to faster response times and smoother customer experience
- Community support – the React community is very well known and the developers can enjoy a vivid community of contributors
There are also some cons:
- Constant updates – React is continuously being updated so you have to follow these changes to stay the course
- Need for other tools – as React concentrates mainly on the front-end, you need to use additional tools for other part of the app, such as APIs; on the other hand, this can be seen as an advantage, as it gives you more flexibility
What is Vue?
It offers an opportunity to build lightweight and modern applications. It is regarded as an evolutionary framework, because it allows developers to make changes to the code without affecting the basic features, and thus create progressive UI.
The origins of Vue
Vue was created in 2014 by developer Evan You, a former Google employee, who wanted to create a framework that combined the best approaches to front end development, taking into consideration the features of Angular, Ember, and React to make the app development process faster, easier, and more pleasant.
Examples of Vue development
Vue is most often used to build progressive web apps, single-page apps and large scale enterprise apps, but also to extend the design and functionality of existing applications.
Popular apps built on Vue include Grammarly, Alibaba, GitLab, TriVaGo, Statista, and Behance.
The pros and cons of Vue
As in the case of React, we have put together some advantages and disadvantages of this solution.
There are the following pros:
- Versatility – the ecosystem easily scales between a library and an advanced framework, and Vue integrates smoothly with other libraries and tools
- Good documentation – you have all the necessary guides and other information available and neatly designed – it can be treated as an industry standard
- Progressive – the migration or integration of Vue can be managed gradually, while we still work on components, which translates to a more efficient development process and faster time-to-market
- Optimum size – Vue is very lightweight, and with every subsequent release gets even lighter and faster
- Future-proof – Vue provides a strong production environment, so you don’t have to check or update the application too often – the update process is simplified by default
We can also list some cons:
- Community – the Vue community is still not developed enough, and a large part of the contributors communicate in Chinese, which stems from Vue’s popularity in this region
- Flexibility – the high degree of flexibility Vue offers may be a problem, because too many options leads to excess complexity of the project, which may translate into errors and code irregularities
- Resources – Vue’s ecosystem still doesn’t offer plugins and tools compatible with most external tools and other frameworks
Are Vue and React similar?
Despite their differences, there are a few important similarities between the two solutions, and React was obviously a source of inspiration for Vue.
Both Vue and React:
- take advantage of reusable parent and child components
- use a virtual DOM
- offer PWA support
- support TypeScript
- have backward compatibility
- offer flexibility, performance, and speed
- can work with any existing web apps
In both technologies, the core library is based only on the view layer, so to produce the whole app you might need to attach different libraries and tools.
Vue and React are also both open-source, though React’s creators were planning to restrict its use, but met with strong opposition from the global community of developers.
Differences between React and Vue: the comparison
Now we will go through the detailed comparison of the two solutions, so you can get the idea about the differences and will be able to decide which one you need.
Of course, working with us, you can count on a detailed analysis of your case and we will make this important decision with you.
Library vs framework
The first and main difference is the fact that React is a library, and Vue is a framework.
Libraries provide programmers with functions and classes that make their work and the development process easier, while frameworks are rather a foundation on which the developer builds applications for various platforms.
It’s also vital to add that Vue is a standalone framework, while React must be used with other libraries.
Pre-built and third-party tools
React and Vue also differ in the context of pre-built and third-party tools.
React comes with competent architecture, DOM manipulation, and component state management.
Other functions are built and supported by the community, and, thanks to this, developers can enjoy a great deal of freedom (but this abundance of third-party tools may also be overwhelming for developers starting to work with this library).
Vue’s tools and libraries, on the other hand, are mainly developed by its core team, and community-based solutions are just an addition.
Vue is more balanced when it comes to the proportion of third-party and pre-built tools, so it’s friendly for newbies.
Popularity among companies and React and Vue developers
React is for now definitely more popular among software developers and companies. It is used by over 40% of developers, and liked by almost 70% of them, according to the 2021 Developer Survey by Stack Overflow.
Vue, on the other hand, is on its way to worldwide popularity – there are over 1.5 million websites created using this technology, and the developers’ community is growing.
React appeared earlier than Vue, which can to some extent explain those differences.
When we look at NPM downloads, it turns out that React is currently still more popular than Vue – the former’s packages have been downloaded about 7 times more than Vue’s.
React vs Vue – performance
React’s performance is great because the component-based architecture helps build smart single-page apps with clean code and speedy page loading.
The changes on the website may appear without the need to reload everything, so the web apps provide their users with seamless and pleasing user experiences.
On the other hand, Vue’s virtual DOM helps in optimizing the performance, and lazy loading improves the load time.
Both tools have excellent performance, and you don’t really need to worry about it, no matter which solution you’ll choose.
React vs Vue – architecture
The React library doesn’t have a built-in architecture pattern – it is built on components, and it’s the interaction between the users’ actions and the state of the application components that creates the architecture of React.js.
For building advanced applications with a defined architecture pattern, React needs to be completed by external libraries, such as Redux, Flux, MobX, and Reflux.
Vue’s architecture and DOM structures are divided into two parts – filters and directives.
Vue, otherwise than in the case of React, where there is only a one way data flow, offers two-way data binding, which allows developers to apply classes, change styles and apply values to HTML.
React vs Vue – development process of complex apps
React follows a declarative style of programming. The component-based approach allows for the highest speed and flexibility during building complex web applications.
Vue was designed to build lightweight and small-scale apps, so it may be harder, but still possible thanks to Vuex – a state management library designed to reduce complication by leveraging the reactivity power of Vue.
On the other hand, React, unlike Vue, doesn’t contain official packages for routing or state management, so developers who want to build complex apps have to use third-party solutions, but luckily there’s an abundance of them.
React vs Vue – scalability
Vue has been designed as a framework aimed at developing small-time apps, but can be extended thanks to flexible tools.
Scalability is achieved thanks to web packs and Mixin elements that help tackle the limitations.
Vue vs React – user experience
React has been designed to provide the best UX possible, which goes down to the smallest components, such as buttons, forms, or text boxes.
The fast rendering makes the experience even smoother.
Vue is also great for UX – because of the virtual DOM, the changes are not displayed directly visually, which makes experimenting with different solutions easier.
Moreover, the HTML attributes are independent of the code.
Vue vs React – testing
React.js has a variety of testing tools, like Jest or Mocha, that help the development process in a standardized way. They help identify problems or unnecessary functions. It reduces time-to-market and enhances the quality of the application.
Vue vs React – security
Applications based on React are vulnerable to various threats, such as server-side rendering attacks, SQL injections, and XSS vulnerabilities. It’s the developer’s role to find the right solution for each one of them, and that requires significant experience.
Vue is devoid of automatic protection from the above threats as well, and this was a deliberate decision of its creators, because the framework had to be as light as possible.
Developers have to use external libraries to solve these issues, however, Vue can automatically inject some necessary executable codes, thanks to which the application stays safe before and after rendering.
However, if implemented in the Jamstack approach, both Vue and React apps and websites would be more protected, as Jamstack is focused on security. Among others!
Vue vs React – the learning curve
Moreover, because React strongly depends on third-party components, it has a steeper learning curve, so it may be a challenge for less experienced developers.
Vue has also slightly better documentation, although the React documentation is not bad either.
Vue vs React – time of development
The time of development for both technologies doesn’t differ significantly. It’s worth adding that React will be the fastest solution when you want to develop basic features.
Both React and Vue have many additional libraries, frameworks, and packages that allow for speeding up the building process.
Vue vs React – maintenance
Once your app is tested and running, you have to maintain its operation and implement necessary changes. As we have said, React is component-based, and the app is constructed using individual code snippets that help efficiently manage the whole system.
Even if you replace your initial developers with new ones, they will probably easily catch on to the process. Vue, on the other hand, is still in its growth phase so it’s hard to predict the future direction.
The framework lacks good support but creating good coding practices may help. Vue has effortless integration abilities and code grafting continuity onto existing DOM and HTML mark-up with no prerequisites.
Which technology should you choose – Vue or React?
Taking into consideration all the features described above, both React and Vue are a great choice when it comes to certain use cases.
Remember that both technologies can be implemented for any requirements, and you can build web apps, single-page apps, and user interface components with either.
You should opt for React if you want to:
- Develop large scale applications with a faster time-to-market
- Build SaaS products or multi-vendor marketplaces
- Develop video streaming platforms and media websites
- Choose mobile development (with React Native)
- Use various libraries, tools, and ecosystems
- Develop an application that will easily grow
- Want to find experienced developers quickly and easily
You should choose Vue if you intend to:
- Build progressive web apps and single-page apps
- Get started with your project ASAP
- Have better separation of concerns in the project
- Extend an existing apps’ functionality
- Work with designers and need pure HTML files
- Build a small, but flexible startup
- Transfer an existing product
React is a more mature technology with a larger community and number of contributors, chosen by tech giants worldwide.
It is great for MVP’s and scalable apps, because it’s efficient, modular and good for quick prototyping. It offers a vast choice of tools.
Vue is a little younger technology, but very actively developed and gaining prominence each day. It is getting more and more popular amongst large companies.
It is a very flexible framework, so it’s easy to produce a quick prototype, but also build more complex applications.
Choose your options
Both Vue and React are great technologies when it comes to building interactive UIs. To choose wisely, you should take into account the specific use case, your needs, environment, developer availability, cost and timeframe.
At Naturaily, we can thoroughly analyze your business needs and existing technology to help you choose custom solutions that will be just perfect for your company. Just let us know!