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Vue vs React: Which Framework Should You Choose?

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Vue vs React: Which Framework Should You Choose?

When designing a software solution, one of the first things CTOs have to bear in mind is the decision of a front-end framework. And though for a while there, it appeared as though React and Angular would be the only top dogs in town, out of nowhere in 2014, another contender emerged to battle it out for the proverbial crown — Vue.js. And so the Vue vs React battle began.

Fast-forward to 2022, and both Vue and React continue to provide businesses with a fantastically productive approach to building modern web applications. Yet as we hope to show in today’s article, these frameworks will each come with their own individual use cases and should be suited for dissimilar needs.

Vue vs React. Which Framework Should You Choose in 2020 Сover image

A Bit of History

To understand each framework’s weaknesses and strengths, it is helpful to be aware of where they stem from. After all, like anything else in life, both the Vue framework and React framework have been influenced by their cultural contexts – while React was created by Facebook, Vue was developed by a former engineer at Google. 

As a well-established web development company providing web development services for over 20 years, Software Planet Group have great experience working with a wide variety of front end frameworks, including Vue and React. So let’s compare and contrast their individual merits.

What Is React JS?

The spoiled rich kid of JavaScript libraries, one could argue that the main reason for React’s success is the fact that it was birthed by Meta, but this would actually be hugely simplistic. In reality, though the framework was initially released to cater exclusively to Facebook’s needs, today, this corporate backing is mainly indicative of both stability and reliability. Thanks to its component-based architecture, for instance, React development is not only intuitive, but at the forefront of frontend development, leading to beautifully dynamic web applications. Furthermore, in order to maximise functionality and performance, React uses a so-called virtual DOM to detect changes to any components and only render those specific changes — as opposed to always re-rendering the entire component.

Pros and cons of React

When it comes to its pros and cons — particularly when paired with a dedicated development team — the many advantages of React will likely outweigh the potential drawbacks. Some of these benefits include:

  1. A wide range of reusable components
  2. Tools for easy debugging
  3. Unidirectional data flow

If you are ready to start a React project, however, it is important to be aware of the potential disadvantages as well:

  1. If your team is unfamiliar with declarative programming, you may have to face a small learning curve
  2. State management is often more complex for large-scale applications.

Companies that use React

In spite of these drawbacks, React undoubtedly remains one of the best front end libraries for web developers. This is why so many companies are looking to hire React developers today. Not only are React JS websites remarkably smooth and robust, but the framework is trusted by a number of big-name players including Netflix, AirBnb and Uber.

Popular React applications

From our own experience at SPG, whenever we are asked questions like “is react good for startups? or “can I create a popular app with React?”,  we tend to advise our clients to look at the wider growth and adoption trends. After all, adapting to new frameworks and trends is more often than not a matter of survival. As one of the “hottest” and most widely used JavaScript frameworks in the digital world today, the React framework has spawned an enormous variety of React JS websites and apps. These include the New York Times, Instagram and WhatsApp.

What Is Vue?

Vue, on the other hand, is an open-source JavaScript framework developed in 2014 by Creative Technologist Evan You. Because at the time of Vue’s creation, You frequently worked with React and Angular — as he was responsible for UI/UX prototypes and creative experiments at Google — the developer deduced that if he could simply extract the parts he liked from each one of these individual technologies, he could create an app development framework that was superior to them in every way. His suspicion, as it turned out, has proved to be largely correct, as Vue is often called a progressive framework

But does this mean you should immediately hire a Vue JS developer? If you’re a larger company or organisation, is Vue good for big projects too? And above all, ultimately, is Vue better than React? Let’s try to answer all these questions.

Pros and cons of Vue

If you are looking to create a Vue app, there are a few pros and cons to bear in mind. First, for the advantages, expect any or all of the following:

  1. Simple to get started
  2. Good libraries
  3. Currently the most lightweight framework
  4. Incrementally adoptable

On the other hand, when considering Vue development services, you should also be aware of the potential downsides:

  1. Too limited
  2. Flexible to a fault
  3. Smaller community (making it harder to hire Vue freelancers and developers)

Companies that use Vue

What is clear is that many companies today use Vue to enhance their software development process. The technology has been adopted by a number of big-name companies including GitLab, Nintendo and Adobe. Other global websites using Vue.js include Grammarly, the Motley Fool and Trivago. With so many companies rallying staunchly behind it, this often raises the question: is Vue free for commercial use? The simple answer is yes, as according to Vue.js’ official website, Vue was released under the MIT Licence, which also applies to commercial use. Nevertheless, the same is true for React, so this alone should not be seen as grounds to immediately hire Vue developers for your new project.

Popular Vue applications

If you are curious about other apps made with Vue, check out this comprehensive online showcase. Not only should it help you decipher if Vue.js for front end development is the right decision for your business, but the examples should also shed some light on why Vue.js is one of the best frameworks for startups.

Similarities between React and Vue

At first glance, when comparing the JS frameworks, there are a number of similarities to consider:

  1. Both frameworks use the JavaScript language
  2. Both are front end frameworks
  3. Both support TypeScript and Flow
  4. Both also use a Virtual DOM.

Differences between React and Vue

Though certainly similar in many ways, as mentioned above, because Vue is younger than React, it also benefited from a fresh approach and hindsight, so there are bound to be significant differences. As a result, whether opting for development outsourcing or looking for a reliable front end development service, from different coding styles to development costs, let’s take a look at our Vue vs React comparison:

React and Vue: Learning Curve

While both frameworks come with first-rate official documentation with plenty of references and practical examples, one of the biggest differences between React and Vue is in their different coding styles. By default, Vue developers use HTML templates, but there’s an option to write in JSX as well (a way of writing HTML within JavaScript code). React developers, on the other hand, only utilise JSX. 

As a result — speaking generally — Vue.js has an easier learning curve, as its traditional separation of CSS, HTML and JavaScript may make it easier for newer frontend developers to quickly pick up the required skills. At the same time, because HTML templates will be familiar to most web designers, collaboration between them and developers might also become noticeably smoother.

Nevertheless, due to the ever-changing nature of the tech industry, it is important to keep an eye on updates, as this could also change at any time!

React JS syntax

As mentioned above, React developers use a special markup syntax called JavaScript Syntax Extension or “JSX.” This is based on the principle that rendering logic is inescapably coupled with other UI logic. As a result, instead of attempting to separate technologies through separate files, React separates concerns with components that are loosely coupled and that contain deliberately both markup and logic. In practice for react development professionals, this allows mixing HTML with JavaScript — which should be fairly easy if you are familiar with JavaScript.

Vue syntax

Unlike React, Vue uses an HTML-based template syntax. The main benefit, according to Vue’s official website, is that this enables declaratively binding the rendered DOM “to the underlying component instance’s data.” Moreover, all Vue templates are syntactically valid HTML that may be parsed by spec-compliant browsers in addition to HTML parsers.

Under the bonnet, the framework also compiles the templates into highly-optimised JavaScript code. If you understand the Virtual DOM concept and prefer to work exclusively with JavaScript, you can also write render functions instead of templates, with optional JSX support. Do keep in mind, however, that these will not enjoy the same compile-time optimisations as templates.

React and Vue: component approach

Though in general, when dealing with a single file for each component, both React and Vue.js will in fact implement the same component approach, React is built strictly around the web component concept, while Vue offers “single-file components” in which templates, styles and scripts are found in three separate, ordered sections.

In React, on the other hand, components are reusable, integrable, and convenient especially for unit testing. Furthermore, although some programmers see JSX as easier to debug because “Vue does not show syntax errors in HTML,” this is actually technically untrue, as Vue converts HTML into render functions, so any errors are still shown without issues.

React and Vue: Flexibility

As a highly dynamic framework, Vue enables creating applications with even its most basic set of tools. When required, however, it also comes with the vast majority of functionalities that software developers have come to expect. These include:

  1. Vuex for state management
  2. Vue Router for URL management
  3. Vue.js Server-Side Renderer

So we’ve established that Vue is the king of flexibility, but how flexible is React? Well, because React centres around UI components, you will certainly receive help in that matter, and can also use Redux as a state management tool. In fact, both Vue and React have architectures that not only support complex front ends including module loading on demand, but for desktop development support, both can also be paired with Electron. This makes software development a lot more flexible — and faster — than ever before. As mentioned earlier, however, development with Vue can be flexible to a fault, as providing your team with too many options might result in philosophical differences, and consequently in battling approaches. By contrast, React web development’s more consistent system should keep everyone involved on the same page.

React Security

To combat data leaks and exposure, the security of your applications should be of paramount importance to your team, as React development for SMEs demands developing a secure application. This is absolutely non-negotiable. For this reason, when working with React, it is important to heed these security best practices:

  1. Use default XSS Protection with data binding
  2. Avoid dangerous URLs
  3. Use a sanitisation library when rendering HTML
  4. Avoid direct DOM access
  5. Avoid concatenating strings when using server-side rendering
  6. Look for vulnerabilities in dependencies
  7. Avoid significant HTML values when injecting JSON state 
  8. Stay away from vulnerable versions of React
  9. Always configure security linters
  10. Beware of dangerous library code

Vue Security

Similarly, it is critical to create a secure application when developing with Vue.js. While Vue does thankfully do some things automatically (e.g. Vue prevents rendering of style tags inside templates, prevents you from accidentally injecting executable HTML, and dynamic attribute bindings are automatically escaped), the following best practices should help your team stay on track:

  1. Stay away from non-trusted templates
  2. Enable XSS Protection Mode
  3. Use captcha at end points
  4. Regularly audit dependencies
  5. Keep your npm packages updated
  6. Any sanitised URLs must be sanitised by the backend
  7. Template expressions should only use basic JavaScript expressions
  8. Make the most of code splitting
  9. Add multiple classes to a single element
  10. Avoid direct DOM access

React and Vue: Data Binding

Data Binding is the process of connecting the user interface (view) with the data that populates it. ReactJS uses one-way data binding, in which the following two cases can occur:

  • Component to View: Any change to the component’s data will be reflected in the UI.
  • View to Component: Any change to the UI will be reflected in the component’s data.

By contrast, Vue uses two-way data binding with the assistance of binding expressions (a binding expression consists of a single JavaScript expression optionally followed by filters). While on the surface, two-way data binding might sound like the better option, as it can greatly speed up development, more often than not, it can also lead to unexpected performance problems. Note too that rendering HTML on your website dynamically can result in XSS attacks. As a result, developers should only use HTML interpolation on trusted content. Furthermore, all attribute interpolations are disallowed in Vue.js.

React Dev tools 

We have gathered below a few popular tools for React development. Please bear in mind that some of these tools will be equally compatible with Vue:

  1. React Dev Tools for Chrome
  2. React Sight
  3. Bit
  4. React Extension Pack (for VS Studio)
  5. Storybook
  6. React Styleguideist

Vue Devtools

And here are some useful tools for all your software projects made with Vue.js:

  1. Vue Devtools
  2. Vue-dev-server
  3. ComponentFixture
  4. Vue-codemods
  5. Codesandbox
  6. Vue-unicorn-log
    1.  

React and Vue: State Management

Introduced by Facebook with their Flux architecture in 2014, state Management — the development paradigm mainly characterised by a one-way data flow — is now a must for web app development. Speaking of which, when it comes to state management, both web development tools have similar approaches. While React is used within a data flow library for applications — Redux, as it is known — the Vue data flow library is called Vuex. 

Nevertheless, there are also some key differences. For one, while Redux relies heavily on state immutability, Vuex does not care about the immutability of the state at all.

Global State and Props 

As a part of their state management approaches, both React and Vue will often suggest the concept of a global storage to maintain the application state. In the context of Redux and Vuex libraries, this is known as a Store.

For instance, perhaps you have many blocks on a page which are being implemented as separate components (tables, forms, blocks with html code and others), and you would like to display the same information in every block, like a logo or even a portion of text. In such an event, you can take one of the following actions:

  1. Keep your logo at the top of the hierarchy of components (i.e. employ a project file that describes the page’s structure as a whole and how it utilises all of your components). In this case, you need to manually hand over your logo to each child component individually — which is called resorting to “the use of props”.
  2. Keep your logo in the global storage so every component can then access it from there.
“Props” are nothing more than the properties of a component, or parameters instructing components on what data should be visualised and rendered.

In both React and Vue, there are several ways to deal with global state. Passing props is just one of those options. Alternatively, developers may also create their own lightweight Store handlers or even make use of a Redux or Vuex Store.

React and Vue: Communities

Undeniably, because React is developed and supported by Facebook, there are considerably more projects making use of React than Vue (over twice as many in fact, according to the latest Stack Overflow survey). This makes it considerably easier to hire React freelancers and outsourcing companies. Yet it is also impossible to ignore the fact that Vue.js has a long list of admirers. On GitHub, for instance, Vue has already surpassed React in the amount of awarded stars (196,000 for Vue compared to 188,000 for React). This is because despite the association with Alphabet, to many developers, Vue.js is a personal passion project. 

When it comes to development team augmentation, however, you may run into a spot of trouble finding an experienced Vue.js developer for hire. At the same time, if you run into development problems, it may be harder to find the help you need. On the other hand, because there are so many React-related communities online, for code-level questions with React, you should easily find your answer in discussion forums. In any case, be sure to follow official Twitter accounts and keep an eye on any updates.

React and Vue: Performance

On the topic of performance, more often than not, Vue.js is chosen for its fast performance, while React’s main trump card is a rich ecosystem and popularity. But judging impartially by benchmarks alone, Vue vs React performance don’t differ much. React is somewhat snappier at runtime, while Vue comes out on top in both memory allocation and startup times. In addition, Vue is faster when it comes to component creation and updates, and when comparing DOM manipulations, though React may be faster than Angular, it is still slower than Vue. Note, however, that because front end development performance is not only dependent on specific apps, but how developers choose to build them, ‘the’ framework with the best performance will always be difficult to accurately assess.

React vs Vue: Desktop and Mobile Development

If you are hoping to hire mobile developers to only build your app once and reuse your code across multiple devices, React Native allows building Android and iOS applications and will undoubtedly be an excellent choice for your business. In Vue’s case, for its part, there are a number of different options for building native mobile applications too. Of these, NativeScript is by far the most popular, though Quasar is also well worth checking out. Below are some other important points to consider:

Should I use React or Vue to build a mobile app for my business?

  1. Beyond adapting to mobile devices, both React and Vue can be paired with Electron to build corresponding desktop apps
  2. Vue.js supports Weex – a mobile UI framework
  3. React is the clear winner for building enterprise mobile solutions

Talent Pools and Hiring Demand

Over the past few years, we have seen job demands increase. As a result, companies are vying to hire Vue freelancers or find React specialists. As reported by Talent.com, React.js programmers make approximately $117,000 (£95,909) per year, whereas Vue.js developers earn approximately $112,125 (£91,915) on average. This is because React.js is one of the most demanded frameworks. For this reason, in practice, if you want to put together your own software development team, though it may be easier to find them, React JS developers may be costlier to hire.

Consequently, instead of looking to hire Vue developers or hire React developers, you may be better off with web development companies who can provide you with full-stack developers.

React and Vue: Developers’ Experience

At SPG, we asked our expert front end developers to share their own thoughts on Vue and React. We have outlined below their consensus:

  1. Vue.js is easier and faster to learn 
  2. Vue.js has a smaller number of available npm packages
  3. Vuex is often more simple and comfortable to use than Redux
  4. HTML templates in Vue look better than JSX
  5. React has more options for its use and fewer limitations
  6. React’s out-of-the-box separation of concerns is a time saver for many developers
  7. React ranks first by prevalence and universality
  8. Code quality and ease of maintenance is easily achievable with React

React and Vue: When to Use

All in all, we believe that both Vue and React pose equally excellent tools for building jaw-dropping user interfaces. In fact, the majority of our projects today are a combination of React + Node or Java, or Vue + Python or Node. But with this in mind, deciding which one to use for your next project will depend on a variety of factors, including budget, individual use cases, your specific business needs and environment. So whether you opt for Vue.js development or instead choose to develop with React, just make sure you are making an informed decision.

As our final thoughts, React has this ‘all is JavaScript’ approach that may well prove enticing to many companies, but you should use Vue if your project needs pure HTML files and if you’re struggling with processing power, as Vue is also the most lightweight framework. At the same time, while Vue is great for smaller projects due to its simpler learning curve, React is good for larger ecosystems.

For a more direct overview, however, have a look at the table below!

Choose Vue if Choose React if

You're a startup and would like a working software solution out as quickly as possible

You're looking to build a complex enterprise-level single-page application (SPA)

Your idea for the app is fairly straightforward and you would like it to be incredibly fast 

You require continuous support, as you would like to greatly expand your solution's functionality in the future

You have limited resources,
but are hoping to migrate your existing project to a newer, better technology

You need a cross-platform mobile application

To save money, the majority of your team is composed of front-end and junior developers

You already have a team of experienced React JS developers

Your team prefers to work with static front-end and HTML rather than JavaScript

Your team prefers to work with JavaScript rather than static front-end

Did you have anything else to add? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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