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Vue vs React: An Honest Comparison

Date
15 Nov 2021

Author
Karl Nuttall

Each time you start a new project you are faced with a choice. Despite new comers entering the field each year, React and Vue remain two of the most popular choices. React is a user interface library whilst Vue is a progressive framework. Which one should you choose?

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Front-end development can be confusing with new JavaScript libraries spouting like mushrooms after a summer rain. Each time you start a new project you are faced with a choice. React JS and Vue JS are two frontend JavaScript libraries popular in the developer world. React has taken the top spot for past few years. However, both libraries offer developers a toolkit to build various web applications. Each has its own best cases and responds to different business needs. 

Despite new comers entering the field each year, React and Vue remain two of the most popular choices. React is a user interface library whilst Vue is a progressive framework. 

In this post, we’ll show you a comparison between React JS and Vue JS to help you determine which one will work best for your next project. 

Meet The Contestants : React vs Vue

Both React and Vue are open source JavaScript frameworks that make it easier and faster for developers to build complex user interfaces. Before we get into the React vs. Vue comparison, we’ll give you a brief overview of each one.

React JS

React is a front-end JavaScript library made by Facebook that lets developers build user interfaces at scale. According to the framework’s official website, the main purpose of React is to “make it painless to create interactive UIs.” It is open-source and supports modularity through components, which are independent and reusable bits of code that serve as the core building blocks of React applications. React was created for the purpose of targeting specific needs at Facebook, and it continues to be maintained by the tech giant. In the past there were doubts regarding React’s license. However, currently, the tool operates under the MIT License, making it open-source.

React ProsReact Cons
Cost-effectivenessIncompleteness
Great UXLack of proper documentation
PopularityThe high pace of development
Performance
SEO-friendliness
Shortened time to market

Companies Using React

Some well known companies that are using React include:

Vue JS 

Vue is a front-end JavaScript framework. Named by Evan You, its creator, a “progressive framework”, According to Evan You, its creation came from his desire to extract the parts he liked about Angular, such as data binding, and build something really lightweight. Though created the year prior, Vue was formally released to the public in 2014. This open-source framework uses a process called high decoupling which allows for the progressive creation of web interfaces. Furthermore, Vue is an open-source project, continuously developed further and maintained by its growing community.

Vue ProsVue Cons
AdaptabilitySmaller number of components and plugins
PerformanceLimited features
Detailed documentationLanguage barrier
Ease of integration(Over-) flexibility
Lightweight
Scaleability

Companies using Vue

Websites of some huge global companies use Vue for their user interfaces such as:

Similarities Between React & Vue

One of the most notable common traits between the two is the use of virtual DOMs. What is a virtual DOM I hear you ask!. With a virtual DOM, instead of re-rendering the whole page as is the case with regular DOM, React and Vue update only those objects that have changed, saving the time and resources that heavy DOM manipulations otherwise consume. 


For example, if you receive new notifications on Facebook, the virtual DOM will facilitate the reloading of the notification box only instead of reloading the entire page. 

In addition, React and Vue are both lightweight, possess component-based architecture, and expose lifecycle methods. Their performance is fairly similar so those differences are too negligible to discuss. Both technologies work with any existing web application, even if it’s not a Single Page Application. This is the case with the Gutenberg editor. It’s built with React and was recently implemented in the WordPress ecosystem. Similar is the case with GitLab, where the jQuery codebase is being gradually replaced with Vue.

And finally, both React and Vue have large dynamic communities and plenty of libraries and tools available.

Side-by-Side Comparison

The most obvious distinction: React is a library whereas Vue is a framework*. 

*The official docs describe Vue as a framework and React as a library. The difference between framework and library is subtle and remains open for interpretations.

Lets look at some comparison points between the two in more detail: 

Round 1 – Data Binding

Data binding is the process of connecting information with displayable objects from a programmatic perspective. 

Vue.js uses two-way data binding. This means whenever you change any element of the interface, your source code changes automatically too. 

React uses one-way data binding. Meaning it renders the change in the interface element, only after the source has been updated first. In addition, whenever you change the user interface element, the model state stays the same with no changes. 

If you have a larger project and require a good data overview as well as being able to debug easier, it is better to use React with one-way data binding.

Round 2 – JSX (JavaScript XML) vs Templates

Vue.js templates allows developers to bind data to the DOM. Vue.js compiles the template into Virtual DOM render functions. It can figure out the minimal number of components to re-render and minimise DOM manipulation when data changes.

One of the reasons for newbies to choose Vue could be because of these templates. Templates are used on HTML and are easier for developers to read and write, particularly those you have had previous experience with HTML before. 

On the other hand React uses JSX. JSX is a syntax extension to JavaScript. It is used to describe what the user interface (UI) should look like. JSX gives you a huge advantage of using the entirety of JavaScript language. It is an incredible component made from markup and Javascript logic in the same file. React doesn’t require using JSX, but most people find it helpful as a visual aid when working with UI inside the JavaScript code. It also allows React to show more useful error and warning messages.

Round 3 – Popularity

React clearly won the battle on this round. It is not surprising that it has a bigger community and popularity, because Facebook created and uses this technology. 

Google Trends shows that React JS has proven to be more popular than Vue JS over the last 5 years. 

Google Trends 5 Year Report

On npm, React has around 12,258,853 weekly downloads. Whereas Vue has around 2,718,416 weekly downloads.

The 2020 Developer Survey made by Stack Overflow, listed React as the second most popular library after jQuery. Vue.js is listed as the seventh one.

The State of Developer Ecosystem 2020 report by Jet Brains lists React as the most popular front-end library.

As stated in the report:

React is still the most popular framework. Moreover, its share has grown by 10 percentage points since last year. Meanwhile, Vue.js has lost 7 percentage points over the last year, but it still occupies the third position.

React has clearly way more downloads, but here is a chart that compares the two libraries. Still, Vue is growing fast and has already exceeded Angular in terms of downloads.

NPM Trends Download React vs Vue Report

However, on GitHub, React has 177,674 stars, while Vue has 190,319 stars which beats React by over 12,000 stars!. In 2018, this was seen as a historic moment by Dan Abramov and the community.

Round 4 – Performance 

Since React and Vue share many of the same elements, their general performance is about equal. If you wanted to make a decision between the two based on performance,I’m afraid we are going to have to disappoint you. Both React JS and Vue JS can be proud their similar and impeccable speed. However, if you would like to see specific, visual metrics and numbers, take a look here

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Round 5 – Desktop & Mobile Development 

If you are already using React JS and want to build native mobile applications working on Android and IOS, there is a platform called React Native. React Native offers a huge benefit for React developers as instead of learning a completely new technology, they can take advantage of existing skills. 

Although Vue JS doesn’t have a dedicated platform like React Native, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop native applications. You can utilise third party tools such as Weex or plug-ins such as NativeScript-vue to build native applications. 

Moreover, if you want to build desktop applications you can use frameworks such as Electron to do so in both React and Vue. 

Round 6 – Community and Ecosystems

Developed in 2014, Vue is the youngest of the two but has grown substantially over the years. Vue has fewer companion libraries. However, the functionality that requires you to use a library in React, like props check, is already bundled in Vue. The team behind Vue maintains and supports the core frameworks like Vuex and vue-router. Vue has a smaller market share, yet its community is constantly growing. It has fewer resources, packages, and third-party libraries than React (many of which have no English localisation). However, it has more tools available right out of the box.

React was developed by Facebook back in 2013, it has since grown massively and amassed a large community. React may be the winner in terms of overall ecosystem maturity and component availability as well as community. It also offer integrations with other platforms and tools such as Git & UXPin. Moreover, the library is developed and maintained by Facebook. This pretty much guarantees its long-term support. It’s used on multiple Facebook projects and each team can update the library. There seems to be no official roadmap, however, as updates are based on requests for comments. Unfortunately, React’s community although large, it is a bit more fragmented than Vue’s. You’ll often have to spend more time searching for solutions to common issues.

Round 7 – Server Side Rendering 

SSR provides greater visibility for websites when Google crawls sites for its results pages. It can also improve the user experience. Vue has in-built SSR features, and there are clear instructions on how to use these capabilities in its documentation. React requires a third-party library for SSR. This might not bother you, however, as SSR isn’t as important for search engines as in the past. 

Round 8 – Scaleability 

When considering the use of React vs. Vue for large applications, React has an edge, due to its easy scalability. Since React apps solely use JavaScript, developers can utilise traditional code organisation methods for easy scaling. Component reusability enhances React’s scalability.

While Vue is also scalable, thanks to its wide selection of flexible tools, it is more often used in smaller applications (although the size of the app of course depends on the architecture). Due to the dynamic architecture, you will need to take advantage of Vue’s libraries and Mixin elements to overcome the scaling limitations. So if you’re considering a React vs. Vue enterprise application, React may be more accommodating of future growth.

Conclusion

Both technologies offer great advantages

React JS is a battle-tested leader with support from large corporations and a sizeable open-source community. The library scales better allowing you to build complex enterprise-grade applications. Being a library, React gives more control to its users, like the manual re-rendering control. It heavily employs the functional programming principles, indicated in the way the library handles the state and the communication between the components.

Vue is the rising star of front-end development. It has a more traditional syntax allowing you to gradually migrate existing projects to Vue. Its documentation is the best in class. Vue as a framework provides more built-in features and companion libraries from the core team. This makes the development experience smoother.

If you have any questions regarding the above technologies, or need a team of experienced developers o assist you on your next project then please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

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