Comparing Progressive JavaScript Frameworks: Angular.js & Vue.js

Comparing Progressive JavaScript Frameworks

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.js and React.js with Vue.js.

This brings us to the topic of the article – should I go for Vue or Angular? In this article, we attempt to discuss these two frameworks and make a comparison based on which you can make a favorable decision for your project.

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 in its kitty. 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 two-way data binding feature, just like Angular and Virtual DOM feature like React.

Being less opinionated, Vue lets you structure your app in whichever way you want it. 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.js 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 becomes the first choice for many developers who need to develop 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 regards 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 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.js – the Dynamic JavaScript Framework

Angular.js is a full featured Javascript 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.js contains a library of JS code based on standard JavaScript and HTML. Angular.js was initially a tool that enabled designers to interact with both backend and frontend.

 Some of the best features of Angular.js are:

1. Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM)

For building client-side web applications, Angular.js  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.js 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.js. 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.js is that the applications written in the framework works well in multiple browsers. Angular.js can automatically handle the JS 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 extent the directive vocabulary and make your own directives, or convert them into reuse components .

6. Deep Linking

As Angular.js 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.js – Which is the Best?

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

Learning Curve

As already mentioned before, Vue.js is relatively simple to learn and understand than Angular.js. 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.js in its early stages of development), Vue has endeavored to improve itself in areas where developers find it difficult with Angular.js. You can build a non-trivial app with Vue.js in a few hours; this is not possible with Angular.js.

Flexibility

Angular.js is opinionated, it actually gives strong opinions on how 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, 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 to choose Angular.js because they prefer a support in order to make decisions on the overall structure of their apps. This would help them save time for coding.

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 optimisations. This is the major difference between the two. Vue allows for simpler programming model, while Angular.js manipulates DOM in a cross-browser compatible way.

Speed/Performance

While both Angular JS 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 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.js becomes slow is that it uses dirty checking, a concept of digest cycle that comes as a loop in which the Angular.js monitors continuously to see if there are any changes to the variables. It is a change detection technique.

Two-way Data Binding

Both frameworks supports two-way data bindings equally, but Angular.js 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, can 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 free 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, 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 uses because it could lead to more overhead costs. Using Angular without Typescript can be 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 official decorator.

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 have familiarity with just Es5 Javascript and HTML, then you can go ahead with your project using Vue, but Angular entails that you familiarize 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 go for 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 single-file components are perfect if you are looking to build performance critical SPAs or need features scoped CSS.

When to Choose Angular.js

Your first choice would be Angular.js if the aim is to build large and complex application because it offers 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.js is that they get to focus on any kind of design with any JQuery-call or DOM configuration distractions.

Angular.js 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 codes.

Angular.js would help you considerably through its two-way data binding feature as it manages the synchronization between 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. Thus, it speeds up 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 more fragmented ecosystem.

Comparison of the Codes of Vue.js and Angular.js

It’s interesting to analyse the codes of both the frameworks. The codes containing markup, style and behavior can help you compose highly efficient 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<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">module<span class="token punctuation">(</span></span><span class="token string">'myModule'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token punctuation">[</span><span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token punctuation">]</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span>

Directives are more powerful in Angular.js. 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 from Angular.js, 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

<span class="token punctuation">{</span><span class="token punctuation">{</span>myVariable<span class="token punctuation">}</span><span class="token punctuation">}</span>

Angular Interpolation

<span class="token punctuation">{</span><span class="token punctuation">{</span>myVariable<span class="token punctuation">}</span><span class="token punctuation">}</span>

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.js. You will have to rely on third party codes for Vue.js, while Angular provides features like HTTP request service or router.

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

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 utilizes 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.js along with HTML5, CSS3 and Cordova, works magic by delivering the best quality PWAs.

Version Releases of Angular.js 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 will be released during September/October 2017 months. Version 6 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.js, making it a better option if you want a less opinionated framework. And just like a big brother, Angular.js 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.

Are you thinking of developing a web app in Vue.js or Angular.js? We’ll be happy to guide you.

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