React vs Vue – the guide to choosing the right framework for app development

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Choosing the right JavaScript framework or library for application development is an essential task for businesses. However, the selection largely depends on various factors such as the timeline of the project, the power of the framework, and the experience of the JavaScript development team. 

Nowadays, every business is looking to build a high-quality application within a short period. To put this into practice, companies developing custom software choose from many JavaScript libraries and frameworks while programmers debate which one is the best. 

This post aims to help companies choose the right JavaScript framework between React and Vue for their web solutions. Vue.js and React JS as the fastest evolving tools for front-end development nowadays. The main difference between React and Vue is the way these JavaScript frameworks are built. 

Vue uses HTML and relies on JSX, while React relies on JSX. Although these technologies can help create the same kind of app, both have advantages and disadvantages. In this blog, we have compared Vue.js and React.js on various parameters like performance, speed of building applications, testability, security, usability, availability of dedicated developers, etc. 

Both the JavaScript frameworks have a mature community, wide support, and popularity. We will try to help you to have a clear idea of which framework is best for your web development project. 

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What is React.js?

Reactjs is an open-source JavaScript library for developing web applications with rich user interfaces. React offers JavaScript coders the flexibility to create custom reusable components that enable a fast app creation process. Moreover, the ability to render a web page quickly makes it optimized for search engine requirements. To summarize, React.js is a great JS framework that promotes the creation of lightweight and complex web applications. 

What is Vue.js?

Vue is a lightweight JavaScript-based framework that provides efficient tools for developing front-end apps and top-notch single-page applications. Vue is also considered a flexible and progressive JS framework because it allows making changes to an application’s code without affecting any core function. This feature provides the ability to create a progressive user interface. Due to the high level of decoupling, Vue also provides the ability to extend the functionality of the web application with custom modules and visual components. 

Use cases of Vue.js and React

  • Progressive web applications
  • Single-page applications
  • Applications for small projects
  • Large scale enterprise applications
  • Extending the design of existing applications
  • Extending the functionality of existing applications Similarities and differences between React.js and Vue.js

These web development tools are particularly similar. While React.js and Vue.js share many similarities, there are also some differences between the two that impact what each framework is best tailored for. The main difference is in the methods that Vue and React use to render content on DOM. Vue uses HTML templates and JSX. React only uses JSX, which is an extension that allows developers inserting HTML directly into JavaScript code. JSX can simplify and speed up complex tasks. 

However, it also has the disadvantage of complicating what should be simple. Beyond that, React’s core offering is components, manipulation of DOM, and state management of components. Everything else is created and supported by the Vue developers community. While JavaScript experts often prefer this coding freedom, novice coders can feel overwhelmed by the big number of third-party libraries and tools. 

Similarities between React.js and Vue.js 

  • Virtual DOM;
  • Reactive and component-based structure;
  • Use of JavaScript;
  • TypeScript support;
  • Seamless version migration;
  • Backward compatibility;
  • A wide range of libraries and tools;
  • Performance, flexibility, and speed.

When it comes to the main differences between these JavaScript-based web solutions, Vue is a framework, while React is a solution that consists of many additional libraries.

Another difference is in the approach to rendering content in the Document Object Model. React uses JSX, and Vue uses both HTML templates and JSX. In case of modifications to the state, Vue.js re-renders only particular HTML tags which were changed, while react.js re-render the entire parent tree once even the state of one child was updated.

Ultimately, React and Vue do not match in their functionalities when it comes to pre-built tools and third-party tools. React has a competent architecture, DOM manipulation, and offers component state management. All other features are developed and supported by the React developers community.

Vue has a wide range of community-developed solutions, however, the core team also develops and supports widely used tools and libraries such as Vue-router, Vuex, and Vue CLI. This combination of pre-built by the core team and third-party resources helps meet the needs of novice and experienced JavaScript developers alike. Therefore, Vue provides a more balanced combination of third-party and pre-built tools that meet the needs of both JavaScript experts and junior developers.

Popular websites built with Vue.js:

  • Behance;
  • Gitlab;
  • Trivago;
  • Statista.

Popular websites that use React:

  • Facebook;
  • Instagram;
  • Netflix;
  • Twitter.

Most searched frameworks

The Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021 also shows valuable insights into popular app development technologies. The latest results show that React and Vue take first and second place on the list of the most sought-after web frameworks by professional developers.

Most used frameworks

However, if we explore the most used web frameworks, we get a slightly different result. React still tops the list, while Vue remains behind.

Popularity on StackOverflow and Github

Another factor that speaks to the popularity of a particular technology is the number of questions asked on expert forums. On StackOverflow, for example, there are more than 351,000 questions about #reactjs. It also has over 174200 stars on Github at the time of writing. Vue.js keeps its popularity high, as there are 87,500 questions on StackOverflow under #vue.js and over 187800 stars on Github.

The React developers community is larger than that of Vue.js. However, the main problem is the fragmented nature of React, which makes it more complicated to get feedback on the most frequent questions.

On the other hand, Vue is a progressive framework that lets you build apps easily and rapidly. Vue.js is also much easier to learn for novices. However, it’s more difficult to find Vue developers and get application maintenance.

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React vs Vue – advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of ReactJS

React apps save a lot of time and increase the efficiency of websites as the UI is updated to refresh the data and the web pages do not need to be reloaded.

React provides an enhanced user experience. The code is better organized for future optimization and improves the readability of the code. So, simply eliminating dead code leads to a better user experience and faster page loading speed.

Separate logic and controls help in creating reusable components. Component reusability makes application development faster and easier and facilitates the nesting of components to create complex functionalities.

High performance as data no longer needs to be updated in the real structure but can be updated through a virtual structure. This method enables high-performance React applications that avoid extra load when loading web pages, quicker response times, and an optimal client-side experience.

React js has a strong developers community across the globe. From beginners to experts in React, developers enjoy building apps with the component reusability that React offers.

Disadvantages of Reactjs

Continuous Updates. React is often associated with the latest updates for all the versions and contributions around the world. Therefore, the JavaScript library is less conventional and evolving in coding practices.

Increased code complexity. JSX is an extension of the syntax leveraged by ReactJS that combines JavaScript code and HTML. It’s a somewhat old-fashioned, complicated pattern for developers. It’s also a bit harder to learn than plain JavaScript.

It focuses only on the view. When developing an application with React, the focus in the app development is only on the view layer and not on the model, view, and controller architecture. Therefore, JS engineers need to use an additional platform for the other parts of the web app. This means further integration of tools like routing or APIs.

Advantages of Vue.js

Migrating or integrating Vue is easily accomplished by gradually introducing the framework into the code while component development is ongoing, without losing development time.

Vue doesn’t require writing code in a more difficult way by using built-in solutions to create state support for managing animations and components. With Vue.js the conventional approach makes the entire app creation process faster.

With each new version of Vue.js, this framework becomes even leaner and faster. It enables us to achieve an effective size of the project. Thanks to Vue’s optimization features, developers can focus more on adding features rather than debugging or optimizing code.

Vue provides a set of additive, function-based API functions that enable a flexible and rich composition of component logic in an application. This functional extension makes application components more readable and allows them to be functionally extended as needed.

Vue is known for its stable production environment, which might make this framework future-proof. There is no need to update the web app or check for bug fixes or enhancements regularly. The framework facilitates the update process by default.

Disadvantages of Vue

Vue has a community that lacks a voice. Since Vue is popular in China and Asia in general, most of the specific solutions with Vue are discussed in Chinese. It makes it difficult for English-speaking programmers to learn and share these resources for app development.

Flexibility and customization are always useful, but Vue offers too much flexibility. Vue.js is often seen as a JS framework where too many options overcomplicate the app development and may cause code irregularities and bugs.

The responsiveness of the code is not perfect. Vue’s bidirectional binding is very useful for creating and synchronizing components in an application. It also leads to the rendering of data blocks or parts of functions triggered by the DOM.

Vue is still considered a young framework, which leads to less support. Since the community is relatively small, less experienced developers cannot solve the problems that arise when it is used for large projects.

Limitation of resources compared to React. Although Vue’s ecosystem is extensive, it still does not provide solutions and plugins that are compatible with most external tools and other frameworks.

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React vs Vue: framework performance comparison

What is React’s performance?

React app performance is a faster, lightweight performance in the user experience where individual components work in a fine-grained functional way. React’s component-based architecture helps develop more efficient single-page apps. Code reusability avoids code clutter and reduced DOM manipulation improves page loading speed. All this contributes to seamless app performance and a pleasant user experience.

In addition, the React library updates the required changes without reloading the entire page. This avoids unnecessary page loading and instead updates the data. You can use the minimal approach to create React apps by following some programming practices. This will help the developers to reduce the number of possible mistakes and increase the productivity of the team.

What is Vue’s performance?

With each new feature that is added in a Vue-built app, or with each extension of a component, the state of the Vue app becomes more unstable, making it harder for the app to load faster. On the other hand, this framework has a virtual DOM, which serves as a standard tool for optimizing an app’s performance. Lazy loading is one of the notable features of Vue.js. It helps in improving the loading time of a page. Vue manages the third-party libraries asynchronously by automatically handling the critical dependencies, dividing the libraries into those that need to be included in the main app bundle and those that can remain in routes outside the core bundle.

React vs Vue: app architecture

React.js does not offer a built-in architecture pattern that you might get with some other frameworks. It takes care of the view layer of the application, which consists of components. The components in ReactJS work as functions that render the underlying UI when the data is modified. The internal architecture of React consists of continuous interaction between the user’s actions and the state of the app components. React component state is ideal when you want to build web apps with reduced scope and functionality. However, for building complex applications, React relies on external libraries like Redux, Flux, MobX, Reflux, and others to implement an architectural pattern.

What kind of architecture is supported by Vue?

Vue focuses on the ViewModel approach and adopts the MVVM pattern, especially when developing a large-scale application. The View part and the Model part are plugged into a two-way binding approach.

Model: similar functions to JavaScript’s Model object. Once the data object enters the Model part, its instance is converted into reactive elements to create the corresponding memory layers.

View: the management of the DOM instances in the app is ensured in the View part of Vue. It uses DOM-based templating to smoothly create root elements and match with the needed DOM components.

ViewModel: takes care of the necessary synchronization between the Model and the View part of the code. This object is the main part where the developer’s interaction with the code takes place.

The architecture of Vue and its DOM structures are dispatched into two parts, the directives and the filters. Unlike many other technologies, Vue is not a full-fledged framework. Since it follows a view layer pattern, web app development is flexible and easy to handle.

React vs. Vue in Testing

Reactjs provides key test runners making the app development process easy to track. Thus, test runners like Jest, Mocha, and others help to practice a standard pattern of running test suites that helps testers to identify issues in real browser environments, unnecessary features, and expensive feature manipulations. This shortens time to market, accelerates app deployment, and creates a more productive environment.

Vue is still a new web solution, and its testing features are simple but efficient. It does not offer complex testing tools, nor does it undermine the testing capacity of its code. Vue’s unit tests are very similar to other frameworks and typically use Jest, Mocha, or Chai. Some of Vue’s recommended libraries are Vue Testing Library and Vue Test Utils. These tools enable access to the app and user-specific APIs and make refactoring and code debugging smooth. Quick feedback loops are possible as this framework enables CI/CD and provides reloading capabilities.

React vs Vue: framework scalability

With front-end frameworks, scalability means extending a single-page mobile app or adding more web pages to a traditional multi-page application.

React is a perfect solution for multi-page applications. Facebook, for example, does this on most of its pages. Developers can import the library and start adding JavaScript functionality with ReactJS components. The library is also suitable for large SPAs.

To launch app projects, engineers will need third-party form libraries and routing solutions, such as Flux and Redux. Developers can use the create-react-app tool to start building a project, set up a local development server, check the code for bugs, and run QA analysis.

However, the tool offers few customization options when creating a project. There is only one project template, a single-page app. There is also no option to import any custom and community-created templates.

Since ReactJS web applications are pure JavaScript, coders can rely on traditional methods of organizing code to make the project more scalable. That being said, React is a great framework for creating scalable user interfaces combined with the concept of virtual DOM and component reusability.

Vue, as a lightweight framework, is often preferred for developing small web apps rather than scalable ones. Although Vue.js can extend the project with its flexible tools. It may be hard to believe that Vue is scalable to a certain extent. This is possible by splitting a Vue application into multiple repositories to conveniently scale the application as needed. Since the architecture is dynamic, scalability with Vue is achieved by using web packages and mixing elements provided by Vue to overcome code extension limitations.

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Which framework is better for developing complex apps?

React supports the creation of highly interactive single-page applications. ReactJS also provides support through external server-side rendering architectures like Redux, Flux, and SSR frameworks like Next.js. Therefore, you can create complex applications with React leveraging its code management capabilities.

When it comes to building complicated applications, things get trickier, and this is where coding gets a little serious. Building complex apps requires code that can link different underlying components together. Using Vue.js it’s more difficult to standardize the order of components in the app. However, with Vuex, it’s easy to build complex apps without producing a single piece of code. Vuex is a state management library of Vue.js that is leveraged to reduce complications by using Vue’s reactivity.

React vs Vue: Security

The security of an application depends primarily on your development approach rather than the front-end technologies used for the project. Historically, however, JavaScript has been riddled with security vulnerabilities. Even highly popular components can have nasty side effects and compromise the security of web apps. This is true for both React and Vue.

React’s security is concerned as well. According to a security report by Synk, a majority of security vulnerabilities occur in the form of cross-site scripting. XSS attacks can only occur if you use one of the affected modules, such as react-dom, in your server-side implementation.

To protect your React app against these types of attacks, you can use libraries like SetInnerHTML to set HTML directly from React, use JSX functions to auto-trim, and use APIs like createElement() to automatically detect hacking attempts.

Another issue is the React APIs that connect the app to external services. Often, these APIs automatically log information and execute commands within the app. A functionality logic with gaps or lack of authentication can leave your app vulnerable to SQL injections, man-in-the-middle, and XSS attacks. To protect the React APIs developers implement the following solutions:

  • Make sure that the app connection is encrypted with TLS.
  • Validate API request commands against the appropriate API schemas.
  • Validate schemas to prevent code injection and security parsing attacks.

Although it’s impossible to automatically protect against XSS vulnerabilities, Vue.js developers can sanitize the HTML code or use libraries to protect against such attacks. If developers know that their HTML is secure, they might use explicit rendering and protect the website before and after rendering.

It’s not possible to automatically protect Vue code against attacks like XSS or other vulnerabilities. But by using external libraries or sanitizing the HTML code before deploying the code to the application database, you have a chance to avoid security issues. However, Vue can also automatically insert the necessary HTML, URL, and JS codes to protect the application.

React vs Vue: how fast is development?

Our experience shows that Vue.js and React have similar app development speed. Multiple libraries, frameworks, plugins and packages help us to develop web apps fast enough. It all depends on the coding experience and JS developer skills that allow you to choose React or Vue. However, the time estimates for similar tasks are roughly the same.

React requires a deep understanding of router selection, configuration caveats, and problem-solving attitudes at various stages of the app project lifecycle. JavaScript experts who have developed multiple projects will find React faster and more productive. Even on short-term goals, developers can achieve successful results with React. React is believed to be the fastest framework for building simple applications, with a moderate level of experience in JavaScript.

Developing creative applications is great, but developing them faster is even better. Thanks to Vue’s lightweight and rendering capabilities, developing applications is a breeze. With add-on tools such as Bit, StoryBook, the Vue Dev tools, and web packs like Vue Loader, it’s easy to create single-file components. This speeds up the workflow and provides opportunities for fast-to-market app development.

Flexibility of React and Vue

At the heart of ReactJS is UI, so you get help creating UI components first. However, ReactJS does not enable state management. Building React applications, developers need to use Redux as a tool for state management. As for now, MobX is increasing its popularity as a partner of ReactJS. React Router is not an official resource, but a third-party package.

Vue.js is a dynamic framework that allows you to easily use all needed tools to build a simple application. However, if needed, it additionally provides most of the features you need: Vuex for state management, Vue Router for application URL management, and Vue server-side renderer to ensure server-side rendering. Vue is thought to be more intuitive than React for web applications development.

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Mobile Development with React and Vue

React Native lets us reuse up to 99% of JavaScript code between Android and iOS with React-like components. Thanks to this functionality we can build cross-platform apps that look and work like a native iOS/Android application. Developers can build 100% native widgets that define a custom project style. The React Native framework treats the presentation layer as pure state output. In this way, engineers can create with ease companion apps for iOS/Android with a native look and a good performance. To sum up, React Native is the undisputed winner of cross-platform development.

Although Vue lags behind React, this JS framework also provides tech solutions for mobile app development. We can use NativeScript, which lets us write Vue apps and compile them to native iOS/Android apps. There’s also Capacitor from the development team behind Ionic. Developers can install Capacitor on any existing Vue.js site and add native iOS/Android functionality via a simple API. Last but not least, with the help of Vue Native JavaScript experts can combine the benefits of the Vue and React Native ecosystems. It offers declarative rendering, two-way binding, and a set of components for building a cross-platform native app.

Optimization for search engines: Vue vs React

A single-page application built with React or Vue will always require JavaScript to display content on a web page. Recently, Google announced that its crawl bot can now render and index pages that use JavaScript. However, most SEO experts agree that even now Google has difficulties reading and indexing such pages. 

This makes both React and Vue not an ideal solution for a website if you are aiming for a high ranking in search engine results. The key to solving the problem of JavaScript for SEO is to make sure that Google does not need JavaScript to render your content. To that end, you can archive it with server-side rendering. SSR means that you run the JavaScript code on the server before sending your files to the user for the first time. 

React vs Vue – Application size

React is rather a library and not a full-fledged front-end JS framework like Angular. So, if you look at it from that perspective, it should build smaller applications than those frameworks, but React’s application sizes are comparatively larger. However, the latest React releases have significantly reduced the overall size of the package by reducing the app size compared to the previous version.

Vue-based application’s size is not that big compared to the most popular framework solutions in app development. An average Vue application achieves a size between 50kB and 100kB, which is rather a lightweight installation. Vue CLI may make the application size seem large when the code is first loaded, but by implementing lazy loading components, the code can be broken into smaller pieces and load time can be improved. Tools such as NuxtJS, Vuex, Bit, Vue-router avoid the need to write code from scratch as effective state management reveals and eliminates unnecessary code.

React vs Vue: Maintainability of the Code

React has a component-based architecture. It focuses on creating UI components, custom functions in a user interface, and making the best use of logic to create meaningful functionality. When developing an application with React, coders create functional and custom code snippets. The code snippets are reusable for other web apps as well as for different modules of the current application.

Moreover, this division of the application into specific parts helps you manage it more efficiently. Ultimately, you increase developer productivity. For example, you can hire new React developers when it’s time without worrying about how the new team will fit into the project and whether understanding the project will require a lot of extra effort.

Vue.js is still growing as a framework and it’s hard to predict it will be a perfect tech solution in the future. Vue is faster than most of the popular frameworks nowadays. This might suggest that maintaining Vue applications will almost certainly not be difficult. Since Vue has gaps in support, it helps to develop conventional coding practices to overcome obstacles and limitations. Some reports on Github even suggest that Vue is future-proof, considering that it can be grafted into existing DOM and HTML markup with no prerequisites.

Availability of Vue and React developers

Since React is the most popular frontend library, there are also more experienced developers to hire. According to Stackoverflow’s 2021 survey of developers, 41.4% of professional engineers use React (compared to 20.09% for Vue).

To analyze the demand for JavaScript developers with knowledge of frameworks, we explored the data at one of the largest job portals in the US. Indeed.com lists more than 55,000 open jobs for React as of November 2021. The number of jobs posted by JavaScript companies requiring Vue skills seems to be much lower – 5K jobs. Therefore, React is a better-known framework and a more in-demand one.

In Eastern Europe, the situation in the job market is similar. A popular job portal in Ukraine, DOU, as of November 2021, lists over 500 job openings for coders with React skills versus 70 for Vue. And there are fewer job profiles with Vue.js skills. So it can be more complicated to find Vue developers.

And what about the salaries of JavaScript developers? Glassdoor.com lists the average salary of a React developer in the US as $81,800 per year. Vue developers get slightly more – $87,500 per year. In Ukraine, both technologies cost companies about $31,000 per year.

It’s easier than ever to hire React developers as Javascript coders are more interested in building web applications. The hourly cost of hiring a React developer is $35 on average. However, depending on qualifications and experience, the rate can reach $90, and often the hourly rate varies from market to market.

On the other hand, the Vue.js framework is easy to learn. However, when it comes to understanding the depth concepts of Vue, the availability of developers who have a solid experience with Vue can be not sufficient. This framework takes on the inner code complexity through its simple architecture and flexibility of features. Therefore, for a small app, a team of 3-4 engineers is required, with at least one or two experienced developers. Companies that offer in-house team expansion instead of hiring external providers are a cost-effective way to hire Vue developers.

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Which framework to choose, Vue or React?

There is no single answer to this question. Depending on the needs of the project, each of these options is better than the other in very specific situations. React or Vue or other JavaScript-based solutions are very good in terms of their own use cases. From our experience, we can say that there is no clear winner. It depends on the web projects. You need to determine your use case and match it with the aspects of these JavaScript frameworks. To help you make the right decision for your app project we list a few common situations where there is a difference in what you use.

Choose Vue if:

  • You want to get started on your project as quickly as possible
  • You need a solution that works as fast as possible
  • Your dedicated team consists mainly of junior and middle web developers
  • You prefer clean code and HTML templates
  • Your application is not very complex
  • You migrate an existing app to new technology but only have limited resources
  • You want to add more functionality to an existing app

Choose React if:

  • You want to develop a complex application
  • You need a mobile application
  • Your team prefers JavaScript over HTML
  • You need to use many libraries, tools, or ecosystems
  • You have React experts on your team
  • You need to develop media or video platforms 
  • You plan to greatly expand the functionality of your applications in the future

React vs Vue: Summary of the comparison

In summary, you should choose React if you want to build a mobile app and a complex application, such as a SaaS product or a multi-vendor marketplace. Future maintenance and customization are much easier due to the large talent pool of React developers. Their total number is larger than Vue’s.

Another reason to choose ReactJS is a list of libraries and tools that simplify and speed up the app creation process. Developers do not have to write a feature from scratch as there are pre-built solutions available.

On the other hand, Vue.js is a good choice if you are interested in developing lightweight and easy-to-create web apps. This way, you can master the framework in a short time and start developing applications. The Vue community is growing very fast, but it remains smaller than React’s one. The number of contributors is growing as well as the number of tools and libraries available.

Both JavaScript frameworks can be used for any need and requirement. With their help, you can create web applications, single-page applications, and user interface components. Both Vue and React are efficient modern tools for creating top-notch apps. They offer you a wide range of options to create complex web solutions.

Whichever framework you choose, you will get a perfect solution. At Elitex, we are experts in React and Vue technologies and have already developed many custom solutions using these frameworks. Get in touch with us and we will help you choose the best JavaScript framework for your app project.

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