Vue JS vs React JS: Which is good choice for UI development

JavaScript frameworks are getting more and more versatile with every update. No matter how you look at them, the choice often narrows down to the most popular frameworks – Vue JS, React – that have been among JS framework leaders for several years. Both use virtual DOMs and are composed of component-based and reactive elements.

React vs Vue share the same use cases and focus on accomplishing similar goals. However, their structure and approaches are strikingly different. In this article, we’ll examine the main distinctions between them.

What’s Vue js?

Vue.js framework is created for UI design and development. The core functionality is focused on interface-related tasks. You can integrate it into any JS project for interface development while using another JS framework for developing complex front-end operations. The main purpose of Vue is to handle the view of the software. 

Vue, unlike React, allows working with animation, managing states with official library (Vuex) – overall, its core functionality is a lot more versatile. To get the Vue’s level of functionality depth in React, you’ll need to install dozens of additional libraries. 

Why do developers use Vue js?

Software development prefer using Vue for its simplicity and efficiency. It’s indeed simpler and more elegant than most JS frameworks out there. When you code on Vue.js, the flow feels natural. All operations make sense – at least up to a certain point. 

  • A comfortable design: it’s clear that Vue.js design is well-thought-out because it’s logical and straightforward. 
  • A single syntax: Vue.js uses the same logic to write the entire UI functionality. You don’t need to adapt to different syntaxes and go through multiple tutorials to write a new feature. If a developer sends you a Vue.js file, you will understand it with no explanation – which is not the case for React, but we’ll talk about it more. 
  • Efficient official plugins: Vue.js offers a collection of official libraries for processes like routing and many others. 
  • It’s not backed up by corporations. Some developers consider having Google or Facebook backing up a framework to be an advantage. For others, however, the support of companies who exploit user data is one of the deal-breakers. 

Vue.js is often used by small teams for medium-size projects. Vue vs Angular vs React vs stands out with its simplicity and makes the framework the top choice for minimum viable products. However, despite all its positives, it’s not necessarily the best among the React js alternatives  – and we’ll see why that’s the case in comparison with React. 

What’s React JS?

React is a rich JavaScript framework and library for User Interface development. Over time, React acquired a rich ecosystem that allows the tool to be responsible for complex UI processes, data processing, personalization, etc. Compared to Vue, it’s a more standalone tool, although it’s also often integrated with other libraries (GraphQL, Redux, and others). React.js isn’t limited to web development only. You can also use React Native to build hybrid mobile apps. Vue has a similar feature (Vue Native), but it’s not as popular and rich as React’s solution.

Why do developers use React JS?

React is the first JS front-end framework for many developers. Many teams that didn’t work with JS frameworks before start their journey with React, because it’s the biggest and the most popular one. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why some developers choose to keep working in React. 

  • JSX makes writing custom components easier. It’s a syntax extension, used by React. It also allows you to write your own components in HTML. It’s a universal solution for web apps with rich user interface and functionality since built-in solutions aren’t always enough. 
  • SEO-friendliness: web applications, written in JavaScript, are difficult to optimize. Search bots often fail to process content on JS-based pages correctly (especially in single-page apps where the page is always rewriting the contents dynamically). 
  • React supports mobile development: if you know React, you will easily learn React Native – a JS-based framework for hybrid mobile development. You can follow the same patterns and use an identical syntax. React Native has lots of advantages on its own (increasing development speed, improving functionality quality, etc.), and knowing React makes working with Native a lot easier. 
  • Fast React Developer Tools: when you install the framework, you also get access to custom Chrome and Firefox extensions, known as React Developer Tools. These are instruments for software design and development, used to organize code, build competent hierarchies, inspect connections between features, etc. 

Obviously the biggest advantage of React in comparison to other frameworks is its universality and flexibility. The rich ecosystem of the frameworks allows building rich functionality, constantly improving performance, adapting the app to many browsers and devices, and experimenting with an interface. 

Also Read:
Ember vs Vue vs Angular JS: JavaScript framework comparison

Comparing the two: Vue JS vs React JS analysis

You probably already have some understanding of which framework suits your development style and project needs more. However, don’t rush to the final decision. Now we are going to put two frameworks side by side to examine their strong and weak suits. 

Popularity

JavaScript frameworks evolve all the time. React was developed in 2013, Vue.js – in 2014. It took less than 5-6 years for both tools to become the leading front-end development solutions. That’s why statistics on popularity are changing continually. You never know which new framework will take front-end development by storm over the next few years. 

React js is used by at least 1,600 000 websites. According to StackOverflow, it’s a preferred front-end development framework of the majority of software developers. For now, it’s a leading JS framework on the market. 

Vue.js is currently used by about 800,000 websites worldwide. It holds the second place by the popularity in Stack Overflow JS frameworks survey, right after React JS. 

Performance of Vue JS and React JS

JavaScript frameworks use the Document Object Model to render HTML pages. Documents are created in a tree structure, also known as a DOM tree. DOM’s organization and performance define the efficiency of the framework. If the process of creating and processing DOMs is fast and intuitive, the framework will be working quickly. 

React uses a virtual DOM – a standalone object model that doesn’t depend on a browser. The framework automatically renders HTML pages. Vue also uses virtual DOM. And the structural principles are similar to React. This is why the speed and performance quality of Vue vs React performance don’t differ much.

However, Vue is faster when it comes to component creation and updates. In React, you need to re-optimize a component whenever you are making a change. Every component then should be identified with specific commands. When the project starts scaling, managing hundreds of components is a task that can potentially lead to tech debt. 

Vue automatically tracks components. You don’t need to identify each updated one with a specific component. There’s no need for additional optimization and extensive commands, which obviously contributes to Vue js performance and speed. 

Scaling 

Both frameworks have an efficient routine and scaling solutions. As one of the examples (there are more ways), let’s analyze Flux/Redux – commands that allow tracking and managing state changes. You can organize state changes into standalone functions and set conditions for each of them. If one function undergoes multiple changes, you can divide them and execute the change separately. 

managing changes

React allows defining “smart” and “dumb” components. The smart ones are performance managing functions: they determine what actions the dumb ones should perform in a given condition. Smart components aren’t connected to DOM. Instead, they cooperate with dull components, which are the ones to affect actual; DOM-based processes. 

Dumb components, on the other hand, don’t have to be too complex. Their main task is to process “props” – instruction from smart components, and execute operations in DOM. This system makes React development easier and contributes to faster performance. It’s also a major advantage for scaling: all your components are neatly organized with regards to their complexity and responsibilities. 

Vue adopted a similar approach and even enabled support for Redux. However, the main selling point of Vue’s scalability is Vuex – a native system for state management. Also, Vue offers a lot of official libraries for scaling and routine, while React outsourced library management to the community. 

Vue dashboard

Both Vue and React have tools that allow generating new projects. React has Create-react-app, whereas Vue has a CLI generator. Both allow using templates, saving features, and handling dependencies. 

Overall, Vue offers scaling projects and higher performance speed, but React.js has a better ecosystem, more templates, and additional tools. This is why teams on smaller projects where speed is a decisive factor, often opt for Vue, whereas React fits better to complex web platforms.  

Adapting to Mobile Devices

React offers developers React Native – a framework that allows building Android and iOS native apps with the same React component structure. It’s a great solution because developers can use their React Native knowledge to build a mobile app front-end without using third-party frameworks.

Adapting to Mobile Devices

Vue.js doesn’t have a similar custom solution, but it supports Weex – a mobile UI framework developed by Alibaba Group. The framework uses Vue components to build iOS and Android apps and allow reusing web code. 

If we were to choose among the two, React would likely be our go-to option. It’s a tried and proven mobile framework, and it’s often one of the main reasons for developers to learn React Native in the first place. Weex is a lot less known, the community is not as active, and you’d have a hard time finding free educational resources. 

Vue JS

Size

The default size of React is about 100 Kb, Vue.js is around 80 Kb. This might not seem like the most important factor at first, but the heavier the JS code is, the slower the end app performance will be. Vue.js, being a smaller library, provides faster performance and overall better efficiency.

Vue JS

Another factor in Vue’s favor is that lots of additional features are available on the default version. It means these plugins are available in the 80 KB; there’s no need to install that many additional libraries. 

React, on the other hand, relies on additional downloads. So, the end size is far from 100 KB, since you’ll have to upload new features constantly. 

Community

Communities are often considered an additional factor when it comes to choosing a framework or language. However, now tools get a lot more independent, and users become the key drivers of technology’s development. This definitely is the case with Vue.js, and to a lesser extent, with React. 

community

React is developed and supported by Facebook. Moreover, this dependency on a corporation has both positive and negative implications. Some developers don’t like depending on companies with a shady reputation (and Facebook has had a fair share of missteps), fearing that corporations don’t have users’ best interests in mind.

When you rely on tech giants like Facebook or Google, it’s difficult to predict the actual motives behind the project.

On the other hand, it’s a guarantee that the project will not be abandoned anytime soon. The official community creates new libraries, encourages events, and finds partners. Vue.js, on the other hand, is a personal passion project.

Ewan Vue developed this framework. Its main sponsor is Autocode. The team is very open, so you can always read up on people who were behind the tool from the very beginning.

screenshot vue.js

Now, Vue.js has an active community that is backed up by thousands of enthusiastic developers. These users are simply passionate about the project and don’t have ambitions of collecting user data. So, actually, its independence from corporations can make Vue.js safer.

Conclusion

Both React.js and Vue.js are leading JavaScript frameworks. With their high speed and lightweight syntax, both tools deliver fast performance and versatile possibilities. Vue.js development offers a lot of features built into the main version; React is more stripped-down – but you can download additional libraries. Overall, both frameworks allow building complex functionality, using templates, and suit well many project types. 

To generalize our comparison, we’ll say that:

  • React is more versatile and adaptive (especially to mobile devices, thanks to React Native)
  • Vue is faster and smaller, which contributes to better performance. 
  • When it comes to hiring developers, both have their advantages and drawbacks. Vue is easier to learn, but React is more popular, and therefore, finding hires is faster. 

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