Angular and React are frameworks used by software engineers around the globe to create interactive web applications. Specifically speaking, these are both Front-End frameworks, meaning that they are used in the context of developing what users actually see. Many businesses have found huge success in their applications using these frameworks, such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, to name a few.
Since its inception in 2010, Angular (formerly known as Angular.JS) dominated the Front-End development landscape due to the fact that developers could now create Single-Page applications (websites/applications that do not require a user to load each new page) using the well-known MVC pattern. It’s important to mention at this point that Angular was created by Google, which provided the tech giant with an even larger platform to impact the developer community.
Fast-forward to 2013 and Facebook released React which challenged the way that developers thought about how Front-End applications should be built. During this time, Angular used an MVC pattern and was a strongly opinionated framework, meaning that if developer wanted to use Angular, they had to do things “the Angular way”.
This was in stark contrast to React, which gave developers the flexibility to build applications using a centralised immutable state approach (all of the data in the application is in one place, remaining unchanged as opposed to MVC) such as Redux, whilst having the freedom to use any other libraries alongside this lightweight, but powerful centrepiece of the application. Facebook then became a major contributor to the Front-End Developer community.
So, is Angular doomed?
This narrative has led many to believe that due to the surge in popularity of React, Angular is becoming increasingly irrelevant, however the numbers tell a different story.
According to the latest Stack Overflow 2018 Developer survey, (containing data from over 100,000 respondents), Angular was rated over 11% higher in relation to the Most Popular Technologies.
The previous year’s survey rated Angular.JS as over 20% more popular than React in this category, however much has changed since then with React gaining favour with the developer community at a rapid rate.
The survey concluded “Node.js and AngularJS continue to be the most commonly used technologies in this category, with React and .Net Core also important to many developers”.
In addition, the latest results compare Angular with React, as opposed to Angular.JS meaning that despite Angular being completely different to its predecessor it still overtook React in this context.
So Angular appears to be far from doomed and in fact, it is still the world’s most popular Front-End framework.
But, what about Redux and MVC?
As previously discussed, React coupled with Redux changed the way that developers built web applications. However, developers have now started to use Redux with Angular instead of MVC! This could further cement Angular as the preferred framework of choice; although, for many it still remains far too opinionated which prevents many developers from upgrading their legacy Angular.JS applications to Angular.
So, will Angular overtake React this year?
Looking at the numbers, it could be argued that Angular has indeed never been overtaken by React, however it is a well-known fact in the developer community, that despite these numbers, the underlying perception of the React versus Angular debate remains fierce with React winning many of these recent battles. The truth of the matter will unfold as the year progresses and more developers upgrade their legacy applications to either React or Angular. It’s an exciting time for Software Engineers.