What is Vue.js?

Evan You created Vue.js in 2014 after working for Google using AngularJS in several projects. His idea was to take the parts that he really liked about Angular, but build something much more lightweight. You also used React as a source of inspiration for his new framework development.

There are two aspects that make Vue stand out: its two-way binding and the use of a virtual DOM. Having said that, what really makes Vue such a great solution is its progressive design, meaning you can move specific features of existing projects into Vue gradually. This gives you an advantage if you’ve already got something to work with and want to just give it a boost by switching to a new platform painlessly.

At first, Vue was only accessible in China, but it soon gained global recognition, and is now considered one of the best JavaScript frameworks, perfectly suited for SPAs, UIs, and various frontend applications. Current estimates say that over 1.5 million websites around the globe use Vue.

As such, it comes as no surprise that many giants like Nintendo, Grammarly, GitLab, Behance, and BuzzFeed use it in their custom software product development.

What is React?

Jordan Walke designed React in 2013 when he was working for Meta (formerly Facebook) and it is now being maintained by a community of individual developers and companies.

Like Vue, React is an open-source technology that is often used for creating SPAs and mobile apps. If a website has any interactive elements or a specific UI, chances are React was involved somewhere along the way.

React is consistently voted as one of the most loved JavaScript libraries, coming in at a very close second position in 2020 according to the most recent survey done by StackOverflow. In a time where speed is everything, React allows websites to be built quickly and efficiently, offering tremendous support in terms of SEO.

Popular websites using React include Meta (Facebook) as well as Netflix, Twitter, and PayPal, so statistically speaking, it’s unlikely that you haven’t used a website made with React.

Why use React or Vue.js? Key differences between the two web development frameworks

We’ve already covered the general descriptions of both technologies, so now let’s take a quick look at some of the key differences between those two JavaScript frameworks.

Coding in Vue.js and React

There are slight differences in the coding style between Vue and React. The former separates CSS, HTML, and JavaScript from one another. The components have life cycles, but overall those are much more intuitive than in React.

React, on the other hand, relies mostly on JSX, which entails adding HTML code to the JavaScript code. Everything gets the component treatment, so every little element has a life cycle of its own.

Documentation of React and Vue.js

The documentation aspect of Vue—an important element of any project—has always been praised. Compared to many other JavaScript frameworks, Vue has everything documented in an excellent way, explaining each part in minute detail. With great documentation in hand, implementing Vue.js into a project becomes really easy.

At the same time, React used to be quite heavily criticized for the unclear documentation it came with. Luckily, the creators took great measures to improve this aspect. Now, the documentation of React works much better and further updates are constantly being implemented to make things as easy as possible for its users.

Desktop and mobile development with Vue.js and React

Both frameworks are mostly designed for creating desktop apps, but there are means of using them for mobile development. Vue utilizes Weex and NativeScript-Vue for this purpose, while React has its mobile equivalent in React Native.

Community size and support of React and Vue.js

Developers express their positive attitude toward using both Vue and React, and both frameworks have large, thriving communities.

Before being launched globally, Vue got substantial backing in China, so there was a lot of community support even before entering the international scene. Then the international users further contributed to what the Chinese user base had already established.

According to the State of JS 2020, however, React slightly outperforms Vue in terms of satisfaction and interest.

React has a much larger community pushing it forward: Meta (Facebook). With how wide-reaching Meta is and how intertwined React is with the platform, it’s no wonder that there’s greater support available for you in case you need any help. And you may need it, since React is a bit more challenging to use.

Vue.js vs. React: An in-depth comparison of the two JavaScript frameworks

It goes without saying that both frameworks are excellent. They’ve both got great support and pretty much all of the internet as we know it is based on some combination of the two, plus a few other frameworks.

It’s clear they slightly differ in some areas, but how can you tell which framework will meet your expectations? Read our detailed comparison below as we explore even more aspects of those technologies.

Performance of React and Vue.js

Coding and documentation all matter in the grand scheme of things. However, they won’t be the first thing you or the potential clients visiting your website will pay attention to. In the end, when choosing a framework, one of the most deciding factors is going to be how quickly you can deliver your original, high-quality products.

Both frameworks we’re discussing today are fast, but require slightly different approaches. React demands that your developers remember a lot of details right off the bat. You need to make sure your router system is up to standard, be able to handle some intricate configurations, and be prepared to make quick fixes as you go along.

It might seem like a high requirement at first, but the thing is, if you have a team that knows their way around a project, even to just a moderate extent, React has the potential to be the fastest framework for fundamental app and feature development on the market.

Vue is also very fast, but the difference is in the projects you’ll be undertaking. As a lightweight framework with good rendering capabilities, Vue makes it easy to build creative apps fast. What’s more, Vue allows you to implement add-on development tools, such as StoryBook, Bit, or the Wue loader, which will make it possible to create SFCs, as well.

Ease of use in Vue.js and React

You can have the most comprehensive technology in the world, but that won’t mean much if it requires top experts to even get the framework going. In other words, ease of use matters. An experienced development team shouldn’t have trouble working with either Vue or React, but there are still some differences between the two.

Vue is particularly easy to use for smaller applications. It comes with a whole range of templates, really speeding up the process of starting a project. You don’t even need to be intimately familiar with JavaScript to utilize Vue’s potential in this regard.

However, as projects grow and become more complex, it gets increasingly harder to rely only on templates. For this reason, React is easier to use when it comes to larger apps. While it does require some knowledge of JavaScript to get anything done, if you’re starting a larger project or the scope of your project gets out of hand, React makes it much easier to manage it.

Popularity of React and Vue.js

Popularity of the framework really matters—the more people know of it, the more you can be sure there are other people out there who know aspects of it you may be new to and have ready solutions for problems you didn’t even anticipate.

But that’s not all—the more popular a framework is, the more familiar it will be to your potential clients. If they know your website or app is built using something they’ve heard of, they’ll immediately see you as more trustworthy.

It goes without saying that both Vue and React are very popular. React currently seems to be in the lead, according to StackOverflow’s data. Paradoxically, since React’s community is so big and the framework is more complex, it might actually be harder to quickly find the answers to your questions concerning React than to those on Vue.

On the other hand, however, as a slightly less popular platform, Vue carries the risk of there simply being fewer developers that can help you out with your project.

Learning curve with Vue.js and React

The important question you need to ask yourself when choosing a framework is: what’s the learning curve? You can have the most versatile technology in the world, but what if it’s going to take years to figure out? Luckily, neither React or Vue have a learning curve that could be considered steep.

If your developers have any experience with JavaScript, React should pose no problem. Experienced developers won’t have any difficulties with its architecture and the general workflow. This means that you can easily assemble and extend a team to handle your projects with people who will quickly learn the ropes.

Having said that, Vue actually is probably the easiest JavaScript framework out there. All you need to know beforehand are some JavaScript basics and rudimentary ES6 functions. Depending on how quickly you take in new things, learning everything there is to learn about Vue can take up to a week, but also as little as a couple of hours.

However, there are two important factors you should take into consideration here.

The first one is the language barrier. While Vue is pretty widespread around the world nowadays, it was used for several years exclusively in China, so the majority of communication might still need to be translated.

The other problem is directly connected to Vue’s simplicity—its relative lack of additional features makes it harder to work on more complex projects.

Summary of the React vs. Vue.js comparison

In the end, there is no definitive answer as to which framework is the better one. A lot depends on the particular needs of your project.

Both React and Vue have a lot to offer when it comes to building apps and websites, but the scope and the target of your product will mostly determine which technology will suit you best. Aspects like size, speed, performance, and budget will play an important role in picking the right framework for you.

Vue is the most accessible option available on the market. It’s incredibly lightweight, it comes with numerous templates, and pretty much anyone can learn it on the fly. It’s perfectly suited for smaller projects, especially if you need to deliver them really fast.

There’s no significant difference in terms of performance between Vue and React. That said, for large and complex undertakings, React is still the best choice. It’s got an incredible support network at your disposal, and while it does require a bit more knowledge than Vue to get started, there are plenty of experienced React developers out there, so you’ll never risk being short-staffed.

Final thoughts on the Vue.js and React frontend frameworks

Thank you for reading our comparison of Vue.js and React. We hope it has cleared up some key differences and characteristics that will help you make the optimal choice regarding the best JavaScript framework to use for you and your team.

If you’re interested in learning more about JavaScript frameworks, we have many other resources that can help:

At STX Next, we have 100+ JavaScript developers on board. This puts us in a unique position to help you build a high-quality frontend for your website, no matter the size or scope of your project. We can also support you with any other software development needs your business may have.

And if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us with all of them—we’d be happy to discuss each and every one with you!