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Vue vs. React – Which Should You Pick For Your Next Web Project? (2020 UPDATE)

Aug 319 min read

Dawid Karczewski

Senior full stack developer and CTO at Ideamotive.

Years ago, when people could only dream about browsing the internet on their phones and even the most popular websites looked quite rough, setting up the basics of your new site was relatively easy. The developers back then learned HTML, PHP, and CSS, and with this knowledge were already able to work out a website that could be considered a professional one.

 

These days, however, when it comes to developing a web project, it’s not that easy anymore. As websites stopped being straightforward portfolios or news catalogs and turned into highly advanced pieces of code, people started creating more and more ways of turning a project into reality. This means that now the job of a project lead, or even a company owner, is not only to gather a team of great developers but also to choose the technology this project will be built upon.

 

Because of this, we decided to provide a complex comparison of two commonly used JavaScript frameworks: Vue.js vs. React.* By the end of this piece, we aim to provide a definitive answer on which of these two you should pick up for your next web project.

 

*React is officially called a library, not a framework, but some consider the difference subtle. We have written more about it in our piece on React vs Angular; Angular being another interesting choice among JavaScript frameworks. To keep it simple throughout this piece, we will stick with referring to both Vue and React as frameworks.

Vue.js vs React — what are they?

To say it briefly, Vue and React are JavaScript frameworks dedicated to making the life of web developers easier and speeding up the process of turning an idea for an online project into reality. Both even launched in a very similar time — Vue was initially released roughly a year after React. 

 

However, there is a significant difference in how these frameworks were brought to life. Vue, in the beginning, was a simple project of an ex-Google dev, Evan You. While working at Google, he was involved in projects related to AngularJS, a framework established by this very company. After he finally left Silicon Valley’s giant, he decided to take the best (in his opinion) out of Angular, add some of his own ideas, and create even a better framework. 

 

And that’s how Vue came into life. Although it’s not a one-person-project anymore, and there are tons of people involved in it now, it’s still considered a framework from the people to the people.

 

On the other hand, we have React, a framework — just like Angular — created by a big online giant. In this specific case, we are talking about Facebook. Initially, React was created with Facebook’s own projects in mind, including its most popular product, the social media platform. Finally, however, the people responsible for React web development at the company managed to share their invention with a global audience.

 

What this Vue vs React difference could mean to you? Although both projects are now open-source (anyone can use them completely free of charge), the fact that Facebook is behind React, makes many trust the project more. As the company needs the framework for their own purposes, we can stay assured that its developers will keep it running and enhancing. 

 

On the other hand, the development of Vue depends solely on its community. If its fans would turn to other frameworks instead, You’s project might not survive and get replaced by bigger players.

Vue vs React — the similarities

Despite some differences in their story, Vue and React have a few things in common. As they both were created by really experienced developers, they are both built on some similar good practices.

 

Firstly, it is worth noting that both Vue and React make use of virtual DOM. DOM itself stands for Document Object Model and is an abstract API arranging different parts of an HTML document in the form of a tree. This setting allows programs to access the part of the document they might need easily.

 

(What makes virtual DOM different from the regular one? In the case of the latter, the whole document gets updated when even the slightest change happens. However, when it comes to virtual DOM, what gets updated are only the parts of the document in which the change has happened. In other words, updates with virtual DOM are faster, and this makes the website/app run more smoothly. As both Vue and React make use of this idea, they are quite similar in terms of performance.)

 

Also, both frameworks are also component-based. Components are small pieces of ready-to-use code that can be used in order to introduce some additional functionality to the app/website faster. For example, a developer doesn’t have to code a graph visualization system from scratch — instead, they can use an adequate component and simply adjust it to their needs. This makes the whole development process more efficient.

Vue vs React — the ultimate comparison of differences

To make it as easy for you as possible to understand the differences between Vue and React, it’s best to split these differences into a few specific categories. Which framework performs better? Which is easier to start developing with? Which is better for start-ups that aim to grow rapidly throughout the years, or even months?

We answer all of these questions below.

1. Vue vs React performance


When choosing between Vue and React, performance isn’t usually the major thing to discuss. This is because the frameworks are relatively similar in their architecture (as we’ve already highlighted, they both use virtual DOM) and even their size is very comparable. 

 

React currently takes about 100 kb while Vue around 80 kb. This potentially makes Vue somewhat faster, but the difference is not as huge as between React/Vue vs. other frameworks, e.g., Angular, which weighs around 500 kb. As you can read in our piece on React vs Angular, the latter performs a bit worse because of its use of regular DOM and rather the significantly bigger size of the framework.

2. Learning Vue vs learning React — the learning curve

Many experts consider Vue a solution easier to learn about. Some recommend even starting one’s journey with JavaScript frameworks with You’s solution. It is also considered easy to learn the basic ideas of Vue if the developer already worked with React or Angular. Transitioning from Vue to React may be, on the other hand, slightly more difficult.

 

But it’s not necessarily an advantage of Vue from a business perspective. Vue is easier to learn partly because it doesn’t put so many restrictions as React on the purely coding part of the job. This can lead to poorer code, potentially more difficult to debug. Combine this with an inexperienced developer, and you may end up in a situation where you dedicate more time to fix things than implementing the desired updates.

3. Scalability — Vue’s and React’s approach to HTML


But there are also other things that influence the learning curve of a framework. When comparing Vue and React, a clear distinction can be made when looking at how each of these solutions approaches the implementation of HTML in the code.

 

Vue, besides JavaScript, allows also to use completely freely HTML and CSS in its standard form. This makes the framework more understandable for beginners who usually start their careers by learning these more basic approaches to web development.

On the other hand, React uses JSX — a way to implement the HTML within the JavaScript code. It might be a bit more difficult to get used to it, but in the end, this solution means the code is more concise and JavaScript can perform better which might have some effect on the end-performance of bigger apps.

This makes the React’s use of JSX can be considered a pro when looking for the most scalable solution.

4. Vue’s and React’s documentation — which one’s better?

Besides the more standard approach to HTML, another thing that can impact the learning curve is the documentation. While React has been getting better and better in this area with every year, Vue’s documentation is still praised as one-of-a-kind. It’s very easily understandable to newcomers and even includes multiple free videos that explain how all basic concepts of the framework work. Every developer who wants to create a Vue-based app can review the framework’s documentation and understand all the basic concepts behind the process.

5. The community behind Vue and React

But the official documentation is, of course, not the only way to learn about a specific technology. Community-created guides and courses are alike important in understanding a framework.

The technology’s popularity is also crucial when choosing the right solution for your project. The bigger the community behind the framework is, the easier it will be for your developers to find an answer to unusual questions or issues they might encounter during work.

So, who wins this important battle: Vue or React?

First, let’s have a look at some data delivered in the 2019 and 2020 HackerRank reports.

As it can be easily seen, React is definitely more popular than Vue. Not only more people already know Facebook’s framework, but also more choose it as their next framework to learn in 2020. This popularity is fuelled up even more by the tech companies – more of them need a React web development expert than a Vue one.

 

Let’s compare it to some data from GitHub.

(React vs Vue GitHub data as of 29th of March 2020)

 

Personally, we would recommend having a look specifically at the number of contributors and the number of commits. These especially show the popularity of each framework. 

 

React’s popularity can also be seen when looking at the aforementioned community-built guides. On Udemy, one of the most popular online stores focusing on video courses, there are currently approximately 320 courses on React (over 2 million people bought them) and around 150 courses dedicated to Vue (nearly 800 thousand people bought these).

 

Once again, in the battle of Vue.js vs React, we name the second one a winner.

6. Vue vs. React flexibility

But while newcomers may enjoy some of the Vue’s features mentioned above, more advanced developers commonly like the React’s flexibility. Both of the frameworks are component-based, as we have already mentioned, but React’s approach to this is a bit different from its competitors.

The official website of Vue suggests specific components to be used for different types of features, such as routing. On the other hand, React doesn’t do such a thing, offering full freedom to install different components. Obviously, there are more and less popular component solutions to common problems, but it’s up to the developer which one to choose. As the community behind React is bigger, there are also more components available for this framework.

This is definitely a plus for experienced developers who love to research components and find the best solution for their needs. Newcomers, however, might prefer Vue’s approach, recommending specific options.

7. Going mobile with Vue and React


 

With the majority of the internet traffic nowadays coming from mobiles, you need to make sure that your website or web app looks great no matter the device used to access it. And if you want to provide your customers with an even better and more mobile-targeted solution, you can also think of developing an actual mobile app.

And when it comes to this aspect of comparing Vue and React, the latter is clearly a winner.

React Native is another framework developed by Facebook, this time focused strictly on mobiles. With the use of React Native, you can create great performing apps with the use of JavaScript and all the standard React concepts. What’s more, using React Native your developers can build both the iOS and Android versions of the app nearly simultaneously, as RN makes it possible to share even up to 90% of code between these versions. This means significant amounts of time saved!

 

It’s more difficult to find a good alternative to React Native for Vue. Yes, there are some Vue.js mobile app frameworks, for example, NativeScript or WEEX. None of them, however, is as popular as Facebook’s solution to cross-platform mobile development.


Learn more about the use of React Native in our separate piece on the best RN apps.

8. Vue vs React market share

Of course, when thinking about your own web project, you always want to know what other businesses are using the solution you are considering. And there is no better way to talk about it than by simply showing what other websites are making use of either React or Vue.

 

In the case of the first framework, one could, of course, name some of the Facebook products, like Facebook.com itself, or Instagram. However, among React companies, you can also find:

  • Netflix
  • New York Times
  • Codeacademy
  • Atlassian
  • Dropbox

We talk further about specific uses of Facebook’s framework in our separate piece on React companies.

 

On the other hand, when it comes to Vue, the list includes:

  • Xiaomi
  • WizzAir
  • Grammarly
  • Behance
  • Nintendo

As you can see, in this part of our Vue vs React battle, we have a draw, as both frameworks are used by multiple successful companies.

React vs Vue - final comparison

To make sure the differences between React and Vue are clearly visible, let’s write down all of them in the form of a concise comparison table.

Looking at the above table, one might consider making a React app a better choice. Facebook’s framework is a great option when developing an especially complex web app, a mobile/cross-platform app, and when you have a team of experienced React developers in your team.


However, Vue has also some pros worth considering. It’s easier to learn by newcomers which means if you scale your company fast, you might get your juniors to advance in technology faster. And although the file size difference between React and Vue is nowadays not as big as it was at some point, those few kilobytes less can be decisive on performance when building apps for regions with bad internet infrastructure.

How to onboard the best React and Vue developers?

In the end, even the best framework won’t be effective if your team is not filled with professionals who can handle the project’s technological side.

If you are looking for really professional React and Vue developers with years of experience, Ideamotive can connect you with them. We have built an extensive pool of IT leaders who are looking for new challenges and opportunities. Contact us and we will send you a selection of top Vue and React developers perfectly tailored to your needs, experienced in your industry and the type of product you are building.

 

Looking to expand your team even more? We can help you onboard other IT professionals as well, including designers, full-stack developers, project managers, and more. Get in touch to learn more.

Dawid Karczewski

Dawid is a full stack developer experienced in creating Ruby on Rails and React Native apps from naught to implementation. Technological superhero, delivering amazing solutions for our clients and helping them grow.

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