Should I learn React.js or Vue.js?

February 21, 2019
6 mins

React.js and Vue.js are two of the most popular JavaScript frameworks. The duo are on the list of 10 best JavaScript frameworks to use in 2019, which says a lot about them. As such, both frameworks are great options to learn while aiming for learning or advancing in JavaScript.

Nonetheless, learning either of the two leading JS frameworks demands time and effort. Therefore, when required to make a choice, which one must gain preference over the other? Well, it’s not all black and white.

So, before we decide which should be prioritized over the other, React.js or Vue.js, let’s first have a brief introduction to both the JS frameworks.

React.js

Initially Released – May 2013

Used for – Front-end development

Though considered a leading JS framework, React.js isn’t essentially a framework. Instead, it is a front-end library created by Facebook for building user interfaces. Nonetheless, it is an excellent option for developing dynamic, full-scale applications.

One of the most outstanding features supported by React.js is the concept of virtual DOM. If you’re to give a React interview, expect queries related to virtual DOM coming your way along with other important React interview questions.

As the virtual DOM is capable of being rendered from both sides, i.e., the client-side and the server-side, React.js offers a high-performance rendering of complex user interfaces. Other than Facebook and Instagram, React.js is adopted by BBC, Netflix, and PayPal.

Vue.js

Initially Released – February 2014

Used for – Front-end development

Originally developed by Evan You, Vue.js is an open-source JavaScript framework that has an immense potential presently being exploited by web developers from across the globe. Adobe, Alibaba, EuroNews, Grammarly, and Xiaomi are some of the top brands benefitting from Vue.js.

Among all the JavaScript frameworks, Vue.js is the ideal option when it comes to simplicity. Moreover, it is one of the fastest-growing JS frameworks that allows updating model and views via two-way data binding.

In addition to AngularJS, KnockoutJS, and RivetsJS, the development of Vue.js has also drawn inspiration from React.js. Hence, there are several similarities between React.js and Vue.js, including the server-side rendering and using a virtual DOM.

React.js or Vue.js: Which one to pick for learning?

So now that we’re acquainted with React.js and Vue.js frameworks, it’s time to decide which one to learn first. Frankly, it’s up to the learner to determine which one to choose. To aid the process, we’ll discuss various important differences between the two JS frameworks below:

1. Community and resources

Of course, being supported by the world’s two leading social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, isn’t something trivial. Throughout its tenure of over 5 years, React.js has accrued a grand community, which is expanding incessantly.

Thanks to the strong community backing, React.js developers receive instant help from veterans from around the world. Moreover, there are plenty of libraries and resources available for the leading JavaScript framework.

Although Vue.js was released only a couple of months after React.js, it was initially popular in China. It took some time for the JS framework to make its way to the western world. Hence, it has a relatively smaller, yet active, community.

Because Vue.js has a smaller community, fewer libraries are available to extend the functionality of the JS framework. It will take some more time for the Vue.js to flaunt a massive resource base like that supported by React.js or Angular. There are already a good number of Vue.js tutorial available online.

2. Data binding

Vue.js automatically synchronizes the complete model with the DOM and the data flows in both the directions. Hence, it supports two-way data binding.

React.js, on the contrary, offers one-way data binding. In this approach, the view reacts to any change made to the model, but the view can’t affect the model. As a consequence of one-way data binding, data flows in only one direction.

3. Documentation

The volume of documentation available for React.js is enormous! Moreover, as many individuals contribute to it, it can be hard to find what you are looking for.
Documentation guides and API references pertaining to Vue.js are simpler and easier to navigate, so getting started is a cinch if you have some experience with JS and HTML.

4. Further development

React.js is one of the most rapidly developing JavaScript frameworks. Maintenance and further development of the popular JS framework rest in the hands of Facebook and a team of volunteers.

Vue.js is an open-source framework that is expanding continuously. Its maintenance and development are controlled by its original developer Evan You and the community.

5. Learnability

Another important difference between React.js and Vue.js is the learning curve. React.js is an elaborate JS framework that requires a decent amount of time and effort to understand. There is a variety of semi-advanced to advanced concepts, helper libraries, and coding practices that can be intimidating for beginners.

Vue.js is a lightweight JS framework that stresses a minimalistic approach. In addition to being easy to implement, the JavaScript framework is relatively easy to comprehend.

6. Reliance on third-party technologies

As React.js is a JS library; the possibilities that a developer can have while working solely with it is limited. It is often mandatory to extend the functionality of React.js, for which developers need to rely on third-party modules and libraries.

Vue.js, on the other hand, is a complete JavaScript framework on its own. Hence, it offers a wide variety of opportunities. Furthermore, using third-party technologies can help further extend functionality. However, it isn’t necessary to use them.

7. Templates

Vue.js makes use of declarative templates. These are completely written in HTML. Hence, it makes them readable without any knowledge of other programming languages.
Unlike Vue.js, React.js doesn’t use any templates. Instead, it relies on something called a component model. Although many front-end JS frameworks now use the component model, it was React.js that introduced the idea.
The component logic in React.js is written in JavaScript. This allows for better flexibility, enabling rich data to pass through an application easily, and keeping the state out of the DOM.

These were some of the notable differences between React.js and Vue.js. Now, it should be easier for you to decide which one to pick if you had the choice to only learn one of the two leading JavaScript frameworks.
To further help you decide which one to pick over the other, the following section highlights the type of applications preferred to build using the two JS frameworks:

When to use React.js?

  • Dynamic applications – React.js is an ideal pick for building an application that requires re-rendering quickly. This is due to the JS framework’s ability to instantly reflect data changes in the view.
  • Native mobile applications – Reactive Native, a framework for building native apps using React, allows developing mobile applications that are almost identical to the ones built using Java or Objective-C.
  • SPAs – Because React.js is capable of displaying changes in the content without reloading the current page, it is best suited for building single-page applications.

When to use Vue.js?

  • Dynamic performant applications – Like React.js, Vue.js is a great option when developing dynamic applications. However, because it offers better performance than React.js, it is ideal for building dynamic applications that need to be highly performant.
  • SPAsVue.js allows changing the content quickly without reloading the page. Hence, it is ideal for developing Single Page Applications (SPAs). Again, SPAs built using Vue.js perform slightly better than those built using React.js.

Which JavaScript framework should I learn first?

Vue.js is simpler to learn while learning React.js comparatively takes more time and effort. Hence, it’s all up to your comfort level. The two JS frameworks share several similarities, e.g. the virtual DOM, so learning one will assist in learning the other.

Different JavaScript frameworks are developed to meet a certain set of requirements. For a JS developer, it is desirable to have a working knowledge of several frameworks.

JavaScript has something coming up every now and then. Hence, it is advised to keep a close eye on the latest JavaScript news and happenings to stay relevant in the continually transforming IT industry.

Conclusion

React.js and Vue.js are two of the leading JavaScript frameworks. Learning either of them will boost your marketability as a JS developer. Learning both of them is an even better option, provided you get the time and effort for doing so.

Disregard of the order in which you learn the two JS frameworks, having adequacy in React.js and Vue.js will undoubtedly boost your reputation as a JavaScript developer.As a leading JS framework, React.js is often compared with other popular JS frameworks, most notably Angular. Here is a detailed comparison drawn between Angular and React.js that any JS developer must know about.

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About the Author

Saurabh Hooda
Saurabh has worked globally for telecom and finance giants in various capacities. After working for a decade in Infosys and Sapient, he started his first startup, Lenro, to solve a hyperlocal book-sharing problem. He is interested in the product, marketing, and analytics. His latest venture Hackr.io recommends the best vue.js tutorial and online programming courses for every programming language. All the tutorials are submitted and voted by the programming community.

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