In this article, we compare React vs. Svelte vs. Vue and conclude several standard features of those frameworks. Which one is better to choose in 2023? Stick around and make up your mind about the information we present.
Today, many front-end frameworks make up an extensive list to choose from, creating a challenge for new-coming developers and business owners looking to hire professionals. React, and Vue is among the most popular, established, and respected software. Alongside Svelte, which feels like a fresher version with a couple of features, it stands out despite its lesser popularity. But why compare those three at all?
There are several obvious objective merits, such as:
You can add to the list or combine some features, as the software's functionality doesn't exist in a vacuum but depends on other features. How much use a developer gets from a framework also depends on the goals and needs they seek to resolve. For example, building a small reactive web app, an appealing static landing page, or an extensive website with a complex structure are tasks that some frameworks may handle better than others.
In this article, we wanted to explore that topic by researching React vs Vue vs Svelte and see what exciting conclusions we may find here.
React.js is one of the Top 3 frameworks, a go-to pick for new developers, clients, and major companies, as this software was released in 2011 by a digital giant, Facebook. An easy choice as React had years to expand and establish itself at the forefront of frontend development, offering tons of libraries to developers and stable performance — a solid base for reliability. Alongside regular updates, where the latest significant releases date as late as June 14th of 2022.
So what is Svelte in all this? Svelte is the most lightweight and fastest frontend framework. Released in November 2016 by Rich Harris, a developer for The New York Times, Svelte is the youngest in our line and continues to grow. It has different impressive quantity numbers, but it sure does show a lot in terms of quality. It's fast performing and differs in how it executes processes, which we will dive deeper into further in the article. In the meantime, let's mention that Svelte was voted the most loved framework on StackOverflow in 2021 and let you draw your conclusions.
Let's start with simple, understandable metrics. React has the biggest gzipped bundle of the three, 42.2 kB. While Vue has 33.9 kB, compare it to Svelte with just 1.7 kB! Of course, bundle size tends to fluctuate due to updates and new releases that upgrade software regularly. However, the given numbers are still a great representation of relativity regarding comparison. In this regard, Svelte does stand out. But why is it necessary at all?
The bigger the size of the operating parts, the more chances it can slow down the overall performance. And nobody wants a webpage to be loaded for eternity, right? Well, long rendering of a page and delays in on-page activity can be caused by the heavy weight of operating parts. Big bundle size surely doesn't lead to a significant problem — it's something to be wary of. Client's attention is a valuable resource, and considering you have mere seconds to interest someone in what you offer, website loading time is undoubtedly an important part to consider.
Virtual DOM represents the DOM — Document Object Model, which comprises the tree-like structure of a webpage with nodes and objects. If a visual interface is how users view a website, DOM is for HTML to understand. So what is virtual DOM in all this exactly? Why do frameworks make use of it, and to what end?
At some point in web development, it became a popular notion that incorporating changes in DOM when working with frontends is a slow and painful process. This is why devs devised a solution to create a virtual DOM in the process, execute necessary changes, and then let the framework surgically update necessary parts of the actual DOM. This is the way most frameworks operate, including React and Vue. Virtual DOM simplifies the whole process and makes it faster for developers. But is it true? Svelte's creator argues otherwise.
In Svelte's blog, Rich Harris shared his thoughts on why virtual DOM is just an overhead code and that you do not need it to make a framework function. Overhead code uses more memory, so you need more processing power to load a website. The lighter a web app, the better it is optimized overall, including slow internet connection cases.
This argument is the reason why Svelte skipped the virtual DOM part completely. Instead of diffing, the process where DOM gets updated according to changes in VDOM to negate the difference — reconciliation, as it is also called — Svelte skips it. Svelte uses the compilation stage to update DOM and incorporate necessary changes here. The use of compilation is what makes Svelte stand out; this is what subsequently determines Svelte's tiny bundle size and lightning-fast performance.
So while React is mainly known for being robust and Vue — reactive, Svelte gets an edge in its fast performance.
It's an easy feat to find benchmark tests on any software these days. For example, GitHub provides the most extensive information on front-end frameworks performance. Therefore, we suggest quickly reviewing the conclusions that can be made.
We've already mentioned it, but the Svelte framework is the fastest-performing framework out there due to its use of compilation, and small bundle size, among other things. Let's take a closer look at data-binding and what difference it makes in React, Vue, and Svelte performance. Let's start with React.
React utilizes downward data binding, and this type of one-direction flow ensures stability. This means that changes incorporated into the "child" structure do not affect "parents." So changes incorporated in certain elements will not affect other objects. One-way binding might be preferred for robust web apps where code stability is your primary focus.
On the other hand, both Vue and Svelte use two-way data binding. Instead of stability, such a method encourages reactivity: two objects can be bound, and once changes are introduced in one element, the other one gets updated automatically. This makes developing certain products, like SPA and MVPs, more efficient and swift.
What about scalability? This is an important feature to consider if you plan to expand your web app.
These things are worth considering:
As we mentioned, React has quite a robust structure. Once a web app is developed and optimized, maintenance shouldn't be an issue, as its modular architecture makes the process easier. Modules also make the scaling process more approachable.
Vue is very flexible, allowing reusing the code parts for other projects. This feature opens up many possibilities, as it means Vue can be used both in simple reactive apps and more complex digital products.
And finally, Svelte. This framework is great for building small interactive projects and custom code parts for other projects. However, creating larger applications can be more challenging than other frameworks, as it is mostly used for building static web apps and reusable components.
React has quite a specific syntax that is not used outside the framework. Therefore, new developers must first get used to working with the code structure, which is a challenge initially, as the learning curve is quite steep. Although React is one of the most popular frameworks, many specialists should be available.
In terms of popularity among the devs, we can deduct the following picture:
But what if we take another merit from StackOverflow, for example, comparing the most loved framework voted by developers? You'll be surprised to see the whole other picture:
What conclusion can we make here? First, react has been around the longest, so it is the most popular, as it is the best-established framework out of the three. This statistic means it will be easier to find developers to work with React, as many developers get into learning React to get hired in the first place. React's popularity and reputation create a loop, in a way, if you will.
But we see that Svelte has a higher satisfaction rate, so the devs you hire will more likely have a better experience working on a project and have the will to work on others. In the long run, satisfied employees are as important as satisfied customers. The fact that Svelte gets high praise also means its operational potential has much promise.
Of course, popularity shouldn't be the main metric when choosing a framework to work with. But this information is worth some consideration in reactions to the bigger picture.
Let's see what the major players that support each framework are:
Framework support is important to ensure some guarantee that it won't become legacy software in a couple of years and you won't get stuck with outdated projects and all the headache that comes with them. React and Vue, alongside Angular, are viewed as an auto-pick, as it doesn't take much consideration to see that these are major players that have been around for about a decade, have much support from significant companies, so logically have prospects to offer in terms of employment for the developers.
In terms of Svelte, one of the concerns in the early days was the risk of this front-end disappearing from the market as many of its predecessors did. Digital technologies are developing rapidly, so the concern was completely valid. Even today, we see the major gap between Svelte's popularity and React and Vue's viral-like spread. But considering Svelte has been around since 2014, winning over the support of both by community and companies slowly but steadily, it doesn't seem like Svelte would become obsolete anytime soon.
|Gzipped Bundle Size||42.2 kB||33.9 kB||1.7 kB|
|Virtual DOM||Use of VDOM||Use of VDOM||No VDOM, acts as a compiler|
|Dev Community||Big community||Big community||Small, but active community|
|Company Support||Established tool; backing by major companies||Established tool; backing by major companies||A new contract with a major company; future development perspectives|
There's hardly one correct answer. As we've discovered, every framework has advantages and disadvantages regarding frontend development. You need to consider the type of website or web app you want to build and the available resources. Here are some recommendations.
What conclusion can we gather based on the information we have discovered:
Choosing the proper framework is a matter of selecting the right one for you. It is essential to consider the goals of your projects, the problems you want to solve, and the resources you have to spare. Hopefully, this article has helped you on the path of deciding on Vue vs. Svelte and React.
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