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CTO, Co-Founder
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18 January 2021
7 min to read

React vs JQuery: Which Is Better To Choose?

The modern web programmer has many tools to use. These are all kinds of libraries, frameworks, plugins, utilities, content management systems, etc. JavaScript libraries and frameworks can really make web development easier. There are two major JavaScript libraries – React and jQuery. Which one should you choose in 2021 and why? Yojji experts will try to answer this question in the article.

TL;DR: There is no need to give up jQuery nowadays. It is great for developing various landing pages and similar sites. But when the project should use things that are more complicated than various sliders and smooth scrolls to anchors, like interacting with the interface, receiving and processing different data, it is better to use such a highly-efficient framework as React. If you’re building a simple website, then it makes sense to use jQuery. If you’re starting a more or less serious project, choose a more modern framework.

JQuery: Main Characteristics, Pros And Cons

One of the most popular programmer tools is the small but feature-rich jQuery (jQ) library written in JavaScript (JS). Simply put, jQuery is a set of useful functions that make it easy to manipulate HTML elements and CSS styles, create AJAX requests, handle events (for example, mouse clicks), control animation – in short, everything that is called "interactivity".

What are the undoubted advantages of jQuery?

  • Cross-browser compatibility. The jQ syntax is supported by all modern web browsers, and you can be sure that the stylish slider you create in jQuery and CSS will be seen by every site visitor, no matter what browser they use.

  • Code Compactness. What you have to write in JavaScript in separate functions is implemented in jQ literally in a couple of code lines. Moreover, such code has harmony, logic, and clarity, so programming in jQuery is a pleasure.

  • A convenient work with events and visual effects. Need to create a tooltip on mouseover? Start animation on click? Create the effect of falling snow right after page load? Request the user's data? All this can be easily implemented in jQuery.

  • Clear documentation. On the official resource, you can get acquainted not only with the library's capabilities, but also with all its functions, conveniently divided into categories. Read and implement.

  • The thousands of ready-made plugins are perhaps the main advantage. Don't want to create a photo gallery from scratch? There are tons of ready-made options on the net! Need a tooltip? Slide show? HTML form validation? jQuery does it all, you just need to find a plugin.

Let's be objective and try to highlight several disadvantages of the jQ library:

  • Performance. Experts claim that code in other frameworks (such as React) is faster than jQuery. But there is a problem – today it is almost impossible to verify this thesis, which is associated, firstly, with an increase in the speed of the library itself, and secondly, with an increase in the performance of computers through which users access the network. Moreover, the speed of the Internet is increasing every year.

  • Library size. jQuery weighs about 19 KB, which theoretically can affect the speed of loading a web page, especially on older computers and ones with an unstable network connection. However, here we return to the above-mentioned thing – most modern providers guarantee an acceptable Internet speed, so the overwhelming majority of users will not see any problems when loading a page with jQuery code.

React: Differences And Advantages

The quality of user interfaces directly affects the success of an application. Therefore, front-end development is one of the most dynamically developing areas of programming. It is difficult to keep up with all the many new trends and tools in this area. With the adoption of the ES6 standard, developers are beginning to move away from imperative jQuery towards declarative, component-based ways to structure applications. In other words, the JavaScript language is evolving and new development tools appear following these changes.

React is one of the main players in this area at the moment. React is a free JavaScript library developed by Facebook. The source code of the library was published in 2013, and since then the technology has grown in popularity. Now it is used by such large companies as Instagram, Netflix, Yahoo, Dropbox, and many others.

The library allows you to manage the virtual DOM, component architecture, and their states. Many React apps rely on third-party libraries built and maintained by the programming community. The development of React applications requires a higher level of expertise, so it should be noted that mastering the library is more difficult and the threshold for entering this technology is quite high.

So what are the benefits of React?

  • Based on simple programming languages.

  • Extremely flexible application.

  • Using the DOM.

  • The possibility to withstand heavy loads.

  • Excellent cooperation with SEO. Search bots can browse the site more easily, so user interaction with your resource is improved.

  • An open data library.

  • Low weight of the database

Does React development have any downsides? Of course, there are shortcomings to any approach. And for React, they lie in the very architecture of the applications being developed. Simply put, applications are heavier.

Since React is an intermediate in the ecosystem of software frameworks, an application developed in React will be slightly larger than an application built using the native libraries from Apple or Google. That is, if you create, for example, an App for a loyalty program or for booking tables in a cafe, then it will take about 25-30 megabytes of the phone memory. However, in most cases, this has little or no effect on how users evaluate the app, given the capacity of flashcards and the speed of broadband Internet access.

The decrease in productivity is observed. Since any actions of a React application go through intermediate libraries, their speed is slightly reduced. However, if your mobile program doesn’t carry out any calculations, then no one will notice the increase in processor load up to 2% instead of 1%. Difficulties can arise when the size of the application is large enough, and we’re talking about a really complex software environment that takes hundreds of megabytes in the phone's memory.

The same goes for performance. The disadvantages of having an additional framework will only affect engineering or computational applications that code something, do some calculations or process large amounts of data right on a mobile device. In the other 95% of cases, React is the optimal way to run the prototype as quickly as possible and get started with the application.

For Which Projects Is React A Better Choice Than JQuery?

ReactJS is a smart choice when building large applications and complex user interfaces. The library allows you to display large amounts of dynamic content that changes during user viewing. Its declarativity simplifies and speeds up the process of product development and release.

With this development tool, you can build a site, application, or specific function from flexible reusable components (tab bars, lists, etc.) without rewriting the code. Thus, it allows developers to create quality applications, with a flexible architecture that can be adapted to any further changes.

There is a trend among developers to opt for React. According to the State of JS, this library has the highest level of satisfaction and more than 70% of developers use it in their work. Since now most large projects are created using this JS library, we also use it in development.

Yojji specialists have developed a number of web and mobile applications and are able to create easily supported systems of components on projects. Each specialist has unique expertise and his own experience in various projects. Based on your request, we’ll help you choose the most suitable approach specifically for your project.

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NL, Amsterdam

Ildar Kulmuhametov
CEO, Co-Founder

USA, Austin

Yevhen Piotrovskyi
CTO, Co-Founder