Relative Merits of Three JavaScript Frameworks: AngularJS, ReactJS, and EmberJS


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

By Phong Bui

When you're working towards creating a solid responsive design that works across multiple platforms, you need to choose the right client-side framework for best results. Anyone seeking a JavaScript framework for their project today is going to consider the big three: AngularJS, ReactJS, and EmberJS. But, how do you narrow down your choice? Which framework is going to deliver what you need?

In this article, we're going to delve into the pros and cons of each framework in turn and try to help you make the right choice for your project.

Background and Popularity

The first framework on the scene was AngularJS, which was first released in October, 2010. It is maintained by Google and enjoys a large, active community of developers and organizations. You'll find it on the Web sites of ABC News, Intel, Walgreens, and others. Angular has 165,000 followers on Twitter.

First released in March, 2013, ReactJS is the youngest framework of our trio. It's maintained by Facebook and a large community of individuals and corporations. You'll find it used on Netflix, Feedly, Airbnb, and many other Web sites. React has 93,500 followers on Twitter.

EmberJS was first released in December 2011 and it also has a large active community, though it lacks the big-name backing of Angular and React. It can be found on Web sites like Groupon, Vine, and Chipotle. Ember has 35,200 followers on Twitter.

The relative popularity of each platform on Twitter broadly reflects our own client experience. Around 60% of our clients use Angular, about 30% use React, and the remaining 10% are using Ember.

Before we dig into the technical strengths and weaknesses of each platform, it's worth noting that Google's backing for Angular and Facebook's backing for React make both of them safe bets. They won't run into any funding issues or suffer from lack of support for the foreseeable future.

Now, let's take each platform in turn and drill into the advantages and disadvantages, before suggesting some scenarios where they might be the right pick.


It looks as though Angular is the most popular choice, but the move to Angular 2.0 has been a bit disruptive. A lot of the community is still using Angular 1.x, and although Angular 2.0 offers many benefits, the transition is far from complete.

Advantages of Angular

  • MVC architecture
  • Easy-to-customize DOM
  • Two-way data bindings
  • Extendable HTML directories
  • Support for desktop and mobile applications
  • Built-in dependency injection
  • Support for server-side rendering
  • Easy to build and deploy with AngularCLI tool

Disadvantages of Angular

The big disadvantage with Angular 2.0 is the lack of documentation. The problem is complicated by the fact that the wealth of resources for Angular 1.x don't really help because the framework has changed so much.

Angular Is Recommended

AngularJS is recommended for projects that need to support desktop and mobile. Also, because it is written in Microsoft's TypeScript, it's a good choice for large enterprises.


When Facebook created React, it was trying to find an efficient way to keep a consistent UI and it succeeded. It may be the newest kid on the block here, but it has made some innovative strides.

Advantages of React

  • Virtual DOM
  • One-way binding
  • Support for desktop and mobile applications
  • Support for server-side rendering
  • Fast performance

Disadvantages of React

The big disadvantage for React is the fact that it's not really a full framework. You still need a third-party framework such as Flux or Redux to make a full MV* architecture.

React Is Recommended

ReactJS is recommended for projects that require high performance and simple libraries over a complete MV* framework.


Started with a focus on ambitious Web applications, Ember has some serious programming talent behind it, even if it does lack the backing of Google or Facebook. Ember 2.0 was released in August, 2015 and brought a raft of enhancements to the platform.

Advantages of Ember

  • MVC architecture
  • Two-way data bindings
  • Fits well with the RoR model and applications
  • Built-in dependency injection
  • Easy to build and deploy with EmberCLI tool
  • Quick to develop

Disadvantages of Ember

The relatively small community is a drawback for Ember and it's also hard to code if you stray beyond its typical uses.

Ember Is Recommended

EmberJS is recommended for any projects that strictly follow the namespace/convention over configuration, especially Ruby on Rails projects.

How to Choose

There is no overall winner. The framework you choose depends on the project you're working on. If you have the time, try them out and see what aligns most closely with your current requirements. Factor in any existing knowledge you might have to help you get a head start.

Although there are some unique selling points for each framework, the majority of the best new features and functions can be found in each of them. These are the three most popular frameworks for good reason.

About the Author

Phong Bui is the Vice President of Technology at KMS Technology, a software development and IT services firm based in Atlanta, GA and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He leads the R&D department. Phong started his career in 1998 as a software developer. Phong is a graduate of Ho Chi Minh City University with a bachelor's degree in Information Technology. Contact him at phongbui@kms-technology.com.

*** This article was contributed. © All rights reserved Developer.com ***

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  • Java Tech Lead

    Posted by Nha Nguyen on 11/16/2016 06:23am

    After reading the whole article, I think it is not very helpful in choosing the right framework for a specific project. Also the pros and cons are too general, too basic that it's likely everyone knows about it. Anyway, thanks.

  • not complaining

    Posted by Hal on 10/28/2016 02:29pm

    @Ho you really beat this guy up for trying. I liked the post. Also, I think you shouldn't gripe about Ember, or any other framework, copying things from React or anywhere else. They admit what they liked about React. We, as developers, rarely create anything very new. Its a great thing to have tools that are made better by combining the best-of-breed. It makes us better. I did not see you offering much constructive criticism.

  • MV* architecture ?

    Posted by Can Ho on 10/07/2016 07:07am

    Thanks for your post. I have some concerns: 1. AngularJs Angular 1.x and Angular 2.x are completely different frameworks. I don't think it makes sense when saying "Advantages of Angular", "Disadvantages of Angular". Are you saying "Advantages of Angular 1.x" and "Disadvantages of Angular 1.x" ? 2. ReactJs This is a library not a framework. So, you're comparing apples and oranges. I agree that "Virtual DOM" is what makes React famous. There're a lot more that make React really powerful: Unidirection data flow, composition, Unix mentality, free from Domain Specific Language, JSX,.. "You still need a third-party framework such as Flux or Redux to make a full MV* architecture." --> Flux is a design pattern, not a framework. Redux is "Flux like" implementation. Furthermore, I don't think that we need "a full MV* architecture" in React world. 3. Ember Ember 2.0 copied a lot from React (https://github.com/emberjs/rfcs/pull/15): * One-way data binding by default * Virtual DOM * Component based * Controller is deprecated * Lifecycle callbacks Generally speaking, I don't agree with your points on Ember's advantages. To be honest, after reading this post, it seems to me that this post was created years ago (which favors MV* a lot)

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