Matt Landers sees React as a toolbox that allows him to take what he needs and leave what he doesn’t.
At WP Engine, the technical architect said front-end developers prefer React to Vue or Angular because of its flexible nature. And they’re not alone. According to Stack Overflow’s 2019 developer survey, more developers said they use React than the other two libraries.
Part of what appeals to Landers about React is the freedom associated with using a built-in framework someone else created. When he wants to focus on design or get a project off the ground quickly, he turns to Next.js.
“On complex projects, I prefer the flexibility to choose the perfect tool for the job,” Landers said. “But on smaller projects, it can be quicker to use something someone else put effort into designing.”
He would know. Microsoft hired Landers at age 19 to work on mobile development as a software architect. Ten years later, he and two Microsoft colleagues co-founded a company dedicated to developing a single-page application framework for web and mobile applications.
Vue vs. React. vs. Angular: Which is your team’s preferred programming tool and why?
We’re committed to React due to its flexibility. React isn’t as opinionated as the other frameworks, which allows us to build user interfaces in unique and interesting ways without bending any paradigms a framework might impose. For instance, we have many different products that are built by separate teams of engineers. Each team needs to be able to build and deploy their UI independently of each other. With React, we’ve been able to design a framework that allows for product UIs to be dynamically imported into our unified user portal.
Tell us about the most recent project you worked on using this tool.
I’m primarily focused on a new product that includes a developer portal. The portal is written in React with Next.js. Prior to launch, this portal will be integrated into our existing user portal.
For me, the big difference is that React isn’t opinionated about how you build your software.’’
Do you have any experience using one or more of these other technologies? And how would you compare that experience to the work you’re doing now?
I’ve used Angular and I’ve played with Vue. For me, the big difference is that React isn’t opinionated about how you build your software. It’s a toolbox, where you can use what you need. Most frameworks require that you do things in a certain way. There are pros and cons to both. With an opinionated framework, you don’t need to think about how to do the basics. For instance, Angular has a router but React doesn’t, so it’s up to you to figure out how you want to route in React.
On complex projects, I prefer the flexibility to choose the perfect tool for the job. But on smaller projects, it can be quicker to use something someone else put effort into designing. The React community has provided this out-of-the-box experience with frameworks built on top of React, like Next.js. When I’m starting a new project, I’ll use something like Next.js because I can get off the ground quickly without much thought.