Svelte vs React: Which Framework is Better for You in 2023?

When talking about frameworks or libraries of JavaScript, you may know React, Vue.js and Angular. They are all 3 well-known programming languages with large support communities. But, have you once considered Svelte, a new framework to build web apps? According to the annual “State of JavaScript 2022”, this framework is noticeably barging in, with almost double the increase in use and has ranked in fourth place in terms of the most used JavaScript frameworks, following three famous ones: React, Angular and Vue.js. This framework has caught developers’ eyes around the world. 

While React has a large and active community, Svelte is still a new face but has its own strengths that may stand out among JavaScript frameworks. In this article, we will compare two frameworks on a number of factors, including performance, simplicity, ecosystem, learning curve and developer experience. This article will help you decide which framework is right for you, based on your needs and preferences.

svelte vs react

1. What is Svelte? 

1.1. History & Definition

Svelte is a modern JavaScript framework that is known for its performance and simplicity. This framework was created in 2016 by Rich Harris due to his frustration with the performance and complexity of other JavaScript frameworks and it is currently being maintained by Svelte core members. It is used by the following companies: The New York Times, Avast, Spotify, Semrush, etc. 

It is a compiler, not a library, which means that it converts your code into highly optimised Vanilla JavaScript at build time. This results in smaller, faster, and more efficient web applications.

Svelte is also very easy to learn and use. The syntax is concise and straightforward, and there are no virtual DOM or other abstractions to learn. This makes it a great choice for beginners as well as experienced developers.

1.2. Benefits

  • Performance: Svelte apps are known for their high performance. This is because it does not use a virtual DOM, which can be a significant bottleneck in other frameworks.
  • Simplicity: It is very easy to learn and use. The syntax is concise and straightforward, and there are no virtual DOM or other abstractions to learn.
  • Small size: Svelte apps are typically much smaller than apps built with other frameworks. This is because it does not generate any unnecessary code at runtime.
  • Efficiency: Svelte apps are very efficient. This is because it only renders the parts of the UI that need to be updated.

I think in a few years and with some new features, Svelte will easily dethrone Vue as a light, interesting alternative to giants such as Angular and React. Especially in application development for ​​so-called “thin clients”.

Marchin Gajda, Lead Frontend Developer at The Software House

Svelte is a rapidly growing framework with a bright future. In 2022, it released its 4th version with major new features such as Svelte reactivity and Svelte components.

2. What is React?

2.1. Definition

React is a free and open-source JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It is maintained by Meta and a community of individual developers and companies. This framework can be used to develop single-page, mobile, or server-rendered applications with frameworks like Next.js. React is trusted by many top companies, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Salesforce, Dropbox, GitHub, etc.

React is based on the concept of components, which are reusable pieces of code that can be combined to create complex user interfaces. Components are declarative, meaning that they describe what the UI should look like, rather than how to render it. This makes the code easier to read and maintain.

React also uses a virtual DOM, which is a lightweight representation of the real DOM. When a component’s state changes, it only updates the parts of the virtual DOM that need to be updated. This can improve performance by reducing the number of times the real DOM needs to be re-rendered.

2.2. Benefits

  • Performance: React uses a virtual DOM to improve performance. This means that it only updates the parts of the UI that need to be updated, which can improve performance by reducing the number of times the real DOM needs to be re-rendered.
  • Flexibility: This framework is a component-based framework, which makes it easy to create reusable code. This can help you to reduce the amount of code you need to write, and it can also make your code easier to maintain.
  • Extensible: It has a large and active community, which means that there are many third-party libraries and tools available. This can help you to extend the functionality of React, and it can also help you to find solutions to problems that you may encounter.
  • Popular: It is used by a wide range of companies, including Facebook, Instagram, and Netflix. This means that there is a lot of documentation and support available for React, and it also means that you are likely to find other developers who are familiar with React.
  • SEO friendly: It is SEO friendly because it does not use any frameworks that are known to be harmful to SEO. It also uses a virtual DOM, which can help to improve the performance of your website.

React is a popular JavaScript framework for building user interfaces with many positive features, including fast speed, flexibility and extensibility. It still has a hard-to-change position in the frontend community till 2022 due to its convenient features such as hooks in the past and concurrent mode and component-based servers. 

3. Differences between Svelte and React

Both Svelte and React offer a similar component-based architecture. This means that they both enable a CSS bottom-up development, as well as enable their components to be shared between apps through tools and platforms like Bit. 

So, what are the differences between them? Let’s take a look at our quick comparison table first:

FeatureSvelteReact
TypeCompilerLibrary
Created year20162013
Maintained byCommunityFacebook
Bundle size1.6 KB42.2 KB (including ReactDOM)
SyntaxVanilla JavaScriptJSX
ComponentsDeclarativeDeclarative
Virtual DOMNoYes
Third-party ToolsUnnecessaryMight be necessary
Code sizeSmallerLarger
RoutingBuilt-inReact routing
TestingSvelte testing libraryTest runners
SimplicityEasy to learn and to useEasy to learn, but can be complex to master
DocumentationClear and conciseMore detailed
EcosystemGrowingLarge and active
PopularityEmergingVery popular

The key difference between them is that Svelte is a compiler that converts your application to JavaScript during the building time, while React uses virtual DOM to interpret the application code during runtime.

4. Svelte vs React: Which one is better?

4.1. Satisfaction & Popularity

“State of JS 2020” report examined users’ satisfaction with JavaScript frameworks. Surprisingly, Svelte took the first place of React in the previous year with 89%. This means that the continuous development of the framework will make more and more developers use it. In the 2022 report, it has gained more positive feedback from users, making this framework one of the highest retention rates among all frontend frameworks.

In the more recent survey prepared by Stack Overflow in 2021, Svelte was chosen as the most loved framework by 71.42% of respondents – getting ahead of React (69.28%) and Vue (64.41%).

To compare the popularity, we use NPM Trends to compare NPM packages popularity. This will measure how many times a certain NPM package was downloaded. As you can see, React is obviously more popular in terms of NPM package downloads, while Svelte still lies in the bottom line. It can be explained that Svelte is a new framework and not many people use it or even know about it. Whereas, it is still a promising framework. 

Regarding the community, React has a large amount of resources and community members, it has a massive number of Stackoverflow developers looking to help you. There are 262,951 Stackoverflow questions on React and it is one of the most active Stackoverflow tags. Whereas, Svelte has a decent Stackoverflow community with over 1,200 questions asked and also has a Discord community with over 1,500 members online on average. It can be witnessed that this framework has a growing community.

Source: Stack Overflow

4.2. Performance

Svelte and React are both known for their good performance. Svelte is often said to be faster than React, but this depends on the specific application. 

Svelte does not use a virtual DOM, while React does. The virtual DOM is a lightweight representation of the real DOM that React uses to improve performance. However, Svelte’s compiler eliminates the need for a virtual DOM by optimising the code at build time. This can result in smaller code size and faster rendering speeds. Its smaller code size and faster rendering speeds can give it a performance advantage over React in some cases. 

In speed test, startup test and memory test, Svelte is a winner. This is because of its more lightweight size. When you develop a web app, it would load faster, the responsiveness is flawless and the bandwidth costs are lowered.

In short, when compared to React, Svelte may be more reactive as it is a serverless-first framework and it does most of its work within the compilation step that takes place during build time. But, realistically, React’s virtual DOM can be helpful when you need to update a large part of the UI as it introduces an additional layer of abstraction. It has made significant advancements in optimising rendering and reconciliation processes.

4.3. Ease of learning

The learning curve of both technologies is considered fairly easy as they both require a knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Regarding Syntax, Svelte uses Vanilla JavaScript syntax, while React uses JSX, which is a syntax extension that allows you to write HTML-like code in JavaScript.

Svelte has fewer concepts to learn than React, which can make it easier to get started. It also has clear and concise documentation, which can help you learn the framework quickly. However, React has a larger and more active community than Svelte, which can help and support you a lot in learning React. 

If you are new to JavaScript, then Svelte is a good choice. If you are already familiar with JavaScript, then choose React. 

4.4. Libraries and tools

Svelte and React both have a large ecosystem of libraries and tools available. However, the React ecosystem is larger and more mature than the Svelte ecosystem. This means that there are more libraries and tools available for React, and they are more likely to be well-maintained.

Here is a table comparing the libraries and tools available for Svelte and React:

FeatureSvelteReact
State management librariesSvelte Store, SvelteslateRedux, MobX
Routing librariesSvelte Router, SapperReact Router
UI librariesSvelte Material UI, SvelteKitMaterial-UI, Bootstrap
Testing librariesSvelte Testing Library, JestReact Testing Library, Jest
Other toolsSvelte REPL, Svelte IDEReact Developer Tools, Create React App

React is a very lightweight library focused on the view layer only, that’s why it requires third-party tools for state management and animations. However, Svelte has built-in effects, transitions and animations that won’t need many libraries and tools. 

If you need a large selection of libraries and tools, then React is a good choice. If you are looking for a framework that is easy to learn and use, then Svelte is a good choice.

4.5. Code Maintainability

Svelte and React are both considered to be good choices for maintainable code. However, Svelte is generally considered to be easier to maintain than React. This framework uses Vanilla JavaScript syntax, which can make it easier to read and maintain. Its code is also smaller than React code, which can make it easier to understand and troubleshoot. React uses JSX, which can make code more complex and difficult to read. React code is also larger than Svelte code, which can make it more difficult to find and fix bugs.

Svelte is also more modular than React. This means that its code is divided into smaller, independent components, which can make it easier to maintain and update.

The React platform has itself organised coding patterns and components that make it easy to learn code, which will help increase the code maintainability. The components of Svelte have a readable structure that helps define different app components. Different features of web apps will work together easily with this framework, also helping the developers maintain the code as well. 

5. Choosing the right framework for your business

Choosing an obviously better framework is challenging, both are practical and efficient tools for creating great UI. Considering your scenarios and preferences to choose one between them.

  • The size and complexity of your project: If you are building a small project, then Svelte is a good choice. If you are building a large or complex project, then React may be a better choice.
  • The type of your app: React’s versatility is suitable for developing cross-platform applications using frameworks like React Native, while Svelte’s small bundle size and efficient code execution make it ideal for building PWAs (Progressive Web Applications).
  • Project size: React has component-based architecture and virtual DOM, making it well-suited for developing large-scale applications with complex UI. Whereas, Svelte’s compilation feature can be appropriate for building lightweight applications that prioritise speed and efficiency.
  • Your budget: Some libraries and tools are free, while others require a paid subscription. If you are on a budget, then Svelte may be a better choice.
  • Your team’s experience: If your team is already familiar with React, then it may be easier to use React.
  • Your personal preferences: The best framework for you will depend on your personal preferences. If you prefer a simpler and more concise syntax, then Svelte is a good choice. If you need a framework with a large ecosystem of libraries and tools, then React is a good choice.
  • Your timeline: If you need to get your project up and running quickly, then Svelte may be a better choice. React can be more complex to learn and use, so it may take longer to get started.

Ultimately, the best framework for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you are looking for a framework that is fast, simple, and easy to learn, then Svelte is a good choice. If you are looking for a framework that is flexible, extensible, and has a large community, then React is a good choice.

Conclusion

To sum up, there is no doubt that the debate about Svelte and React will continue to happen as Svelte becomes more and more popular. Both frameworks have their own strengths and weaknesses, so the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. The best way to choose the right framework is to try both of them and see which one you prefer. Be sure with your options before opting for a framework.

However, if you are still not sure which framework is right for your business, it is a good idea to consult with a software development expert. They can help you assess your specific needs and recommend the best approach for your project. AgileTech offers a consulting service for you right now. When you choose to work with AgileTech, you will receive huge tech support as we got 8 years of software development experience with various frameworks. We have a proven record of building high-quality products for clients around the world, using various methodologies. If you need further information and consultation for your project, feel free to fill out this form to meet our IT experts!

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