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Will React be dethroned by Svelte?

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

React is currently the most popular Javascript library. It took the Javascript development community by storm with its implementation of superfast Virtual DOM and a highly flexible JSX. It quickly eclipsed the then-popular Javascript framework AngularJS.

Just like how Angular which was once the primary Javascript framework got replaced with React, the developer community has been speculating which library or framework will replace React as the new leader. VueJs was expected to replace React with it’s faster Virtual DOM implementation and an easy learning curve for developers who know HTML, CSS & Javascript.

Even though Vue eclipses React in nearly all benchmarks, React still reigns supreme in Javascript development because of its wide acceptance in the market and a large ecosystem. The very same things that helped Angular to be the number one choice for new projects for long after React was released.

However, at the end, React overtook Angular. The same was expected of Vue. However the new entry in the market - Svelte, threatens the prospects of Vue replacing React.

By overall rankings of top frontend frameworks/libraries, Svelte already surpassed Vue and is just behind React to be ranked second by awareness, interest & satisfaction of Javascript developers.

What makes Svelte different from React & Vue?

React and Vue both depend heavily on their respective implementations of Virtual DOM. For every change in component state, the UI is calculated by the vdom implementation and changes are made to DOM. However Svelte is different, it behaves more closely to a compiler.

While the algorithms of React and Vue get executed at runtime, Svelte gets executed at compile time. Svelte compiles the code to pure ES6 Javascript code during the build process, thus the end code is lightweight and very fast.

Simply put React and Vue do most of the work in runtime while Svetle does the same in compile time. However like React and Vue, Svelte uses components written in a declarative way.

What makes Svelte better?

  • Svelte is built with web standards in mind, it does not impose its own standard on developers like React does with JSX. Thus it has a very small learning curve.

  • The build is optimized by the compiler, resulting in a small build size.

  • It can be used in existing projects easily.

  • Less lines of code and great performance.

What holds Svelte back?

Even though Svelte has many advantages, it might not become the first library/framework of choice for a developer starting a new project. Because of the following limitations

  • No Typescript support

  • Small ecosystem

  • Lack of dev tools

  • Job market

In conclusion, Svelte takes the cake in terms of performance and efficiency. However those alone do not guarantee widespread adoption. For Svelte to dethrone React, developers and software companies should embrace Svelte the same way they did React in its early days.

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