With this many choices, it can become really difficult to choose the best framework to suit your needs.
What Is Svelte?
Svelte applications and components are defined in .svelte files, which are HTML files extended with templating syntax that’s similar to JSX.
Svelte originated from Ractive.js, which was developed by the creator of Svelte itself: Rich Harris. Svelte was designed to succeed Ractive. The first version of Svelte released in 2016 was basically Ractive, but with a compiler.
The name “Svelte” was chosen by Rich Harris and his coworkers at The Guardian. As time passed, more and more developers came to know about and grew interested in Svelte. By 2019, Svelte had become a full-fledged tool to build web apps with TypeScript support out of the box.
The SvelteKit web framework was announced in 2020 and entered beta in 2021.
Svelte is a radical new approach to building user interfaces. Whereas traditional frameworks like React and Vue do the bulk of their work in the browser, Svelte shifts that work into a compile step that happens when you build your app.
You can build your entire app with Svelte, or you can add it incrementally to an existing codebase. You can also ship components as standalone packages that work anywhere, without the overhead of dependency on a conventional framework.
Pros and Cons of Svelte
As with any framework, Svelte has both benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to understand the full picture before dedicating yourself to Svelte vs React.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons Svelte offers developers.
Pros of Svelte
Here are some of the key benefits of using Svelte:
- No virtual DOM: Svelte is a compiler and has no use for a Virtual DOM, Svelte is a compiler that knows at build time how things could change in your app, rather than waiting to do the work at run time. This is a very important advantage of Svelte over any other web framework.
- Less boilerplate: Reducing the amount of code you have to write is an explicit goal of Svelte. Svelte helps you build user interfaces with a minimum of fuss which improves the readability of code by implementing things like better Reactivity, Bindings, and Top-Level Elements which we will talk about later in this article.
- Truly reactive: Svelte is a language in itself and has reactivity enabled by default. There are no special lines of code needed to make your code reactive, every variable that you declare is reactive by default. Svelte also supports derived declarations and statements that are computed on state change.
Cons of Svelte
These are the main drawbacks of using Svelte:
- Relatively smaller ecosystem: Being a new framework, Svelte doesn’t yet have a very large ecosystem around it when compared to frameworks like React, which means that you won’t find as many libraries and tools related to Svelte as you would for React.
What Is React?
React makes use of JSX to create applications and has a humongous number of libraries built around it, which makes it a very reliable framework.
React was created in 2013 by Meta as a tool for creating a dynamic interface for various websites. The virtual DOM, which is a representation of DOM elements built with React components, is the foundation of React.
Now that you have a good idea of what React is, let’s take a look at some of the key features that have made it so popular.
React makes it painless to create interactive UIs. We can design simple views for each state in our application, and React will efficiently update and render just the right components when our data changes.
Pros and Cons of React
React, like Svelte, comes with some benefits and drawbacks that you should be aware of before picking it as your framework.
Pros of React
Here are the top benefits that come with using React:
- Code reusability: React utilizes components for development and most of these components are reusable and can be changed according to our need using props.
- Large ecosystem: Being one of the oldest web frameworks, React has a very large ecosystem when compared to the newer ones. This means that there are a lot of resources available for React users, along with plenty of development-related help.
- Libraries: Since React has a large ecosystem, this also means that there are a lot of developers building tools and libraries around React. The community continuously releases awesome projects that are used by millions of React developers on a regular basis.
Cons of React
A few of the drawbacks of React include:
- Difficult learning curve: As we already saw earlier, React utilizes JSX — a very new technology, made for new developers who are just getting started with React. Many developers don’t like using JSX because of its steeper and more difficult learning curve.
- Limitations as a library: React is a library and not a true web framework, which means that it doesn’t come pre-packaged with necessary features and important development tools out of the box. Moreover, this exposes the app to security and consistency concerns, and developers need to rely on the continuity of external libraries to ensure their React app functions properly at all times.
- Poor documentation: React has no proper documentation in place as there are constant updates in the React environment that can get difficult to track. Because of this, it can be difficult for beginners to get started with React.
Svelte vs React: Head-to-Head Comparison
Now that we know the basic features, pros, and cons of both the web frameworks, we can compare them head on to get to a conclusion about which one is better and which one you should use.
Scalability and Extensibility
Both Svelte and React are scalable and stable production-oriented frameworks. But when it comes to extensibility, React may have a little edge over Svelte, thanks to its huge ecosystem and the community working around it.
There are tons of external libraries and tools made for React as we saw above, which makes React more extensible than Svelte and its relatively small ecosystem.
Speed and Performance
When it comes to performance and speed, Svelte can’t be out performed by React in any way. As we already saw, Svelte does most of the work in the compile step instead of doing them in the browser which React does. This improves the performance a lot and gives a boost to the server start times.
The next thing which gives Svelte a performance boost is the fact that it doesn’t use Virtual DOM. According to Svelte, Virtual DOM might be faster than Real DOM but it’s slow. Svelte also has a detailed article about this on their site which you may want to read.
Syntax and Learning Curve
Moreover, Svelte code is much more easily read and has no unnecessary code. The fact that Svelte is truly reactive by default gives it an edge over React in this case.
Coming over to the size of the libraries, Svelte is more lightweight, with its minified and GZipped version being only 1.7 KB. React, on the other hand, is almost 44.5 KB minified and GZipped (both React and ReactDOM combined).
As you can see, Svelte is almost 22 times lighter than React, which also means that Svelte apps load faster than React apps by default.
If you’re looking for even more speed, you should carefully consider your choices for hosting platforms, as the wrong one can cost you in more ways that one. Kinsta’s Application Hosting services are catered to developers looking for an easy deployment and management experience at a low cost, without sacrificing speed or security. From start to finish, Svelte and React app deployment takes only a few minutes through the MyKinsta dashboard.
Ecosystem and Documentation
When it comes to documentation, though, Svelte outperforms React. Svelte docs are some of the best standalone resources available for learning Svelte — there’s even an in-built interactive tutorial.
React, on the other hand, has comparatively poor documentation, and what they do have is not interactive. However, the React team is working on releasing new docs, which are in beta now and will be made public very soon.
We can clearly see that there is a huge gap between React and Svelte here, which also means that there are more opportunities for work in React than Svelte.
If you’re a new developer, we recommend you start with React to increase your chances of getting hired.
Both React and Svelte support dynamic styling, but the difference comes in the fact that React supports inline styling through JSX. In Svelte, we put the styles in separate
<style></style> blocks in our components file.
Both React and Svelte are excellent frameworks for building great user interfaces — depending on the use case — and each carries its own pros and cons. You should be able to decide which one suits your needs the best based on the comparison we’ve laid out here.
If you’re a beginner who just wants to improve your skills, you should definitely give Svelte a try. When it comes to performance and satisfaction, Svelte outperforms React in every way.
But if you’re an experienced developer and are standing on firm ground already, React would be the best choice for you because it has a vast ecosystem in which finding resources and getting support will be far easier. For a developer whose first priority is getting employed, React is the best choice, with a constant flow of of job openings from Junior Developer to Senior Developer and beyond.
Whichever of the two technologies you choose, though, your next step will be to pick a host for your application. For quick deployment through GitHub, blazing-fast speeds, and best-in-class security, look into Kinsta’s Application Hosting solutions. There’s a plan to fit every project, each one of which comes with 24/7 expert support from our team of experienced developers.
Between Svelte vs React, which one do you plan to use next, and what are you going to build? We’d love to hear about it! Share in the comments section below.
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