Where to start as a front-end developer?

Özge Gürleyen
Özge Gürleyen
-Mar 17, 2023

When there was only javascript, HTML, and CSS, it was very easy to decide where to start to become a web developer. You only had the three I mentioned above, first you were learning HTML, then you were decorating your design with CSS and lastly you were adding some action to the website with javascript. But today, front-end technology is growing so fast that even choosing where to start as a front-end developer takes a lot of time. Should I learn React? Should I start with Vue? Is CSS enough? Should I learn CSS libraries as well?

It is normal to have a lot of questions in your mind. In this article, I will give a few details that I hope will reduce your confusion, and I will talk about some differences between the two most widely used front-end technologies. These are of course ReactJS and VueJS.

Let’s say you are a newbie and you know nothing about coding, then I recommend you to check w3schools. According to their website, their aim is to create simplified and interactive learning experiences. This is a free and very helpful website. It’s impossible to memorize every piece of code about javascript or CSS, so even very experienced web developers check this site from time to time.

You just try to understand the logic of front-end development and get some insight about methods, try their exercises. Yet do not try to memorize everything on that website, memorizing everything can be disappointing because there is a lot of information and you will not use most of them in your day-to-day coding life.

Let’s say you need to delete spaces from a string, know that there is a javascript method for this and check the usage from w3. Only knowing the existence of that method will be sufficient at the beginning. Later, you will automatically memorize some of the methods you use often, without even realizing it.

Once you’ve learned the basics of javascript, HTML, and CSS, if you’re comfortable creating and editing a basic HTML page, then you can choose whether to go with ReactJS or VueJS.

First, let’s talk about what React and Vue are. React is a javascript library. Vue is a javascript framework. Let me try to explain with an analogy without going into the details; you are the boss of the library, and the framework is your boss. So you call the library when you need it and tell it what to do, framework tells you what to do by using the libraries.

Keeping this analogy in mind, ReactJS is more flexible than VueJS. While coding with Vue, the structure is very clear, with React you decide what to write and where to write. Sometimes this can be very useful and sometimes very annoying. If you are a junior front-end developer, you are less likely to make mistakes with Vue, because Vue clearly tells you what to write and how. If you are an experienced developer, React allows you to have fun with the code with flexibility when needed.

I personally preferred to learn Vue and then React. However, if you knew Vue and then learned React or vice versa, you will realize that they have so many common coding styles, hooks, etc. Only naming is different. That’s why it does not create a huge difference in which one you choose first. If you know one, you can easily learn the other. Just be patient and try to learn something new every day. You will see that one day, everything that was difficult to understand at first has turned into a piece of cake. Yes, there are a lot of similarities but they also have some differences, let’s look at them together.

front-end developer
Starting with the GitHub analytics to understand them better. This is the 18th March, 2022 data from GitHub.
First release of React is 2013, of Vue is 2014. React was the queen until 2018. Now their numbers are close enough.

Since React is preferred most in the past, there is a lot of documentation and tutorials, questions and answers in the stack overflow. That means if you encounter any problem while using React, once upon a time, some people in the world encounter the exact same problem, so it will be easier to find a solution to your problem. Vue is easy to learn and has cool documentation on its official website but still, there are fewer materials compared to React.

Let’s say you need to design a very urgent website and you don’t want to spend a lot of time designing the buttons in detail. The UI library Vuetify, specially designed for Vue comes to your rescue with its rich content. React also has similar libraries, of course, even if you have more to choose from Vue in this regard.

Material UI and React Bootstrap, which are the most widely used ones, will definitely meet your needs. Speaking of which, let’s compare the libraries written for React and Vue. Since React was more popular in the past compared to Vue, a lot of libraries have been written for React since then, but Vue is not that rich in this regard, unfortunately.

Encountering bugs is the nature of this job. The thing we need most when writing code is a good debug tool. There may be those who disagree with me, but in my humble opinion, the Vue Chrome developer tool is much better than React. Although React shows the component names while developing in the local environment when you open the developer tool in a domain, all you see are Anonymous Components, let’s say you found the right component, this time you spend a lot of time reading the prop data in it.

Another nice feature of Vue is routing. It gives us its own routing file and we don’t spend too much time setting it up. In fact, if you use Nuxt.js instead of vue, you are able to set up the routing by folder naming without writing a single line of code. Amazing! React also has libraries for this, but having this feature when you create a project is a big plus.

In terms of performance,  they are almost equal. Both of them are using lazy load and virtual DOM to increase performance. However Vue has two-way binding and it looks like a cool feature and actually, it is. Most of the time it reduces the time that we spend in coding but sometimes it causes infinite loops. So having a two-way binding is neither good nor bad.

To sum up, there are some differences but nothing so important to choose one over the other. You can just choose one of them, and see if it fits you. For a junior front-end developer, I would suggest going with ReactJS, because it has more documentation, and lots of companies use React so you will have a lot of opportunities when it is time to look for a job. If you already know React and looking for a job just take a look at our career page. We would love to meet with you.

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