Bootstrap and Angular – a short comparison

Both Angular and Bootstrap are frameworks that developers use to make the process of front-end development simpler. 

The primary goal of Bootstrap is to provide tools that help developers to create beautiful responsive UI. You don’t have to write CSS or JavaScript to get the good-looking interface, as well as you don’t need to worry about the display of your web app on different screens because Bootstrap has already taken care of it. 

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The main task that Angular helps to solve is building a dynamic interface by providing tools to manipulate and update data on the screen easy and fast.  

Bootstrap is a mobile-first framework that is used when you need to build an app with a correct display on small screens. Nowadays responsive UI is a must for web development especially because Google uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in the search result. That is one of the reasons why Bootstrap is so popular all over the world. 

Angular is usually used in single page application projects as it helps to build interactive design and as a result to improve the quality of user experience. How? No page reloads, no internal links, the whole content is shown at one screen with interactive elements that load dynamically. Developers learned how to create interactive UI with JavaScript, today they can create truly amazing interactions thanks to modern advanced JavaScript frameworks such as Angular, Vue.js, React, etc. 

Bootstrap is a templating framework that mainly uses two core technologies for building web pages: HTML, CSS. It also includes components and multiple JavaScript extensions for fast front-end development.

Angular is a structural framework for building dynamic pages with TypeScript opportunities. It extends and uses HTML to display the components while JavaScript makes the interface more dynamic. 

The key features of Bootstrap are 12 column grid system, helper classes, tons of reusable components for all occasions. 

The key features of Angular are two-ways binding, MVC architecture, TypeScript, unit testing.

Angular was developed by Google.

Bootstrap was developed by Twitter. 

Both technologies are free and open-sourced. 

The last version of Bootstrap is 4.5 from August 6, 2020.

The release of the last version 10 of Angular was on June 24, 2020.

In our article, we compare Angular and Bootstrap, not AngularJS. To clarify let briefly define them.

AngularJS (also called Angular 1) is a front-end web framework that was developed by a team from Google company in 2010. AngularJS also provides two-way data binding, allows us to write applications in MVC, and meant to develop dynamic interfaces. Over time AngularJS gained popularity and a lot of support, developers created new packages for the framework and wanted to add more and more things to the core.

Here Angular appeared(also called Angular 2) in September 2016. It was developed by the same team that had made AngularJS. Based on the previous experience and acquired knowledge they decided to completely rewrite from scratch AngularJS in TypeScript to make the code more consistent, readable, and easier to test. Angular has a different architecture and is not compatible with AngularJS. You can still use AngularJS and many copywriters are still post articles about AngularJS, however, Angular is constantly developed and has big major updates twice a year, while AngularJS is not.  

Bootstrap vs Angular key features  

Angular:

1) MVC architecture

Angular provides developers with good MVC that gives you almost full control over HTML-code. It saves hours of work since you don’t need to write MVC separately and then link them. MVC architecture in Angular may seem an unnecessary feature if you build a relatively simple web app in a small team without plans for further big development or the expansion of the application. But if your team consists of tens of specialists that work remotely all over the world over one project, the best way to manage the complexity is to divide an application into the model, the view, and the controller. MVC architecture is the strongest advantage of Angular and the basis for the next key features Angular is loved for.

2) Two-way binding and dependencies ejection

Two-way binding is the most famous, loved, and effective Angular feature. To put it in simple terms two-way binding allows changing the layout of the app without page reloading depending on what information users filled in through the interface. For example, you enter your name in a “name” field, and then the app immediately displays it somewhere top right near the shopping cart. 

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Two-way binding provides changes in the Model (app data) that can be instantly displayed on the View (screen) and vice versa. The feature was introduced a long time ago with the AngularJS released in 2010. There was a simple example where you need to input a username and it is instantly displayed in a welcome form.  

<input [(ngModel)]="username"> 
<p>Hello {{username}}!</p>

That feature migrated from AngularJS to Angular and got further development that you can examine on the official website.

So, the View and the Model stay in perfect synchronization and allows users to see any changes in the Model automatically. And since the whole MVP architecture goes with Angular there is no need to spend development time on building a two-way binding system. Two-way binding is one of the most useful features in Angular and definitely the key feature for building dynamic one-page applications. 

Dependency injection is another feature that is helpful in building complex applications. It ensures the sustainability of the code, makes testing easier and gives more opportunity to transfer and share parts of the code. Building MVP architecture is not a simple task to accomplish, neither maintaining it. Dependency injections make the life of developers more comfortable because changing a component in one part of the application doesn’t cause errors in another part and doesn’t require a significant cascading change.  

Dependency injection allows class A to use (inject) the services (dependencies) of another class (class B) without the need to create the object of that class. Services are some functionality of Class B, its methods we want to use in class A. And you don’t need to understand how Angular creates that dependencies, you only need to make it clear to the dependency injection framework (DI framework) what dependencies class A needs.  

Using Angular CLI you can create a template of an injectable service class just with one command. 

ng generate service folder/class

That generated class provides a service that you can inject anywhere after the configuration of the dependency injector. The injector makes all the work to inject service instances into components. That’s all.

And again, you don’t need to write the injector from scratch because Angular gives it to you right out of the box. That dependencies injection framework makes your app robust, more testable, and increases modularity that leads to developing more efficient web apps.

3) TypeScript based technology

As we have mentioned Angular is written in TypeScript. It gives a lot of advantages to developers like code completion, routing facilities, easy refactoring, variables type check, understandable and readable code (yes, if you stick to the best coding practice your code will also be readable, but TypeScript checks the code and helps developers to provide a better code quality whether you follow best coding practice or not).

All these facilities are very helpful in the fast development of a web app. The IntelliSense decreases the development time, routing facilities allows to load dynamically a heavy component that is rarely used, and code refactoring time of an app built with TypeScript may surprise you in a good way. TypeScript helps to receive bug-free software in a short period.

Angular 9 was released with TypeScript 3.7. After a while TypeScript version 3.9 appeared, and soon the release of Angular version 10 came that supports the last version of TypeScript. The angular team keeps up to provide up-to-date software that we cannot but welcome. 

Furthermore, with the release of Angular version 10 you got optional stricter settings that improve the maintainability of the app and help you catch bugs beforehand. The strict mode makes the following:

  • Default bundle budgets have been reduced by ~75%;
  • Configures linting rules to prevent declarations of type any;
  • Configures your app as side-effect free to enable more advanced tree-shaking.

To start a new project with strict mode, use the next command in CLI Angular:

ngnew –strict

4) Provides additional frameworks for responsive app development

Ionic is an Angular-based UI toolkit that was initially developed especially for Angular to help developers to create a native iOS and Android mobile app. It is not a necessary library for development with Angular, but it facilitates smooth and fast frontend development of the native apps and integrates with core Angular libraries, so Ionic deserves attention. Capacitor lies in the heart of the Ionic framework that enables developers to build cross-platform native apps. It allows to write code using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and deploy it to any platform. Ionic framework is also available for React technology, and the Vue version is in development.  

Angular Foundation is another mobile-first front-end is a framework from the Angular team that you can use to build responsive apps. It offers an XY grid instead of the Bootstrap grid system, sets of pre-built components and elements, great customization options of JavaScript, and HTML/CSS code. 

Angular UI is a library with high-quality and customizable UI components built from the same Angular team from Google. All components are responsive and based on Material Design principles. 

Angular UI includes 4 packages: a common package that provides common interaction patterns for your custom components, a package with a set of material UI components, and packages with components that are built on top of two APIs. One is the Google Maps JavaScript API, and another is the YouTube Player API. 

5) Angular CLI

We have already mentioned the Angular command-line interface (Angular CLI) in the preceding paragraphs, let describe it more since CLI Angular is a very helpful tool.

When the second version of Angular was released developers got such a tool like a command-line interface. It allows generating applications, components, directives, services, filters, run tests, check code, and much more. To use all the above you need mostly to execute just one command. For example:

ng new – generates a workspace folder and an application skeleton.

ng generate – this command creates components, routers, services, test shells.

With the release of Angular version 10 when you use TypeScript in strict mode CLI allows you to perform advanced optimizations on the app. Angular provides two compilation models: just-in-time and ahead-of-time. In the first model your app compiles at runtime, in the second at build time. By default, JIT compilation works, but you can switch to AOT compilation with one command in Agular CLI:

ng build –aot

That switch allows you to increase the speed of rendering in browsers since they get a pre-compiled code, leads to less asynchronous requests, decreases the app download size, catches bugs during the build step and reports them.

6) Angular is used for development dynamic web apps

All features above help to build a dynamic we apps, but Angular offers more tools:

  • Unit testing. every project you create is immediately ready to test. The test becomes available in one CLI command:

    ng test

    You can test JavaScript code with Jasmine test framework and Karma test runner. The configuration of these testing modules is also made by CLI, all you need is to run it and then fix broken code.  To test services with dependencies injection Angular offers TestBed, the most important of the Angular testing utilities. Developers don’t need to care about dependent service, its own dependencies, or the level of service dependencies. For example, we can check how service interacts with templates, other components, and dependencies.
  • A lot of reusable components. Angular offers directives to create reusable components. Directives are a very powerful feature that lets developers modify other HTML elements, attributes, properties, therefore creating custom widgets. Use the following commands of CLI:

    ngClass – manipulation with CSS classes;
    ngStyle – manipulation with HTML styles;
    ngModel – adds two-way binding to an HTML form element.
  • Flexible form validation. JavaScript manages the whole process, allowing to generate a set of rules dynamically, create advanced reusable custom validators, check and control users’ actions, including filtering user input.
  • Great localization options. Localization means adapting apps to different languages and locales. Angular identifies the locale of the user and displays appropriate information according to the region of the user. That information includes dates, numbers, percentages, currencies. Furthermore, Angular identifies and marks text that extracts to a language file that you need to translate into languages you are going to release the app.

Bootstrap:

1) CSS framework that was developed for building responsive (mobile first) UI.

With Bootstrap development of responsive interfaces becomes much easier and the quality of the frontend significantly improved. That becomes possible thanks to the 12-column grid system and Flex utilities.

A bootstrap grid system is a fully responsive grid system built with containers, rows, and columns to adapt the app layouts to any screen. The bootstrap grid system is the most popular grid system on the Internet and is used by developers all over the world for building apps both for mobile and desktop.

Another feature that provides easy responsive development is Flexbox. Its main goal is to make layers flexible and intuitive to work with for developers. To achieve this, Flexbox allows containers to decide for themselves how to handle their child elements, including their size and spacing. The technology is simple, so let consider an example.

Imagine that we have a container that consists of several divs that are placed in a column. To make a container into a flex container you need to add one line of code:

#container {display: flex;
}

After that, all divs you have in the container are located along with the main axis (main is a horizontal axis by default, but you can change the direction to vertical) from left to right. Flexbox gives you tens of commands to manipulate content inside the container. You have different options to align content along with main and cross perpendicular axis, set the equal spacing between each element in the container, reverse the flow direction of elements, set the alignment for them in the block separately, and much more.

If the grid system helps to organize the whole content on the screen and makes the layouts of web pages getting adjusted automatically, thus providing responsive UI, Flexbox allows you to manipulate separate elements and their display to make UX better.  

2) Speed up the development of user interfaces

Bootstrap is not a simple grid system, it’s a toolkit with prebuilt components, JavaScript plugins, templates, and themes. Bootstrap provides hundreds of pre-styled, ready to use UI components that include forms, pagination, navbar, dropdowns, etc.  

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  • Notifications and icons
  • Developer-oriented templates

Bootstrap offers components such as dropdowns, scrollspy, carousels and makes them interactive with the numerous JavaScript plugins that go in the bootstrap package. It allows to develop a simple and clean responsive design in a short period of time.

Furthermore, you can find high-quality templates and themes that will become a good skeleton of your future app. Since the majority of templates provide great customization opportunities, there will be no problems to make your app looks unique. There are templates for almost all types of apps: admin templates, multipurpose landing page, education web app template, etc.

3) Fully customizable

Bootstrap comes with a full-fledged library of components, that gives you the ability not to write them all from scratch. However, the choice to use them or not is totally up to you and you don’t need to plug elements that have no use for your app. With Bootstrap it’s easy to remove the components you don’t need and add only necessary. You can start coding elements from scratch and include only the bootstrap files that provide responsiveness – that’s all.

Besides, a bootstrap toolkit is a collection of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files that you get access to, so you can customize any of them as much as you want. It becomes especially easy if you know the Leaner Style Sheet. As a result, you get your own customized version of bootstrap components.

It is also worth mentioning that Flexbox also comes with customization opportunities if you need more complex implementations, but be careful with that option.  

4) Consistency

Bootstrap presents on the market since 2011, it gained the support of a large community and is constantly developing.

The framework supports major of all browsers, including one of the most famous Internet Explorer 10-11.

And you never see tons of errors because of new update even when a new big release appears. That is a great plus for developers that used to work with the latest technologies.

5) Offers a lot of helper classes

Helper classes or utilities are pre-built classes for UI elements that provide styling options for lists, blocks, borders, navbars, and other elements, without the need to write any CSS code. They work seamlessly both for elements from a bootstrap toolkit and for custom elements that you have created. Using helper classes, you can change, size, borders, alignment, display, and much more.

Another useful feature is a set of utility classes for layouts with which you can make a certain block of content appear or disappear only on certain devices based on the size of their screen. If your app contains a big custom map that is hardly adaptive on small screens, you can hide it and display a standard Yandex map, for example.

What is Angular Bootstrap

Angular and Bootstrap can be used together to provide a dynamic, responsive, and beautiful front-end. You can find that combination of development tools in the Angular bootstrap framework.

Angular bootstrap is a familiar Angular framework powered with Bootstrap grid system, Bootstrap CSS, and its widgets (carousel, tooltip, alerts, etc.). It doesn’t have any additional dependencies from 3rd party libraries and has all strengths of Angular and Bootstrap we have listed above. 

Conclusion

Angular is a TypeScript-based framework that is used for developing dynamic applications. The most popularity it gained in creating dynamic single-page applications (SPA). The core Angular features are MVC architecture, two-way binding, dependency injection, Angular CLI, and TypeScript-based technology.

Besides, you can use some frameworks that were developed by the Angular team to provide additional instruments for building responsive and native UI. Among them are the Angular UI toolkit, Angular Foundation, and Ionic.

Bootstrap is a framework for the development of mobile-first responsive UI. It is the most popular library for developers because of awesome 12 column greed system, Flexbox, tons of ready-to-use UI components, great customization options, and sets of pre-built helper classes.

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