Preact vs. React Differences

Preact vs. React: Differences

As the web development industry keeps taking a new shape, new libraries, tools, and resources keep emerging. These tools play a bigger role in creating a seamless web app development environment, making work easier for developers.

In JavaScript libraries, React has dominated the web development environment by offering extensive features that make app and web development easy. Nonetheless, the craving for simplified tools and resources keeps growing. That is why Preact, an alternative to React, is gaining momentum. But then, what distinguishes Preact from React? Why would a developer choose React and not Preact and vice versa?

This guide will give you all insights into the Preact vs React debate, enabling you to figure out the similarities, differences, and use cases. This will help you choose the right tool based on your project’s requirements.

An Overview of React

React is a JavaScript, open-source library developed and maintained by Facebook. It’s known for its ability to create impressive user interfaces, especially for single-page applications. Its component-based architecture ensures a top-notch user experience. What’s more, React is effective in enhancing and updating user interface rendering, thanks to its unidirectional data flow and document object model (DOM) features.

React features

React and Preact

So, what makes React unique? Below are the key features that define React in general:

  • TheJSX

React uses JSX to help developers write UI components with an almost similar HTML syntax to enhance code readability.

  • Component-Based Architecture

React uses component-based architecture to enhance reusability and modularity, thus making it easy to maintain complicated UIs.

  • Backward Compatibility

Backward compatibility in React ensures the existing code isn’t broken when new features and updates are added.

  • Virtual DOM

It is easy to re-render and update the changed components in React, thus helping in performance optimization.

  • Large Ecosystem

The React ecosystem is large enough, with useful tools, third-party libraries, and a solid community that provides useful insights in relation to React.

Advantages of React

So, why would a developer choose React and not Preact? Below are the top benefits of React in the web development industry:

  • Performance Optimization

React comes packed with different features for optimizing a site. For example, it supports code splitting and SSR (server-side rendering). These features improve the SEO experience and cut down on the initial loading time. Again, one-way data binding in React helps in debugging and shows predictable changes. This feature makes it easier for developers to identify & fix any issues that could affect overall performance.

  • Reusable Code

Developers can create reusable UI components when using React. This is advantageous, especially when working on large and complex projects, as it saves time and ensures consistency through the processes.

  • Improved flexibility

The React’s modular structure makes it flexible and easy to maintain compared to other frameworks. This flexibility also cuts down on costs and saves some good time.

  • Speed

With React, the development pace is quite faster since developers can use individual components of an app on both the server and client sides.

  • It’s easy to learn

It is easy to learn and master React compared to other frameworks. This is one of the reasons that React gained popularity and momentum since businesses could accomplish their respective projects faster with React.

  • Impressive SEO rankings

Many online businesses rely heavily on SEO to penetrate the market easily. An app with great rendering speed and low page loading time will definitely rank on Google.

React reduces page loading time significantly, and it has a fast rendering speed, a feature that helps applications rank on Google.

  • Strong community support

React is among the frameworks with solid community support, hence making it a perfect option for your next project.

Many professional React developers keep contributing useful insights to other developers, making React gain popularity and the most preferred framework.

Again, when you search on YouTube, you will see lots of educative tutorials guiding you on how to implement the use of React in your project. Other than that, blogs and articles are available on the internet, guiding expert and beginner developers on the use of React.

Therefore, it is easy to find solutions to the React framework across different platforms.

  • Availability of extensions

React has a lot of useful packages and extensions. These extensions make coding easy and seamless for developers, as they can easily read and comprehend code.

  • Easy-to-maintain / highly scalable

It can be hard to create a complex app that requires regular maintenance to meet different business needs.

However, the React framework uses a modular architecture, which is highly flexible, enabling developers to work on one component without affecting the whole structure. This makes it easy to implement some changes to meet business needs.

  • Offers Mobile Application Development

React is mainly known for creating web apps and websites. However, the upgrades have made it possible for the framework to help in creating mobile applications.

This is backed up by the “learn once, write anywhere” phrase in the field of app development. Therefore, a developer can easily use the same components in mobile app development, thus saving time and budget.

In a nutshell, the apps built with React can be used on iOS & Android devices.

  • Easy Integration with Other Technologies

React is a versatile framework as it integrates smoothly with other technologies, thus making the development process easier. It is, therefore, a versatile framework that can help developers make UI frameworks and API requests when integrated with other libraries like Axios.

Again, React can work with Express.js, a backend framework, and Node.js, a server-side technology to build full-stack apps. This compatibility with other technologies gives developers flexibility when choosing the right technologies and tools for their projects.

Disadvantages of React

While Reat has a lot of benefits in the web development space, it has some notable drawbacks, which include the following:

  • Frequent update challenges

Frequent updates are advantageous in one way, especially because they help developers add some features that favor the ever-changing business environment. However, frequent updates are disadvantageous, too, because maintenance issues may arise along the way. The developer, at some point, may have to make changes to the codebase for compatibility reasons, and this can cause a set of challenges, especially for bigger projects.

  • Limited Official Documentation

The documentation in the React framework is limited in different aspects. You may fail to find a specific use case of React in the development process, thus causing some inconveniences. In most cases, developers have to rely on third-party resources and the vast React community for extra support.

  • JSX as a barrier

JSX is a syntax that allows JavaScript and HTML integration. While it is beneficial in different ways, it is a barrier, especially for new developers who experience a hard time learning and mastering the technology.

  • Non-JavaScript Developers barrier

React is a JavaScript-based framework. Therefore, if a developer isn’t proficient with JavaScript, they might not work well with React. Although JavaScript is one of the most popular and versatile programming languages, some developers from other backgrounds often have a hard time using React technologies.

  • Complex Concepts and Advanced Patterns

Of course, one major drawback of React is its complex pattern and concepts. Junior developers often find it hard to master these complexities, such as lifestyle methods, state management, props, hooks, and JSX technologies. Therefore, the learning curve of React is quite complex.

React use cases

You can use React when creating the following:

  • Dynamic User Interfaces

With React, you can create impressive dynamic UIs whereby you can update individual components when adjusting changes to the app.

  • Single Page Applications

React plays a significant role in creating SPAs where UI interactions happen within a single page – no need to load the whole page.

  • Real-Time Applications

The effective rendering process in React makes it ideal for real-time apps such as dashboards and chat apps that require regular updates.

  • Interactive Web Applications

You can create responsive web apps with React due to its efficient rendering and virtual DOM features.

  • Component-Based Architecture

It is easy to create apps with complex UI with React, thanks to its component-based architecture that makes it possible to break down, reuse, and maintain the components.

  • Mobile App Development

React has powerful tools like React native that help in building native mobile applications for Android and iOS platforms.

Preact Overview

Preact is simply an alternative to react, and it is faster and lightweight. While it also offers component-based architecture, the main aim of Preact is to give developers a lightweight option to speed up the web development process.

One interesting fact is that Preact is compatible with React, making it easy for developers to write code in React and make minor modifications, and the code runs effectively in Preact.

Therefore, unlike React, Preact is simple, faster, and smaller, making it ideal for projects that require optimizing performance and reducing bundle size.

Key features of Preact

Preact and react

So, what makes Preact unique? Below are the top features:

  • Simplicity

The key focus of Preact is to keep it simple during the app development processes. This reduces overhead for simple projects.

  • Performance-Oriented

Since Preact is smaller in size with an updated core, it is faster than React.

  • Component-Based

Preact uses component-based architecture, just like React, hence offering reusability and modularity benefits.

  • Lightweight

Preact is a perfect fit option for projects with size constraints, thanks to its smaller 3kB footprint size.

  • React Compatibility

It is easy for developers to reuse React code on Preact with a few modifications, thanks to its compatibility with React.

Advantages of Preact

If you are wondering if Preact is the ideal solution to your next project, below are the reasons why you should choose Preact.

  • Performance

Preact uses varied techniques to reduce the time required for updating and rendering UI. The virtual DOM is effective in leveraging a responsive UI and speedy updates. This performance speed is just a perfect solution for every developer, especially for web development and single-page applications.

  • Progressive Enhancement

Preact is meant for progressive enhancement, i.e., it can be gradually added to a project already in progress. You can begin with Preact components to leverage the performance of a section of the app without starting from scratch.

  • Lightweight

The fact that Preact is lightweight makes it ideal for improving performance and enhancing page loading times for the apps to optimize performance. When the bundles are smaller, the loading time is faster, and this leads to an impressive user experience and better SEO rankings.

  • Ecosystem and Community

When compared with React, Preact doesn’t have steady and large community support; however, the Preact community is still growing, and you can easily find useful tools, resources, and plugins to elevate your Preact project.

  • Compatibility with React:

It is easy for developers to transition from React to Preact using the same codebase, thanks to the high compatibility rate.

Disadvantages of Preact

Does Preact have any disadvantages? Yes, it does, and they include the following:

  • Risk of Abandonment:

It’s hard to implement updates in Preact, especially when handling a long-time project that requires regular updates and maintenance. This causes incontinence during the development processes, whether dealing with a bigger or smaller project.

  • Learning Curve

If you aren’t a React developer, learning and mastering Preact can be complex, hence requiring dedication of more time and other resources.

  • Limited Ecosystem

Preact doesn’t have a solid ecosystem compared to React. Therefore, it can be hard to find third-party components and libraries to elevate your project when using Preact. However, you may opt to get existing React components or build everything from scratch.

  • Limited Adoption in Enterprise:

Compared to Vue.js, Angular, and React, Preact isn’t well adopted in the enterprise. This makes it hard for large organizations to embrace Preact, especially when they want to use adopted technologies.

  • Smaller Team and Resources:

Contrary to React, which is maintained and supported by Facebook, Preact has a smaller ecosystem. This means Preact resources are limited, thus slowing down update processes. Preact users could wait forever to have bugs fixed and to explore new features.

Preact use cases

Use Preact when building the following:

  • Interactive Dashboards

It is easy to update the UI with the changing data structure for faster page loading time when using Preact. This makes it possible for developers to build interactive websites using Preact.

  • Content-Rich Websites

Preact is used mostly in building content-rich websites, thanks to its features such as reduced bundle size and fast rendering. It enhances a better user experience while providing timely user feedback. Examples of content-rich websites include blogging and news portal websites.

  • Single-Page Applications

It is easy to build SPAs with Preact due to its performance optimization, and DOM features that promote faster loading time and an impressive user experience.

  • Progressive Web Apps

Since Preact is lightweight, it is effective in building PWAs, making them accessible on different devices, and integrating them with other features for improved functionality.

  • Micro Frontends

Developers can use Preact to build micro frontends thanks to its compatibility with other frameworks and its reduced size.

React vs. Preact: Detailed comparison

So, what makes React different from Preact? Below are notable differences between the Preact and React frameworks.

  • Performance

While React performs impressively in most cases, it is a bit slow when compared to Preact. Its full-featured virtual DOM gives React a set of useful features that enhance optimization processes. While this is the best solution for complex projects, it affects the general performance of the product.

Preact, on the other hand, is known for its impressive performance when compared to React. With Preact, a developer can customize a virtual DOM, hence cutting down on update tasks. Therefore, if an app requires quick UI updates, then Preact is the ideal framework.

  • Community support

React, being a popular framework, has solid community support with professional developers and experts who offer extensive guide on using React. It is, therefore, easy to access tools, libraries, and documentation when using React, making it easy for React developers.

Preact, on the other hand, has a smaller ecosystem and community compared to React. Although it is still growing, developers can access resources, tools, and third-party libraries to help in the development processes. However, it can be challenging to get solutions to some Preact questions.

  • Ecosystem

React has a huge, established ecosystem with third-party libraries, extensions, and tools that help developers access pre-built solutions for basic projects, thus improving the development process and cutting down on overall costs.

On the other hand, Preact has a less extensive ecosystem, hence forcing developers to customize some features to get solutions to specific issues. Nonetheless, Preact has some impressive tools and packages that help in the development process, but they aren’t as extensive as in React’s case.

  • Development speed

Well, Preact is faster compared to React, thanks to its smaller size. With Preact, developers can achieve impressive loading times and responsive UIs. Therefore, for an app whose top concern is performance, then Preact is the real deal.

React, on the other hand, offers a good development speed and overall performance, but not as Preact. The loading time may be slow, but the overall performance is impressive in many cases.

  • Learning curve

React is extensive, with a lot of concepts to learn and master. Developers, therefore, are required to put in more effort and devote time to mastering the core concepts of React. Nonetheless, the same React has a wide range of resources to aid in the learning process, making it less complicated.

Preact, on the other hand, is an easy-to-learn and master framework, especially for developers who already understand React. Most React concepts are compatible with Preact, hence making the learning process smoother.

  • Use cases

React is a perfect choice for complex and large-scale apps. It is ideal for building enterprises and apps that require higher scalability and functionality, thanks to its set of features and the extensive ecosystem.

Preact, on the other hand, is ideal for SPAs, lightweight, and apps that require smaller bundles. If the core objective of a project is to keep the app lightweight with top-notch performance, then Preact is the real deal.

Preact vs. React: which one should you choose?

Both React and Preact are excellent technologies that enhance the development process. However, to choose the best framework that will streamline the development process, consider the following:

  • Goals and objectives of the app
  • The team’s skills and knowledge
  • The size of the project
  • Budget and deadlines


Every developer needs the right tools and resources to build reliable applications. Preact and React are among the frameworks that make the whole process seamless and achievable. However, it is key to examine the magnitude and dynamics of the project at hand before settling for the right framework.

Get in touch with our web development company – If you want to build a powerful web application using best framework.


Written by:

Stuti Dhruv

Stuti Dhruv is a Senior Consultant at Aalpha Information Systems, specializing in pre-sales and advising clients on the latest technology trends. With years of experience in the IT industry, she helps businesses harness the power of technology for growth and success.

Stuti Dhruv is a Senior Consultant at Aalpha Information Systems, specializing in pre-sales and advising clients on the latest technology trends. With years of experience in the IT industry, she helps businesses harness the power of technology for growth and success.