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Polymer vs React: What are the differences?

Developers describe Polymer as "A new library built on top of Web Components, designed to leverage the evolving web platform on modern browsers". Polymer is a new type of library for the web, designed to leverage the existing browser infrastructure to provide the encapsulation and extendability currently only available in JS libraries. Polymer is based on a set of future technologies, including Shadow DOM, Custom Elements and Model Driven Views. Currently these technologies are implemented as polyfills or shims, but as browsers adopt these features natively, the platform code that drives Polymer evacipates, leaving only the value-adds. On the other hand, React is detailed as "A JavaScript library for building user interfaces". Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.

Polymer belongs to "Front-End Frameworks" category of the tech stack, while React can be primarily classified under "Javascript UI Libraries".

"Web components" is the top reason why over 49 developers like Polymer, while over 673 developers mention "Components" as the leading cause for choosing React.

Polymer and React are both open source tools. React with 132K GitHub stars and 24.5K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Polymer with 21.1K GitHub stars and 2K GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, React has a broader approval, being mentioned in 3224 company stacks & 3093 developers stacks; compared to Polymer, which is listed in 42 company stacks and 32 developer stacks.

What is Polymer?

Polymer is a new type of library for the web, designed to leverage the existing browser infrastructure to provide the encapsulation and extendability currently only available in JS libraries. Polymer is based on a set of future technologies, including Shadow DOM, Custom Elements and Model Driven Views. Currently these technologies are implemented as polyfills or shims, but as browsers adopt these features natively, the platform code that drives Polymer evacipates, leaving only the value-adds.

What is React?

Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.
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      What are some alternatives to Polymer and React?
      Angular 2
      Angular is a development platform for building mobile and desktop web applications.
      Bootstrap
      Bootstrap is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web.
      Animate.css
      It is a bunch of cool, fun, and cross-browser animations for you to use in your projects. Great for emphasis, home pages, sliders, and general just-add-water-awesomeness.
      Material Design for Angular
      Material Design is a specification for a unified system of visual, motion, and interaction design that adapts across different devices. Our goal is to deliver a lean, lightweight set of AngularJS-native UI elements that implement the material design system for use in Angular SPAs.
      Foundation
      Foundation is the most advanced responsive front-end framework in the world. You can quickly prototype and build sites or apps that work on any kind of device with Foundation, which includes layout constructs (like a fully responsive grid), elements and best practices.
      See all alternatives
      Decisions about Polymer and React
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      Reviews of Polymer and React
      Review ofReactReact

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      How developers use Polymer and React
      Avatar of Instacart
      Instacart uses ReactReact

      Before two weeks ago or so, it used to be Backbone views and models, and everything was on our main store app, and our mobile web app, but actually, we just switched our mobile web app to using ReactJS for the interface. So it’s using Backbone models but ReactJS front-end components. Really, it was borne out of the frustration with how the Backbone model-view bindings worked, and it wasn’t especially performant for large views, and we had to do lots of tricks to make it performant. But swapping that out with React views meant that it could be both simpler and faster without having to spend a lot of time on that.

      One other interesting thing about that is, since React actually works okay with the Backbone models and the Backbone router and stuff like that, we didn’t have to rewrite the mobile web application and update it to ReactJS. Rewrites are almost always a bad idea. We were able to upgrade pieces of it at a time, move on to React, and now the entire thing is using React and just has the Backbone router and models and stuff like that that we already had, so it's a lot faster.

      Avatar of Netflix
      Netflix uses ReactReact

      At the beginning of last year, Netflix UI engineers embarked on several ambitious projects to dramatically transform the user experience on our desktop and mobile platforms. Given a UI redesign of a scale similar to that undergone by TVs and game consoles, it was essential for us to re-evaluate our existing UI technology stack and to determine whether to explore new solutions. Do we have the right building blocks to create best-in-class single-page web applications? And what specific problems are we looking to solve? Much of our existing front-end infrastructure consists of hand-rolled components optimized for the current website and iOS application. Our decision to adopt React was influenced by a number of factors, most notably: 1) startup speed, 2) runtime performance, and 3) modularity.

      React has exceeded our requirements and enabled us to build a tremendous foundation on which to innovate the Netflix experience.

      Avatar of Cloudcraft
      Cloudcraft uses ReactReact

      Web-frontend programming prior to React: like banging rocks together. With React: Like wearing fusion powered underwear. Gives you a nice warm feeling. Using React for Cloudcraft.co allowed us to create a beautiful UI in record time (1 month start to launch), with virtually no bugs popping up during development. The functional approach to just rendering your component given a state just makes so much sense, with React figuring out the delta between your current and desired representation. It's the future kids!

      Avatar of Kurzor, s.r.o.
      Kurzor, s.r.o. uses ReactReact

      React is choice number 1 when it comes to JS development at Kurzor. We choose React because it solves many issues with web applications in a elegant way. Writing an app in components is useful for coordination and isolation of concerns. React forces you to abandon state and use vertical passing through props instead. And having as many Pure Components as possible helps to write cleaner code.

      With React we usually use: Redux, React Router, React Toolbox, Styled Components.

      Avatar of Kent Steiner
      Kent Steiner uses ReactReact

      This is the best component framework and API available today for building modern web sites and apps. I really enjoy how minimal it is, and powerful at the same time. It removes opinionated development and replaces it with logic and data philosophies, which has in turn fostered a robust and lively code and support community.

      Avatar of Ana Phi Sancho
      Ana Phi Sancho uses PolymerPolymer

      In process of Learning Technics- Studing to know more. I was introduced in a Google event.

      Polymer is another Google offering that focuses on Web Components, an up-and-coming collection of technologies that provide web developers with the ability to create customer HTML elements.

      Avatar of Badge List
      Badge List uses PolymerPolymer

      Polymer is super future-focused and really great to build in. The biggest plus for us is how its component-focused approach keeps things modular and maintainable. It also makes it really easy to implement material design.

      Avatar of Arvind Iyer
      Arvind Iyer uses PolymerPolymer

      Built a material design simple todo app with a firebase backend

      Avatar of Ralic Lo
      Ralic Lo uses PolymerPolymer

      Support build of application and import web component.

      Avatar of Casey Smith
      Casey Smith uses PolymerPolymer

      Componentize the front-end web client.

      How much does Polymer cost?
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