React vs Vue: Which is the Best Framework For Your Headless Frontend

October 12, 2022

The benefits of building headless sites using React vs Vue v1 react vs vue

When building a frontend user interface, it’s vital to start with technologies that make development simpler and result in superior site performance.

For ecommerce stores, how your frontend performs can be the difference between stagnating sales and a thriving online store.

JavaScript frameworks are what powers many of the sites and applications that we use every day—from Airbnb, Instagram, and Netflix to Trivago, Alibaba, and Twitter.

And there are several frameworks to choose from when creating your headless ecommerce frontend.

Two of the biggest names in this category are React and Vue. In this post, we’ll look at what these frameworks are, how they differ from each other, and their pros and cons.

First, let’s introduce them.

#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>Build a high-performing React-based headless frontend<cta-title>See how Shogun Frontend can help you deliver elevated shopping and speed.Learn more


What are React.js and Vue.js?

Vue.js and React.js are two of the most popular open-source frontend JavaScript web frameworks—libraries of pre-built code that make life easier for developers.

Both frameworks essentially do the same thing—provide a framework and standards for building user interfaces for modern web applications. For server-side rendering (SSR) capabilities, these frameworks leverage Next.js (React) and Nuxt.js (Vue) load pages super fast.

React was created by Facebook (now Meta) in 2011 as an isomorphic component-based JavaScript library for developing web applications and dynamic user interfaces.

A few notable brands using React to create incredible user experiences are BBC, Airbnb, Flipboard, Asana, Dropbox, Facebook, Netflix, Tesla, and Instagram.

Vue is a progressive JavaScript framework created in 2014 for developing single page applications (SPAs) and dynamic user interfaces.

Some major brands that use Vue for their user interface are Alibaba, Louis Vuitton, Grammarly, Trivago, Nintendo, Behance, and Xiaomi.

What are these frameworks best suited for building?

Vue.js is unique among JavaScript frameworks in that it is seen to be more progressive.

vue logo react vs vue

It has an MVVM (Model View ViewModel) approach, which is a specific design pattern developers use to build apps. It’s a way to separate the user interface logic from the backend logic.

It is used for web development prototypes, native mobile applications, single page applications, and adding functionality to existing apps.

React.js is a more component-based model, providing patterns to help developers structure their code efficiently and enable smart state management in their applications.

react logo react vs vue

It is the best choice for building larger web application projects, like social media networks, SaaS products, and ecommerce progressive web apps (PWAs).

Vue vs React: Similarities and differences

Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between these two JavaScript frameworks.


  • They both implement a virtual dom to make targeted changes
  • Both also have frameworks for developing native mobile apps—React Native and Weex
  • The learning curve for both frameworks is relatively short for experienced developers
  • Both frameworks are component-based
  • Development of PWA is supported by both frameworks
  • Large and active developer communities
  • Both have a rapid development speed


  • Vue is best for creating small web applications that are fast and lightweight; React is great for building larger applications and platforms
  • Vue uses two-way data binding; React has one-way data binding
  • While both are lightweight frameworks, Vue is smaller and a little faster
  • Vue uses Single File Components (SFC); React builds components via JSX
  • Vue is considered a framework but React is technically a library
  • Vue’s tools and libraries are all built by their team; React has more community-based solutions in its toolset

Pros and cons of React and Vue for frontend development

To get a better understanding of what React and Vue can do for your project, let’s go through what they both get right and where they are lacking.

Benefits of React

  • The most popular and utilized JavaScript framework
  • Virtual DOM allows for making small updates easier
  • Great for building dynamic web apps
  • React components are reusable, allowing developers to build UIs and apps in less time
  • One-way data flow for better code stability
  • Simple to start using for any JavaScript developer
  • Tons of documentation for learning React quickly
  • A huge development community
  • A great collection of developer tools to make development easier
  • SEO-friendly JavaScript framework

Disadvantages of React

  • Documentation can’t keep up with the regular updates to React
  • Evolving framework means devs need to constantly stay up to date with code mechanics
  • JSX code format can be complex for some developers

“React is an excellent framework for any modern web application. This is clearly evident by its vast use and popularity within the industry. React’s relatively un-opinionated structure allows developers to craft a unique structure for their application that reflects their exacting needs.

This can sometimes be challenging as projects change hands if documentation isn’t prevalent and detailed. However, there is a great deal of excellent support and suggestions within its vast community.”

– Nathan Call, Founder & CEO of SiteSource

Benefits of Vue

  • The framework is super small at only ~20kb
  • Easy to pick up for developers with JavaScript experience
  • Documentation is comprehensive
  • Reusable components simplify development
  • Code is easy to read and find errors
  • Simple, lightweight architecture
  • Great for building single page applications (SPAs) and adding to existing applications
  • Vue CLI allows developers to create projects fast

Drawbacks of Vue

  • Created in China, a lot of documentation is only available in Chinese
  • Isn’t scalable for larger, more complex projects
  • A newer framework, it doesn’t have the developer base of other frameworks
  • Lacking the number of plugins of other frameworks
  • Code flexibility can result in errors

“Vue builds on many foundational elements introduced in React and other popular frameworks but offers a reduced learning curve. VUE achieves this by providing a great deal of highly logical design patterns more tightly coupled with HTML and CSS templates.

As a result of this more simple structure, complex elements can accidentally suffer from performance bottlenecks within the data lifecycle.”

– Nathan Call, Founder & CEO of SiteSource

Why we think React is the best for building headless frontends

We’re opinionated about using the React framework because we think it’s the best way to build modern ecommerce presentation layers.

React frontends are fast and performant while allowing merchants to add rich visual merchandising across their stores.

This is a major bonus for ecommerce brands wanting to level up their storefronts to a headless solution.

Shopify agrees that React is the future of ecommerce.

Their own headless solution, Hydrogen, is React-based as well. This means the community of active React developers is only going to grow and evolve.

Not only is Facebook a React application, their team actually developed it and continues to maintain the framework.

“React is an excellent choice as you can more easily find React experts. React has a much larger community and is backed by some of the largest tech in the world, which means its continued support and development is assured to be high quality and frequent.

Its long-standing use in industry reduces risk in production environments compared to newer frameworks. React’s ability to focus on high-performance, highly functional features is ideal for ecommerce solutions where every interaction with the end user drives most business KPIs.”

– Nathan Call, Founder & CEO of SiteSource

The anatomy of a Shogun Frontend headless build

frontend technology stack react vs vue

Shogun Frontend is opinionated about the technologies we use.

We think they provide the best possible experience for developers, non-technical team members, and customers alike.

As we’ve made clear in this post, we love React for building performant and fast user interfaces. Every Shogun Frontend storefront uses the React framework.

In support of that, we use Next.js for server-side rendering (SSR), Fastly for content delivery networking (CDN), and our own middleware and content management system (CMS).

This bundle of best-in-class technologies constitutes your headless frontend.

Through the amazing power of APIs, this frontend connects to powerful ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Adobe Commerce, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud to provide the vital backend functionality of your store.

Start building your React frontend with Shogun

With any luck, this post has convinced you that React is the future of ecommerce user interfaces.

Not only that but many major brands are already using it to give users a better online experience across devices.

With Shogun Frontend, you get the power of a React presentation layer bundled with the best technologies out there, simplifying how brands manage their headless commerce stack and providing a seamless experience for their customers.


#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>Leverage React for your headless UI<cta-title>See how Shogun Frontend can help you deliver elevated shopping and speed.Learn more

Sean Flannigan

Sean is one of Shogun's tireless content marketers. When he isn't creating exciting ecommerce content, he's probably biking or at the park.

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