Polymer vs React - Comparison between JavaScript Libraries

June 13, 2017

With recent advancements in technologies, the web no longer serves just static content. Thanks to JavaScript, websites became web apps providing dynamic content. There are lots of JavaScript libraries and frameworks available in the market for building dynamic web apps.

Some of the popular libraries like Polymer and React allows developers to create components composed of data and UI. Having experience in both libraries we will compare both of them in this article.


React is a JavaScript library developed by facebook that helps developers to build UI components declaratively. React components can be written in JSX which is a syntax extension of JavaScript. JSX enables user to write HTML within JavaScript.


Polymer is a JavaScript library developed by Google that helps developers to create reusable HTML elements based on Web Components standards. Polymer allows developer to harness the power of Web Components for building a future proof apps.

The below table indicates a comparison between React and Polymer.

Feature Polymer React
  Polymer Logo React Logo
Popularity (Number of GitHub Stars) Star Star
Server Side Rendering No Yes (with Node.js )
Compliant to Web Components standard Yes No.
Data Flow Between parent and child components (two-way binding) Only from parent to child component (one-way binding)
Support Channel slack , stack overflow discord , forum , stack overflow
Tooling Support Less Huge
Browser Support Chrome (Native).
Firefox, Safari 9+, IE 11+, and Edge (Using polyfills)
Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE 9+, and Edge (By compiling ES6 to ES5)
Notable Sites Using Google Translate Community , Google Music , EA , Divshot , Youtube Gaming Facebook , Feedly , Fiverr , Flipkart , Instagram

Which library should you use?

Polymer provides an easy way of creating custom components and adheres to Web Components standard wheres react takes advantage of its virtual DOM implementation which renders the DOM blazing fast.

If you want to build future-proof apps that support modern browser, Polymer is your choice. If you want to build an app with rich data, you can go for React. Also check for the availability of community built components for React and Polymer, before starting to build it on your own.

Final Thoughts

Using Polymer components inside a React component and vice versa is practically possible, but not usually preferred. More information available about using Web Components within React is available in React documentation page.

The quality of the application that you build brings more value irrespective of the framework that you use. So try focusing more on building the application rather than focusing on the library that you use. Want to explore more JavaScript front-end frameworks? Checkout this collection of JavaScript frameworks build by GitHub.

Decided a library to use in your next project? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Sasivarnan R

Written by Sasivarnan R who lives and works in Bengaluru, India. You should follow him on Twitter