So, you’re thinking — should I use Angular or React?

Recently, while working at Zühlke, our customer asked us to pick which technology should they should use for their next project. We spent a month creating different Proofs Of Concept, trying out both technologies, and finding out what’s best for our client.

Which technology is better? What features does Angular have that React doesn’t?

To be frank — you won’t find those answers here.

Here’s what you can learn, though:

  • How to serve your customer better?
  • How does your customer think?
  • Why do engineers have “trouble” talking to customers?
  • Why, at Zühlke, we let our engineers talk to the customer and do better because of it?

How to serve your customer better?

Work can be about fun, mastery, money, creativity, inspiration, and so much more. But what purpose do all of those have if you were all alone in the world?

Work is about serving others; about creating something that others need.

The technology should be secondary to that.

Which leads me to my point — for us, engineers, the technology usually comes first.

If you want to achieve more than cleaner code, fewer bugs, or more straightforward code reviews — you have to think outside of this box.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly how to do this. Every person is unique, and thus every company is even uniquer (it sounded better in my head). Fortunately, I can help you get there.

Okay, so to serve better here are some questions you should ask:

  • Who is going to use my software?
  • Why does that person need my software?
  • How are they going to use it?
  • Why are they going to use it?

Circumstances matter. Perspective matters. You don’t want to build the perfect piece of clean-code software that everyone hates using, do you?

Wearing your customer’s shoes.

Imagine this:

You’re working at your customer’s company. Not only that, but you’re the CEO. You’re paying this other company to build this amazing piece of software. Why?

Now, try this mental exercise:

You’re working at your customer’s company and you’re going to use this new piece of software tomorrow. What is your job?

You’re not sure you want this software. Why should you want it?

Finally, think through this:

You’re an HR advisor. You know this software is cool, but you’re not exactly a software developer. Would you understand it?

Those questions, amongst others, can help you find perspective and think about perception rather than technology.

He’s currently picking between Angular and React.

Why do engineers have “trouble” talking to customers?

Frankly, I doubt that’s what’s going on. What I’m sure of is that work in the future wouldn’t hold some of it’s brightest minds back because they “aren’t good communicators.”

I know myself, though, and I often experience “trouble” talking to customers in one particular way. One way, that’s so simple and so obvious, that it pains me to share it.

I forget.

I, sometimes, get so absorbed in the technology, so absorbed in my craft, that I forget one simple, human thing — I forget to talk to people. I forget to ask questions and understand.

Behind that company’s name sits a person. If you can connect with her, you can understand her. You can serve that person better and find a way to make her life better.

Don’t forget to communicate.

Why let engineers talk to customers?

Because they can, or they will be able to.

At Zühlke, we did precisely this. This is what we’re doing every day. We regularly communicate and find ways to work better together.

Does this mean we’re always happy and that we have zero bugs?

Hell no.

But it means we’re on the same page and that whenever we finish something, we can take pride in the fact that it is going to be used.

I sucked at communication with customers at first. I, at times, still make mistakes — even right now. But that’s how communication goes — as long as the other side talks to a human and not a “company”, that’s okay.

Teamwork can, and should, include everyone on the team. This means you, your colleagues, and your customers.

Fin

Long story short, my team and I fell in love with React. It clicked well for us, and we just “got it” faster.

What technology did we pick up for our project — Angular. Why?

Because our customer wouldn’t have had the same success with React.

Did our customers like that? They loved it; they also loved working with us for that.

What technology should you pick?

I don’t know. Is this really the right question to ask?

It’s a good habit to pick up.

Stay Awesome,

I’ve worked in a bunch of companies – Zühlke, Uber, VMware. I’ve also started a few startups – Carbon Concept, Gamers Aspire, and Unity Guide (yeah, I don’t know your startup’s names also). Currently, I’m helping Zühlke Sofia as a Lead Software architect.

I’m a big fan of personal productivity, and I have a blog called Never Productive. I’ve read, tried, and tested all the best ideas and approaches to be more productive (and passionately do about 3% of them).

Jordan Georgiev

Lead Software architect, Zühlke