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Ant Design vs Material UI: How to Choose the Best One

In the battle of React UI libraries, Ant Design and Material UI stand out. But which fits your project’s needs better? Ant Design excels with enterprise-ready components, while Material UI offers creative freedom aligning with Google’s Material Design. Our direct comparison of ant design vs material ui demystifies their features, efficiency, and customization processes to help you pinpoint the most compatible option for your web application.

Key Takeaways

  • Ant Design, from Alibaba, offers an enterprise-class UI design language and a wide range of React components, while Google’s Material UI offers a modular, customizable component library based on Material Design ideology.

  • Both Ant Design and Material UI provide extensive customization and theming options, deep integration with React, and a focus on performance and scalability, although with different approaches to design and optimization strategies.

  • Ant Design is preferable for enterprise-level projects that require a comprehensive design system with internationalization support, while Material UI is ideal for modern web applications needing a contemporary, responsive interface with accessibility support.

Exploring Ant Design and Material UI

Illustration comparing Ant Design and Material UI

Entering the realm of UI libraries, Ant Design and Material UI are two heavyweights that have gained immense traction among React developers. Ant Design, a brainchild of the team at Alibaba, is an enterprise-class UI design language and React UI library known for its superior React components. On the other hand, Material UI, an open-source React component library, is the embodiment of Google’s Material Design, offering functional components inside React with minimal setup.

Both Ant Design and Material UI have won the hearts of developers for their ability to bring design consistency to applications and their wide range of components for development. A more thorough examination is required to fully grasp their capabilities. We will begin with a detailed look at Ant Design.

Ant Design Overview

Ant Design is more than just a UI library; it’s a whole design system. Developed by the team at Alibaba, it strives to create user interfaces that are efficient, elegant, and easy to use. What sets Ant Design apart is its enterprise-class UI design language, a comprehensive set of high-quality React components, and support for predictable static types with TypeScript.

For developers eager to integrate Ant Design into their projects, the recommended approach is to use npm, yarn, or pnpm. The library integrates Chinese design principles by utilizing the Ant Design Language, which prioritizes clarity, efficiency, and simplicity in design.

But why is it the world’s second most important UI library?

Shifting our focus now to Material UI.

Material UI Overview

Material UI, an open-source React component library, is a concrete implementation of Google’s Material Design. It offers a comprehensive set of customizable and accessible React components that can be directly used in production environments. The principles of Google’s Material Design are inspired by traditional print design methods and employ elements such as typography, grids, and space to establish hierarchy, meaning, and focus within the user interface.

Material UI offers a wide array of pre-built components including:

  • Buttons

  • Forms

  • Navigation elements

  • Modals

  • and more

These components are adaptable to suit your design needs or can be utilized in accordance with the Material Design principles.

With a clear understanding of both libraries, we can now proceed to a detailed comparison of their core features.

Core Features Comparison

When it comes to the core features of Ant Design and Material UI, both libraries offer a diverse array of components such as buttons, forms, navigation, and data visualizations. Ant Design offers a suite of components including Ant Design Pro Components, Ant Design Mobile, Ant Design Mini, and templates such as Ant Design Landing-Landing Templates and Scaffold Market.

Material UI, on the other hand, incorporates Google’s Material Design elements and consistently updates its library. It provides a diverse collection of React components and a collection of templates, although not categorized as specifically as Ant Design. For a more detailed overview, we will further dissect these features, starting with the components and templates.

Components and Templates

Ant Design components with internationalization support

Components and templates form the backbone of any UI library, and both Ant Design and Material UI shine in this regard. Ant Design provides an extensive array of UI components for web applications, all written in TypeScript with predictable static typing. Moreover, it offers internationalization support, enabling the utilization of languages other than English.

Material UI, on the other hand, offers modular, customizable components that can be tailored using the component key within the theme and the class name within the sx prop. Furthermore, it boasts a built-in grid system intended to be responsive, adjusting to screen size and orientation, to maintain uniformity across layouts. However, components and templates are just one aspect. Now, we turn our attention to the icons.

Icons

Material UI icons with 2100+ Material Icons

Icons play a crucial role in UI design, providing visual cues and enhancing user experience. Ant Design offers a comprehensive collection of icons, accessible through the @ant-design/icons package. These icons are recognized for their:

  • Clarity

  • Intuitiveness

  • Simplicity

  • Visual balance and harmony

  • Consistent stroke widths and proportions

The Ant Design library encompasses a total of 788 icons, offering a comprehensive selection for a wide range of user interface designs.

To incorporate Ant Design Icons into their projects, developers can execute the command ‘yarn add @ant-design/icons@4.0.0’. They can then import and utilize the icons directly within their codebase. Having studied the core features, we will now proceed to customization and theming.

Customization and Theming

Customization and theming stand as powerful attributes of any UI library. They enable developers to tailor the user interface according to specific requirements, ensuring a unique and consistent user experience. Both Ant Design and Material UI cater to these needs, albeit in different ways.

Ant Design allows the customization of specific UI elements like dropdowns and primary color, while Material UI provides tools for customizing components using the class name with the sx prop, offers a Material palette generator for theme colors, and includes mui-theme-creator for overall theme design. But as with any tool, there are limitations.

We will delve into these customization options in more detail.

Ant Design Customization

Ant Design customization options

Ant Design facilitates simplicity through customization by enabling developers to tailor the design system to their specific needs, including the use of a CSS framework. This includes adopting CSS-in-JS for robust customization, introduced in version 5.0 as an alternative to less and CSS variables used in version 4.x.

In terms of design tokens, Ant Design allows the customization of elements like primary color, border radius, and border color. This is achieved by adjusting a set of less variables for each design aspect.

The process for customizing components in Ant Design involves the following steps:

  1. Create a project and install Ant Design.

  2. Install less and less-loader if using version 4.x.

  3. Edit the Webpack config and babel-plugin-import.

  4. Customize the design tokens to align with UI requirements.

Material UI Customization

Material UI theming and customization options

Material UI offers a diverse array of customization options, including:

  • Customizing components for specific use cases

  • Adjusting themes for colors and typography

  • Modifying a component’s styles and default props via the theme’s component key.

One of the key features of Material UI is its built-in theme system, which provides developers with the ability to create and customize themes for their component library, utilizing tools such as mui-theme-creator to modify different aspects of components. In addition to this, Material UI offers CSS classes through the sx prop for customizing components and React hooks such as useTheme, which facilitate state implementation and provide access to theme variables. For developers seeking to further expedite their development process, PureCode.ai offers thousands of custom components that make development easier and faster, enhancing both the efficiency and the aesthetics of your projects.

Having explored customization, let’s consider another crucial aspect: performance and scalability.

Performance and Scalability

Performance and scalability are pivotal factors when choosing a UI library, especially when working on large-scale applications. Both Ant Design and Material UI are known for their high performance and scalability, providing efficient code maintainability and optimized components for fast rendering and a seamless user experience.

Material UI, in particular, employs bundle size optimization and regular size snapshots to ensure efficient load times. It also recommends the use of lazy loading when using its components to further enhance the performance of a React application. But how do these libraries perform individually? Let’s examine this, starting with Ant Design.

Ant Design Performance

Ant Design stands out for its high performance and features ant design optimization techniques such as refactoring components for performance troubleshooting, implementing lazy loading, and employing code splitting to ensure a smooth user experience.

In the context of large-scale applications, Ant Design strategically optimizes performance by segregating components into multiple contexts to minimize rendering times and eliminate unnecessary re-renders. Moreover, it efficiently manages the rendering of large datasets by employing a virtual table component that processes a limited subset of data at a time, thereby reducing re-rendering time and DOM manipulations.

Material UI Performance

Material UI offers several advantages over other libraries:

  • It leverages CSS-in-JS for styling, which allows for easy customization and enhanced flexibility and performance.

  • It facilitates easy composition, making it easier to build complex UI components.

  • It offers optimized packages to minimize bundle size, resulting in faster load times.

  • Its virtualization feature efficiently renders only the visible data, improving performance even with large datasets.

  • Material UI’s rendering performance remains consistent and does not degrade with an increase in the number of items in the list, providing a reliable experience.

It improves performance and scalability by leveraging composition to interact with libraries such as routing or forms libraries, offering optimized packages tailored to various requirements and promoting adherence to best practices and the development of a custom component library for large-scale applications. Next, we switch gears to discuss learning curves and community support.

Learning Curve and Community Support

Learning curve and community support are significant considerations when choosing a UI library. A steep learning curve can pose challenges, while an active community can provide valuable insights and assistance. In terms of learning curve, Material UI is quite manageable, particularly for individuals who have experience with React and Google’s Material Design principles.

For Ant Design, novices may encounter challenges due to its stringent design guidelines and the extensive range of enterprise-level components. However, a variety of comprehensive tutorials and documentation is available to aid in learning Ant Design, including:

Let’s delve deeper into the learning curves of Ant Design and Material UI.

Ant Design Learning Curve

While Ant Design is revered for its extensive features and powerful components, it comes with a steep learning curve, particularly for novices. This is due to its stringent design guidelines and the wide range of ant design components it offers at the enterprise-level, as ant design focuses on providing a comprehensive solution.

However, numerous systematic tutorials can help in comprehending Ant Design. Novices can consult the official documentation, which provides instructions on generating a codesandbox, utilizing and adjusting components, and delving into the comprehensive array of components.

For someone with a strong understanding of React and design principles, proficiency in Ant Design can be attained within a span of several weeks to a few months through focused learning and practice.

Material UI Learning Curve

On the other hand, Material UI provides a more gentle learning experience. It offers a milder learning curve for users. Novices can initiate their learning journey with Material UI by delving into the official documentation, which provides tutorials and a comprehensive guide for beginners. Furthermore, they can explore courses on platforms such as Udemy and instructional content on YouTube.

A solid understanding of React and its fundamental concepts is essential for mastering Material UI. Furthermore, familiarity with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and overarching UI design principles is pivotal for effectively grasping Material UI. Acquiring a foundational understanding of Material UI can typically be achieved within a few months, however, attaining a high level of mastery in the framework may necessitate 6 to 12 months of consistent practice and application.

Here’s a video discussing both libraries together:

Now, we will discuss some use cases and recommendations.

Use Cases and Recommendations

The choice between Ant Design and Material UI usually boils down to the specific use case at hand. Ant Design shines when the project demands enterprise-level components, internationalization tools, and a preference for Less.js styling. On the other hand, Material UI is well-suited for projects that necessitate thorough customization options, an all-encompassing component library, and are anticipated to undergo frequent updates.

Ant Design is typically used in the development of enterprise systems, e-commerce platforms, dashboards, and content management systems. Material UI, in contrast, is frequently employed when building responsive web applications that emphasize a contemporary appearance and experience. In this article, we’ll explore the topic of Ant Design vs Material and delve into the specifics of when each library might be the better choice.

When to Choose Ant Design

Ant Design is an excellent choice when your project requires elegant designs, customizable components, and internationalization support. It supports the creation of elegant designs by adhering to the principles of the “Ant Design Language,” which prioritizes clarity, efficiency, and simplicity in design.

In terms of customization, Ant Design provides the flexibility to customize design tokens in order to accommodate UI diversity, while also offering a range of powerful components that facilitate the creation of complex UIs with simplicity.

Furthermore, it offers various methods to support multilingual applications, making it an ideal choice for global projects.

When to Choose Material UI

Material UI is most suitable for developing:

  • Modern, responsive interfaces

  • Modular components

  • Web applications that emphasize a contemporary appearance and experience

  • Uniform, user-friendly, and visually appealing interfaces across various platforms and devices

It also provides accessibility support.

Material UI facilitates rapid assembly of components, aiding in the swift creation of interactive prototypes. It offers the following benefits:

  • Ensures uniform design language

  • Offers improved encapsulation and scoped styles

  • Enables dynamic styling

  • Is compatible with various styling systems

  • Prioritizes accessibility, ensuring that its components adhere to accessibility guidelines and maintaining support for keyboard navigation.

These features streamline the development process.

Choose Between Ant Design vs Material UI

We’ve navigated through the vast landscapes of Ant Design and Material UI, dissecting their features, performance, customization options, and more. Both libraries offer a robust set of components, impressive customization options, and promise high performance and scalability. However, Ant Design might be a better fit for enterprise-level applications requiring strict design guidelines and a wide range of components. On the other hand, Material UI shines when it comes to extensive customization options, a comprehensive component library, and adherence to Google’s Material Design guidelines.

The choice between Ant Design and Material UI heavily depends on your specific project requirements and personal preference. Both libraries have their strengths and appeal to different use cases. Whichever you choose, you’ll be equipped with a powerful tool to build stunning and efficient user interfaces. If you’re looking for additional resources to enhance your development process, consider exploring PureCode.ai, which offers thousands of custom components that can further streamline your build, making development faster and more aesthetically pleasing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there anything better than material UI?

Consider alternatives like Kendo UI, Flat UI, Ant Design, react-md, and Angular Material. They are popular and powerful alternatives to Material-UI.

What are the advantages of Ant Design?

The primary advantage of Ant Design is its comprehensive component library and features, which include a wide range of UI patterns and data visualizations, making it an excellent choice for enterprise products.

Is Ant Design widely used?

Yes, Ant Design is widely used for building enterprise-level websites both domestically and internationally.

What are the fundamental differences between Ant Design and Material UI?

Ant Design is known for its enterprise-class UI design language and high-quality React components, while Material UI implements Google’s Material Design and provides customizable and accessible React components. Both libraries have their own unique design philosophies and component sets.

How can we customize components in Ant Design?

In Ant Design, you can customize components by adjusting a set of less variables for design aspects such as primary color, border radius, and border color.

Andrea Chen

Andrea Chen