Comparing reactivity models: Redux vs MobX vs Vuex vs others

Anton Ioffe - September 25th 2023 - 19 minutes read

As developers, we constantly grapple with state management—a fundamental aspect of modern web development. We strive to strike a perfect balance, where data flow is both secure and predictable, but achieving this balance is no mean feat. This article aims to make that journey smoother by studying Redux, MobX, and Vuex, three powerful libraries popularly adopted for state management in JavaScript applications.

We'll delve deep into the conceptual layers of these tools, their underlying architecture, and how they handle reactivity. We'll also compare their performances, focusing on memory utilization, computation efficiency, scalability, and function handling. In the process, we hope to highlight the unique strengths that set each of these libraries apart, allowing you to make an informed decision when choosing between them.

Crucially, we'll put ourselves in the shoes of fellow developers and capture the hands-on experience of using these libraries – the learning curves, code verbosity, and available tooling. The article will wrap up by explore other state management alternatives that are shaking up the territory—a must-read for those seeking more beyond Redux, MobX, and Vuex.

Trust me, this deep-dive exploration is crafted to make your JavaScript journey simpler and more efficient. Let's dive in.

Understanding Redux, MobX, Vuex, and Their Roles in State Management

Firstly, to comprehend the role of Redux, MobX, Vuex, and similar libraries in managing web application state, we need to trace our steps back to the fundamental concept of "state". In web development, "state" refers to the condition of an app at any given moment in time. Keeping track of how data changes over time and coordinating and maintaining these changes across the application introduces us to the term "state management".

State management essentially encapsulates three aspects: the State represents the application's current status, the View renders the current state to the user, and Actions initiate state changes. The crux of ever-growing libraries like Redux, MobX, and Vuex lies in providing efficient and scalable solutions for state management in large-scale applications.

Let's dig a bit deeper into each of these libraries.


Specializing in centralized state management, Redux provides a predictable environment for managing your application state. The core concepts of Redux hinge on a single store, embodying the application state, which is immutable. Actions are dispatched to trigger state changes, and these state alterations are handled by reducers, which are pure (predictable and easily testable) functions.

Here are Redux's key principles:

  • The store, being the single true holder of the state, forms the single source of truth
  • The state remaining immutable within the store
  • Dispatched actions initiate store amendments
  • Reducers, as pure functions, maintain the predictability and testability of the state transitions

While Redux provides the advantage of a single, unidirectional data flow easing state management, it poses limitations in terms of structural granularity and flexibility in larger applications needing compartmentalized state management.


MobX, in contrast, offers a mix of simplicity and scalability through leveraging reactive programming. One main feature is its support for multiple stores, thereby offering more room for flexibility compared to a single store, especially in the context of larger applications.

MobX recognizes these central aspects:

  • Distribution of application state across multiple stores
  • Automatioons are any code fragments that bring about changes in the state
  • Derivations are updated atomically and automatically when any change in the state is observed

Through its philosophy of minimalistic code, MobX strives for a more direct and less boilerplate way of managing state. The automatic updates of components upon every state change are an effort to eliminate unnecessary complexities, thus enhancing the developer experience.


Vuex offers an application state-management solution that takes inspiration from Redux but also incorporates Vue-specific features. A single centralized store holds the global application state in Vuex. This store allows components to dispatch Actions, commit Mutations, and access the global State.

The essence of Vuex lies in:

  • A rigorous unidirectional data flow; the Actions trigger Mutations causing state changes
  • Built-in support for modules enables compartmentalization of the Vuex store into reusable subunits

Anchoring the discussion back to the principles of Redux, MobX, and Vuex, we can now skim through their roles in managing application state. Redux emphasizes a strictly functional approach, MobX introduces a modern reactive model, and Vuex incorporates Vue-centric design into its functionality.

Emphasizing how these libraries assist in coordinating application state, let's imagine Redux serving as the steward of your app's state, sustaining a rigid and predictable flow of data. In contrast, MobX plays the part of an expediter, swiftly reflecting state modifications across your application and keeping it responsive. On the other hand, Vuex acts as a modular organizer, maintaining state cohesiveness while allowing for segmented and reusable units of data in large Vue applications.

In the context of software architecture, each decision is a trade-off and comes with its unique set of advantages. Understanding the roles of these state management libraries, think about the kind of applications where their unique features might be advantageous. Select the one that aligns best with your application needs and programming preferences!

Redux vs MobX vs Vuex: Differing State Management Architectures

In recent times, state management has become an important consideration in modern JavaScript applications. Solutions like Redux, MobX, and Vuex emerged to help developers manage application state with relative ease. Even though these tools all have the same goal, their underlying structures and principles differ.

Firstly, let's discuss Redux. Redux is founded on Flux's concepts, leveraging functional programming principles. The state within Redux is held within a single store, making it a single source of truth. Changes are invoked through actions, and new states are created by pure functions called 'reducers'. The primary principle of Redux is this singularity of the state, coupled with the fact that it is immutable. This leads to data flow that is easier to follow, as the state only changes when an action is dispatched and hits a reducer.

Next, let's talk about MobX. Unlike Redux, MobX does not adhere to a single store for its state; it can have multiple. Its state management model is based on the principles of transparent functional reactive programming. There are three fundamental principles in MobX: 'state', 'derivations', and 'actions'. The state is what stores the application data, and anything derived from the state without further interaction is considered a 'derivation'. Changes are made to the state using 'actions', and all 'derivations' update automatically when the state changes. This leads to a far more flexible reactivity model, which can suit certain situations better than Redux.

Lastly, we look at Vuex, a state management solution geared towards Vue applications. Vuex also adheres to the single store principle like Redux, but it organizes the store into modules, each with its state, mutations, actions, and getters. Moreover, Vuex revolves around the idea of 'mutating' state through strictly defined mutation functions. This encourages a more organized structure and facilitates easier tracking of state changes. Additionally, Vuex comes with built-in time-travel debugging and state snapshot import/export functionalities, providing additional development benefits.

It's worth noting that deciding between Redux, MobX, and Vuex isn't as straightforward as picking the one with better features. Choosing a state management solution should depend on several factors such as your project's size, complexity level, and your team's familiarity with the underlying principles of each solution.

For instance, a JavaScript developer with a functional programming background might find Redux more intuitive, while a developer more comfortable with reactive programming might prefer MobX or Vuex. Similarly, if the project in question is a Vue application, Vuex would typically be the go-to choice given its tight integration with the framework.

To summarize, Redux promotes a predictable state container with a unidirectional data flow, MobX leverages observable states for a more flexible reactive programming model, and Vuex offers a modular state management solution deeply integrated with Vue.

This is merely a surface-level look at the different approaches these solutions take to state management. The real differences and trade-offs between Redux, MobX, and Vuex will become more apparent as you delve deeper and start building real-world applications with them. So, use this information as an entry point to further exploration and to help inform your decision-making process. Each of these libraries has its strengths and weaknesses, and understanding them will help you choose the right tool for your project.

Remember, the best tool for managing state in your application will always depend on the specific needs and constraints of your project. So always weigh the pros and cons carefully before settling on a state management solution, because what works best for one project may not be suitable for another. Happy coding!

Distinct Reactivity Models in Redux, MobX, and Vuex

Reactivity in Redux: Unidirectional Data Flow Redux follows the Flux architecture, which promotes a unidirectional data flow. Redux accomplishes this using a single source of truth - its store. This store holds the entire state of an application. In Redux's model, any state changes must be performed by dispatching an action, which is a plain JavaScript object describing what should change. Reducers, pure functions that implement the action's effect on the state, are then used to calculate a new state.

The implication of this model is that Redux provides predictable state management because it maintains immutability -- the state isn't modified directly. Instead, a new state is created based on actions and the previous state. However, direct reactivity isn't in-built into Redux. If a state change is to reflect on the UI, subscribing to the store and manually triggering a re-render on a change is usually required. This explicit linear data flow provides high predictability, but it can become boilerplate-heavy for complex scenarios.

Reactivity in MobX: Observable and Computed Values MobX's reactivity model is completely different. It is based on observable and reactive principles where your app state is composed of observable 'Atoms'. These atoms are JavaScript primitives that, when changed, automatically notify and update any 'Derivatives' that depend on them. Derivatives can be computed values (which update following the state) or reactions (side effects which run when the state changes).

Underneath, MobX leverages getters and setters on these observable values to track dependencies and changes in the application state. This implies that unlike in Redux, MobX's reactivity is automatic and any changes to state immediately reflect wherever that state is used without having to manually subscribe or trigger updates.

However, actions - pieces of code that change the state - are still a core principle of MobX. While not enforced, actions provide structure in organizing the code that mutates the state. The reactive nature of MobX makes it very flexible and less boilerplate heavy, but the data flow can be harder to trace in more complex scenarios.

Reactivity in Vuex: A Hybrid Model Vuex, the state management library for Vue applications, employs a reactivity model that is somewhat a fusion of Redux and MobX models. Like Redux, Vuex uses a store as the single source of truth, treating the state as immutable, and mutation of the state is done via committed mutations. Conversely, these mutations are synchronous transactions, and asynchronous operations for state changes are handled within actions which, in turn, commit these mutations.

However, some vital distinctions exist. In Vue and Vuex, the Vue object's properties are made reactive by internally converting them into getters and setters - similar to MobX. Therefore making all state data in a Vuex store automatically reactive. This results in a predictable data flow like in Redux, and the immediacy of automatic updates observed in MobX.

In conclusion, while all three libraries - Redux, MobX, and Vuex - prioritize the predictability and traceability of application state, they approach reactivity and state change propagation from different angles. As a developer, understanding these fundamental differences is crucial in making an informed decision regarding which to employ in your particular application.

Gauging Performance and Scalability: Redux vs MobX vs Vuex

Diving into the performance and scalability analysis, we'll see how Redux, MobX, and Vuex compare in terms of memory usage, computational efficiency, their handling of pure versus impure functions, and their scalability traits.

Memory Usage and Computational Efficiency

When looking at MobX, the reactivity model gives it an edge in computational efficiency. Automatically tracking updates, MobX only updates the necessary components when state changes, thus allowing for potentially better memory management and superior performance under certain conditions.

The situation with Redux belies a trade-off. While Redux creates new state objects for every change, keeping the state immutable, utilized memory is efficiently managed thanks to garbage collection processes. This pattern might introduce some overhead, slightly impacting performance in more demanding scenarios, but it does pave the way for performance optimizations like memoization and simpler state debugging.

Vuex, being Vue-oriented, benefits from Vue's reactivity system to track changes, similar to MobX. Vuex's state management leads to great efficiency in terms of computation and memory use, especially in Vue applications.

Pure and Impure Functions

Both pure and impure functions can significantly affect an application's overall performance, testing, and maintainability.

Redux insists on pure reducer functions, which consistently yield the same output for the same input, fostering easier testing and maintainability. This insistence on purity results in a more scalable, predictable codebase, making Redux an attractive choice for larger, intricate projects. A simple example of Redux's pure function is as follows:

function reducer(state = initialState, action) {
    switch (action.type) {
        case 'ADD_ITEM':
        // It creates a new state, avoiding mutations
        return {...state, items: [...state.items, action.payload]}
        return state

Unlike Redux, MobX allows a mix of pure and impure functions within its architecture. This flexibility permits fewer structural constraints, facilitating rapid development. However, MobX's less predictable nature could make scaling and testing more complicated in larger applications.

Vuex, similar to Redux, encourages the use of pure functions, primarily for its mutations, adding to the testability and predictability.


Scalability is another discerning factor while considering these libraries for long-term projects.

The structured organization of Redux lends itself favorably to the scalability of the application. The inherent predictability of changes allows Redux to flourish in larger applications marked by growing complexity. However, this might lead to relatively longer development times due to additional boilerplate code and the structured, opinionated nature of the library.

MobX, in contrast, offers a simpler, more adaptable solution, often speeding up the development process. It makes state management straightforward and scalable by automatically applying functional reactive programming resulting in a more efficient scaling solution.

Vuex also offers strong scalability attributes by leveraging Vue's reactivity system alongside its strict organization of state, actions, and mutations. This provides a balanced approach suitable for both small and large-scale applications.

In conclusion, Redux, MobX, and Vuex each have their unique sets of strengths tailored to specific use-cases or project needs. Redux's focus on pure functions promotes maintainability and scalability but can come with higher memory usage. MobX offers remarkable computational efficiency and transparent scalability through reactive programming, especially beneficial in projects requiring flexibility and speed. Vuex leverages the power of Vue's reactivity for efficient memory use, computational efficiency, and solid scalability, particularly fitting for Vue applications. Ultimately, the choice boils down to your application's specific requirements and the development team's proficiency with the respective library.

Distinct Features of Redux, MobX, and Vuex

Distinct Features of Redux

Redux is a state management solution that combines Flux and functional programming concepts. Its unique characteristics include the following:

  1. Single Store: Redux's state management revolves around a single store, providing a single source of truth for all the state in your application.

  2. Immutability: The state in Redux's store is immutable. This allows better tracking of changes, debugging, and gives your app a predictable state.

  3. Action-Centric: All changes to the Redux's state are triggered through actions. This practice enables a unidirectional data flow, making it easier to understand how your application's state changes over time.

  4. Reducers: In Redux, state updates are handled by pure functions called reducers. They produce a new state based on the previous state and an action.

Distinct Features of MobX

MobX, on the other hand, employs a different approach for managing the state of applications. Let's go through its stand-out features:

  1. Multiple Stores: Unlike Redux, MobX can have multiple stores that store the application state.

  2. Reactive: MobX relies on a reactive system, modifications to the application's state propagate changes to all derivations and reactions, automatically and atomically.

  3. Observables and Actions: MobX involves Actions and Observables, where user-triggered or application-generated events invoke Actions. These actions can modify the observable state, creating an active cycle of state management.

  4. Less Boilerplate: Compared to Redux, MobX has minimal required boilerplate code, making it easier to set up and implement.

Distinct Features of Vuex

Vuex is the state management library of choice for Vue.js. It is integrated within the Vue.js environment, hence, configured to benefit from Vue.js's reactivity system. Its unique attributes include:

  1. Single Store: Like Redux, Vuex also has a single store, which provides a single source of truth but it is divided into modules for large-scale applications.

  2. Mutations and Actions: Vuex splits changes to the store into Mutations (synchronous) and Actions (asynchronous). This separation allows for better understanding and control over the state.

  3. Time-Travel Debugging: Both Redux and Vuex support time-travel debugging, which means you can move your app's state back and forth in time for debugging purposes.

  4. State, Getters, Mutations, and Actions: Vuex store's state is more structured and it is divided into State, Getters, Mutations, and Actions.

Remember, while the distinct characteristics of these libraries are apparent, the choice of library will depend heavily on your project requirements and personal preferences. Make sure you explore each thoroughly before making a decision.

Which of these libraries stands out to you the most in terms of unique features? How would you leverage these unique features to benefit your projects?

Developer Experience with Redux, MobX, and Vuex

Redux: A Structured Experience

Redux fosters a structured and explicit development experience, reinforced by a rigorous API that particularly shines in larger, more complex applications. This API provides a comprehensive grasp on your application's state management, as it introduces patterns like actions and reducers, and champions the concept of immutability for efficient state changes. An additional boon for developers is the Redux DevTools, which offer remarkable debugging support and contribute significantly to Redux's popularity among developer communities.

Despite its many advantages, Redux poses certain challenges. Its steep learning curve, a result of unique concepts and patterns, as well as the amalgamation of Flux architecture with functional programming, can be off-putting for newcomers. Additionally, Redux necessitates verbosity in your code—a feature that, while helpful in lending explicit control, may result in an excess of boilerplate code, exacerbating the learning curve for beginners.

MobX: An Intuitive Journey

In stark contrast to Redux, MobX offers a more intuitive and simpler API—an attribute that significantly reduces boilerplate code. Its core strength lies in delivering a more reactive programming experience—an advantage that condenses your code while maintaining clarity and ease of comprehension. The fundamental principle behind MobX is straightforward: define your state and the actions that modify it, and leave it up to the library to propagate all state changes across your application—a practice known as "reactive state management".

Despite its ease of adoption due to mutable state, MobX provides ample developer tools and support. However, its debugging support pales when compared to the robustness of the Redux DevTools.

Vuex: Embracing Vue.js Ecosystem

Unlike Redux and MobX, Vuex was explicitly devised for the Vue.js framework—an aspect that offers a harmonious experience to developers already vested in Vue.js. It gleans concepts from both Redux (single central store) and MobX (reactive models), creating an inclusive space for developers converging from either library.

One of Vuex's standout features is its comprehensive integration with Vue.js devtools. This not only offers powerful time-travel debugging capabilities but also aids large-scale state management scenarios via its module system, making Vuex applications more maintainable. Vuex, akin to Redux, needs a fair amount of boilerplate, and the learning curve can be intimidating for beginners. Also, in order to use Vuex effectively, prior familiarity with Vue.js is imperative.

Pitfalls and Observations

All these libraries, powerful as they may be, require a level of understanding that comes with practice and experience. Redux's demand for explicitness might lead to verbose code that can overwhelm beginners, while MobX's high level of abstraction could seem enigmatic to novices. As for Vuex, it's naturally designed for Vue.js application, making it unsuitable for non-Vue.js apps. Also, remember to discuss available developer tools—while Redux boasts tremendous DevTools, and MobX offers support, they don't necessarily measure up to the debugging support offered by Redux.

Regardless of the library, the allure of their capabilities may tempt developers to use them excessively, leading to overcomplicated solutions. A deep comprehension of the project's requirements, the data flow, and the core principles of the chosen library are paramount in circumventing such issues.

Wrapping up with Some Thoughts

When selecting the most suitable library—Redux, MobX, or Vuex—for your project, considerations must span the size and complexity of the application, the team's familiarity with the library, and the developer experience provided by the tools. For a structured and explicit control over your application, you might gravitate towards Redux. If a shorter learning curve or less verbose code is preferable, MobX might be the tool of choice. For projects in the Vue.js environment, Vuex, with its streamlined experience, may be the natural choice.

However, no single library is a panacea for all use cases. It ultimately depends on the project's requirements and your comfort level with the developer experience offered by each tool. Therefore, consider your familiarity and comfort with the library as much as you consider the technical facets.

State Management Alternatives: Beyond Redux, MobX, and Vuex

Introducing State Management Alternatives

While Redux, MobX, and Vuex made significant strides in JavaScript’s state management scene, they are not the sole contenders. Several other libraries and frameworks offer unique mechanisms and advantages, broadening the options for developers. So, let's explore alternatives to Redux, MobX, and Vuex like Apollo, Zustand, and more.


Apollo is a comprehensive state management library specially designed for handling data from the GraphQL service. GraphQL is a query language for APIs that enables declarative data fetching where a client can specify what data it needs. Besides providing solutions for managing local and remote data, Apollo also provides caching capabilities to save network costs.


  • Seamless use with GraphQL
  • Client caching out-of-the-box
  • Client-side resolvers for local state management


  • May seem overkill for apps not using GraphQL
  • Learning curve and complexity due to its vastness


Hardened by its use in the wild by many prominent products, Zustand is another worthy alternative for state management. It offers a minimalist, straightforward solution based more on the React Hooks pattern rather than Redux or MobX. Zustand is ideal for those who want a hook-centric state solution without tons of boilerplate code.


  • Lightweight and simple to use
  • Works out-of-the-box with React Hooks
  • No boilerplate problems


  • API is a little limited in comparison to other solutions
  • Lacks out-of-the-box devtools support


Overmind is a frictionless state management solution offering more than just state storage. This framework provides direct tie-ins for managing side-effects and complex application flows. Overmind exposes your application state and actions, making them easy to reason about and test.


  • Promotes a clear separation of state and side-effects
  • Intuitive devtools for a comprehensive application overview
  • Allows structured and neatly organized state and actions


  • Newer and less matured than its rivals
  • Fewer community resources and smaller community size


Recoil is a state management library developed and used at Facebook. It introduces several key concepts: atoms and selectors. Atoms represent pieces of our application state, while selectors form pure functions that calculate derived state.


  • Small, simple API with familiar React patterns
  • Efficiently derived data
  • Asynchronous data queries as first-class citizens


  • Still experimental and not ready for massive projects


Jumpsuit is a minimal, mostly unopinionated, scalable framework that speeds up your JavaScript and React Redux development. While it uses a redux-based state model, it minimizes boilerplate code significantly.


  • Minimal API to quickly bootstrap a project
  • Speed at its core without sacrificing performance
  • Boilerplate less approach for a simpler codebase


  • Low adoption rate, hence less community support
  • Not under active development

In your journey through modern web development with JavaScript, you will encounter numerous tools and libraries. The right solution largely depends on the size, complexity, and requirements of your app. Use the above analysis of alternatives to Redux, MobX, and Vuex to guide your exploration and choice.

How important is the community's size and maturity around these libraries for you? How has a library's simplicity or complexity impacted your team's productivity and the resulting product?

Remember, there isn't one silver bullet in state management. The goal is to find the balance between improving developer productivity, codebase maintainability, and end user experience.


In this article, the author explores the popular state management libraries Redux, MobX, and Vuex in the context of modern web development with JavaScript. They delve into the underlying architecture and reactivity models of each library, comparing their performances and showcasing their unique strengths. The article also touches on the developer experience of using these libraries and highlights some alternative state management solutions.

Key takeaways from the article include understanding the fundamental concepts and roles of Redux, MobX, and Vuex in state management, as well as their differences in architecture and reactivity models. The article emphasizes that the choice of library depends on the specific needs and constraints of the project, and encourages developers to carefully weigh the pros and cons before settling on a state management solution.

One challenging task for the reader could be to implement a small JavaScript application and compare the state management solutions of Redux, MobX, and Vuex in terms of their efficiency, scalability, and developer experience. This would involve setting up the different libraries, implementing state changes, and analyzing the performance and ease of use of each solution.

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