It's High Time to React.js: Ten Reasons to Give It a Try

Front-end ecosystem is constantly evolving and changing on a day-to-day basis. Some tools become “bestsellers” in terms of web app development, revolutionizing the workflow, while others become a dead end. 

Reactjs can be easily labeled as a bestseller. Launched back in 2013, this JavaScript library has quickly won popular affections. Today it is maintained by Facebook and Instagram, together with the developer community. It is used by leading companies, like Apple, PayPal, Netflix, while over 32 thousand of websites are built using React JS framework.

React library popularity worldwide

Popularity of React library worldwide

In this article, we’ll cover the main questions that both business owners and developers face. What are the advantages of using React JS? What features and benefits can it bring to the project? When to use React JS and when is it better to opt for other JavaScript frameworks?

Let’s go with the 10 reasons to use React js:

  • It lessens the whole process of writing components

JSX is an optional syntax extension to JavaScript that makes writing your own components much easier. In fact, it is a set of shortcuts for writing React.createElement with a few rules to make your source simpler and cleaner.

While JSX is often a matter of dispute, it can prove useful in building high-volume apps or custom components, excluding typos in large tree structures, and make it easier to convert from HTML mockups to ReactElement trees.

Releated article: 5 Best JavaScript Frameworks in 2017

  • Reusable components to boost productivity

Ability to create your own elements is among the best features of React js. You can start with finest components (checkbox, button, etc.), then move to wrapper components comprised of these tiny elements and move forward until the main, root component. All the components have their internal logic, what makes it easier to manipulate and define them. Such approach ensures consistent app look and facilitates codebase maintenance and growth.

react-for-startups-library-app-development

  • Faster rendering with Virtual DOM

Considering possible performance issues and bottlenecks is an important aspect of web app development. Though modern JS engines are quite efficient in handling complex apps, DOM updating is a common bottleneck of web performance. This is where virtual DOM comes in handy.

First view changes are applied to the virtual DOM and then, using diff algorithm, the minimal scope of necessary DOM operations is calculated. Finally, the DOM tree is updated accordingly, ensuring minimum time consumed.  

  • It is SEO friendly

One of the major React js benefits is its ability to deal with common search engine failure to read JavaScript-heavy apps. As a solution, React can run on the server, rendering and returning the virtual DOM to the browser as a regular webpage.

Though some improvements have taken place at Google, we shouldn’t forget about other search engine platforms, like Yahoo, Bing or Baidu. Moreover, we need to take into account various microformat web use-cases, like Open Graph, Twitter Cards, etc., because Facebook, Slack or Twitter won’t execute your JS and mainly depend on SSR.  

Related article: Top 11 JavaScript Libraries That Are Worth Your Attention

  • Great developer tools right out of the box

Reactjs was definitely invented with software engineers in mind, that’s why its toolset is another significant selling point. React Developer Tools is a Chrome dev extension for observing reactive component hierarchies and inspecting component’s current state and props.

react-framework-web-app-development

  • Short learning curve

First, we need to get things straight: what is React js? – It is not a full-featured framework; it is a library that focuses on one particular thing and on doing it properly. In general, it is V in the MVC pattern, so we’ll use more tools to build a complete solution. Any JavaScript developer can get an insight into the basics and start building a superb web app after a few days mastering the tutorial and docs.  

  • JavaScript library

This is one of the major reasons why use React js. It doesn’t impose any patterns, templates, complex internals or architecture like MVVM or MVC. It is a view layer that allows JS developer to design an app the way he sees it. The only thing you need to do is to get familiar with component’s states, props, and life cycles.

  • React Native for mobile app development

React can be boldly called a “learn once – write anywhere” library, since in both web and mobile application development it follows the same design patterns, facilitating the transition process. Using plain JavaScript and React you’ll be able to build rich UI for native apps, supported by both iOS and Android platforms.

  • Strong community

Initially, React library was created for internal use and later shared with the entire world. Currently, it is supported by Facebook and Instagram engineering teams, plus external experts. Users can ask their questions on Stack Overflow, Discussion forum, Reactiflux Chart, Freenode IRC, GitHub, social media platforms and many others.

react-web-app-development

  • It is used by both Fortune 500 companies and innovative startups

Thousands of companies worldwide have chosen it for their apps, sites and internal projects. Still doubt about what is React js good for? – Check out some inspiring samples of hot solutions: companies built mobile apps with React Native: Airbnb, Walmart Labs, Tesla, Tencent QQ (with more than 829 million active accounts), Baidu Mobile (with more than 600 million users), Bloomberg, li.st, Gyroscope, Delivery.com, JD.com, GoDaddy and many others. Sites using React: BBC, Netflix, Dropbox, Coursera, IMDb, PayPal, Dailymotion, Chrysler, American Express, Intuit, Khan Academy, Lyft, Atlassian, New York Times, Reddit and dozens of others.

Related article: ReactJS vs Angular Comparison: Which is Better?

When to use React JS? And when to opt for alternatives?

React is definitely worthy of your attention, especially if you are working on single page application and wish to make it fast, responsive and user-friendly. However, this JS library can be hardly called a “panacea for all woes”.

React setup can take more time, comparing to Vue.js for example, though adding new features is relatively easy. If you are not sure about the future of your project, then you need to think twice about creating a React app.  The migration process from Reactjs can become rather tough and time-consuming. If you are a fan of TypeScript or templates, you’d better go with Angular or Vue.

Conclusion

Considering React js pros and cons, it can be easily summed up in three words: non-risky, responsive and advanced. The main idea behind this particular library is: “to build large-scale applications with data that changes repeatedly over time” and it tackles the challenge well.  It provides developers with the capability of working with a virtual browser (DOM) that is much faster and user-friendly, than the real one. Apart from that, it offers the easier creation of interactive UIs, JSX support, component-based structure and much more. The combination of the above-mentioned factors makes it a reasonable choice for both startups and enterprises.

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