Top 10 Advantages of Using React.js

[April 2018: Updated]

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, together with the developer community. It is used by the leading companies, like Apple, PayPal, Netflix, while over 32 thousand of websites are built using React JS framework.

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Popularity of React over the last five years worldwide

In this article, we’ll cover the main questions that both business owners and developers face with. 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 ten reasons to use React js:

#1 It facilitates the overall process of writing components

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

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 making it easier to convert from HTML mockups to ReactElement trees. Besides that, it provides React developers with informative warning and error messages and also helps to prevent code injections.

#2 It boosts productivity and facilitates further maintenance

Often updates turn into a headache because the application has a complex logic and changes in one component can affect others. To solve the issue Facebook has supplemented React with the ability to reuse system components, and developers define it as one of the best features of React js.

Re-use of assets is well-known among designers, who typically reemploy the same digital objects. 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 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.

This component structure is the answer to the question “why to use React?” for many companies and Walmart is one of them. The corporation includes multiple trademarks and branches, such as Walmart Brazil, Walmart Chile, Asda, Massmart, Sam’s Club, and some others. All companies have their own online presence, but still, there are components that are common to all the brands – payment form elements, image carousel, bread crumbs, for example. This is where the ability to re-use code components comes in handy. To make version management and further installation of components easier the company has introduced internal coding standards and currently, it’s moving to the npm registry.  

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#3 It ensures faster rendering

Building a high-load application it is essential to consider how the structure will impact the overall app performance. Even latest platforms and engines can’t ensure the absence of annoying bottlenecks, because DOM (document object model) is tree-structured and even small changes at the upper layer can cause awful ripples to the interface. To solve the issue Facebook development team has introduced Virtual DOM – currently, one of the benefits of using React for heavy loaded and dynamic software solutions.

As the name suggests, it is a virtual representation of the document object model, so all the changes are applied to the virtual DOM first and then, using diff algorithm, the minimal scope of necessary DOM operations is calculated. Finally, the real DOM tree is updated accordingly, ensuring minimum time consumed. This method guarantees better user experience and higher app performance.

#4 It guarantees stable code

To make sure that even small changes that take place in the child structures won’t affect their parents, ReactJS uses only downward data flow. Changing an object, developers just modify its state, make changes, and, after that, only particular components will be updated. This structure of data binding ensures code stability and continuous app performance.

#5 It is SEO friendly

Another React js benefits is its ability to deal with a 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.  

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#6 It comes with a helpful developer toolset

Learning new technologies and using them in the next project can be fun, but only if they can be actually applied in the development environment. It means that a framework or library should come with a proper tooling for efficient performance. Among Reactjs advantages are its coverage with debugging and design tools.

React Developer Tools is a browser extension available for both Chrome and Firefox. It enables developers to observe reactive component hierarchies, discover child and parent components, and inspect their current state and props.

#7 There is 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.

Among other advantages of React js in mobile app development, our React Native developers recite its portability and ability to reuse components, real-time reload and modular architecture, open source, and generous ecosystem. When it comes to the actual use of React Native, we can list such mobile apps as Skype, Tesla, Airbnb, and WalMart. And don’t forget about Instagram and Facebook – the actual innovators and early adopters.  

#8 It is focused and easy-to-learn

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 (model – view – controller) pattern, thus we 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. 

Taking into account all the above, this is also 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.

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#9 It is backed by a 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. For example, React GitHub repository numbers over 1100 contributors, while users can ask their questions on Stack Overflow, Discussion forum, Reactiflux Chart, Freenode IRC, social media platforms and many others.

#10 It is used by both Fortune 500 companies and innovative startups

Thousands of companies worldwide have chosen Reactjs 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. One of our recent projects, Mochi – Pet Supplies & Food, is also built using React Native and currently, it gains traction.

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 “universal remedy”.

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.

Final Thoughts

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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