React JS: Advantages and Disadvantages

React JS: Advantages and Disadvantages

With the number of available resources for building applications, it’s really hard to choose one that will suit your needs. Though fear not, we’ve got a solution!

React JS has proven to be the most popular library available on the market. It even beats other JavaScript frameworks like Angular or Vue in terms of popularity among developers.

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, may we present React’s advantages and disadvantages!

What is React JS?

What is React.js?

React is an open-source JavaScript library that had its official release in 2013. Its creator, Jordan Walke, actually developed a prototype version called FaxJS that was released two years prior, in 2011.

The library is used for web app development and is designed to help developers create fast single-page applications and user interfaces.

In the introduction above we mentioned React’s popularity. Well, numbers don’t lie. Over 40% of developers declared React JS as their framework of choice. However, please remember – React is a library, not a framework.

Don’t worry though, as it’s a common mistake to call it a framework. That’s because React JS is a library with features of a framework, so if you happen to call it like that here and there or you stumble upon an article that does so, it’s perfectly fine.

Pros

Now that we know what React is, let us ask you a question: Are you curious about what the library has to offer? If yes, then let’s dive straight into React’s pros and cons!

Virtual DOM

Virtual DOM (Document Object Model) is responsible for React’s performance and speed. Thanks to it, developers can create fast applications that are up to modern standards.

What’s DOM, though? It’s a tree structure of XML, HTML, or XHTML documents, in other words – a virtual representation of the document object model. However, DOM didn’t seem to be enough for React JS. There had to be something else to it to make it faster, better, and more versatile.

React’s developers came up with the idea to use the virtual version of the DOM and that was a bingo! Virtual DOM allows devs to update even the smallest components of the app without influencing its entirety.

Virtual DOM is nothing else than a virtual copy of the real DOM. Additionally, it requires less time to update than a regular DOM which is a huge advantage.

Reusable Components

Reusable components are one of the factors that influence React’s popularity. They make the development process much easier as the developers don’t have to write the code from scratch for similar things and can reuse components in their future projects.

In fact, we can safely assume that they’re one of the most important features of React when it comes to web app development. They not only make the coding life easier, but they also speed up the entire development process making React one of the best technologies available.

Community

Community

When it comes to listing pros and cons, this one may quite stand out as it’s not a technical advantage, but not mentioning it wouldn’t do justice to React JS.

The library definitely has strong community support and that can be attributed to the fact that React is open-source. Whether you face a problem, a bug, or anything else, we’re sure that the community will always be there to provide you with any help they can.

Not only that, there’s a ton of YouTube videos, tutorials, how-to’s, articles, React-centric web development blogs, and other publications that are available to everyone for free!

To prove our words, take a look at numbers, they speak for themselves – over 89,000 developers confirmed using React according to StackShare. That’s actually an understatement, as can be seen on GitHub, more than 7.4 million users admitted to using React! Chapeau bas!

SEO-Friendliness

Search engine optimization is equally important as the content itself and it should be considered even before developing a website. But why are we bringing SEO up in the article about React? Well, because this JavaScript library is actually one of the best tools for creating SEO-based web apps!

Have you ever visited a website that took forever to load and you thought that enough is enough and you need to call the internet provider as soon as possible? Well, hold on just a minute as it’s not always the case.

Long loading time may also be the cause of problems with the website itself. With React, developers can reduce loading time and enhance the rendering speed of a web app. That alone makes a huge difference in the performance of a website. Additionally, Google seems to index React-based applications quite well.

Easier to Learn

More and more companies lean towards using React in building their new applications. The reason for that is that React JS is easier than most frameworks.

Taking into consideration the versatility of the library and relatively easier learning process, it’s safe to say that React is becoming a fan favorite with almost 10,000 companies that use it.

React Developer Tools

React Developer Tools

Not only is React a great library for building user interfaces but it also is supported by React Developer Tools which is a browser extension available for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Created by Facebook, the tools are updated constantly with the latest version being released on September 2nd, 2021. Additionally, they have been used by over 2,000,000 users!

One-Way Data Flow

Usually, frameworks feature a two-way data flow and it means that whenever you make a change, an entire application also changes or requires a change. When it comes to React though, it features a one-way data flow that ensures code stability.

Thanks to it, any change made in a particular section doesn’t influence the structure of the entire app. That essentially means that if you alter child components it doesn’t affect the parent data in any way.

React Native

React Native

React Native is a UI development framework for creating mobile apps. You may wonder why is React Native mentioned when the article is about React JS? That’s because React Native has a lot of similarities with the regular React library but for mobile phones. If you know one, it’s easier to learn another, therefore knowing the differences between React vs React Native can go a long way if you’re planning on using either in the future.

With the React Native framework, you can program applications for Android, iOS, Windows, or even Oculus.

React Native should appeal to a vast majority of developers as it features a lot of advantages. First of all, it’s a declarative framework, which means that coding a declarative UI should be easier with a more predictable code.

Similar to React JS, React Native is based on components that when developed, create complete user interfaces. 

Finally, the written code can be reused between platforms like iOS, Android, and others!

There are some requirements though. All applications that you develop need to target certain versions of the software, for example, iOS 11.0 or Android 5.0 API 21. Of course, newer versions are perfectly fine, but there’s no possibility to create the app for older versions.

If you don’t want to take our word for granted, maybe the companies that use React Native in their mobile apps will do the trick:

  • Microsoft;
  • Instagram;
  • Skype;
  • Uber Eats;
  • Tesla;
  • Facebook;
  • And many more.

Redux

Similar to React, Redux is an open-source JavaScript library, although it’s commonly used with other libraries or frameworks like React or Angular.

With Redux, developers can manage the application state, and if used with other frameworks, it can become quite an interesting tool for creating user interfaces.

Where did Redux come from, though? It all began in 2015 when Redux was created by Dan Abramov and Andrew Clark.

What benefits can Redux/React cooperation provide? Most definitely a faster development process with the app being more stable and able to run in various environments.

Lastly, there’s React Redux, which is an official UI binding tool for both React and Redux.

Cons

Nothing is perfect and that’s the universal truth. Yes, the benefits of React may give an impression that the library is without a flaw, but is it really? Let’s find out.

Lack of Proper Documentation

There are a lot of tools and libraries that can boost the performance of React. Even React itself is updated regularly. Unfortunately, that comes with a downside. Due to the number of updates and new releases, there’s simply not enough time for writing complete documentation. Developers are left with only sparse text guides that don’t cover the details.

Development Speed

Even though this one seems to be an upside rather than a downside, it may still be perceived as something negative. The reason for it is because the library is constantly evolving, resulting in developers being displeased by the need for constant relearning of processes or new mechanics.

JSX

Most people would consider JSX as an advantage, rather than a disadvantage, and yet, it may also be seen as an obstacle.

But what is JSX? In simple terms, JSX is a JavaScript extension that can make the code more readable and clean.

Seems like there are only upsides, right? Well, the mix of HTML and JavaScript in JSX, makes React JS more difficult to learn and that may be unappealing to aspiring developers. For those who find it too difficult, don’t worry – JSX is optional.

Problems with SEO

Yes, we’ve put SEO in the pros as well. Why is it in the cons then? It’s because Google used to have problems with indexing websites that were rendered on the client-side.

Nowadays the situation looks much better but from time to time such issues may still arise. The solution would be to set up a server-side rendering and checking the website with Google Search Console if it indexes properly.

The Result

Taking into account all advantages and disadvantages mentioned in the article, we can safely say that React JS is a library worth trying out. Let’s quickly summarize what we’ve learned so far:

React Advantages
React.js Disadvantages

React has a lot, and we mean a lot, to offer. Our recommendation? Take into account React’s benefits, as well as the downsides that can be seen above, give it a go, and see what wonderful web apps you can build!

Conclusions

It’s hard to compare React to other frameworks because it’s a library. However, judging by the rankings we can safely assume that despite React being different, it’s still appreciated for what it is.

React is a wonderful library that is the number one choice of many developers in web application development. Even though some may consider React’s rapid development as overwhelming, that doesn’t change the fact that this JavaScript library still ranks the highest among developers worldwide.

That being said, if you’re a JS developer, go ahead and choose React for your next project and ensure your online presence!

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