Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Twitter, Amazon, Shopify, Pinterest, Uber, Airbnb. What do they all have in common, besides changing the world?
They’re fiercely in love with React.
And so are we.
This technology keeps winning over developers’ hearts, as proven by Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021, in which React was chosen as the most loved web framework by 69.28% of respondents. Curious as to why React is such a popular choice? Read on and discover for yourself.
What Is React?
Is React Native The Same Thing?
Library is a collection of objects, helper functions, and methods, meant for performing specific operations. Since all the components are reusable, you don’t have to rewrite the code every single time, following the rule of keeping your code DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself).
Framework, on the other hand, is a collection of many libraries, APIs, predefined functions and objects. It gives you a base functionality which you can build upon to create more complex applications, significantly shortening the development process. Additionally, frameworks come with their own default behavior, dictating how the application should be designed, while libraries offer more flexibility.
React and React Native share some things in common, but they’re still different technologies. For example, they share the same special syntax and principles, which makes it easy to learn React while knowing its mobile counterpart. But the rendering happens differently; React uses VirtualDOM, while React Native needs a native API for that.
Combining the two though — creating web applications of the highest quality, followed by mobile applications of the same standard — is a sure way to win over end–users by making your products wholly accessible.
React’s Strengths And Benefits
1. Interactive User Interfaces Made Simple
While we want to promote the “don’t judge the book by its cover” approach, it is undeniable that the look and feel of web applications influence the direct engagement of end–users. If the product isn’t user–friendly and goes against typical user behavior, it’s a bust.
You’re also saving time in the future, since maintenance and debugging is effortless as well.
2. High–Performance With Virtual DOM
Speed matters more than ever.
The users no longer have patience to wait for the site to load nor will they forgive any web apps for responding too slow to their actions. Any product that’s made with profit in mind, needs to be at its best efficiency.
Back in the day, server–side rendering was a standard, but one that fell short to the needs of single–page applications. Rendering the components every time the user interacted with the page made it a rather bothersome experience.
That’s what Facebook thought as well. Hence, the creation of React.
React’s main strength lies in Virtual DOM, a virtual representation of the Document Object Layout that keeps all the changes implemented in the UI in its memory until it finds the least expensive way to update and render the real DOM. This render method, called reconciliation, lowers the overall number of necessary updates, leading to better, faster performance of even the most complex applications.
3. Reusable Components For Lightning–Fast Development
React makes building web applications a breeze and the reason why lies with component reusability. All the components have their own logic and are independent of each other, which makes them easy to reuse several times across applications. Write once, and use everywhere — that’s how React’s often described.
Also in React, components are not the only reusable thing. You can also reuse stateful logic without changing component hierarchy. This feature was introduced as React Hooks along with React 16.8 in 2019. Its purpose lies in making components less complex, the code more manageable, and the bugs easier to hunt down.
Whether it’s better to use React Hooks or Higher–Order Components depends entirely on circumstances. For example, if the behavior is restricted to a single component, React Hooks are a better choice, while Higher–Order Components do well when there are no bunch of props involved.
With this level of reusability you benefit with faster development, efficient scalability, and easy maintenance that can save both money and time.
4. Clean Abstraction Layer In The Name Of Simplicity
Abstraction is responsible for reducing informational load and hiding complex internals from the end–user. It’s a thing of necessity that requires a depth of knowledge on design architecture, like MVP (Model–View–Presenter), MVC (Model–View–Controller) or MVVM (Model–View–View–Model). They are commonly used in frameworks to divide the application into different logic components.
But React is not a framework and therefore, it doesn’t abide by architectural pattern’s rules — which translates into more flexibility in terms of building the product. And developers only need to know the fundamentals to proceed, which makes using React such a delight.
5. One–Way Data Flow Means Stable Code
React answered the challenge of managing the interplay between data and application state in the form of unidirectional data flow. The alternative, the bidirectional data flow, blocks the view layer from recognizing where the data is coming from, just like the model doesn’t know how that data is presented. And while a simple web application can work well with that, the more complex ones could find themselves in a tight spot — the constant flow of data is hard to manage, control, and maintain, while all the errors are more difficult to pinpoint.
One–way data binding solves this problem by ensuring a predictable application state.
With the downward motion comes code stability: any changes done to child elements won’t affect parent data, which is great news for software developers focusing on building projects with future expansion in mind.
6. Many Useful Developer Tools To Choose From
Developer tools come in handy every single time you need to increase efficiency, save time, or to simply make your job easier. And the more popular the technology, the more to choose from — and so with React, nobody can complain about the scarcity of tools.
You can use Why did you render for debugging the behavior of any React component, Bit for creating and sharing your composable components for improved teamwork, or Storybook if you ever need to do some solid UI testing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Above them all, two developer tools stand out exceptionally well: React Developer Tools and Redux Developer Tools.
React Developer Tools gives you insight into a React tree and lets you inspect the app’s architecture and all its components, from hooks and state to props. You can also use it for running experiments via the Profiler tab by testing interactions in the web application. So if you want to understand how React components affect each other, this extension, available both on Chrome and Firefox, is a must–have.
Redux Developer Tools, on the other hand, is useful for those who along with React use Redux, a state container used for state management. Redux Developer Tools is helpful in keeping track of each state and dispatched action, lets you go back to any recorded state for easier debugging, and keeps the apps’ behavior consistent across many platforms. What’s not to love?
7. Support On Many Fronts
React is not only whole–heartedly supported by its creator, Facebook — which it must, since its livelihood depends on it — but also by a giant community of developers from all around the world. This results in a staggering number of tutorials, resources, tips, and guides, many of which are free and open–sourced. They can be found on sites such as Stack Overflow, Reddit, Dev.to, and on many others blogs, podcasts and Youtube channels. And for those in a real hurry — there are even component libraries available for free.
8. Hand In Hand With Search Engine Optimization
In the end, even the most beautiful web application won’t do its job if it’s hidden away in the depths of the internet and therefore, is far beyond consumers’ awareness. That’s why it’s crucial to play along with Google and put some effort into growing your site’s ranking.
And since with React it’s easy to develop lightweight, fully responsive websites with a meaningful structure, it’s a perfect technology to use from a business standpoint.
Key Takeaways: 8 Reasons Why React Is So Popular
- High user engagement due to interactive, responsive interfaces that make user experience a real pleasure,
- Virtual DOM ensures high–performance that holds up even in the most complex of projects,
- Lightning–Fast Development significantly reduces time–to–market, all thanks to reusable React components,
- Clean abstraction layer additionally facilitates the development process and lowers the entry threshold,
- One–way data flow guarantees stable code and easier debugging,
- Many useful developer tools make the whole development process more efficient,
- React is supported by its creator, Facebook, as well as by an active community, thanks to which many tutorials, guides, and tips are offered,
- With React, building SEO–friendly projects is effortless.
It’s easy to see why React JS is such a popular choice, offering quick solutions that enhance business prospects. So don’t hesitate to at least consider React for your next project!