React is an extremely powerful library created by Facebook for front-end development, which allows the developer to build user interfaces.
What is React?
At the end of September 2017, Facebook announced the release of React v16.0, which included new features, like error boundaries, portals, improved server-side rendering and reduced file size, and a complete rewrite of the internals. The rewrite will ultimately enable support for asynchronous rendering, which makes it possible to process large component trees without blocking the main execution thread.
As React is component-based, you can build encapsulated components, where each manages its own state. You can use and reuse these components to create complex UIs.
It can also be used to render on the server using Node.js and build powerful mobile apps with React Native.
React’s usage allows developers to create single-page applications (SPAs), which avoid refreshing to display new content, bringing the user a great look and feel.
Here is a link to an extensive list of sites that are using this library. For a quick glance, here are some of them:
- Khan Academy
So, a lot of sites and companies use React. Want to know why? Here’s what React has to offer!
React works really quickly when used the right way. One of the most important rules is to correctly utilize the features provided by its virtual DOM. The main problem with the DOM is the slow process of creating dynamic user interfaces. But instead of interacting with the DOM directly, you can work with a lightweight copy.
You can make changes to the copy and then apply those changes to the actual DOM. While you’re at it, you can also compare the DOM tree with its virtual copy. If there is are differences between the two, only the differences will be redrawn. This avoids costly DOM operations and performs updates in a very efficient manner.
The logic is based on state, which can also be thought of as private data. Any changes to the UI should be related to state changes. This approach provides automatic DOM re-rendering, so developers don’t need to worry about UI changes.
By correctly utilizing state, it is easy to create well-flowing, dynamic, secure and user-friendly applications.
To help with state and data, developers can seamlessly integrate Redux, which is a predictable data-flow architecture. Redux maintains the state of an entire application in a single immutable state tree, which can’t be changed directly.
React components have their own lifecycles based on state and render logic. Developers can track state changes and component mount events. With all of its lifecycle features, React provides a very powerful and flexible way to work with data and UI.
It is possible to control the moment at which the component is created and inserted into the DOM, with methods like render() and componentDidMount(); check when a component is being re-rendered, with componentWillReceiveProps(); and handle unmounting. It is now also possible to catch errors during rendering with componentDidCatch(), which allows you to recover gracefully.
OTHER GREAT THINGS
A simple example of using JSX
There are a lot of third-party libraries created specifically for React (a simple search of the keyword ‘react’ in npm/yarn returns more than 40,000 results), which allows developers to focus on developing and creating the software itself.
This ecosystem is getting larger every day, with countless developers around the world contributing to it.
THE MERN STACK
- Front-end and back-end developers use the same programming language
- Less effort in integrating the front and back-end together
- More reusable code
- Uniform data format – JSON
Using MERN saves time and effort while developing.
According to Stackoverflow’s yearly survey of developers around the world, React takes first place in Most Loved Frameworks, Libraries and Other Technologies of 2017. But why is that?
There are a couple of things to consider:
- One-way data binding facilitates easy-to-manage state
- Reusable components
- MERN stack
- Virtual DOM
- React Native
Of course, React also has its disadvantages – for example, it is not a framework, and it is only the V in MVC (model-view-controller) – but there are still a lot of good reasons to use it.
As mentioned before, React is a powerful, flexible and high-speed tool for working with dynamic UIs.
As it is continuously being developed by Facebook, there is a huge ecosystem behind React, and the component-based architecture seems to be the future of web development. We at Diatom Enterprises look forward to seeing what it can do.
It’s a very good idea to use this library for different kinds of corporate and data management projects. The Diatom Enterprises development team has used React in several projects since 2015, and we are excited to see its growth and continue to use it in future projects.