Over the past few years, you may have come across ReactJS more, and more frequently. That’s not a coincidence: since the library was open-sourced and released to the public in 2013, adoption of React has been increasing rapidly. Moreover, ReactJS has a reputation for being a powerful tool (combination with others) for creating user interfaces. A user interface (UI) is one of the essential parts of a web application, and it’s the thing a user sees and interacts with on a website.
React is a great solution for building user interfaces, so no wonder that the biggest market players decide to implement it in their web applications. However, it’s important to understand what ReactJS is, what it’s actually capable of, and what its drawbacks are. In this article, we’re gonna take a closer look at React JS and its growing popularity among world-famous companies. Let’s go!
What is ReactJS?
- JSX: a React extension that makes it easy for web developers to modify their DOM by using simple, HTML-style code. And—since React browser support extends to all modern web browsers—JSX is compatible with any browser platform you might be working with.
- Virtual DOM: a copy of the site’s DOM. ReactJS uses this copy to see what parts of the actual DOM need to change when an event happens (like a user clicking a button). Virtual DOM can help you see what changed after a user action and selectively updates that section of the actual DOM only.
- React code snippets and components (building blocks of React code used to create specific parts of a user interface)
- The option to use JSX to directly manipulate your DOM
- A Virtual DOM to improve your website’s performance
But on top of all that, ReactJS is an open-source project, meaning anyone can download and modify its source code for free. This also means whatever specific UI function you’re hoping to address with React, there’s a React library to meet your needs. Your React library size can grow exponentially with React’s community curated library add-ons, ranging from collections of individual UI features to complete React JS templates.
The pros and cons of ReactJS
#1. High performance (Virtual DOM)
One of the vital things for any startup is making its web application fast and responsive to provide the best service to customers. In contrast to the real DOM, the virtual DOM is small and can be updated fast. This improves application performance. Using a virtual DOM also allows a page to immediately receive a response from the server and display updates. Facebook, as a result, uses virtual DOM technology to update users’ chats and feeds without reloading the page.
#2. Reusable components
ReactJS supports creating reusable components. Once a UI component is created, it can be used in other parts of code or even in different projects with little or no changes. While developing an application, it’s possible to use open-source libraries of prebuilt components. This helps to cut down the unnecessary for UI development, which is crucial for startups that need to save time and money.
#3. Downward data flow
The one-way data flow in ReactJS is one more feature developers consider beneficial. This data flow is also called top to bottom or parent to child. It means there’s only one-way data is transmitted between the elements in the application. Above all, a downward data flow prevents errors and facilitates debugging.
#4. Huge community
Facebook has invested a lot of effort into making ReactJS a powerful tool that can improve the UI of their web applications. Nowadays, they continue working to make it more efficient and pleasant to use. But this module wasn’t created only by Facebook. By making it open-source in 2013, Facebook encouraged developers to use and improve it. Today’s ReactJS is a result of joint efforts, and it’s flourishing day by day.
#1. Poor documentation
ReactJS is a relatively new technology, and it keeps growing with the help of developers that contribute to it and widen its possibilities. But documentation and its related libraries are often lacking. Developers tend to release updates to libraries without updating the documentation. This makes it hard for others, especially newcomers, to get acquainted with new features and integrate libraries.
#2. Confusing ReactJS extension
#3. Complicated search engine optimization
#4. A huge focus of ReactJS on UI, but not enough
That should conclude the essential knowledge you need to know before using ReactJS to build your website’s user interfaces. This module has definitely grown in popularity for a reason. In the right situations, it can make building complex user interfaces a lot easier for you, but it isn’t going to be the right tool for every situation. So, you need to think carefully before integrate it into your site.
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