The number of React component libraries is ever-increasing, and it’s getting more and more difficult to pick up exactly what we need out of dozens of solutions available. And since ReactJS web framework still belongs to the most popular and adored technologies software developers utilize, we can expect this trend will continue in the future, too.
One of the reasons for this popularity of React is that single-page applications with interactive interfaces it helps create are on the rise, too. And the right React component library can make them stand out in terms of web design and usability that both can create a captivating user experience. On the other hand, a great selection of React component libraries is something that helps ReactJS itself grow.
React component libraries certainly can be game-changers and strongly influence the projects you’re involved in – in a good or a bad way. For this reason, it’s good to know the current trends concerning this area to pick up the React component library that is the most proper for your projects.
Table of contents:
- React component library in a nutshell
- Top 7 React component libraries
- React components library boiled down
React component library in a nutshell
Why are React component libraries so crucial?
Well, in general, a React components library is a set of React pre-built components – independent, reusable bits of code to draw upon in order to build web, desktop, or mobile applications. Those building blocks let create anything from buttons, menus, and pagination, to name but a few elements, making the front-end developers’ job much faster, easier, and smoother.
What software developers often look for in a React library or a React UI library are features such as sufficient support provided and a renowned organization standing behind, extensive documentation, and relevant use cases. It’s good if those React libraries are well-described so that it’s clear whether they’re meant specifically for web design or other, including general, purposes.
Top 7 React component libraries
If you’re interested in picking up the best React component library, just get acquainted with our list and try some of our suggestions. These are the tried and tested React component libraries that we find especially useful and worth taking advantage of in 2021 and beyond.
Material-UI is the React UI components library created by Google and implementing its Material Design specification. MUI advertises itself as “the React UI library you always wanted”, and the results of the 2020 MUI Developer Survey, with a staggering 94% of the respondents claiming they would be disappointed if they could no longer use MUI, seem to confirm this admiration.
The main criteria why they decide to use this UI library are, according to them, its „design, look & feel”, as well as documentation quality and customizability. What users find the most beneficial about MUI, is the range of components, and ease of use, according to this survey.
All in all, many software developers consider MUI to be a great Bootstrap alternative, an outstanding or even default ReactJS components library, and praise its prebuilt or pre-styled self-supporting components for being extremely useful (letting build sliders or dropdowns easily) and time-saving. Stability, accessibility, and flexibility are often mentioned, too.
2. Chakra UI
Compared to MUI, a React JS components library its competitors and software developers often look up to, Chakra UI is more focused on the layout (with features such as optimization for multiple color modes or simply light and dark UI) as well as on the production of composable, flexible, and scalable code. New components can be created with ease, and already existing ones – customized per the software developer’s needs.
What also distinguishes Chakra UI from some of its competitors, is the simplicity of manipulation of CSS classes of components and layouts that are being exported. Also, Chakra is known for strictly following WAI-ARIA standards for all components.
3. Ant Design
Ant Design is an extremely comprehensive framework and design language, with React used to encapsulate a library of components that embody it. Its admirers praise it for its versatility, many user input components, great documentation and examples as well as frequent updates, and excellent form handling. On the downside, issues such as a large bundle size and unsatisfactory performance are sometimes brought up.
Also, Ant Design may be hard to work with when it comes to customization, custom styling, and custom themes (e.g. in the case of some elements, like switches). Luckily, Ant Design offers so many things that customization isn’t needed for.
If you’re designing your application with simplicity in mind, then Rebass might be a good choice. According to its website, it’s all about ”React primitive UI components built with Styled System”.
Apart from being rather minimalist, it’s very useful, extensible, flexible, responsive, systematic, as well as scalable, and themeable. It enables building consistent, mobile-first UI with design constraints fast, offering high design and development velocity.
Other three (or actually four :)) React component libraries worth considering include:
- React-Bootstrap and Reactstrap – React component libraries based on Bootstrap (currently compatible with newly released 5.1. version), the former is more popular judging by NPM trends downloads
- Semantic UI React, being a “re-implementation” of a well known Semantic UI in React (jquery free) – a modern, clean and good-looking library of components
React components library boiled down
Creating accessible React apps fast and efficiently as well as designing the captivating user interface is crucial these days. And picking up the right library (or a design system) with cutting-edge React UI components is something that may tip the scales and make the very project successful (same as utilizing React Virtualized or similar solutions).
Above, we’ve selected the most outstanding modern libraries that offer cutting-edge UI components. To us, they suit the challenges of the future best. But, of course, no React UI framework or React component library is perfect and, when choosing, you should focus on the qualities that you need or cherish most. Great experience for end-users, however, should always be in front-end developers’ minds. The scale and complexity of the project as well as time to market are crucial in this regard, too.
And you, do you agree with the list we provided? Are there any other React component libraries you would like to include within it? Which ones do you find the most suited to the challenges of the future or simply set for success?