React.js is making headlines, and more and more people, intrigued with its possibilities and immense popularity, ask questions like „What is React?”, „What is React used for”, and, first and foremost, „Is React a framework or library?”.
As Stack Overflow’s annual 2020 Developer Survey indicated, React belongs to the most popular technologies software developers utilize. It ranked second in the „Web Frameworks” category, with as much as 36.8% of professional developers utilizing it.
Also, React.js was dubbed the second „most loved” web framework, with an impressive percent (68.9%) of software developers who are developing with it that have expressed interest in continuing to do so in the future.
Table of contents:
1. What is React js? All you need to know about it
What sets this front-end library apart are low entry barriers and significant elasticity in use, which certainly add to its great popularity. Compared to Vue.js and Angular, the interest in React is way bigger in almost all world regions. And, what’s crucial, it is on the sharp rise, as the data on Stack Overflow trends show.
But what are the reasons why React is king? Which features make React software so unique and handy, at the same time? Let’s check.
2. React.js – the most important features
There are several features of React that can be regarded as especially useful and valuable for front-end developers taking advantage of this library. These are:
2. Components – this is the encapsulation of the code’s logic into smaller blocks upon which we may build the entire application later on. UI components may be divided into class and functional ones. Render method belongs to the most used ones in the case of React components.
3. Apps that you can build in React.js
React js development has been used in a number of commonly used apps. It’s not only Facebook, React’s originator, that makes use of this library. The list of popular apps made in React.js is much longer and encompasses household names such as Netflix, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Dropbox, to name but a few.
But there are many more use cases possible, and, in fact, any app can be built in React. However, React.js mainly focuses on building client-side applications, the so-called single-page applications. But it can also be used to create server-side rendering applications. What’s more, mobile applications for iOS and Android and even desktop ones can also be built with React - with user interface in mind.
4. How to use React in your projects best
Have you ever wondered when to use React js, what types of projects it is best fitted to? Well, there are some insights that it’s good to get acquainted with before you switch to React and start using it in your endeavors.
Since it is a library, and not a full-featured and full-fledged framework, such as Angular, taking part in another project is often equal to applying different approaches and solutions. And this means more time to understand the application for new developers and increasing the chance of creating an anti-pattern in the project, which can also translate into less effective development. Plus, if someone doesn’t like to have a clear-cut architecture and rules for running projects, React may not be the best option.
On the other hand, when in the right hands, React’s flexibility offers many great possibilities, like the fact that we can use different libraries and packages more easily to create React apps. We can swiftly and freely apply various approaches, e.g. Styled components, CSS-in-JS, CSS modules or even plain CSS, Redux, Mobx, Recoil, and more.
The enormous React community and popularity of developing with it is certainly also a plus because it increases the probability that someone will help us with a problem that we may encounter one day. However, there are some voices that the documentation for React is rather poor and insufficient, and that using JSX may be inconvenient.
And what are your experiences with React.js? To you, what are the challenges of developing with it? What kind of projects is it best suited to? Can you spot any significant limitations of using it?