7 Reasons Why Developers Should Use React

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High-performing responsive websites and web applications are dependent on frontend frameworks and libraries. One of the more long-standing and incredibly popular web development tools is React. The free, open-source, frontend JavaScript library has been going strong for almost a decade. At XAM one of our core capabilities is React consulting and development, we help customers succeed in their business goals.

To help decide whether it is the right frontend web development tool for your project, we’ll sum up the key benefits and features of React along with its core use cases. 

What is React JS?

React JS, commonly known as React, is a multi-purpose, open-source, JavaScript component library used for creating user interfaces for websites and applications. It was designed to offer a better way to develop fast and dynamic websites using JavaScript. React is characterised by simplicity and elegance and complements the JavaScript programming language. Developers are given the ability to create reusable UI components to save development time. They can also supplement code with HTML elements directly, significantly simplifying and shortening code in the process. 

Often referred to as a framework rather than a library, React doesn’t just offer pre-written code and functions. It’s, in fact, possible to build whole applications using ReactJS. The library has a robust and flexible ecosystem and libraries and frameworks for creating complex functions. 

The Benefits of Using React

React is the most popular JS library, which means that it has to have a lot going for it. ReactJS is a performant, well-structured and productive library that creates a robust environment and delivers numerous advantages, such as: 

1. Smooth Learning Curve

React is a simple and lightweight library that focuses on the user interface, which makes it easier than the alternatives when using JavaScript. Developers can quickly start using React with a basic understanding of HTML, CSS and programming concepts. What’s more, there is extensive documentation online to help. 

2. Extensive Community Support

React is one of the most popular libraries on GitHub and has a huge following, which means there are always countless experts on hand to help answer developer problems. Javascript developers use the library to create new solutions and tools and many of their applications are now included in the official library. 

3. Easily Reusable Components

The component-based approach to ReactJS means that there is lots of reusable code. Each React component, once developed, can be reused across other parts of an application. While system upgrades can often lead to lots of complications with reusable components, that’s not the case when it comes to React. Each of the components is isolated so a change in one won’t affect the others. 

4. Powerful JavaScript LIbraries

React combines the power of JavaScript with HTML to make it robust. The JavaScript XML, or JSX, syntax extension extends the functionality of HTML structures into Javascript. React enables developers to use the HTML syntax directly in JavaScript code. This means that they can pass HTML and ReactJS elements into the build to write clean, manageable code. While this already increases performance and efficiency, it can also be used with other third-party JavaScript libraries such as Redux, Bootstrap and React Hooks to further improve development. 

5. Clear Data Flow

In React, data always flows in one direction. Information that is inherited by a component can only be modified in the parent component. The downward directional binding makes the code both stable and consistent. Changes to a component lower down in the tree won’t affect the parent component or any of the other components. Unidirectional data binding creates greater control and makes debugging and error-checking much more efficient. 

6. Virtual DOM Representation

A document object model (DOM) is an interface that represents HTML and XML code. Each time a change is made, the DOM has to be rendered again, which consumes time and power. ReactJS uses virtual DOMs, a lightweight JavaScript representation of the DOM. Updating the virtual DOM is faster and cheaper as it remains loaded all the time. The framework then finds differences between the two and syncs, with only necessary changes being made to the actual DOM. 

7. No Architecture Restrictions

Unlike other frameworks, React doesn’t implement any MVC or MVVM architecture. This is because React is only concerned with the UI layer and leaves the rest up to the user. Developers are free to choose whichever architecture they prefer, which delivers both flexibility and creative control. Meanwhile, if a developer does need more structure in their web application, Flux architecture can be used. 

When Should Developers Use React?

React is a flexible, multi-purpose library that offers many use cases. It’s been used for developing large social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Reddit, for applications such as Airbnb, Uber and Netflix and for cloud services such as DropBoxuse. Ultimately, React is the perfect choice for developing single-page applications as it can rewrite and update content on a web page without the need to reload or refresh the page. What’s more, it’s a formidable choice for dynamic websites that require handling multiple users and requests. React has an easy learning curve without complicated jargon that makes it easy to adopt to create cost-efficient solutions. 

Although there are lots of alternative frameworks to choose from, React delivers various rich features and functions, which makes it the perfect choice for a wide range of development projects. With React components and templates, developers can have confidence in creating a flawless user experience. Meanwhile, flexibility and code reusability deliver high performance, cost-efficient development. While new libraries and frameworks will be developed as we move forward, ReactJS won’t be going anywhere, making it a dependable choice both now and in the future. 

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About the author

Michael Ridland is the Co-CEO and Founder of Xam Consulting.

Design-led problem solving delivering digital solutions.

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