9 of the Best Tools for React Developers

React is one of the most popular frameworks built around JavaScript and is used for the development of front-end web apps. However, while the vast selection of libraries, applications and tools that come alongside React allows developers to boost their productivity, the sheer volume of choice can be staggering. There are so many options for every aspect of a React project; whether it’s choosing the right integrated development environment (IDE), visualiser or stylesheet, the decisions can become overwhelming. 

Choosing the right tools and IDE is the single most essential step when starting out with a React development project. So, to help you make some informed choices, in this article, we’ll highlight nine of the best tools for React developers, helping you to understand your options and leverage your choices to get the best out of the React framework. 

1. React Developers Tools

This is one of the most popular development tools and an obvious place for all developers to start. React Developer Tools is a Chrome DevTools extension for the open-source React JS library that enables a React tree to be analysed. This includes props, the hierarchy of components and state and how components impact other components. With full react hook support and filter mechanisms, you can use react functionality without creating a class and navigate deeper into nested hierarchies. 

2. React Sight

Reach Sight is another Chrome extension that can be installed to give a visual representation of your app structure. The visualisation tool delivers an intuitive display of the layout of the React Apps and includes React Developers Tools. With React Sight, you can visualise the different components you’ve created on a tree diagram, understand how they’re all connected and see their current state and props. React Sight is easy to use, all you have to do is install the extension and there’s no need to modify your existing code. 

3. Storybook

While React was created as an intuitive way to write UI, having to write code in order to create a visual component isn’t always the most natural solution. The result is that you can find yourself jumping from code to browser and back again to see what’s going on. More than just code, the open-source tool with an online UI editor, Storybook, enables you to develop, inspect and showcase your UI components in an interactive manner. By building UI components and pages in isolation, Storybook streamlines UI development, testing and documentation. 

4. React Styleguidist

Another interactive tool that enables you to create and showcase your UI components, React Styleguidist creates an immersive setting for the development of isolated components of React. With the help of Styleguidist, you can concentrate on creating one component and then look at all of its variants and functions with hot reload. The result is that teams can easily share components, retain them in one location and see how they react to different props and data, right in the browser. 

5. Create React App

To use any of the other tools effectively, you need to follow some kind of standard project structure. Facebook’s Create React App helps you to bootstrap a single command line for a brand new React project. The tool takes care of project structure as well as support modules for React hooks, TypeScript and browsers. Create React App creates a comfortable environment for building a new single-page application; it sets up the development environment so that you can use the latest JavaScript features and optimises your app for production. 

6. React Bootstrap

Bootstrap is one of the most popular CSS frameworks. The framework provides a range of CSS classes and JavaScript functions that allow you to create beautiful UIs without needing to be an expert in those technologies. To ensure compatibility with React, the developers of React Bootstrap have re-written the JS parts. That means that you’re able to use components like they were components of React; each component has been built from scratch as a true React component without unnecessary dependencies. 

7. React Proto

React Proto is a prototyping tool created to keep both designers and React developers happy. The aim of the tool is to simplify the process of mocking up and visualising application architecture. The fast prototyping makes it easy for you to build, drag and resize components and define component hierarchy. The architecture can then be exported as application files into a new or previous project as auto-generated code, which you can later customise. 

8. Evergreen

Evergreen is an open-source JavaScript framework used for building ambitious solutions. Instead of making a fixed configuration, Evergreen encourages the creation of systems that anticipate new and evolving design requirements. The framework works out-of-the-box with its refined React components, while enabling complete control when needed. It’s the ideal solution for those looking for optimised aesthetics for enterprise-grade solutions.  

9. Bit

Bit, an open-source toolchain for component-driven software, is one of the best options available if you want to create and share React components. It provides a CLI tool and online platform where you can publish and share your React components and also allows you to search for components created by third parties. With a full marketplace of components at your fingertips, you can easily find the right solution for your project. Bit enables you to create software more quickly; what’s more, it’s easier to test, maintain and collaborate on. 

With such a wide range of available tools, React has become an incredibly useful library for front-end developers looking to create beautiful and functional user interfaces. The tools we’ve highlighted all have slightly different focuses; some are visual, whereas others help you to code. However, what they all have in common is the ability to be used together to complement each other and improve your project outcomes. There are lots of other tools available too, of course and every year the community expands further. The trick is selecting the tools that will help to augment your development process and leverage the benefits of React. 

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