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React overview: what is react and why it is vitally important for your business?

Max Tsurbeliov
Max Tsurbeliov

Content Creator

December 7, 2021

Updated:

React overview: what is react and why it is vitally important for your business?

React overview: what is react and why it is vitally important for your business?

Max Tsurbeliov
Max Tsurbeliov

Content Creator

December 7, 2021

Updated:

React overview: what is react and why it is vitally important for your business?

Changes in social life caused people to spend an unprecedented amount of time on the Internet, buying products and services there. 

As a result of this change, businesses faced the urgent need to establish a strong online presence with powerful web applications. The applications that present seamless performance, aesthetic UI, and customer data security. In addition to security, the web app should be easy to debug, maintain and scale up when your business is growing. To create such websites they should find a great web development framework that can fulfil all the essential requirements.

And there is one platform that can provide all that - React. It is the most popular web development platform, using which you can build web applications of any type. According to the latest developer survey, more than 41% of respondents among professionals prefer React.js.

Web development frameworks popularity. Statista.com

But what makes web developers choose React to create web applications over other solid and well-known frameworks like Angular or Vue.js? Let’s find out in this article. 

What is React

React is an open-source JavaScript library for creating complex and scalable web applications with performant UIs. It shines in UI performance, development speed, and customization capacity owing to its spectacular set of features. 

The idea of such a framework as React came from Jordan Walke, a software engineer in Meta (fmr. Facebook). He had a rather challenging task: to create a framework capable of fast development and producing apps with dynamic UIs. Walke decided to achieve that by putting XHP into a JavaScript environment. It was a long shot because the symbiosis of the Facebook markup syntax (XHP) and JS code was considered impossible at the time. However, against all expectations, Jordan Walke did that and presented the first React version in 2011. 

Two years later, in 2013, the team released React as an open-source JS library. The unique mix of JavaScript code speed, advanced UI rendering methods, and groundbreaking features won the hearts of developers from the very beginning. As the React community grew bigger, it has been making the library better, adding new features, and expanding its application area. At the moment React dominates the web development sphere with the largest developer community and over 9 million websites using it. Among React users are Netflix, Airbnb, Tesla, and other Fortune 500 companies. 

React features

Now, we get to the features that make React stand out from other web development frameworks. 

Virtual DOM

The first prominent component of React is its Virtual DOM. A DOM (Document Object Model) organizes the documents in HTML, XML, or XHTML formats and is responsible for the UI data input/output of the. The DOM has the tree structure that, traditionally gets invoked when users make any changes to the interface.

In contrast to the traditional DOMs, Virtual DOM doesn’t require an update of the whole DOM tree. Instead, it considers only the new elements of the UI, making the rendering faster. Basically, Virtual DOM is a doppelganger of a real one that reflects all the changes in the Real DOM. In other words, UI elements in React are separate components, so the Virtual DOM can update a certain part of the UI, without invoking all the components.

The process makes UIs of React web applications dynamic and performant. We can see the benefits of Virtual DOM on the Facebook website. For instance, when we write in the chat we can see the news panel change at the same time. 


Virtual DOM structure vs. Real DOM

Additionally, it enhances the app development process and maintenance. React Virtual DOM is connected to the UI components so that developers won’t need to bind them manually. Besides, the Virtual DOM makes react capable of hot reloading that comes in handy when the developers need to see the code changes at work instantly.

And to top all the benefits of the Virtual DOM we should mention its synthetic events. Such events are easier to manage and make the React js applications easier to adapt to any browser you use.  

JSX

JSX is an extension for transforming HTML into JavaScript code patterns. The primary purpose of the extension is to allow developers to add custom UI elements to their websites. 

JSX has a declarative mark-up that makes it extremely easy to use. Mainly,  because you can write shorter and more efficient code. Besides, the JSX code is much easier to maintain because all the elements are separate by concern (e.g. UI/side-effects), not technology (HTML/JS). Thus, the updates of the code patterns and debugging won’t damage other components.

Reusable components

In React, developers can create and use code components that have their own logic and controls. This feature makes React coding clean, fast, and convenient freeing developers from writing the same code patterns again and again. With React components, they can build a page of an app and then reuse its code blocks when creating similar pages.

React components differ by their orders and purposes. There are some of them:

  • Higher-order components;
  • Presentation components;
  • Container components;
  • Function components.

Such component characteristics add more functionality, flexibility, and customization capacity to your web application. You can reuse components of any level or change them, and it won’t hurt your further updates. That’s because the React components have their own controls and logic. React components don’t mutate but get replaced with another component of the same type and purpose.

On top of that, React components’ states are protected by the component lifecycle. The lifecycle is the special routine the component undergoes during the program execution. React has two component lifecycles:

  1. Mount-Update-Unmount;
React's lifecycle

  1. Render-pre-commit-Commit. 
React update cycle

Additionally, the library includes special functions called React Hooks. They allow you to work with your component’s lifecycle without writing invoking class syntax.

React Hooks have the following benefits:

  • You can write your components as functions instead of classes;
  • Improves code organization making it more readable;
  • Easy logic sharing between the components;
  • Calling the hook from inside the other hook, you can create custom hooks;

Function components that you can create with React Hooks have several advantages over class-based ones:

  • Better organization
  • Requires less code
  • Easy to test
  • Better reusability 

Unidirectional data flow

Unlike many other web development frameworks, React has a unidirectional data binding. Although one-way data binding wasn’t a new concept in web development, React is the first JavaScript framework to use it.

Unidirectional data flow means that the data reaches every part of an application in only one way. Used in React, such data flow brings a large number of significant benefits to React. First of all, it helps states to be transferred directly to the views and child components. Then, it influences the component changes, enabling them to be triggered by the views and vice versa. Eventually, the flow makes it much easier to maintain and control the data exchange between the React application’s parts.

React usage 

React can help you create an array of various web applications and websites. Besides, the library allows building hybrid mobile applications and plugins. Among the types of applications available to build with React are:

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs)

React library has the components for creating web applications that can work offline, invoking the cached data, stored in the browser.

Banking apps

React provides all the necessary features and a proper security level for banking applications, that store sensitive user data and allow money transactions.

E-commerce apps

React applications can handle extreme user traffic without any hindrance to the apps’ UI. This quality is especially important for supply chain and e-commerce applications. 

Single Page Applications (SPAs)

Instead of loading the new web page, SPAs rewrite the information in the existing web pages. This process facilitates UI rendering, making information loading almost instantaneous. 

Hybrid mobile applications

Beyond web apps, You can develop hybrid mobile applications with the Reactjs library. Hybrid mobile apps are, essentially, web apps in the masks of native ones. Thus, users can access all the functionalities through the embedded browser connected to the native mask. To create natively rendering mobile apps for iOS and Android, you can use React Native, a Facebook framework based on React.

Data Visualization

React is widely used for the creation of real-time analytics dashboards and other front-end elements for BI (Business Intelligence) software.

What benefits does React bring to businesses?

Seo performance

React websites tend to take a higher place in the browser search ranking. The reasons behind that are the JS code and the power of React applications. React uses JavaScript, one of the core Internet languages which makes it easy to read for browser algorithms. Thus, with a React web app, you can get to the top of a browser search results much faster. 

Fast app development

Code reusability, hot reload feature, and React developer tools enhance the app development. Besides, the broad community of experienced developers can provide exceptional React.js development services and help you to solve any issues popping up during the app-building process.

Reduced Expenses 

The less time you will need to deliver the project, the fewer resources you’ll spend along the way. This formula applies to the React app development projects as well. Apart from the development speed, React is easier to learn so you won’t need to spend money to educate your in-house JS developers.

Easy maintenance

React applications are very easy to inspect and debug due to their Flux architecture that keeps the views separately from the logic. Also, you can use React developer tools to spot and manage code issues automatically. 

Performant UIs

With all the features we’ve mentioned above, React applications are the best in terms of UI rendering. React UIs work seamlessly even with extreme traffic loads. Furthermore, React apps can support sophisticated features and 3’d party services which allow you to customize your app.

Fast learning

React is a piece of cake for JS developers. It can take only a few days for them to understand all the features and peculiarities of the library. Additionally, React includes comprehensive documentation to help the developers pick up all the React functionalities.

In a nutshell

React is the go-to option for those who want to create a performant web application with dynamic UI and complex features on short notice. Although the time-to-market of the React applications can vary depending on their complexity it’s significantly faster than the development speed of other frameworks.  

P.S. If you’d like to delegate your web application development to experienced React professionals, contact us. Akveo web development team has 5+ years of experience with React and created a bunch of successful websites. We offer various engagement scenarios so you can hire as many developers as you need to create your app.

What React is and how it helps to create a powerful web app in 2022
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