What is ReactJS? Explaining the JavaScript library

The JavaScript language has come a long way since its inception in 1995. It was introduced as Mocha. It has quickly rose to the most commonly used language for web and mobile development. Today, many coding classes are centered around the language. ReactJS is a library full of JavaScript components for developers to use. It is used to create user interfaces among many other things. Moreover, the popular python framework gives a hand in building blockchain. The library is used for front-end development. Thus, it has a lot to do with the user experience. Through time, users have become accustomed to a certain feel with the applications they choose to use.  ReactJS allows for creating interfaces where the page changes without needing to reload.

Why ReactJS is important?

The idea of interactive menus and an easy-to-understand interface have become commonplace. Accessibility is extremely important when considering your users. You want to reach as many users as possible while keeping features simple and universal. The ReactJS library allows developers to innovate without having to re-invent the wheel or rewrite code. In fact, no-code development has become a popular tool among modern developers. Meaning, development is becoming more accessible and therefore innovation is through the roof. Day by Day, the barrier to entry is lowered. Therefore, developers are now to focus on more complex things than worrying about their code breaking. This used to be the way of the past. Where code could go wrong at any given time, due to all of it being a collection of trials and errors.

Getting to know the JavaScript library

ReactJS was first developed by Jorden Walke. It was deployed on the Facebook newsfeed in 2011. Walke is a software engineer at Facebook. Later on, React was also used on Instagram. At its core, the library allows developers to create large one-page web applications. Over time, ReactJS has come to be used for mobile app design as well. Thus, React Native was announced in 2015 by Facebook. The main purpose of ReactJS is to work on the user interface. Which is an important part of maintaining and growing a user base. React native consists of the native libraries in the ReactJS Library. Therefore, it is often used to develop native mobile apps on the mobile platform. In addition to this, ReactJS offers developers the syntax of JSX.

The syntax is made of the rules of that specific language. Meaning, what is considered readable input or unreadable.  JSX is still JavaScript. However, it is the mix of JavaScript and HTML (often used in web development). Alternatively, users can still code in JavaScript. But, JSX is much simpler and more intuitive. Another factor is reusability. The code you write on React Native can be used to develop applications for iOS as well. Such iOS apps need to be developed through the hybrid app development model. This is where your JavaScript code is put inside a shell of Swift container to be accessible on iOS.  Testability is another plus. Testing your code before deployment is vital. And ReactJS allows developers to do so with ease.


ReactJS and where it is used?

As it was mentioned earlier, ReactJS is mainly used for building websites. Especially, ones that have a dynamic page with changes influenced by the user. Imagine a store that pulls up a product’s pictures when your cursor hovers over it. This allows for user interactivity. Also, it leads to an overall better user experience. However, there are other approaches to have a better website that engages more users. Read our article on “Web design trends in 2021

With ReactJS being open-source, it is used by a myriad of developers. The JavaScript coding language is also widely known. Which gives more options to a business when looking to start a project. This could range from building at the foundation level, all the way to improving an existing product. At Twelfth Dream, we have worked with many businesses in Vancouver and beyond. Team As A Service (TAAS) focus has been on delivering the best product while taking into account time and budget. ReactJS being open source and easy to work with, has helped us tremendously.

Companies deploying ReactJS library

ReactJS is used by many brands in their development. Facebook is prominent as mentioned earlier. Instagram is a prominent example. The tagging feature, Google Maps API, and many other features on the app are standard React fare. Netflix also uses the framework to improve startup time and performance. Whatsapp, being another Facebook app, uses the framework as well. AirBnb and Uber are also users of the framework. The boom of React development has not gone away and for good reason. The available features and scalability fit right at home with the current fast-paced business environment. An app can go from zero to hero in a short time span. That is why time to market is a big issue for apps these days. In fact, your great idea might just get hindered by the time factor and nothing else. The reusability is important for new startups as well.

How difficult is it to use?

Developing new code constantly can be costly both when it comes to time and the team’s budget. Of course, no matter how simple the language is, it still requires a base knowledge of Java and HTML. However, the ReactJS tutorial does mention that it is mostly about having a base knowledge of coding. The page suggests that even someone who uses a different coding language should be able to follow along. The framework is also adaptive to many other tools. Facebook maintains the strong community behind the ReactJS library. They do so alongside many dedicated developers. Creating a secure framework for your next project.

In general, knowing JavaScript can be an integral part of becoming a developer. The most simple applications all the way to some of the more complex ones are written in Java. This is due to the legacy mentioned before. The language was adopted by a majority of developers early on. Therefore, the language has formed the foundations of a lot of software. Namely, the whole android operating software is written in Java. That is why, finding a developer who uses ReactJS should not be difficult. Thus, the language of JavaScript is highly in demand. It allows for efficient yet effective front-end development. And the community built around the framework is constantly improving it.


What is in the future for ReactJS?

A strong community is the backbone of any good software environment. Sustainability is king! A lack of engagement can leave a framework in dismay. Thus, ReactJS is in good company. As a framework, it has shown no signs of slowing down. Consistent updates and feedback from the community have benefited the library immensely. In January of this year, the team behind ReactJS was experimenting on creating two categories of components. Components are a section of the app that is developed. Currently, components reside in the would-be client category. However, the new server category allows for components to be rendered on the server side first. In turn, providing similar benefits to SSR. SSR stands for Server Side Rendering.

This removes the latency experienced in the past when rendering content on the client side. The performance is thus faster. Having access to databases and file systems allows for easier development. The bundle sizes are reduced as well. This is due to the ability to only serve libraries that the client side needs. Without getting into the weeds, the main point here is the opt-in nature of the update. Existing react code will work the same, and developers are not being rushed to use this new feature. The Next.js team is tagging along on the project. The flexibility that ReactJS offers ensures its popularity among developers.

Some drawbacks of ReactJS and alternatives

The fast pace of the framework can be a gift and a curse. Some developers struggle to keep up with the updates. And a lot of them do not end up being opt-in updates. Documentation is another issue. As it is an important step in the development process. With the constant updates, it gets harder for developers to document the code they have written. However, many ReactJS developers have found methods to keep up. And finally, ReactJS only works on the user interface side of things. That means, everything else has to be run through a different tool. While it is not comprehensive, it is still impressive for an open-source library.

Angular comes up as one of the known alternatives to ReactJS. Google maintains the framework AngularJS. In 2010, the framework was introduced. Unlike ReactJS, it is a structural framework for web application design. This means Angular covers a lot more than React does. User interface components are the main function of ReactJS. InfernoJS is another library to consider. It is known to be faster than React. Preact is another library that sacrifices high performance for maximum efficiency. At the end of the day, the pros and cons depend on the project at hand.

Angular vs. React : The Comparison. Which framework is the apt choice for your project?

The bottom line on ReactJS

All in all, the open-source tool has been extremely useful to developers. It has spurred interest in easier and faster development. ReactJS is on the forefront of the current app boom. The simplicity of the language makes it accessible to entry-level programmers and veterans alike. Even the library’s drawbacks can be advantages. It is all based on what project is using it. Here at Twelfth Dream, we usually start with a discovery call with our clients. This is to help us strategize the best approach given the client’s concerns and the project’s needs. You can book a discovery call.

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