If you’re new to web development and thinking about learning React, you might be wondering what makes it special. So, in this article, we are going to discuss React in detail in the context of web development.
What is React.JS?
Before we put React in a web development context, let’s discuss a bit of the history of React. Basically, react was created by Facebook for its own use. As the largest social networking website in the world, Facebook needed an exclusive language to manage the entire platform.
But, as the web development landscape evolved and more people experimented with it, developers started embracing React.JS and its component-centric approach. By the end of 2014, many large companies were using React.JS in their production environment.
If we talk about the present, numerous Fortune 500 companies are using React to create applications for their businesses. Facebook has a dedicated, full-time React development staff that’s responsible for fixing bugs, enhancements, blog posts, and documentation.
Web Before React.JS
Before the arrival of React, web development was all about scripting and rendering. Front-end developers relied on HTML and CSS to design the interface while PHP was used to create the back-end. Web development was simple and easy.
Despite the old-fashioned approach and technologies, you could still establish a two-way connection between client and server — thanks to Server-Side Rendering.
Nonetheless, with the arrival of React.JS, new possibilities dawned on the web development community. Of course, developers can’t continue to take months to create simple websites. How would you create a giant ecommerce website with this approach?
The Arrival of React.JS
But regardless of the popularity of this approach, DOM manipulations remained slow. That’s where React.JS came in to fasten things up.
In the beginning, React was used to render views in web or mobile applications. Developers could create independent and reusable components. This resulted in enhanced performance of applications.
Also, the feature called Virtual DOM enabled developers to implement SSR without having to update the whole view every time they wanted to update.
Let’s have a bit of technical context here. You are building a dynamic front-end or a Single Page Application. You want the client-side routing to ensure a quick navigational experience for the end-users.
At the same time, you don’t want to lose navigation while implementing SSR. This is where React.JS shows its magic, you can use it on the client-side and implement navigation.
Benefits of React
DOM is just a single feature. There’s more about React that makes it a great choice for modern-day web developers. Let’s discuss some of its other benefits in detail:
It’s Easy to Learn
A React application consists of different components. You start building with small components like dropdowns, menus, and buttons and create wrapper components around these.
Later, you can use the same components in another app. Reusability of components makes React an inexpensive option to create engaging and functional websites.
A Unique Abstraction Layer
End users often poke their noses in the back-end with little knowledge and end up messing with the code. With React’s unique abstraction layer, they can’t access the complex internals anymore.
If you are a developer and tweaking someone else’s work, you will only need basic knowledge. Also, there are no architectural patterns like MVC, MVP, and MVVM.
You are free to design an app’s architecture in any way you see appropriate.
A Vibrant Ecosystem
React’s rich and vibrant ecosystem gives developers dozens of ready-made and customizable charts, graphics, documentation tools, and much more. If you are a developer, there’s no better thing to have so much built-in stuff at your disposal.