Simplistic and Reliable User Interface Library

Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. — Edsger W. Dijkstra

React, is an open-source JavaScript based User Interface library has been around for years and is gaining vigor by leaps and bounds. The question is why, when there are so many alternatives? In short, React is not a framework but a library where developers may build adaptable user interfaces. This article highlights some of the key features of this popular library.

Background: Facebook, Instagram and a community of individual developers and corporations maintain the React library. React is currently being used on the websites of Netflix, Imgur, Buffer, Bleacher Report, Feedly, Airbnb, SeatGeek, HelloSign, Walmart, and many others. React allows developers to create large web applications that use data that may change over time, without reloading the page. Its main goal is to be fast, simple and scalable. React processes only user interface in applications. This corresponds to View in the Model-View-Controller (MVC) template, and can be used in combination with other JavaScript libraries or frameworks in MVC, such as AngularJS.

React, The Pattern Library: React in essence uses design patterns making it easy to write superior performing code where there is no need for DOM structures. Further it precludes the need for a number of dependencies like jQuery, eventually reducing size of deployed code.

Code Reuse: React has unique capability to enhance performance as well as fully managed rendering lifecycle for components assisting developers improve the code reusability. By making the creation, distribution, and consumption of isolated reusable components more straightforward, developers are better able to save time by using and creating common abstraction.

Reduced Complexity: React is user interface library, and predominantly mixes HTML and JavaScript. This understanding actually reduces complexity by tightly coupling two components that are inherently intertwined.

React and SEO: React is designed with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind. It can render either on Client or Server side using Node.

React Code, easier to follow: Most understood paradigm of MVC is Model represents data and View represents User Interface. In React, data only flows in one direction that makes views much more understandable. In other traditional frameworks, data and view are intertwined in such a way that if either one of them is changed, it will have a cascading effect. Not with React.

Atomic Components: A component, React’s fundamental abstraction takes in data an argument and outputs a representation of the DOM with no additional side effects. By eliminating dependency on consuming and/or creating state stored in the DOM, these components are both more atomic and for sure more testable.

React Native: Yes, with React, you get learn once, write anywhere. It’s an approach to build mobile apps. With React Native, you don’t build a “mobile web app”, an “HTML5 app”, or a “hybrid app”. You build a real mobile app that’s indistinguishable from an app built using Objective-C or Java. React Native uses the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps. You just put those building blocks together using JavaScript and React. React Native combines smoothly with components written in Objective-C, Java, or Swift. It’s simple to drop down to native code if you need to optimize a few aspects of your application. It’s also easy to build part of your app in React Native, and part of your app using native code directly – that’s how the Facebook app works.

In our next React article, we will showcase how to configure React in your environment and develop a simple application, stay tuned!

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