Skip to main content

What is React?


You may have heard the word “React” in recent years regarding web development. It has been gaining in popularity exponentially since its introduction. Let’s talk about React and what can it do.

React, also known as React.js or ReactJS, was created by Jordan Walke. It was first introduced in May 2013, React is a free and open-source front-end JavaScript library. It is one of the most popular mainstream JavaScript libraries today. It is currently being maintained by Facebook (or Meta if you want to be technical), as well as a community of individual developers and companies.

React is a front-end library, although not specifically a language, it is commonly used to develop single-page, mobile, or server-rendered applications. React offers various extensions for entire application architecture support, such as Flux and React Native.

The core design of React

  • Component-Based: A component is the smallest unit in React, and everything in React, is made of components, which focus on the encapsulation, commonality, composition and extensibility of UI components.
  • Declarative UI / JSX: In React, it describes UI by declarative methods. When you declare what the interface should look like when the data is in different states, it will automatically coordinate the update of the screen.
  • Virtual DOM: In website development, updating the DOM is one of the most resource-intensive actions for the browser, so React imports a set of well-known mechanisms and features - Virtual DOM (virtual Document Object Model). Its concept is that React maintains an in-memory data structure cache in memory that is the same as DOM. A diff algorithm is used to figure out which DOM elements have changed and need to be updated before actually operating the real DOM. Therefore, the purpose of Virtual DOM is to minimize DOM operations in order to optimize performance.
  • Unidirectional data flow: For communicating with each React component, you can only pass data from the parent component to the child component - through what React calls props, and props are immutable values, which means that you can't change the data passed in by props.
    Sometimes the data of the component is not necessarily transmitted from the parent component. For example, it may come from the data generated by the user interaction process in its own interface, such as filling in a form. In this case, the so-called state of React is used, and updating the data of the state can change the component state. The state can also be used as the content of props to pass to child components.
    React's data architecture design concept is to use a "one-way data flow". The data flow can only be passed from the parent component to the child component (top-down), and when the data changes, the UI will automatically change. Whenever React detects props or the state is updated, the entire UI element will be automatically rebuilt.

So why is React so popular?

The popularity of React is growing exponentially. More and more websites have adopted it because it has many advantages over other front-end development frameworks.

  • Easy creation of dynamic applications: it is easier because it often requires less coding and offers more flexibility and functionality.
  • Performance: React uses Virtual DOM, so instead of updating all of the components every time, it compares the previous states and only updates the items in the Real DOM that were changed.
  • Reusable component: Components as mentioned above is the building blog of any React application. These components have their logic and controls and they can be reused throughout the application, which can potentially reduce the application’s development time significantly.
  • Unidirectional data flow: One-way data flow keeps your UI stable and predictable. It is easier to debug eros for developers and knows where a problem occurs in an application at the moment in question.
  • Smaller learning curve: although like any other web development tool, there are endless things to learn and endless possibilities, React is considered a tool with a lower entry requirement. Developers that are familiar with HTML and Javascript and start building simple react components.
React Frontend Javascript