Are you a novice programmer and want to find out what React really is? Do you want to know its strengths in order to decide to work with this library? Or maybe, as a software house client, you would like to know why this front-end technology was proposed for your website or web application? You've come to the right place. This article was created to explain what React.js is, describe its strengths, and show you why and when to use it.
That's a lot of information for a short introduction, but don't worry. If you do not fully understand what makes React.js unique, it's time to get down to business. Here are the 5 most important advantages of this solution, which will help you understand exactly how the use of this library affects the convenience of coding, introducing changes and the finished product, as well as how it stands out from the competition in terms of ease of work and acquiring the necessary knowledge. Actually, we will start with this last benefit.
The Virtual DOM mentioned earlier in this article is the distinguishing feature of React, which is probably most often mentioned as the greatest advantage of this library. It's time to explain the advantages of this solution over the traditional DOM model. When we load a website, a Document Object Model is created. It requires the entire HTML structure to be reloaded when changes are made. In the case of complex models, the web browser has to perform a lot of calculations, which is not beneficial for the optimal page loading time. This is where the Virtual Document Object Model comes in handy. In this case, a virtual representation of the code is stored in memory. When changes are made, React compares documents and updates only what has been modified. Virtual DOM finds the best ways to make all the changes to the page, which limits the number of references through the regular DOM. This solution increases efficiency and allows you to use hot reloading, i.e. reloading the interface in real-time. The performance optimization provided by Virtual DOM allows us to believe that this technology has a very promising future in the most popular frameworks.
Code full of duplicate elements can be a source of frustration when it turns out that introducing a small change leads to the fact that the whole thing has to be analyzed for corrections. React is a remedy for similar situations. And all because the UI is made of smaller components. These are individual elements of an interface that fulfill specific functions (e.g. labels or buttons). The interconnected components grow into larger and more complex elements, ultimately creating the entire UI. React saves time that you would spend on repeating small pieces of code endlessly. Reusability of components allows them to be used many times (both within one, but also completely different projects). It is enough to have in mind how to effectively combine them together. And speaking of ready-made elements of an open-source library, you can probably guess that there is one more perk behind it, which are ready-made "blocks" or their entire "sets" created by the constantly growing React community.
There is a good chance that during your adventure with React there will be many components that you won't have to write at all. Developers around the world create ready-made UI elements and share them with others. Very often you will be able to use them for free, saving you not only money but also time. Another advantage of a large growing community is frequent updates. The library offers a lot of up-to-date solutions that you can use in your projects.
The huge community is not only the benefit of the fact that someone has already written the code and you can use it. After all, a developer's work is about continuous development. This one will provide tremendous support from other React users. If you have a problem with something, almost one hundred percent will be someone on the forum or group to help you solve it. In addition, there are also a huge amount of tutorials, guides, and FAQ series that will allow you to gain new competencies and develop your skills.
At this point, it is worth adding that the huge community of React users also translates into hundreds of well-known brands for which developers using this technology work. The use of the library by tech giants such as Facebook, Netflix, or UberEats is a kind of guarantee that it is a top solution that can be trusted.
We've already mentioned a few big players who use React, so this gives some idea of what projects this might work for. This library is a great solution for various types of web applications, and with React Native, also for mobile applications. The technology ensures responsiveness, i.e. adaptation to different devices on which the website is run. By itself, it is perfect wherever simplicity, ease of use, and speed are important. In the case of more complex projects, it will be a perfect complement to a set of other technological solutions.
Finally, we would like to share with you a case study of one of our projects, where React was of key importance for the optimization of the Saveur Bière online store in terms of mobile traffic. The client wanted to avoid wasting the traffic conversion that came from them with the growing activity of smartphone users. For the user experience related to accessing the website from mobile devices, we decided to introduce Progressive Web App (PWA). Users can also download a mobile app that provides native smartphone experiences. For this project, we created a fast and clean code that we integrated with the original e-commerce platform. It was the React library that helped, as well as Redux. The successful completion of the project is evidenced by the reduced number of abandoned shopping carts and the increase in Saveur Bière's revenues. The entire case study describing the problem with which the client came to us and the implemented solutions can be found at this link.