In this article you will learn why React JS library is getting popular and why many businesses turn to React web app development nowadays. We described the most essential benefits that developers and businesses should consider for their future web and mobile apps.
The React library was initially released by Facebook in 2013. To see how popular this technology became since then, let’s take a look at this thorough developers survey made by Stack Overflow this year. Over 50,000 developers shared the info about their work and personal preferences. Among the more or less predictable results that cover the current state of the IT sphere, there’s something interesting about ReactJS itself. This library became one of the most loved and wanted technologies, and the most trending tech on Stack Overflow:
Quite a strong argument to become a react developer, isn’t it? But let’s not jump to conclusions. Instead, we’ll talk about core features of React that make this library so popular. Moreover, we’ll find out, whether these features are important only for developers or they able to bring new benefits to a customer.
What is React Library: A Brief Overview
These were technical features that can provide a developer with some food for thought.
What are the customer’s benefits of using React?
- Virtual DOM can increase the performance of highly loaded applications which eliminates the potential inconvenience and improves user experience
- The isomorphic approach allows rendering web pages faster which helps your users feel more comfortable when they use your app. Search engines index such applications better. Since the same code can be used both on the server and client side of an application, there’s no need to duplicate the same functionality. As a result, development time decreases, and the overall cost is reducing
- It’s easier to create mobile applications due to code reuse. The code that was used during the web application development can be reused for building a mobile app. If you plan to create a website along with the mobile application, there’s no need to hire two big development teams. Website code can be inexpensively adapted to mobile development needs
Let’s now take a closer look on how these benefits can be reached. Of course, there’s no room for describing all the possibilities provided by this library in one single article. But we’ll concentrate on the most significant of them to help you with making a decision, if React development can solve your problems by
- improving the user experience of your websites and applications
- increasing development speed
- introducing the most trendy development techniques
Isomorphic Apps. Killing Two Birds with One Stone
Virtual DOM. Because it’s Faster This Way
The Document Object Model, or DOM is a way of representing and interacting with objects in HTML, XHTML, and XML documents. According to this model, every document is represented as a hierarchical tree of elements called DOM tree. Using special methods, we can get access to a particular component of our page and manipulate it the way we want.
When we create a dynamic, interactive web page, we must ensure that DOM will be re-rendered as quickly as possible after the changing of the particular component’s state. For such task, some frameworks use so-called dirty checking which can be described a process of polling the data on a regular basis and checking the values in the data structure. As you can imagine, such work can become a headache in case of highly loaded applications.
Virtual DOM, in its turn, is hosted in memory. Anytime the “actual” DOM is changed, React changes the Virtual DOM in the blink of an eye since it’s located in memory, as we said before. React “collects” these changes, compares them to the DOM’s state, and then, re-renders the modified components.
Using this approach, you’re not doing DOM updates on the regular basis. Thus, it helps increase the performance of your React app. The second consequence of such approach follows from the isomorphic nature of React: you can render on the server-side just as on the client-side.
How Code Reuse Helps Develop and Test Mobile Applications More Efficiently
If we compare development costs of different types of mobile applications, here’s the results that we’ll get:
- If you prefer native applications, you can expect high-performance, but the overall costs will be pretty high
- If you choose React, you’ll get a performance level that is comparable to the native applications. But if we are talking about the price, it remains about the same as in the previous case
If you plan to create a corporate web application and not sure if a version for mobile devices will be a good idea, here’s what you should keep in mind. React Native allows using the existing web application logic while creating a mobile app. It means that team of developers can use the code that was written during the process of website creation instead of starting with a clean slate.
Besides the faster development, code reuse allows avoiding a large number of errors. If you create reusable components with well-defined interfaces, the next time you want to create a new UI, you can write less code. The less new code you write, the lower the possibility of new bugs and errors. Plus, you know your components. You’ve used and tested them earlier and, in case of troubles, you can predict where’s the problem.
The component-oriented approach, the ability to change the existing components with ease and reuse the code turn React development into a continuous process of improvement. The components that were created during the work on a particular project have no external dependencies. So, there’s no reason for not using them over and over again in projects of different types. All the previous experience can be easily migrated from one website to another and, moreover, it can become a basis for mobile application development.