What is React JS and its advantages and disadvantages of React JS
Web app development has undergone a sea change from the time JAVA first arrived on the scene. With the advent of technology and the invasion of the internet and the takeover of the ubiquitous smartphone, there has been a flurry of web app development that has now taken shape of a tech tsunami. Helping this wave of innovation along its way is React JS. From the time it appeared on the tech scene, React JS has captured the imagination of developers across the world. In this article we will try to decipher the reason behind its popularity as well as the chinks in its armour.
What is React JS?
The primary use of the React JS is to create single page applications and user interfaces. But the real difference it brings in is the speed by which it does that. Because of this, React JS is the most popular web app development tool in the world with over 40% developers reposing faith in it. Another thing to note is that React JS is not a framework but a library, something that gets lost in translation. The primary reason for this is because of the numerous features that it holds is like a framework. But given the efficiency with which it plods along, it isn’t a challenge to mistake it as a framework.
Features of React JS
React follows the Declarative programming line of thought. The developer creates view for each state of the said application after React updates it and renders the components when the data changes.
The code that makes up React is made of components. Components can be translated to a particular element in the DOM. It is important to understand the concept of the DOM here. A DOM is a Document Object Model is cross platform and language independent interface which treats the XML or HTML document as like a tree structure.
These components are always declared with a function that returns some JSX
React JS is looked after Meta and a large community of developers and has rich advantages and a few disadvantages which we will quickly have a look in.
Advantages and Disadvantages of React JS
The Virtual DOM
The central premise to the incredible performance of React JS is the Virtual DOM. The Document Object Model helps React JS attain the high levels of speed and efficiency. This is a tree structure of XML, HTML or XHTML documents. However, this did not stop the developers to further improve ReactJS. They started using the virtual form of DOM calling it the virtual DOM. The biggest advantage that virtual DOM provides to the developers is that during small changes, the entirety is not touched. A virtual DOM is nothing but the virtual copy of the real DOM. Because its virtual, it takes a lot less time for the developer to update as compared to the real DOM. This matters a lot since in a cutthroat world of software development, time matters a lot. Time overruns are the prime reason for cost overruns too. With virtual DOM at the helm, this is eradicated. A great reason to love React JS.
Ask any developer what irks them and the quick answer to that would be codes that are to be written from scratch. As mentioned earlier time is of great essence on software development and any wastage of it usually leads to cost overruns. However, with React JS, this challenge has been solved. Reusable components are one of the key features of React JS and it helps developers to complete projects fast. Components can be reused in the same project multiple time as well as in future projects. This acts as a cascading effect. This is one of the most important features of React JS and the prime reason for its popularity. It not only speed things up but also makes coding a lot easier. The development process of every project decides the success of it. Hence, it is imperative that developers decide on the fastest path. Choosing technologies that do the same is vital and hence React JS is the first choice for most of them.
Every tech survives and popularised by its users. These users team up to form a community who push the popularity of the said entity. This also works for organisations and institutions. React JS has a huge community of followers, enthusiasts and users who regularly post improvements and newer usage of the tech. The library has a strong community backing and that is the reason why it has rapidly grown. This is not just limited to community pages but the entire social media. Be it You Tube, Facebook, Instagram or numerous blogposts, React JS has a mention everywhere. In a study by Stackshare, 89000 developers agreed they use React JS while on Github, 7.4 million agreed to its usage. Community back up is one of the main reasons behind the rise of most companies, including Facebook, Instagram et al. They not only help spread the news of the existence of a software and advertise for free but also take part in eventually improving it.
With the domination of the virtual world, the next important thing that organisations started to focus on was spreading awareness or in layman’s terms advertising it. This led to the arrival of digital marketing and SEO. SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the method by which Google ranks every website. SEO is as important as the content. React JS library has inbuilt SEO compatibility and allows websites to rank higher in the pecking order. This helps these websites to garner more eyeballs and footfalls which have a positive effect on revenue. React JS improves the loading time and the rendering speed of the websites, and it becomes a pleasurable experience for the user while navigating through it. The prime reason why React JS is a popular web app development tool is because it assists developers by reducing their workload. Content management specialist also find React JS easy to work with since it already does most of their job, reducing turn around times.
Easy to master
One of the inherent drawbacks holding back most software development tools is that they are too complex to learn. It takes a lot of time for beginners and enthusiasts to master a concept and a tool and that is a wastage of resources. Many tools also have insufficient learning resources that are a roadblock for many who wish to understand the intricacies of web app development. React JS is not only a great library with sufficient options and opportunities and features but also has React Developer tools that help users to know and understand the steps that are needed to create beautiful websites. These tools are available as extensions for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. This resource has been created by Facebook and is constantly updated. Current estimates suggest that there are almost 2,000,000 users. It also helps that React JS is part of Facebook’s network. Because of this reason, it has been able to get access to wider audience as well as to state of the art technologies that has helped it to become one of the most popular web app development tools.
One Way Street
Most other web app development tools have two-way data flow. This means that a small change in any of the features would mean the entire feature undergoes a change. This results in more repeat work and hence cost overruns and delay in completing projects. React JS is known to reduce project development time and improve efficiencies and productivities. The one-way data flow is designed to increase stability of a design and any small changes does not alter the entire section. Developers do understand the importance of parent and child relationships in the field of coding. Whilst working with React JS, any changes done on the child will in no way alter the parent and vice versa. It is important from the business point of view and hence most lead managers and project managers are in support of the tool. On top of that, due to the availability of the Virtual DOM, the entire environment becomes a streamlined movement of ideas and creativity.
While the article is all about React JS, it is pertinent to mention React Native. That is because it has all the features that React JS has but it is meant only for mobile apps. React Native is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows and even Oculus. React Native, like React JS, is one of the most popular mobile app development tools and used by many developers globally. There are fine differences with React JS, but many of the features are similar and easy to master. It uses the declarative framework which is like React JS and the codes also have components which after development become complete user interfaces. Another prominent feature of React Native is that the codes can be reused between most operating platforms. Most prominent companies have used React Native to build their mobile apps and many continue using them. Like React JS, React Native too has a large community of followers, enthusiasts and experts.
We did come across a lot of advantages that has made React JS one of the favourites of developers globally. However, like every other product, they too have a few chinks in the armour.
While there are plenty of features and libraries that help developers to gain the upper hand while developing websites, they do face a slight hitch at times. Despite an exhaustive React Developer tool documentation, it does fall short at times. The reason though is simple. React JS undergoes constant upgradation and improvement. Because of this constant flux, the documentation does become left behind. Because of the dynamic state of the tool and new releases dotting its development history, the documentation is not updated in real time. While it does eventually, for that time developers do feel challenged. The way out of this in the future is that the concerned parties would have to create specialised positions for updating the resource material. React JS is a great software and its value to the world of development is immense. However, these minor glitches do appear as irritants.
While this may be taken as a positive too, but constant new releases and upgradation of the tool does cause disruptions and slows down development. An upgraded web app software is always a boon but the speed at which React JS gets modified and new features added, it does become irksome. The library is always in a state of flux and that is probably one of the few challenges that React JS has.
We did mention as one of the upsides. But the Google algorithm did have an issue while indexing websites which were being rendered on the client side. However, that situation has since been solved with the Google algorithm undergoing a sea change of improvements and modifications itself and React JS being in flux constantly. Though there might still be some lingering issues, but that too can be taken care of if a server-side rendering is set up and the Google Search Console is used to search up the website.
React JS has made its mark in the field of Web App development and based on most of its features and advantages, React Native was launched in 2015 to create apps for mobile phones. React JS without doubt is a highly evolved, easy to use and robust library that also doubles up as a development framework. Despite the rapid changes that the web app development tool undergoes, it is still a key part of the march of technology into the future.