What Is React

what-is-react-logoReact is one of the most popular front-end JavaScript frameworks around. Used mainly for building user interfaces for the web as well as user interface (UI) components, it’s been around since 2013. Read on to learn more about the benefits of React and discover some notable usage examples.

What is React – Explained

React was developed by a Facebook engineer. At its core, it’s an open-source JavaScript library that developers often use to build single page apps (SPAs) and mobile applications.

With React, developers can build sophisticated user interfaces by putting together components, or individual pieces of code. Used alongside other frameworks and libraries, React can help build complex apps.

React has its native development framework for mobile apps—React Native, specifically developed for building high-performance apps on Samsung, iPhone, and other mobile devices.

Together with Angular, React is one of the best known and most widely used front-end development frameworks for the web. But what do developers like so much about it?

What is React – Benefits

Since its launch in 2013, React has grown exponentially and now it’s often ranked among the best platforms of its kind. Today it’s estimated that over 200,000 websites and software products use React either by itself or in combination with other development technologies.
Here are some of the core strengths of React.

  • Speeds Up Development – With React, different developers can write different parts of the application on both the server and the client side. In many cases, this can speed up development.
  • High Performance – React provides server-side rendering and other features built to ensure high performance. Whether we’re talking about a simple app or a complex one, React makes it run smoothly. Because it’s fast, React promotes good search engine optimization (SEO) which many websites need for online visibility.
  • Flexible Code Structure – React has a modular code that makes it more flexible than other front-end frameworks. More than helping developers save time, React makes the process of updating the app and making changes to it faster than other frameworks, reducing maintenance requirements and development costs.
  • Allows for Mobile App Development – As noted, React comes with a native framework specially developed for mobile apps. Today, when many businesses need both web apps and mobile apps, React is a dependable choice that can help businesses limit their technology stack to save costs.
  • Custom Components – React comes with the JSX syntax extension which enables developers to build their own components to extend app functionality and further save time and speed up development when building complex apps.
  • Strong Community – React is maintained by Facebook and backed by a large community of active developers. The support for this framework is very strong, making it a reliable choice for long-term projects.

What is React – Limitations

Like other web development frameworks, React also has a few limitations, and it’s good to know about them. React usually needs to be integrated with other frameworks and libraries when building complex apps, and this calls for integration knowledge and experience.

It also has a relatively large library size, which may annoy some developers. Lastly, not everyone likes the JSX feature or its user manual.

Examples of React Uses

React plays a key role in the Facebook front end desktop and mobile website experience, where it provides dynamic content on a page without requiring a page reload for users to see comments or notifications.

At the same time, React helps power other social platforms acquired by Facebook, like Instagram or the messaging platform WhatsApp.

React also makes a strong appearance in the popular project management solution Asana as well as in the learning platform Khan Academy.

The Bottom Line

For many developers working with web apps and mobile apps, React is a flexible and empowering platform. While it does rely on integrations, it’s a convenient and useful platform. The fact that Facebook itself uses it acts as a strong endorsement in its favor.


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