Why you should use React js for your startup in 2021

Marcin Wojtczak
18 June 2020
5 min read

The front-end ecosystem has seen rapid change over the past ten years, bringing with it many improvements to its methodology and overall developer experience. However, the sheer number of tools now available and their ever-changing best practices has since led to "front-end fatigue." Following this surge in innovation, three major players have been left in the field of development tools with React js standing tallest.

If you've ever wondered why you should use React js, here is a guide to understanding what makes it your best option for your startup this year.  

The top three front-end frameworks

Angular js

Between 2012 and 2015, Angular.js (a JS framework made by Google) was framework king. But as it wasn't scaling well enough for the modern era SPA application requirements, the core team decided to rewrite the entire project from scratch. They also changed the name from Angular js (1.x versions) to Angular 2 for the newest releases, finally settling on just “Angular." 

Long story short, the transition didn't work out for the framework. Many left it for other solutions like React and Vue. Does this mean Angular is a poor choice? Not at all. But owing to a relative shortage of developers and the learning curve required, it does mean that it is now more commonly used by bigger companies that have the time and money to invest in it.

React js

In 2013, Facebook released the first version of React js which didn't enjoy immediate popularity owing to certain innovations developers had to adjust to.  And as tools and best practices then started to change almost monthly, the result was this "fatigue". Yet it did manage to generate some smart solutions to existing problems, providing React with a vast ecosystem of tools suited for almost any use case. Over the last 2-3 years, third-party libraries and React js itself have matured, replacing Angular.js as the most popular solution.

Vue js

Initially released in 2014, Vue was very well received among front-end developers. It is also the only framework in the top 3 not created by a corporation, and many programmers describe it as a combination of the best parts of React js and Angular. Rightly so. 

So you might think this would have given Vue the biggest market share. It's not the case, actually. In fact, many companies won't use it precisely because it does not have a corporate endorsement. As a result, there are fewer articles, books, and tools made for this ecosystem, making work more complicated. Although organizations like Gitlab use it, in Europe and the US it still lags behind React and Angular.

Why use React js?

Therefore React js has become the most popular solution, especially among small to mid-sized companies. Let's look at both the benefits of React js and its weaknesses.

Benefits of using React

  • React is a Javascript library. But it's much more than that. It is a vast ecosystem of libraries, additional tools, tutorials, and articles. React offers many great solutions for solving everyday problems whereby companies can focus on areas that are specific to their use cases. And with React, developers can increase their productivity through strong community support online.

  • With React there are some truly effective developer tools available for almost all major browsers for inspecting applications, component by component. In addition to giving the option to change a component's state as you go along, you can also do performance checks and analyses.

  • React is a UI library in which you can write code mostly in JavaScript. It focuses on excelling at what it does best and letting the open-source community concentrate on solving other issues. This way, any developer familiar with JavaScript can produce code quickly.

  • In React there is an architecture for programmers to create an application made mostly from components. Each component can handle its logic, rendering, and styling. React makes the creation of reusable components a breeze. This makes apps easier to develop and maintain.

  • Use React for enhanced performance when working with the Virtual DOM. Without it, the user interface can slow significantly when updating the application data or doing several user interactions. The Virtual DOM solves this by creating an in-memory representation of the actual DOM structure, which detects the parts that need changing and performing updates only on those nodes. This enables a far more rapid application development.

React usage weaknesses

  • React is a javascript library focused on being a UI library. You must choose additional tools to handle routing, state management, styling, forms, etc. This can be problematic, especially for junior developers who need to learn new libraries for every project. While useful for their development, it can hinder their ability to deliver value early on.

  • JSX syntax is not as legible as "normal" HTML templates. Since most can adapt and also get good code editors' support, this is not a crucial issue. However, for those not familiar with JavaScript who wish to apply styling to a template created in JSX, things can get complicated.

  • The React js ecosystem is not opinionated. You can expect different code styling, folder, or structure for almost every project. This is why it’s worth creating a company-wide boilerplate and style guide.

What is React used for?

Using React for Single Page Applications

React is the most widely used for SPA. Its entire front-end is downloaded from the static server as JavaScript files to be interpreted by a browser to create an HTML structure. The whole application is a single HTML page with JavaScript handling everything else. The most common tools used for creating a SPA are: Create React App, React Router and Redux. To handle server-side rendering, you can use Next.js, a more advanced framework built upon React.

Using React for Native Application

Creating a native mobile application has always been a challenge. Developers must write two separate code bases for iOS and Android. Initially, people solved the issue by writing a JS application and displaying it in a platform web view. But performance issues and a lack of access to native functionality made this problematic. The solution lay in React Native. Using React Native, developers can now write React components in JavaScript, then have them compiled into the native code. Problem solved!

Static Websites

Until recently, this type of website was handled mainly by a server-rendered HTML which WordPress dominated. Eventually, however, developments in the world of JavaScript led to the creation of tools like Gatsby.js, enabling developers to write templates as components and populate them with content from either markdown files or headless CMS solutions.

You Should Use React

Owing to the popularity of React js and its mature ecosystem, developers now have tools to create many projects with a single javascript library. Transitioning from developing a single page application to a native app isn’t without some difficulty, though. Each domain has knowledge requirements related only to the used tools. But a single javascript library and language for all domains still make switching much easier.

Looking for a React development team? We’re just an email away. Drop us a line at hello@start-up.house

 

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