ReactJS is a user interface library. It’s often powerful and allows you to create interactive web applications for clients using simple code that can recombine HTML documents after making changes in lower-level components. If you’re considering using ReactJS for your project, check out its advantages and disadvantages to make sure it suits your needs.
In this article, we take a closer look at the peculiarities of this technology to evaluate its pros and cons.
Pros of ReactJS
ReactJS is a popular framework that offers developers numerous advantages when it comes to creating interactive UIs. We’ll review some of them in the next sections.
#1 Virtual DOM
The Document Object Model (DOM) defines the tree-like structure of an HTML document. The DOM represents a web page in an object-oriented format so that programming languages can interact with it.
A browser regularly checks for any changes to the DOM and updates it accordingly. A change may be caused by user input, a query, receiving data from an API, etc. The browser updates the DOM each time a change appears. As the DOMs of modern websites are enormous, updates may take much time, slowing down the overall performance of a web application.
Instead of modifying the actual DOM, ReactJS only needs to deal with a lightweight version — a virtual DOM. Only after ReactJS has responded to a change in the webpage does it need to update the real DOM.
A virtual DOM has the following benefits:
Using ReactJS to update the full DOM of a web page for every change can be undesirable because it uses many resources. It takes more time and processing power to process changes because the entire page must be evaluated and any relevant modifications executed - as opposed to updating only the affected areas. By making only those parts of a potentially huge DOM that have changed, ReactJS permits users to continue editing such documents without worrying that their edits will affect other portions of the document that haven't been modified yet.
This may seem like an arduous process, but it's one hundred times faster than doing so on its own.
One of the most critical things for any startup is making their web application run smoothly and be able to work quickly. In contrast to the real DOM, the virtual DOM is small and can be updated fast. This helps improve a page’s performance. Using a virtual DOM enables a page to immediately receive updates from the server and display them without having to reload a page. Facebook uses a similar technology they call React which speeds up chats and feeds in an equally impressive way.
#2 Reusable components
ReactJS supports the writing of reusable code. Once you've created a piece of code for doing one job, you should be able to reuse it in other situations or even other projects if need be.
While developing an application with ReactJS at your startup, you may use open-source libraries that contain components built by someone else already. This will save you time and money when compared with building every single part of the UI yourself!
#3 Downward data flow
ReactJS provides developers with one more thing to appreciate: a one-way data flow. This feature is called top to bottom and parent to child data flow because it works like this:
ReactJS receives information from the top of an application and, as it moves down through the other elements, hands that information off until it eventually reaches its final destination - such as an object who's receiving instructions about what to do.
#4 Huge community
The ReactJS community supplies tons of valuable libraries that facilitate the process of building applications using ReactJS. ReactJS libraries provide developers with new possibilities and ways to improve the quality of their code and applications. Since so many developers create reusable components out in the open, there’s an opportunity to implement them in your application and reduce the time required for development purposes.
#5 React Developer Tools
React Developer Tools is a great add-on for chrome and firefox that lets you see what's going on when you're building your websites. Whether it's trying to debug an issue with an HTML5 Canvas, or just wanting to view the component tree of your latest project, this add-on will help you tremendously in terms of speed and efficiency in testing and debugging.
Cons of ReactJS
Like any other development technology, ReactJS has both pros and cons which we'll outline in this article.
#1 Poor documentation
ReactJS is a relatively new technology, as well as a young framework that keeps growing with the help of community developers that contribute to broadening its possibilities. However, there's been some difficulty getting adequate documentation compiled for ReactJS and its related libraries because it seems people tend to release updates without updating the documentation. This makes it hard for others to get acquainted with new features and integrate frameworks properly.
#2 Confusing JSX
#3 Complicated search engine optimization
Google uses bots to index information on your website and search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for a ReactJS app to get traffic and attract new customers. To understand why it’s challenging to make your Reactjs app SEO-friendly, we need to understand how Google indexes web pages.
A Google bot scans the content of a web page and stores information about it in the Google index, which stores all this information in a database. When a user requests a specific piece of data from a site, Google checks the data stored in its database related to that site, which is then presented with links that provide the most relevant details surrounding that request made by users.
As a result, a ReactJS website may not be properly or fully indexed, or it may take too long to do so forcing Google bots to leave the site. There are several approaches you can take to make your site SEO friendly, for instance by pre-rendering or SSR.
#4 Narrow focus on UI