What You Need to Know About ReactJS Before Using It in Your Project

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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:

Efficiency

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.

High performance

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

ReactJS was initially supported by Facebook, which saw the potential in this new JavaScript library. Today it is actively worked on by not only Facebook themselves but also by members of the public who have helped bring ReactJS to where it is now. Though they are known to use it, Facebook has not created a monopoly over this open-source engine and others have used its code to improve upon what ReactJS offers, including Chrome and Microsoft.

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

ReactJS uses JSX, an extension of JavaScript, to allow developers to create objects with HTML syntax. This can make it easier for developers to update the DOM (Document Object Model) and they find it helpful in all aspects of coding. However, since many junior coders are not yet familiar with JSX they may need some time getting used to seeing HTML in their JavaScript code.

#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.

Google bots automatically index simple HTML pages, but not so with dynamic web pages. All dynamic JavaScript web applications including those built using ReactJS must go through a more complicated indexing procedure than static websites.

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

ReactJS is a JavaScript library. It is typically used for web application development with the help of other tools. But it is not an all-in-one set of tools either. Keep that in mind if you plan to use ReactJS to develop your app's UI. If you want something more complete & stronger, then you'll probably have to go with a Web framework instead.

Several JavaScript frameworks offer the option of building applications that follow the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern. React, however, is different in that it has an extremely narrow focus on user interfaces.

Summing up

ReactJS is a JavaScript library that allows you to build interactive single-page applications. It’s widely used and known for its simplicity and great performance, among other features. In this article, we’ve covered the advantages as well as disadvantages one has to keep in mind while designing a large-scale application with it.

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