What Is React.js? Why Should You Use It For Web Development?

React is one of the most widely used JavaScript libraries used to develop the frontend of a web application. Popularly referred to as ReactJS, React.js, or simply React, it rivals Angularjs and Angular for UI development. React was first developed in 2011 for internal use, then adopted by Instagram, the Facebook subsidiary in 2012, and was made open-source for the general public in 2013.

So, what is ReactJS?

There is an ample number of frontend JavaScript frameworks available like Vue.js, Angular.js then why should we use React for the frontend development? First off, React is a library and not a JavaScript framework. React helps in building vast applications quickly with its simplicity and scalability.

React.js features:

Let’s zoom in and see why ReactJS appeals to frontend developers on a large scale:

React Native for mobile apps

React Native is the framework for building cross-platform mobile applications using the same codebase. It uses the same design as React which helps you use the rich React library, declarative components, and including mobile UI library.

Single-way data-flow

Unlike AngularJS where the data flow is bi-directional, React supports the unidirectional flow of data. The state is passed from the parents to the child components, but the child cannot update the state coming from the parent React component. The data coming from the parent is called props in React. The unidirectional data flow supported in React has the following advantages:

● Easier to debug as we are aware of where the data is coming from.
● Fewer errors as we have more control over the data

Virtual DOM

DOM stands for Document Object Model. The virtual DOM is more like a blueprint of the original DOM. Any changes in the DOM will affect the entire hierarchy in the UI page. Any changes made to the virtual DOM is like making the changes in the blueprint. React compares the previous virtual DOM with the updated virtual DOM snapshot and only the latest updated component is changed without affecting the entire UI page and hence improves the app performance.


React offers the option for templating using JSX instead of JS. The JSX is JavaScript XML which allows us to write HTML in JavaScript code. JSX simplifies the process of creating React Applications

Now, let’s check and validate why use React over other frameworks?

Advantages of using ReactJS:

Let’s understand why React stands to be a better option for web application frontend development as compared to the other frameworks like AngularJS or Vue.

ReactJS is simple

React is simply easy to learn. The component-based development and the use of plain JavaScript make it not just easy to learn but also build professional web applications. React brings to the table the JSX to make use of HTML with JavaScript. However, usage of JSX is not mandatory. The developers can use JavaScript, however, usage of JSX simplifies the development process.

ReactJS is easy to learn

Anyone with basic programming knowledge can master ReactJS. Knowledge of HTML and CSS is sufficient to learn ReactJS.

React’s one-way data binding

React follows uni-directional data binding with an architecture called Flux that controls the flow of data from a single point called the dispatcher. With the one-way binding feature of React, it becomes easier to debug the components, especially in large applications.

React’s native approach

React can help in building mobile applications (React Native) on iOS, Android, and web at the same time leveraging the concept of code reusability.

React’s performance

Due to virtual DOM, React offers faster performance. JavaScript in itself is fast. But updating the Document Object Model (DOM) is a very expensive process in terms of time. Before React, most of the frameworks update the DOM in a most unintelligent way. They would update almost the entire page to reflect small changes in the UI. React’s virtual DOM is like a hero that updates the page considering the previous virtual DOM. Only the new changes are updated on the UI page.

Testing in React

Testing in ReactJS is a piece of cake. All the React views can be considered as the functions of the state. These functions can be manipulated to pass as React views to check the output, triggered actions, events, functions, etc.

The Bottom line:

ReactJS offers a great way to develop a web application-frontend. It is not just simple to learn but also simplifies the web application building and testing process. In short, ReactJS is a component-based, easy to learn, fast, extensive, declarative, frontend development library that is widely adopted and recognized.

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