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5 Facts to Know About React Development

First released in 2013, React has achieved remarkable growth in the short time it has been available. Most developers say they want to work with React JS if they do not already, according to Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2018, which is an outstanding achievement that not many technologies manage to reach.

But despite its popularity and desirability, there are several important facts about React development that not many novice or even seasoned React developers realize, and this article is here to explain them.

#1 React is not a framework

Even professional React developers often say that React is a JavaScript framework. However, React’s official website describes it as “a JavaScript library for building user interfaces,” so who’s right? The short answer is that React is a JavaScript library, but the fact remains that it has several characteristics of a framework.

All libraries are really just collections of class definitions, and when you call a method from a library, you remain in control. On the other hand, frameworks specify the control flow so they actually call your code. In a certain way, frameworks are meant to solve structural and architectural problems, which is not what React does. Instead, React simply provides methods that help web developers better handle front-end development.

Does the fact that React is actually a library and not a framework matter in the real world? Of course it doesn’t. But it’s important to realize what React is actually intended to do: build composable user interfaces.

#2 React development and SEO go together

It’s sometimes wrongly assumed that search engine optimization (SEO) and React development are mutually exclusive. While it’s true that single-page applications do come with certain SEO challenges, such as the lack of dynamic SEO tags and the fact that search engines may not be able to execute JavaScript code, they can all be overcome without much effort.

One popular solution on how to optimize single-page applications for SEO involves the use of Isomorphic React. An isomorphic web app gives you the best of both server-side rendering and single-page application by automatically detecting if the client supports JavaScript and running JavaScript server-side if it doesn’t and client-side if it does.

In addition to Isomorphic React, developers may also decide to prerender their websites with services like Prerender.io, which renders JavaScript in a browser, saves the static HTML, and returns the static HTML to search engine crawlers, allowing React websites to be crawled just as efficiently as plain HTML websites.

Build isomorphic web apps that are SEO freindly with React development.

#3 Virtual DOM is faster than real DOM

All React developers sooner or later hear the term virtual DOM and wonder what it is and what advantages it offers compared to the real DOM (Document Object Model), which is a cross-platform and language-independent application programming interface that connects web pages to scripts or programming languages, making it possible for web developers to modify web pages with a scripting language such as JavaScript.

React takes DOM to the next level by keeping in memory a virtual representation of a UI and synchronizing it with the real DOM. Not only does virtual DOM enable the declarative API of React, but it allows ReactJS to know when exactly to re-render or ignore certain specific pieces of DOM, reducing the performance cost of updating the real DOM.

It’s also worth pointing out that virtual DOM differs from the so-called shadow DOM, which is a browser technology designed primarily for scoping variables and CSS in web components. Shadow DOM is supported by all major web browsers except for Edge, and it can be used together with React’s virtual DOM.

#4 React has a strong community

Developers love React, and it shows in how strong the community around it is. React’s official website lists multiple thriving React communities, each with thousands of users who are happy to share their experience, give useful tips, and answer code-level questions.

There’s also a massive amount of free or extremely affordable React resources on sites like YouTube, Udemy, Coursera, and others. To get a good overview of what’s available, we highly recommend this list of resources to learn React.

Because React is based on JavaScript, one of the most approachable programming languages in the world, you can be sure that the community around it is nothing but friendly and welcoming. With no elitism to spoil the mood, React beginners are not afraid to ask questions, which is exactly how it should be.

React development comunity is and important factor of React's success.

#5 React is not just a fad

At this point in time, the enterprise adoption of React is so high that it’s possible to say with confidence that React is not just a fad. From Facebook to Netflix to Khan Academy, there are thousands of high-profile companies that have successfully adopted React and used it to create massively successful digital products.

React has been around for just a couple of years, and it’s guaranteed that it’s not going away anytime soon. Of course, it will one day most likely be replaced by something even better, but that’s just how technology evolves over time.

Conclusion

There you have it: 5 facts you need to know about React development. As you can see, React is a fascinating JavaScript library that makes it effortless to create interactive UIs and build encapsulated components that pass rich data and keep the state out of the DOM.

Just like JavaScript itself, React is easy to get started with but hard to master, which is why so many businesses hire professional React developers to help them transform their business ideas into full-fledged products.