Why I Chose React?
Before I tell you Why I Chose React — First Let’s see some things which you should already know!
Let’s dive in.
If you are new to the web-side (or programming side to be exact) you might have heard people talking about React or ReactJS and you are like:
What the heck is this thing…
Well well well, no worries — we will see what it is!
You might know there are two sides to the web.
- Client-Side (Front-End)
- Server-Side (Back-End)
OK, so any application (either web app or native android/ios app) is consists of a back-end & front-end. There is a server-side and a client-side.
The back-end consists of a server, an application/software, and a database. The server hosts our application. The server also communicates with a database to get data.
You got this now!
Next, there’s something which is a bit interesting.
Single-page applications and Multi-page applications
If you are not familiar with SPA and MPA you can read my article here:
Single-page applications and Multi-page applications
Let’s meet SPA and MPA real quick!
Keep all this in mind and let’s see how React fits in these modern concepts of web development.
What is React?
Let’s go deeper and discuss what this means and how it is suitable for modern web development.
As I said it a Library — If you don’t know what that means no worries I will discuss that at the bottom. For now, just keep the actual book library in your mind where you have books and books everywhere. So REACT.js is a library where books are already gathered and sorted for you. The heavy lifting is already done for you. If you want a book from the library, you can just go ahead and locate a book by referencing and grab a copy.
So basically, in a library — code is made and available for you, you can just grab the code you need and use it wherever you want!
React on the other hand has great declarative syntax rather than imperatives, without getting confused, let’s take this example of an English sentence which I found on the internet:
Declarative: “I need milk.”
Imperative: “Get in the car. Drive down the store. Find the milk esle. Grab milk.”
An advantage of declarative syntax is that’s easier to see what the code wants to do, which clears some confusion when debugging your code. — Anonymous
And… It is Component-Based
As you now know that single-page apps are made up of views that we can create using React.
One of the main features of React is that it is component-based.
Components are the building blocks of views.
Basically, we can create reusable, predefined chunks/parts of code that can be put together to create a view.
Let’s take this example from Facebook’s posts. You have seen this thing all over Facebook in every single post. Let’s call it (Like Portion) It’s a component made up of three small components (Like Button, Comment Button, and Share Button) And this Like Portion is used in every single post.
So Facebook is not copying and pasting the code of this Like Portion — They just created this component once and using it again and again in every post!
Yes, that is a component! They make your app pretty fast rather than executing and creating a part again.
Another thing that really impressed me is that it uses VIRTUAL DOM to make updates in the REAL DOM
Getting Confused? 😕
Let’s see what they are…
VIRTUAL DOM vs REAL DOM
First, this is an example of DOM
The DOM is actually the object-based abstraction of your code which is being shown on the page!
DOM (Real/Browser DOM)
DOM takes all the HTML elements and wraps them in an object with a tree-structure — like the about image. This provides an API that allows us to directly target any specific node (HTML element) and do what we want like adding more child/parent nodes, removing, editing its content, and blah blah blah…
On the other hand, Virtual DOM is an abstraction of your Real DOM but it’s pretty light-weight than the Real DOM — It has all the same properties as the Real DOM object but it can’t write and show things to the screen like real DOM. It’s extremely fast as compared to the Browser’s DOM — It can produce about 200,000 Virtual DOM Nodes / Second…
REACT uses Virtual DOM to make changes and then compare the changes with previous Virtual DOM — If any changes found then it goes to the Real DOM and updates only that specific part — so because of Virtual DOM it doesn’t affect Real DOM and when we change things it only updates that specific part of Real DOM and it happens real quick!
If we had done this directly by the Real DOM it would execute, rearrange, calculate the positions of nodes and then print all the code again. But thanks to Virtual DOM that it only updates that specific reference/part!
Well REACT.JS is not the only option to work with… There are many other libraries and frameworks you can use!
Ummm… Are you thinking: He said he will tell what a Library is and now he’s also talking about Frameworks!
Still, confused about what Library/Framework is? What’s the difference? Let’s discuss:
A picture speaks a thousand words
A library is a collection of functionality that you can call and use in your project. It’s just a collection of class definitions. You just get the code that has already been written by other developers and use as your own way!
What does this mean? Well, it means that when you call a library, you are in control. But with a framework, the control is inverted: the framework calls you. (This is called the Hollywood Principle: Don’t call Us, We’ll call You.) This is pretty much the definition of a framework. If it doesn’t have Inversion of Control, it’s not a framework.
As I mentioned, there are many other libraries and frameworks you can use e.g.:
- Angular JS
- Vue JS
- Backbone JS
- Reactive JS
- Polymar JS
- Cycle JS
And the list continuous… But the market is gained by 2 of them. One is what we are reading about “REACT” and the other is “ANGULAR JS” — But why I preferred to React over Angular? Here’s my personal opinion:
Lemme send you back to the 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey Results. Where React was number 4 of the most popular library (REFERENCE LINK). It is however number 2, by far, as the most loved one (REFERENCE LINK) and Angular is at number 4.
Several reasons for that:
- unlike AngularJS or BackboneJS, React is NOT a framework. it’s just a plain, easy-to-dig-in DOM rendering engine that follows the same old way of thinking.
- React promotes reusable, configurable components. While you don’t have to rewrite what you already did, the Internet is full of easy-to-use React components about pretty much everything: forms (react-form), state management (Redux), SPA routing (react-router), connecting to firebase (reactfire), manage Ajax and asynchronous sh*t (react-axios), draw charts (react-sparklines)…
- React doesn’t stick you to web development, you can easily jump into React Native in order to build a mobile app with less effort, which btw is becoming the new standard in terms of mobile app development.
- Here is what it takes in React to make a Google map widget:
And here is how this component is instantiated:
And here’s a tip for you: if you intend to dig in React, forget about Gulp/Grunt and go for Webpack.
That’s all folks! Let’s meet in the next article with something interesting!
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