React Overview.

There is a lot of discussion whenever React is mentioned. Regardless of the conversation's outcome, we cannot overlook React's significance in the tech industry. Created by Facebook in 2013, React aimed to improve the UI and UX of Facebook and other Meta products. Utilizing JavaScript, or TypeScript which compiles to JavaScript, it is one of the most commonly used libraries today and backed by thousands of the developers in the open-source scene.

From my personal experience with React, I have noticed that React makes all of its features possible, by utilizing these 3 core features:

  • Component-Based Architecture

React's component-based architecture allows developers to break down their code into manageable, reusable chunks of logic. This modular approach not only simplifies the codebase but also promotes code reuse, leading to leaner and more maintainable code.

  • Virtual DOM

React employs a Virtual DOM to enhance performance. The Virtual DOM is a lightweight copy of the actual DOM, updating with every code change. React then compares the Virtual DOM with the actual DOM, identifying differences and re-rendering only the changed components. This selective updating process significantly boosts efficiency compared to the other frameworks who don't use it.

  • Unidirectional Data Flow

React's unidirectional data flow ensures a clean architecture by restricting data movement to a single direction. This approach simplifies state management and enhances data flow predictability between parent and child components.

React Hooks

Up next, I’ll discuss React hooks. Hooks were introduced in the 16.8 version(2018) of React. The functionality of hooks is that it lets you “hook into” the React state and lifecycle features from function components. You can build your own custom hooks depending on what you want to achieve. However, React does provide some built-in hooks. The most used hooks are:

  • useState(): Manages state within functional components, tracking data and properties efficiently.
  • useEffect(): Handles side effects such as data fetching and DOM updates. It executes based on specified dependencies.
  • useContext(): Manages global state, simplifying state sharing between deeply nested components.
  • useReducer(): Facilitates complex state logic, useful for managing multiple state pieces.

Despite their utility, hooks have some drawbacks. For instance, in larger applications, with complex state, it can be hard to manage it only via useState, useEffect can be misapplied due to React not preventing you so, useContext might lead to performance issues, and useReducer can introduce unnecessary complexity for simple state needs.

State Management with Redux

To address the hooks' limitations, developers often turn to state management as a solution, like Redux. Redux centralizes application state management, providing a clear structure and improving code maintainability. It consists of:

  • Store: Holds the entire application state.
  • Actions: Carry payloads of information to the store, indicating what has happened.
  • Reducers: Pure functions that manage state logic, updating the state based on actions received.

Pros of Redux:

  • Centralized State Management: Simplifies state management and debugging.
  • Predictable State Updates: Uses pure functions to ensure traceable and debuggable state changes.

To sum up, while React offers a robust set of features for efficient and modular web development, understanding its core concepts and effectively managing state are crucial for leveraging its full potential. Tools like Redux amplify React's capabilities, ensuring a more structured and maintainable development process.


Written by Ergi Lama.

Software Engineer at Honest Tech.

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Published on 2024-06-24.