What’s React & Why It’s So Popular Today?

Author: Bimal Gurung

If You Want to Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want to Go Far, Go Together.   -African Proverb

Ready? Let’s get started. 

React is a JavaScript library designed by Facebook which is used for building user interfaces specially for single page applications.  

At Facebook, they were using React to build Facebook UI and later they released React as an Open Source in 2013. I personally have been using React since 2016 and I must say it is a very powerful tool. 

Once you start to learn React, you will be thankful to Facebook because Facebook has made lots of other open source tools for developers to make complicated things easier and efficient. 

 
NPM (Node Package Manage) Download chart 

As you can see from the above chart, react is on top of the list in NPM downloads by winning over jQuery, Angular and Vue. According to Stackoverlfow survey, React remains one of the most loved Frontend libraries.  

Here is a list of features that has made React popular: 

1.Virtual DOM 

React creates a virtual copy of the original DOM. When changes occur in DOM it compares the latest generated DOM with virtual DOM and only updates the changed DOM. Hence manipulating the virtual DOM is quick rather than updating original DOM every time. 

2. JSX 

JSX is one of the best features that many developers love it. It looks like XML syntax, that means it is easy to write and easy to understand. JSX is almost identical to HTML which makes web developer more comfortable. 

3. Component Based 

In React everything is component; the whole website is divided into small pieces of components. By separating web applications into different components, we can reuse that components to build application with less code. 

4. One-way data binding 

Unlike to angular and Vue, React does not support two way binding. We need to write more code to perform two-way data binding but there is a reason for making React only one-way data binding which is easy to debug.  

5. Event handling 

Event handling is hassle free as React creates its own event system which is fully compatible with W3C object model. You will not have to worry about incompatible event names and fields, as all browser native events are wrapped by instances of Synthetic Event. Moreover, it provides a cross-browser interface to a native event. 

6. React Native 

React Native is framework for building native (ios/android) mobile application. It follows the same principle, design pattern and process as React. 

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