What is React?
To achieve this, React has a couple of features that make creating appealing user interfaces straightforward and exciting. These features have contributed to making it the most popular UI library in the world.
Key Features of React.js
Now that you can answer fundamental questions such as “what is React?”, let’s look at some important React peculiarities. Some of the most important features are:
- Reusable components.
- One-way data flow.
- Virtual DOM.
- React.js state management.
The following subheadings will explain key features that make it possible to build fast and scalable interactive UIs with React.js. So, let’s dig deep into these features and expand our React knowledge even further.
What are Reusable Components?
Components are one of the powerful features of React.js, which are attractive to web developers. Understanding components is part of answering “what is React?”. A component is a reusable code block that acts independently from another element (therefore called a reusable component). This means that you can split an entire UI application into segments, with each part represented as a component.
A cursory look will present some minor differences between the two. However, you must have noticed the “render()” method in the class component. The class component was the only type of component previously used for data management.
One-Way Data Flow
This was one of the distinct features of React.js when it first came out. With React, data moves in an expressive one-way directional flow. It exhibits a tree hierarchy format where data is passed down from top-level to child components. This feature means that child components cannot update data, giving you more extensive control over your application.
Let’s use our “Welcome” component from the previous section as an example. The code snippet below shows how the one-way flow communicates using props.
Although React can run without JSX, its usage gives the library a unique and elegant style. JSX can also serve as a visual aid for developers when building a UI.
The virtual DOM solves this dilemma by creating a copy of the actual DOM. Whenever the application makes a request, it notes these changes and looks at the virtual DOM’s specific part that requires an update without reloading the entire site’s DOM. This process results in a fast loading time and an application that’s less resource-intensive.
React.js State Management
We’ve already talked about how React uses the virtual DOM to make necessary changes. These data changes shared across components causes the “state” of the app to change. It’s important to know that these changes may occur over the lifecycle of the components involved.
Knowing how to store the current state and track the data changes is vital to rendering your app interactively. This is called “state management”, and it’s the most important part to master when using React.
Because of the importance of effective state management, developing optimal state management libraries has received substantial attention. The most popular of these libraries is Redux. It works by creating a central store that stores various data states and allows components to access these changes. In addition to Redux, there’s also Recoil and MobX.
However, the introduction of hooks has to a large extent, made it possible for developers to abandon these state management libraries. Hooks also made it possible to maintain a state without necessarily creating a class component. There’s the “useState” hook that helps function components manage the state. The “useEffect” hook allows you to perform critical side effects such as data fetching from APIs. There are also other hooks such as “useReducer”, “useContext”, and “useMemo”. You can even build custom hooks when you’ve mastered the original hooks.
To fully use the powerful capabilities of React, it’s essential to have a good grasp of these features before you start building apps.
What is React Used For?
So far, we’ve learned what React is, and the many features that have made React widely adopted in developing Web2 and Web3 applications. It’s now time to have a look at some common use cases of React.
Building Interactive Web User Interfaces
Building Mobile Applications
Mobile apps are increasingly becoming the default way we interact with the web and the rest of the world. The introduction of “React Native”, an open-source project by Facebook, has entirely changed how we develop mobile apps. React Native has similar features as React, empowering developers who already know React to become mobile developers. Like React, React Native has been widely adopted and is one of the most popular tools used when building mobile applications today.
The primary purpose of React was by no means game development. However, developers have created functionalities in React, such as a game engine that will help you develop games using React syntax. You can use React to build popular game prototypes such as Tetris, Pokemon, different quizzes, chess games, and RPG games. Another impressive thing you can do is to create an NFT game, which is possible when using Moralis.
Many of these frameworks became famous quickly after being released to the market. However, when the time came to build large-scale web and mobile applications, developers soon abandoned them for the superior features of React. Although many still use the frameworks mentioned, you’ve probably realized that React maintains its leading position.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why React has reigned supreme over other UI libraries and frameworks:
- Reusability – React introduced the concept of reusable components for creating UIs, and it has vastly changed the way we build user interfaces. Although recent frameworks such as Vue.js have integrated this feature, React’s first-mover advantage has ensured its continued stay at the top.
Excellent Developer Experience
React.js provides one of the best experiences for developers. This is mainly because of the support from Facebook and its enormous resources. React.js has rich and in-depth documentation, and it’s also widely integrated with popular developer productivity tools such as IDEs and automated deployment tools. The “create-react-app” also helps you to quickly set up a standard app in seconds with a single command.
Furthermore, because of its widespread adoption, a vibrant community releases tons of third-party tools and templates that will make your work easier.
These reasons and more are why React has maintained its number one position and is the primary choice even by new developers.
Best Strategy for Learning React.js in 2021
Here at Moralis, we’ve designed two simple steps to help you become a brilliant React.js developer.
Step 1: Learn React.js Fundamentals
From reading this article so far, you now understand what React entails and its unique features and use cases. In short, you can now answer “what is React” with ease. If you want to take a deeper dive into React.js fundamentals such as JSX or state management, and learn how to use React, then make sure to check out this excellent course called “React Web Development 101” on Ivan on Tech Academy – sign up today!
Step 2: Build Projects
The fastest way to become a solid React developer is by building projects. However, it’s impossible to learn all the intricacies of React’s ecosystem. So, the best way to ingrain all the fundamentals you’ve learned and help you gain more skills is to put everything you’ve learned into practice.
If you desire to become a Web3 developer, we would recommend learning and taking advantage of Moralis. With Moralis, you can quickly build Web3 applications, create NFT games, and much more. Moralis is a Web3 development platform that provides everything you need to develop, host and scale serverless Web3 apps. You can create everything from BSC dApps to smart contracts. The list of Web3 apps you can create with Moralis is endless.
So, after answering “what is React”, you might ask yourself “how does React work with Moralis?”. Well, you can use React with Moralis to build an extensive range of excellent Web3 apps easily and quickly. There are reusable components, and custom React hooks for Moralis that can help you easily interact with powerful Moralis SDK features in displaying Web3 data in your app. Furthermore, Moralis provides rich documentation showing you how to authenticate your app easily in a couple of seconds, amongst many other features.
With Moralis, you can devote all your efforts to creating appealing and interactive user interfaces while easily integrating Moralis as your backend service. Start creating amazing dApps using Moralis today!
What is React? – Summary
Finally, we shared an effective learning strategy that will help you become a skilled developer of decentralized applications using Moralis. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up with Moralis today, and let us guide you in your development journey!