At LaunchPad Lab, we use a number of technologies to suit the needs of our clients. Today, we’re exploring the reasons we love building on React, a front-end library that is performance-driven and remarkably flexible for development teams.   

What is React? 

React is a JavaScript, component-based library for developing interactive user interfaces. React was originally developed by Facebook’s internal development team with the goal of simplifying many challenges that their web app developers faced: code organization, shared state, performance, and much more. Now as an open-source resource for developers around the world, React is responsible for many of the websites we all know, including Instagram, New York Times, Khan Academy, and many more. 

What are the Benefits of Building on React? 

We recommend building on React for a few reasons: 

1. It’s remarkably flexible.  

As a core user interface library, developers rely on React to be well-maintained and represent the latest performance capabilities in the development industry today. React is most often paired with an accompanying server-side framework, such as Express and Node.js. While the popular NoSQL database MongoDB is most often associated with React, the benefits of React as a front-end library are agnostic to the backend setup. 

At LaunchPad, we frequently integrate React as the View layer for Ruby on Rails-backed applications. This provides us with all of the benefits of Ruby on Rails, while maintaining the rendering speed and efficiency of React. 

React also offers a robust user interface layer that allows for mixing and matching with different solutions for back-end development. One of the many reasons React is so popular is because it pairs well with just about any back-end development framework—and whatever back-end framework is used, React remains adaptable, agile, and flexible.It also garnishes the ability to write custom hooks (since v16,8), letting you encapsulate reusable stateful logic, preventing code duplication. This also helps to create clear separation of concerns between state logic and component view.

2. It’s component-based. 

Traditionally, while most web application user interfaces use an MVC architecture with explicit data-binding and a requisite data layer, React components are capable of maintaining their own state and passing that state among other components in the view. This allows for optimized reusability and extensibility at a component level. 

Meanwhile, global state can be shared in a number of ways per the requirements of your project (popular methods include Redux, React Context, and now React Hooks, so you get the best of both worlds). Furthermore, by using JSX, a readable, declarative extension written in Javascript that eventually boils down to the same base HTML and CSS, developers can write their React components in logical and readable ways that forgo manual data-binding—which is often the most complex part of development in other frameworks—and determine the most efficient way to build a web or mobile application. 

3. It features a virtual DOM.  

React maintains its own virtual DOM (Document Object Model), which allows the library to update only the pieces of UI where changes have occurred. It ‘reacts’ to both internal and external state updates to deliver changes in a selective way. Not only does this increase speed in rendering, it also optimizes memory usage. In that way, React offers some of the best performance seen in front-end technologies today—all while being relatively small in file size.

The virtual DOM is the staging ground for changes to the UI in React and it manages the actual DOM automagically allowing the developer to both easily follow and customize the React component lifecycle. The component lifecycle is the logical rendering and state-change order of events that drives components.

Without the virtual DOM, there would be no React.

4. It’s human-friendly. 

With its use of JSX, React is a declarative language, making it easier to read and reason with. This results in increased speed through the development cycle. It’s easily adopted by teams and it’s relatively seamless for developers to gain the foundational knowledge necessary to build on it. 

JSX also allows the developer to think in a way that prioritizes the reusability and extensibility of components because it relieves the need to maintain complex data binding across large applications. This is unlike existing popular frameworks, such as Angular, where data binding is at the core of functionality. 

While React interpolates the underlying HTML and CSS from the JSX syntax, it automatically binds data—a huge part of writing elegant and simple code. Practically the only thing a developer has to worry about is the React component lifecycle, which allows customization at every point in the rendering of every component. 

Ready to learn more?

If you’re looking for a partner to elevate your digital experience, LaunchPad Lab is here to help. Our team can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors with an amazing digital experience. 

Schedule your free Discovery Call with us to learn more.

Alex Jin

Developer

Alex’s transition to software development began as a simple desire for better solutions to his own challenges at work. In computer science, he found the toolkit to solve those technical problems, an outlet for creativity, and a drive to build useful things that make life easier for others. Beyond the bits, he applies that same creativity in problem solving to rock climbing, cooking for a crowd, and art.

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