React is a JavaScript based library that has been designed and maintained by Meta (previously Facebook). It offers developers an extensive array of features and components that can be used to build scalable and complex web applications. Despite only being on the market since 2013, it has become a staple of the industry due to its open source nature and support network, both from Meta and the community.

What is React?

React is an open-source, front-end, library that was developed by Facebook in 2011 then later released publicly in 2013. Maintained by Meta, React has a large amount of documentation to assist developers with their projects. This documentation, paired with the vast ecosystem and community, makes React one of the most popular programming framework.

As a JavaScript based library, React offers multiple components written in JavaScript which can be applied to countless different tasks in an application, from simple functions to entire user interfaces. The open source nature of React means these community components and the base code are freely available to all developers.

React is used by over 30% of developers and has rapidly increased in popularity since its release in 2013. Along with Meta’s emphasis on maintaining compatibility throughout updates to React, businesses and developers can be confident that applications built with React will be supported for a long time. Netflix, PayPal, eBay, Airbnb, and other leading IT companies utilize the tool to develop scalable, easy-to-maintain systems.

Features of React

React is a JavaScript based library which has been designed to focus primarily on the user interface. This is done through the use of several different features.

JSX (JavaScript eXtension)

React allows the use of JSX which adds HTML features to standard JavaScript. This, in turn, means developers can edit the virtual DOM while writing only simple HTML.

Virtual DOM

A virtual DOM is a copy of the real DOM, created by React with JSX. Once the virtual DOM has been updated, React automatically updates the real DOM.

One-way downward data binding

The virtual DOM prevents the need for two-way data binding that is seen in many other front-end technologies. One-way, downward data binding means that parent components can change child components, but child components cannot change parent components. As the virtual DOM automatically updates the real DOM, there is no need for two-way data binding.

React ecosystem

React is often incorrectly identified as a full, front-end framework due to the large ecosystem. React is a front-end library, consisting of huge amounts of prewritten code and countless tried and tested components, ranging from small visual changes to entire user interfaces. This ecosystem has developed due to the open source nature of React. As the number of developers increases, the volume of content in the library increases. As the library grows, the number of developers increases, leading to an ongoing snowball effect. All React developers are able to use existing code from the library or add their own components for other developers to make use of.

How does React work?

React works by using JSX to create a virtual DOM and in turn, using the virtual DOM to update the real DOM. React employs additional features which can assist developers in writing the code for their applications.

React hooks

Introduced in React 16.8, hooks allow developers to use React functions without using additional code. Hooks also enable testing without changing the component hierarchy. The main benefit of this is that developers can simplify the code used for functions and in turn increase speed and performance for the user. Additionally, hooks can be shared throughout different components in an application or in the React library and community.

React render

React render shows which specific content will be displayed on a website or application. As React elements are plain objects, they are cheaper than DOM elements. React render updates the DOM to match the React elements.

React redux

Redux is a cache that all components can access. It acts as a store that remembers the state of all variables. Redux also controls the process of components interacting with the cache, preventing components from random read and update.

Why use React?

React is one of the most popular libraries for software development. But there are several things to consider when deciding whether to use React.

Advantages of React


Large ecosystem

The ecosystem of React can simplify the entire development process of an application. The sheer scale of the React ecosystem and community can reduce the development time and cost, as developers are able to access prewritten components in their application.

Virtual DOM

The introduction of the virtual DOM from React allows changes and updates to be made to software without the performance issues associated with updating the real DOM. This streamlines the update process and makes testing easier, improving the user experience while reducing work for development teams.

Front-end library

As React is a front-end library, it is able to focus primarily on the user experience. Websites are judged by their users so a smoother user experience improves the overall attitude towards a business.

Extensive documentation

The React website has extensive resources to help developers successfully employ React to design applications. This is great for both experienced and novice developers as it allows for greater consistency among teams, thus improving the overall performance of the application.

Speed and performance

React was specifically designed by Facebook (now Meta) to perform reliably at high speeds. Pairing React with the framework of NextJS leads to a fast and stable application. This is good for the user and brings about a secondary benefit of increased SEO, as speed is factored in by search engines when determining results.

Built-in development tools

React boasts an extensive set of development tools that can be downloaded as a browser extension on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Disadvantages of React

React is not a framework

React cannot fully develop an app without using a supporting framework. This means other technologies are required which can increase production time and costs.

Frequent changes in the ecosystem

Documentation can become outdated very quickly and often does not keep pace with the continual changes made within the ecosystem.

Steep learning curve

JSX has a steep learning curve for beginners.


React is one of the most popular front-end libraries, used by over 30% of front-end developers globally. It can be found in over 1 million company web applications around the world. Some of the most notable companies include: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Netflix and AirBnB.

Asked Questions.

Whether you’re new to coding or a seasoned programmer, this section provides insights into why React is chosen for developing dynamic, single-page applications, its ease of use, and the basics of its underlying technology

React is a front-end library that is mostly used for highly trafficked, dynamic single page applications. React was designed to determine the user interface of a website or application but would need to be paired with a framework for complete application development.

One of the main reasons behind React’s popularity is its simplicity. Based on JavaScript, one of the most widely known programming languages, React offers a wide array of documentation to support developers of all levels. Additionally, the vastness of the ecosystem of React has led to a snowball effect, where developers begin to use React for the existing code in the library and in turn, add their own code to the ecosystem. This fuels continual growth in the popularity of React.

React provides a lot of documentation, information and “playgrounds” to help beginners learn to use the library. For these reasons, React is often considered easy to learn. However, while React is often considered easy to learn, JSX (JavaScript eXtension) can be difficult for beginners to grasp.

Despite being commonly mistaken to be a framework, React is a front-end library. The reason for this confusion is the expansive ecosystem which contains code ranging from small components to complete user interfaces.

Yes, Shopify is suitable for large organizations as well. It offers scalability and robustness to handle high volumes of traffic, sales, and inventory. Shopify Plus, the enterprise-level solution, caters specifically to large businesses with additional features like dedicated account management, advanced security, and customizations. Many notable brands and organizations successfully run their online stores on the Shopify platform.

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