Ask an Expert: What Is ReactJS?

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This article was provided by Practical eCom.

“Ask an Expert” is an occasional feature where we pose questions to ecommerce practitioners. For this installment, we’ve turned to Rajesh Bhimani, founder Skynet Technologies, a web development firm specializing in ecommerce, web, and mobile apps. He addresses the purpose and popularity of ReactJS.

Practical Ecommerce: What is ReactJS?

Rajesh Bhimani: ReactJS is a JavaScript library that helps in the creation of web and mobile-app user interfaces. Developed by Jordan Walke, a Facebook employee, ReactJS was first used in 2011 in Facebook’s newsfeed and in 2012 by WhatsApp and Instagram. Facebook released it to the public in 2013.

Rajesh Bhimani, Skynet TechnologiesRajesh Bhimani, Skynet Technologies

Rajesh Bhimani

Roughly 7 million websites now use ReactJS, as do most web developers. Instacart, Netflix, Airbnb, Instagram, The New York Times, Salesforce — all use ReactJS.

ReactJS allows a web page to update without reloading. Here’s an example. Say you view photos on Facebook of a friend’s vacation. While viewing, you notice the image’s like count increases without refreshing the page. That’s because of ReactJS. It creates fast and interactive user experiences.

Certainly many options and frameworks were available in 2011 to enhance the front-end of an application. But React did it cleaner and better.

The benefits of React include:

  • Web and mobile app development. ReactJS code works on web and mobile apps.
  • Less coding. React enables the creation of dynamic web applications quickly, without complex coding.
  • One-way data flow. React nests child components within the parent. Unidirectional or one-way data flow means errors are easily located for quicker debugging.
  • Easy learning. React combines basic HTML and JavaScript.
  • Easy debugging with dedicated tools. For example, Facebook has released a Chrome extension to debug React applications.

ReactJS syncs with other frameworks. With less coding, the development process becomes smooth and productive. A strong React community provides immense support.

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