9 Reasons Why React is Still Popular in 2023
What is React JS: A Brief Introduction
Being declarative and making it ‘painless’ to develop interactive User Interfaces (UIs)
Being Component-Based: React Builds encapsulate components that manage their own states and compose them to make intricate UIs; delivering top rendering performance.
Being unobtrusive so you can write new features in React without reformulating existing code.
React has been around for almost a decade now, becoming a big hitter in front-end development and now shows no signs of slowing down. Along with its popular sister platform React Native, used for building mobile applications, React is certainly the front-end king of the castle in 2021. In this article, we’re going to break down the nine reasons why React is so popular.
1. React is Easy to Grasp
If rule No.1 in software development is simplicity and avoiding complexity at all costs, then React JS takes the biscuit.
Furthermore, it makes onboarding internal teams, clients and new projects much easier for web development teams by getting everyone on the same page quickly and easily.
2. React Builds Robust & Intuitive User Interfaces
React is Declarative
React JS makes front-end development a piece of cake for developers. It allows developers to declaratively describe user interfaces, taking a lot of the heavy lifting out of the coding process while making the code more simple to read and understand. React makes interactive UIs by changing the state of the component and updating the DOM virtually. Cutting out the actual DOM makes creating UIs a more intuitive and less complex process (more on this later).
Robust & Dynamic
You can rely on the React library to get the job done. It is dynamic in its ability to create an interface that doesn’t compromise the speed or robustness of the application. You can be confident in what you create and not have to spend lots of time optimising the code or debugging issues with the underlying library. However, because of the declarative nature of React, any debugging is much simpler to carry out.
3. Offers a Well-Supported Library
Building robust and intuitive libraries is made possible by the extensive and well-supported React component library and NPM packages. There are so many pre-build component libraries to choose from, meaning you can pull in a lot of what you need to start building better UIs. The component libraries can speed up development times for those that don’t have time to create their components from scratch.
On top of that, React JS has (at the time of writing) 218009 packages available on NPM, a subsidiary of GitHub. The (growing) amount of resources available to front-end developers with React means you’ll never be at a loose end.
4. React Increase Productivity
As we’ve already seen in this article, React does a lot to simplify and speed up processes. React is great at streamlining workflows, but there is one feature that most developers rejoice at, and that is reusable components.
A stand-out benefit of React is its ability to reuse code throughout an application. It’s the React ‘get out of jail free card’ as you escape being a prisoner to hours of tedious and repetitive coding tasks.
React helps you work smarter, not harder, by allowing you to re-use components you’ve already written across the same application and on totally different builds with similar functionality. Reusable components also help to maintain a consistent code style and the overall maintainability of the application.
There React goes again, speeding up development times and increasing productivity!
5. Virtual DOM for Faster Rendering
React is fast. One of the hallmarks of a good web application is a superior page experience; a massive contributor to page speed is load time. React renders the DOM (Document Object Model) virtually first as a copy of the actual DOM. React will only make the changes necessary changes to the UIs through the virtual DOM. Consequently, an application doesn’t have to re-render the entire User Interface and speeds up loading times.
As well as improving the overall page experience and load times for users, this has a massive impact on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). By keeping rendering times down, search engine crawlers will favour webpages built in React because of their speed and agility.
6. React Makes Testing Easy
React is much easier to test than alternative libraries. Even before sending code to a QA team, developers have lots of testing capabilities right at their fingertips. React allows you to run automated unit tests and integration tests which help you to test individual snippets of code to ensure everything is working as you expect.
Jest is the inbuilt testing feature that is shipped with React JS and created by Facebook. It is simple to install for brand-new applications and pre-existing apps, it’s not too much more effort. You can see a tutorial for installing Jest here.
In terms of larger projects, Jest can help test large quantities of code that work together and help spot anomalies and regressions in the code with confidence. Ensuring your project is consistently moving forwards by highlighting any potential issues early on so you aren’t backpedalling to fix problems later down the road.
*Bonus Mention for React Storybook*
React Storybook gets an honorary mention here. At KOMODO, we use this tool to help us isolate components and test them individually within React. Storybook can be a lifesaver when we work on large and complex projects. Read more about React Storybook here.
7. React is Easy to Scale
React as a library is a dream for scalability for several reasons. First, React apps happily scale to hundreds or even thousands of components, without breaking a sweat. React doesn't create any unnecessary barriers for developers to build complex applications.
Second, React makes no secret about how they ‘don’t make assumptions about the rest of your technology stack'. React is built to be extremely versatile to easily integrate with other third-party libraries and frameworks in your tech stack. For example, React usually covers the 'V' in MVC (Model-View-Controller), a common architecture for backend development frameworks.
Finally, React Native works seamlessly with React to create cross-platform applications to develop multiple touch points between users and products.
8. Strong Community Support
React JS is brought to life by its community. Since becoming open-source in 2015, a large contributor to React's success comes from how its community of developers interacts with the library. As well as having large community repositories on GitHub and a buzzing forum on Stack Overflow, developers love working with React. It’s easy to see why.
One of the best parts of having such an active community is that everyone is solving problems together. The chances are that if you have a problem, another developer resolved it already. Often, all it takes is a quick copy and paste to make your problems have fizzled away. The community that surrounds React is a massive proponent of React’s overall efficiency.
9. In React We Trust
The simple fact is that React is a safe bet for most front-end developers. Many of our successful projects at KOMODO have been built using the React JS library and will continue to do so and we’re not alone. Many tech giants use React, including:
Furthermore, React has been around for a while (in internet years at least) and has reached a stage of maturity. Over the years, React has created solid and readily available documentation and an active community. The sense of stability that comes from maturity is reassuring for many businesses that rely on React as a core fixture in their tech stack. Particularly when the world of tech is constantly evolving rapidly.
Is React Still Relevant in 2022?
The short answer is YES! As we can see from the benefits listed in this article, it is easy to see why React is still enjoying its popularity in 2022. It was voted the 2nd most popular web framework for developers, only falling behind Node.js (see above) 2022 in the reliable StackOverflow Developer Survey 2022. That's a 7% increase in popularity from 2020 when it was the choice of only 36% - despite also coming in second. And in 2021 React took the top spot.
I think it’s safe to say that React will be around for the next few years, despite many competing libraries vying for the top spot.
Its continuing time in the spotlight may have something to do with the React team being on the Facebook payroll, but, there are in fact over 1000 recognised contributors to React’s continuous development over almost 10 years.
And there is still a lot to be excited about too, with React V.18 looking to build on React's success, there could be a lot of exciting developments in the world of React. But for now, we can say for sure that it isn’t going anywhere yet!
Sign up to our newsletter
Be the first to hear about our events, industry insights and what’s going on at Komodo. We promise we’ll respect your inbox and only send you stuff we’d actually read ourselves.