React is a JavaScript framework used for building interfaces for web apps as well as mobile apps for both the Android and iOS platforms, which can potentially shorten the development time of a product. There’s currently a lot of hype around React and the framework is widely used by web developers. This popularity hasn’t waned for about 4-5 years, which is completely unique to React. We’ve decided to analyze the reasons behind it, based on real use cases of well-known companies.

React is a pioneering technology for building interfaces based on components. As in, React is among the first technologies introducing this approach to mainstream development. To better understand the concept of component-based interfaces, let’s look at the example of Gmail.

There are several components in Gmail, like a search bar, menu, chat window and list of emails. These components make up the app and they need to communicate with each other while remaining somewhat independent. Building an app with this approach wasn’t all that popular five years ago, but these days, most teams follow this practice.

The advantages of React

In our experience, React is one of the very few JavaScript frameworks that’s not losing popularity within a few years of its creation. The hype isn’t dying. React won’t be easily replaced by a new JavaScript framework. There haven’t been any well-known cases of companies using React on production only to be disappointed and replace it with something else.

Because React has been around for years and its position remains stable, there are many React libraries available for developers to work with. React itself hasn’t changed much over the years. Maintaining an app written in React has been easy because the changes that are being made are usually backwards-compatible.

React Native for building mobile apps is a very helpful option, too. You can use it to build an app for both iOS and Android. Between 50% and 80% of the code will be reused between platforms, depending on the project’s complexity. This means a huge boost in development speed and a welcome cost reduction to maintaining native apps for several platforms.

React doesn’t fall behind in performance rankings, either. It’s a fast framework. Initially, React was much faster than other frameworks on the market (at the time it was being introduced), and recently, React’s developers are returning to their roots with React Fiber, intending to speed up rendering.

Who can take advantage of React?

React is being used across industries (like fintech and real estate) as the second most popular JavaScript front-end framework. The only cases where React wouldn’t be considered as a potential valuable addition to the stack are projects that need specific solutions like 3D modelling, which require very particular technological stacks.

Facebook

React was created by Facebook to help build reusable, component-based web interfaces, where changes made to an app’s data create only minimal updates. The reason was to improve performance, compared to other MVVM frameworks like Angular. The enterprise was obviously a success.

Social media companies often need both web and mobile versions of their apps, and the reusability of code in React can be very helpful to them. The social apps for all platforms have the same functions, like presenting users with their feed, likes and shares, so it’s often easy to reuse code.

Instagram

The development team of this social media giant cite “developer velocity” as one of the deciding factors behind their choice to use React. The framework lets them ship features more quickly thanks to code sharing and fast iteration. They chose to introduce React Native into their stack even though they already had a native app and they faced the resulting difficulties without hesitation.

Asana

This project management tool has web UIs built by React experts. The benefit is immutable data representation and pure functions for simplifying the software.

Discord

This major player in voice chats for gamers chose React Native for their iOS app. According to them, this choice sped up iOS development significantly. Work is now easier for the team and allows them to focus on what’s truly important: delighting users with Discord’s features.

Coursera

This online learning platform offers courses from prestigious universities to learners around the world. According to their developers, they needed React to build server-side rendering. React was the only option that could serve fast views despite the slow network connections of some of Coursera’s users around the globe.

Skype

When you have an app like Skype, used on pretty much all available systems and devices, building and maintaining a separate app for every platform could be both costly and very difficult. Keeping all the versions updated would be a hassle and a waste of resources. Microsoft happily announces that Skype is one of the largest apps in the world built with React Native.

Should React be your first choice of web framework?

In many cases, React is the best solution out there for building the front-end of a web project. You should strongly consider using it for your project, as it has many advantages and supports building native apps for several platforms, which is becoming an important web development standard.

Building your web app with React can be a good idea for projects in any industry. Social media sites, project management platforms, online communicators and well known retail brands all use React and React Native with great success.

Is React the best choice for your business?