What Can You Use React For?

Understanding React

React was created (and is supported) by Facebook as an open-source JavaScript library for building interactive elements on websites. For anyone looking to build web and mobile applications, React (aka React.js) has everything they need. 

In fact, that power is the main reason why React has become so popular lately, so much so it’s outshined two very popular frameworks—Angular/Core and Vue. According to GitHub, the number of React downloads reached nearly 300 Million in 2019 (compared to Angular’s nearly 100 Million and Vue’s nearly 50 Million).

So React is popular. But what can it do? Before we break down how your company can use React, we first need to take a look at a few bits and pieces.

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What Is a Library?

When you look into what React is, you’ll very often see the word “library.” In this context, the reference to library isn’t the home of the Dewey Decimal System or stacks of books. Instead, within the framework of software development, a library can be sort of viewed in the same fashion as is a library of books. When you visit a library, you have a collection of books you can check out and read. With regard to a programming library, you’re looking at a collection of resources used for software development.

Those resources can include such things as:

  • Configuration data
  • Documentation
  • Templates
  • Pre-written code for subroutines, classes, values, and type specifications

In other words, a library is a collection of tools that software engineers can use to make their jobs a bit easier. Instead of writing everything from scratch, a developer can make use of pre-written code from a library.

Many of the major languages used today include libraries. One such language is JavaScript.

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What is JavaScript?

Next, we need to examine JavaScript. Often abbreviated as JS, JavaScript is a high-level scripting language, designed specifically for the web. JavaScript is an interpreted language, which means it doesn’t require a compiler for programs to run. In fact, JavaScript runs directly in a web browser.

JavaScript works in conjunction with HTML and CSS to form the front-end of web development. This means that JavaScript developers create the interactive elements of a website—the bits that users see and use. These elements don’t just make a website more interactive, they make the site more attractive and modern looking. Thanks to JavaScript, users can take advantage of things like interactive menus and maps, animations, video players, and even simple games.

With this in mind, there will be times when a developer will need to take advantage of a JavaScript library to take care of common JS tasks. By doing this, the developer dramatically shortens the time it takes to develop for the web (or a web application). And there are a lot of JavaScript libraries, one of which is React.

What Does React Do?

Now let’s take a look at what the React library does. Specifically, React was created to improve user interface development. What makes React so special is the number of components it includes, each of which makes it possible to create highly functional and beautiful elements for your website.

Those React components are self-contained modules that render output. A component is composable and can include one or more other components in its output.

Some of those components include the following.

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    React Belle

    React Belle is a set of beautiful components that are optimized for both web and mobile platforms, React Belle allows your React developers to create highly customizable components and modify each of them on a case-by-case basis. Each of the components in React Belle is cross-platform and supports theming.

  • What Can You Use React For? 4

    React Bootstrap

    This component library offers the Twitter Bootstrap interface, which includes responsive, mobile-first templates, including typography, forms, buttons, navigation, and other elements. With React Bootstrap it's easy for developers to quickly create things like stylized buttons.

  • What Can You Use React For? 5

    Material Components Web

    This component was created by a team from Google. These components enable a reliable development workflow for the creation of elegant websites and applications. This component replaces the now-deprecated react-mdl.

  • What Can You Use React For? 6

    React Material-UI

    This is a set of components that implement Google's Material Design, which is the grid-based interface found in Android and Chrome OS. This component includes layouts, responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects.

  • What Can You Use React For? 7

    React Toolbox

    This is a set of beautiful components that use the Google Material Design spec and uses a number of the more trendy proposals, such as the CSS Modules, Webpack, and ES6.

  • What Can You Use React For? 8

    Semantic UI React

    This is the official Semantic UI React integration component, which is used by Netflix and Amazon. This component can be employed to theme websites and enables developers to build sites quickly.

There are a number of other React components, but the above list should give you an idea of what they do. The list of components should also clue you into what React can help your developers do for your company. To put it concisely, React makes it possible for developers to create highly customized components and interfaces for your website quickly and efficiently.

Companies That Use React

React is used in so many areas, from social networking, e-commerce, entertainment, messaging, productivity, and games. Some of the companies that use React include:

  • Netflix
  • New York Times
  • Yahoo! Mail
  • Khan Academy
  • Vivaldi Browser
  • Dropbox
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp
  • Codecademy

If your company is looking to modernize your website, making it much more user- and mobile-friendly, you should seriously consider hiring a team of React developers. Using this JavaScript library makes creating exciting and elegant website elements incredibly easy. 

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