Grzegorz Kaczor

Chief Technology Officer

ReactJS - a viable choice for modern applications

Technology

What is the best technology for developing new enterprise-level internet applications?

This is an important question that requires taking into consideration three important factors:

  • the skill level of your development team and their ability to adopt new tools
  • the architecture of the planned system, its integration interfaces, and their limitations
  • the feature set of the technology to be used

In this article, we will focus on the last factor and introduce ReactJS, an advanced JavaScript-based GUI development framework. We will explain the benefits that you - as a business owner or IT manager - can gain by selecting ReactJS as the core technology for your new system.

ReactJS - safe choice with excellent prospects for the future

First, it is good to know ReactJS has become an extremely popular development framework. Introduced by Facebook engineers in 2011, it has over time matured via numerous enhancements to include support for both server-side and client-side code. And since introduction, its user base has become enormous. So we can expect ReactJS to be supported for many years to come. Moreover, lots of good JavaScript programmers operate in the market and this should make it possible for you to find qualified developers relatively easily.

In and of itself, ReactJS is not a closed, all-encompassing web application framework but instead focuses on building GUI software components that work well on many web browsers and platforms. Additionally, with only minor code changes, you can build interfaces not only for the web but also for Android and iOS, using React Native. And in fact, you’re not limited to just React Native - Android and iOS React code can be augmented by native elements written in Java (Android) or Swift and Objective-C (iOS).

Given the above, developing with ReactJS guarantees flexibility and a sense of security regarding future system enhancements and maintenance. Plus it is easy to learn, its user base is still growing and its libraries are constantly upgraded. Apart from that, ReastJS is open source.

Facilitates creation of high quality, reusable code

ReactJS is a framework that was designed and implemented by professional developers for professional developers. Its architecture facilitates writing of high quality, reusable code.

To achieve this the authors focused on reducing the complexity of system components while at the same time making the creation of low-quality code difficult. Some of the built-in optimizations that contribute to good quality include:

  • one-way data flow - from parent components to child components
  • coding of components using a dedicated, HTML-like language (JSX) with automatic code injection attack protection
  • developer tools available in common browsers to monitor system behavior in realtime and make debugging easier

Large user base and comprehensive support libraries

The outstanding design, unmatched performance and open source nature of ReactJS have allowed it to gain a huge following and enjoy enormous community support. It is estimated that over half a million websites have been built using the framework, including those from industry giants like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Netflix, and Dropbox.

Thanks to that, there are numerous open source libraries that provide a wide range of functionality extensions such as support for creating state-of-the-art material UI or defining advanced routing and information flow. In fact, these libraries are now so extensive it’s likely they already contain most if not all of the building blocks you will need for your new application. All you need to do is use them.

These benefits, combined with readily available reference and training materials, make ReactJS extremely suitable for developing complex, high-performance systems.

Mobile support and code reuse

The modular design of ReactJS-based applications facilitates the reuse of existing code. For example, code from a web application can be utilized for its Android and iOS mobile equivalents. Or it can be used in completely different projects that need the same functionality.

It’s perhaps worth underlining further that the React ecosystem is particularly valuable when you have to develop a web application that also needs to operate on mobile devices. Support for Android and iOS are provided out-of-the-box via the React Native library. This allows you to reuse as much as 90% of the code between your web app and your Android/iOS versions. So you or your programmer write web application code in ReactJS and React Native engine makes sure it works on mobile devices, just like the native applications do.

Highly cost-effective approach

As you can see from the previous paragraphs, ReactJS has many features which make it attractive for developing visually attractive, highly flexible software applications for both the web and leading mobile operating systems.

Not to be ignored is the fact this development approach is very cost effective. For your development effort, you get three app versions (web, Android and iOS) - all for only slightly more than the price of one!

Conclusion

Is ReactJS the right technology for you? Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide depending on your circumstances. But based on the advantages listed above, we hope you are now convinced that at a minimum the ReactJS framework is something worth looking into.