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What is ReactJS: Introduction To React and Its Features

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A JavaScript library for building user interfaces

React is the most popular front-end JavaScript library in the field of web development. It is used by large, established companies and newly-minted startups alike (Netflix, Airbnb, Instagram, and the New York Times, to name a few). React brings many advantages to the table, making it a better choice than other frameworks like Angular.js.

If you’re new to ReactJS or just refreshing yourself on the core concepts, this article will give you an introduction to all of React’s fundamentals. We’ll be covering the following topics in this article:

What is React?

React is a JavaScript library created for building fast and interactive user interfaces for web and mobile applications. It is an open-source, component-based, front-end library responsible only for the application’s view layer. In Model View Controller (MVC) architecture, the view layer is responsible for how the app looks and feels. React was created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook.

Let’s take a look at an Instagram webpage example, entirely built using React, to get a better understanding of how React works. As the illustration shows, React divides the UI into multiple components, which makes the code easier to debug. This way, each component has its property and function.

Why React?

React’s popularity today has eclipsed that of all other front-end development frameworks. Here is why:

  • Easy creation of dynamic applications
  • Improved performance
  • Reusable components
  • Unidirectional data flow
  • Small learning curve
  • It can be used for the development of both web and mobile apps
  • Dedicated tools for easy debugging

A Simple Component

React components implement a render() method that takes input data and returns what to display. This example uses an XML-like syntax called JSX. Input data that is passed into the component can be accessed by render() via this.props.

A Stateful Component

In addition to taking input data (accessed via this.props), a component can maintain internal state data (accessed via this.state). When a component’s state data changes, the rendered markup will be updated by re-invoking render().

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