A beginner’s guide to React.js in 2021

The React Ecosystem

You’re deciding which framework you’d like to learn as we get ready to jump into 2021. For most of us, the year 2020 has been a standstill in many aspects, to say the least. While this year has had many ups and downs, I’ve personally used this time in quarantine to expand my knowledge and technical skills in the world of web development. Here are some reasons you should consider learning React.js, and why this little UI library will be one of the most in-demand skills for front end developers as we head into 2021.

JavaScript itself is extremely popular right now and has been for quite some time. According to StackOverflow’s developer survey 2020, JavaScript is the most commonly used language for the eighth year in a row with 67.7% of people opting to use it. On top of that, JavaScript also has a number of libraries and frameworks that enhance web application development and performance. React was created by Facebook and released in 2013 and is leading in popularity vs its competitor frameworks. according to the State of JS, React has polled at 1st place since 2016 ahead of mainstream rivals Vue and Angular as the best JavaScript framework. It’s safe to say that React has been the most influential UI library since its release.

If you already have a solid understanding of the Vanilla JavaScript basics, learning React might not be too much of a learning curve. React is simply a JavaScript library for creating User Interfaces. We use it to build components that represent logical reusable parts of the UI. The beauty of React is that the simplicity of building a component has been brought down to its theoretical minimum: It’s just a JavaScript function. The return value from the function is your HTML or UI which is written in a special syntax called JSX which allows you to easily combine JavaScript with HTML markup. React is simple and dynamic, and can be first learned through gradual implementation in your applications. As Quoted in the React Documentation; “React has been designed from the start for gradual adoption, and you can use as little or as much React as you need.” React’s built-in modules can be plugged into the rest of your project’s code on an “as needed” basis, so you definitely shouldn’t be intimidated as this provides a sort of “soft landing” when beginning to use React.

React itself doesn’t care about routing, state management, page transitions, animations, etc… Instead, React let’s those solutions evolve naturally within the open-source community. There’s very likely a Git supporting library for any features you want to include in your React app. You have an endless supply of choices to get things done the way you like them.

Once you have a solid understanding of React, you can easily jump into React Native to start building mobile apps. React Native has a slogan which is “learn once, write anywhere”. The neat thing about transitioning from React to React Native is that you can actually re-use a lot of the same functions or features between your browser and mobile device. So instead of learning a whole new language or framework for mobile development, you can actually jump right in with most of the concepts you already obtained from learning regular React. Additionally, React Native allows for cross-platform development so that you can create one app that’s compatible from the start across IOS and Android.

All in all, choosing which framework or library you want to master as we approach the new year is entirely up to the individual, and their needs. React.js will be a solid choice due to its quick learning curve compared to its competitors and its vast support in the open-source community. React will likely continue to grow in its popularity this coming year, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

A creative Full Stack Developer with an entrepreneurial spirit, proficient at Web Application Development using Git and modern web tools.

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