JavaScript is an old coding language. It’s been around since 1995, and has been one of the most popular languages after being adopted by Microsoft. Since then, JavaScript, often referred to as JS, has come a long way. It’s now the client-side language for almost 95% of websites, and there are a whole host of supplementary tools used to make coding with JS easier. Among these, React JS is one of the most useful, helping JS coders quickly and accurately script applications.

React JS – The Origins

Just as JS itself was developed by a coder at Netscape, later adopted by Microsoft, and currently owned by Oracle, React also has an interesting corporate history, one that starts at Facebook. Facebook originally developed React as an open source JS library in 2013, and the tool originally debuted to mixed reviews. There was a great deal of debate about whether the library was better than the competing Angular JS library, and similar platforms. Ultimately, React won out, and it’s now considered a vital coding tool.

A Simple Add-On

One reason that React JS is so popular with coders is that it’s simple to install and coders can expand its use across their sites on an as-needed basis. You simply add a few lines of code in a DOM container. Once you have a container in place, you can easily place user interface (UI) elements with a single file-based element. For example, rather than having to build all of the code for a Facebook “Like” button, React allows users to just insert the file “like_button.js” into the DOM container and there it is.

React + JSX

React is an add-on for the JS system. You don’t have to use it, but it makes things easier. That being said, in order to use JS, you almost certainly need to start using the JSX language. Much like HTML or XML, JSX is essentially a markup language, one that optimizes JS code compiling. Like React itself, using JSX is largely a matter of speed and simplicity, and just as React fits neatly over a basic JS framework, JSX fits hand in glove with React.

Though many coders use JSX with React, it isn’t required, but you will have to make some adjustments to most tutorials and examples if you choose to use HTML or another markup script. That’s because JSX runs “createElement” without obviously demarcating this fact, thereby populating those React elements. The main issue with adopting JSX is that many coders find it to be overly complicated, but others find the learning curve to be worthwhile given the end results.

A Productivity Booster

React JS isn’t just easy to use – it also makes coders more productive. Scripting an application is hard work, and often results in an assortment of redundancies and fragments that make apps difficult to maintain. React is a syntax extension, allowing coders to pull all of the necessary code fully formed out of its library. You don’t need to worry about copying errors because you aren’t re-entering the code. Instead, as noted above, you’re simply inserting a file. React JS then runs the file, and your site is good to go.

Easier Debugging

One of the core reasons that developers are loyal to React rather than competitors like Angular is that React uses a one-way data binding structure, rather than the two-way structure. This means that data exchange only flows from the parent structure down to the child structure, and not vice-versa. With data only moving in one direction, your site’s less likely to experience errors, and it’s easier to debug. One-way data binding provides a clearly defined structure for your site, and that’s a real advantage.

An SEO Advantage

All businesses rely heavily on SEO elements for their success; unless you land at the top of the search results, you’ll have a hard time attracting views. In order for your site’s pages to populate at the top of search results, Google (and other search engines) need to be able to read your pages and, in some cases, JS can make this difficult. The React framework, however, is considered a single page app, and it’s easier for site crawlers to read. This means your site is easily indexed – all of it, not just the parts that are easy to navigate at the code level and render quickly.

How much of a problem is this crawl failure? It’s significant because Googlebot and other crawlers don’t act like conventional browsers. In the first 24 hours, it can generally index about 60% of JS content. That may seem like a good starting place, but unfortunately, things don’t get much better after that first day. After a month, only about 66% of JS content is indexed, meaning the bot has hit a plateau. As long as you pre-render your React JS features, Googlebot can easily access them.

A Powerful Support Team

Remember that React JS was developed by Facebook? That isn’t just a side note in the system’s history. Rather, the fact that React JS is backed by Facebook’s engineers (and Instagram’s, which Facebook owns) means that when you have a problem, there’s an experienced and extensive support team on your side. Furthermore, since it’s open source, users can also tap the community of millions of developers when they have questions about the system. That alone makes React JS appealing to a lot of developers – you’re never in it alone.

Of course, you don’t have to rely exclusively on Facebook’s team or a loose collection of coders if you’re interested in using React JS. In fact, it might not be your best bet. For a combination of technical support and guidance that aligns with your business’s goals, you need ZAGA’s development support. As nearshoring experts with a deep bench of professionals, we want to help you make your vision a reality. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your business. Whether you’re grappling with complex code for better UI or need help designing your solution stack, we can help you go from a general plan to a completed project with customized end-to-end support – that’s the ZAGA promise.