ReactJS Advantages: Scalability, Challenges, Pitfalls

9 min read
Nov 20, 2020
ReactJS Advantages: Scalability, Challenges, Pitfalls
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ReactJS pros and cons, and what you should consider before you choose it for your next web development project

If you’re looking to create a front-end web application, the chances are good that ReactJS is a programming tool that’s been recommended to you. But is it the right option for your project? For thousands of businesses, that answer has been yes. In fact, according to the latest report from SimilarTech, ReactJS has been used on more than one million websites to date and more than 298,000 unique domains.

Statistic data by SimilarTech

There are many benefits of using reactjs, the chief among them the language it uses — JavaScript. ReactJS’s library runs on JavaScript — what’s arguably the world’s most popular programming language. Because of this, ReactJS is easy to use, generally easy to learn and improves your web applications’ performance and interoperability.

It also dovetails nicely with other JS frameworks, such as ReactNative. When it comes to the pros and cons of ReactJS, there’s a lot to love about what it can do for your code. But making the decision to use it is a big one. We’ll help you walk through it.

What is ReactJS?

ReactJS was created by Jordan Walke, an engineer at Facebook, in 2011. Its purpose was to be an open-source JavaScript library to facilitate front-end web application development. At the time, Facebook’s engineers needed a JavaScript-enabled library that would allow them to run multiple user interfaces at once, like chat and news feed updates, for instance.

Jordan Walke is introducing React.js
Jordan Walke

Walke addressed this by merging XHP, Facebook’s markup syntax, into JavaScript. As a result, ReactNative was born, and Facebook had a front-end library that allowed them to more effectively run and manage their user interfaces and front-end web applications.

When the powers to be at Facebook saw how well the library worked, they soon made it an open-source offering in 2013. Since then, it’s become one of the world’s most beloved and frequently used JavaScript library programs.

This recent Stack Overflow study shows that it’s currently number one among its competitor programs. With the library’s huge community of users and Facebook’s help in backing and maintaining it, the whole programming world is beginning to appreciate the benefits of using ReactJS.

How Does ReactJS Work?

ReactJS is lightweight, creating a JavaScript library that accelerates UI development with shortcut paths and reusable UI components. React JS can manage the view layer of all your front-end web applications and mobile apps.

ReactJS is also helpful because of how it speeds up the (DOM) Document Object Model in the application programming interface (API). The React library defines a logical structure to all the documents used in the application through the use of a virtual DOM that operates a bit like a “DOM tree.”

These funnels, along with requests faster as the virtual DOM, tries to find the most efficient way to update the browser’s DOM. This, among many other advantages, is why so many companies trust their web applications to ReactJS. React was designed to be used in the browser, but with the addition of NodeJS, its DOM trees can be used server-side, too.

Projects and Companies that Use React JS

ReactJS is popular globally, but by far, it has the most usage in two of the world’s largest population centers — The United States and China. This analysis by SimilarTech below shows how many websites in each country have websites built with React.

React JS usage by websites across the globe by SimilarTech

Here are some of the largest websites now running using React, also from SimilarTech:

Top Websites Using React JSWebsite Monthly Visits
Yandex.ru3.3 billion
yahoo.com1.3 billion
cnn.com695.7 million
bbc.co.uk625.8 million
paypal.com580.2 million
roblox.com519.8 million
amazon.co.uk437.7 million

Main Advantages of ReactJS

When it comes to evaluating the pros and cons of using ReactJS, most programmers quickly find that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the advantages of React JS, in closer detail:

  • Simplified Scripting — React JS features a free syntax extension called JSX. This makes your HTML markup within the library much easier. Its writing shortcuts allow you to make your course code simpler and cleaner, converting your HTML mockups into ReactElement trees. JSX not only helps avert code injections, but it makes your whole application run faster.
Source: reactjs.org
  • Ease of Maintenance — When an app has complicated logic, making changes after the fact can be a long, painful, and expensive process. But one of the key ReactJS advantages is its modular design. This makes it easy to make small changes to small components without disturbing the others. Programmers are also able to reuse assets, re-employing the same object, which also saves enormous amounts of programming and maintenance time. It definitely lands in the “pro” column in any discussion of the ReactJS’ pros and cons.
  • Faster rendering — Earlier in this article, this library’s Virtual DOM was mentioned, and here is where this function truly shines. React’s “tree” model means that a problem at the top of the tree can cascade throughout the tree. To solve this problem, the Facebook development team created the Virtual DOM, which directs traffic and requests more efficiently.
    In any consideration of ReactJS advantages and disadvantages, this is a clear game point for the library. It provides key speed and accuracy for high-volume apps. It’s one more reason why some of the largest sites in the world rely on React for their user-facing applications.
  • Stable Code Structure — Again, this is an area where the library’s “tree” function comes into play. In React, the dataflows from the top to the bottom of the tree. And this has an enormously stabilizing effect on your code. Small changes or bugs in the “child” structure don’t affect the “parent” code. This type of data binding leads to code that’s more stable and faster running. When evaluating the pros and cons of using ReactJS, this is an important “pro” to remember.
  • SEO-enabled — When a web application is written in JavaScript, search engines have traditionally had trouble reading it. But one of the important advantages of ReactJS is how its applications can run on the server. The Virtual DOM renders and returns the app to the browser as a regular web page, making it much easier for search bots to crawl.
  • Handy developer tools — When you’re comparing the pros and cons of ReactJS against other competitors, it’s important to remember how the size and scope of the React community can make your life easier. Take, for instance, React’s developer tools, designed as a dev extension in Chrome and Firefox. This allows programmers to inspect the React component hierarchies as they appear in the virtual DOM. You can also isolate out certain parts of your code and edit them accordingly.
React.js developers on the React Amsterdam conference
React Amsterdam Conference
  • Mobile app development — While React JS is primarily seen as a web application library, it has been upgraded so the framework works for developing mobile native applications for both iOS and Android. Considering the advantages and disadvantages of ReactJS, this multi-platform functionality definitely puts this key benefit in the “win” column.
  • Easy to Learn, Easy to Use — Most programmers with a good grasp of JavaScript can learn to React within a few days. And in consideration of ReactJS advantages and disadvantages, this one is a game point to JS. Its widespread use means you can cast a wider net for your development talent and find more qualified candidates.
    But also, if you turn over a completed application from your development team to your general IT maintenance staff, you are far more likely to be able to easily fold this new capability into your existing IT maintenance structures.

Some disadvantages of using ReactJS

In this article, we’ve already discussed the benefits of using ReactJS. But any thorough understanding can only come from a discussion of ReactJS pros and cons. There are plenty of downsides in any debate about React’s advantages and disadvantages, as it’s not for every project or organization. We’ll break it down here.

  • The pace of Development — React is a fast-moving, fast-changing library. Updates are made every few months, and new programming wisdom bubbles up from reacts enormous community on a near-daily basis. This can be difficult to keep up with for some programmers.
    However, as a technology, react has been around for enough years to be a fairly mature library. There are far fewer changes, as the core of this offering has stabilized. Most changes are smaller, less essential upgrades. In a decision over ReactJS pros and cons, this issue could be called more of a draw.
  • Poor documentation — Because the entire React ecosystem is changing so quickly, new tools are coming out so fast, the documentation often doesn’t come out fast enough to keep up. This can be an advantage or disadvantage of ReactJS, depending on how you look at it. This can be a significant disadvantage and one you have to weigh against the benefits of ReactJS. But many find they can get around any glitches by employing other solutions like Redux and GraphQL.
Lego instruction meme
  • SEO can still be tricky — React JS has proven that it often mitigates the difficulties that Google has in reading JavaScript. But it’s not perfect. And that means you’ll need extra attention from your SEO experts to make sure that your single-page applications, in particular, are thoroughly tested and vetted against Google’s search algorithms. In fairness, every SPA has this SEO issue.
    In fact, SEO experts recommend running your apps through the Google Search Console tools, so you can see firsthand how well your apps are interacting with the search engine. In the end, programmers can use such tools as Next.js or Gatsby.js to solve the issue.

In What Cases Will ReactJS Be the Best Solution?

ReactJS is a responsive, streamlined, easy-to-use JS library that is great for organizations large and small. It’s user-friendly and comes ready to scale for organizations that run lots of user-facing functions in a high-traffic environment. It’s a great library to use if you have a website that needs to run simultaneous functions, and the basic nature of the language sets you up easy for changes in the future. If you think you can stay within the ReactJS sphere for the long-term, this library is a good play.

What Projects Shouldn’t ReactJS Be Used For?

ReactJS has many benefits and is flexible enough to be useful for the majority of companies. But it’s not always the right choice. For instance, if you need a library that allows you to add new features easily perhaps you should consider Vue JS. If you’re not sure about the future of your app, you might also want to look at other alternatives.

React can be very difficult and time-consuming to migrate into other libraries. And this can be a very expensive problem to deal with down the road. If you think you might be transferring to TypeScript or other premade templates, you may want to consider using VueJS or AngularJS instead.

Conclusion:

Without a doubt, there are many compelling benefits of using React JS. The virtual browser DOM, the interactive UI’s, the support of JSX, and its zippy component-based structure make it one of the world’s best-loved JS libraries. It is truly fulfilled its promise as a library that allows programmers to build large-scale applications with dates that changes repeatedly over time. This makes it a great choice for companies from startups to enterprise-level, in just about every business vertical.

We’d love to work with you on your next ReactJS project. We have a ready staff of outstaffed ReactJS experts who can help you with long-term or surge capacity development needs.

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