React is a simple but powerful user interface (UI) library based on JavaScript that allows developers to create complex UIs from small and isolated pieces of code (components). It was developed by a software engineer from Facebook Jordan Walke in 2011 and in 2013, React was released with an open source status. Being one of the most popular frontend libraries, React allows developers to use server-side rendering (SSR) to build large scale web apps capable of changing data without reloading the page. A lot of top companies, including Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, CNN, Salesforce, Whatsapp, Airbnb, and Netflix use this flexible library when building a major part of their web and mobile apps.

Key features of React:

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  • JSX (JavaScript XML), a syntax extension to JavaScript for template creation, allows to declare components in a manner similar to HTML
  • Virtual DOM (Document Object Model) uses memory reconciliation algorithm to build a representation of the page in virtual memory and perform the necessary updates before rendering the web page into the browser
  • Single-way data flow ensures the stability of code because components receive properties as a set of immutable values from parent components.

React gave impetus to appearing and development of such technologies:

  • React Native - a React-based JavaScript framework for building both iOS and Android mobile apps that look and feel like native apps.
  • Redux - a predictable state container for JavaScript apps created by Dan Abramov in order to simplify state management in React. Now, this library is used with most frontend frameworks, not only React.
  • Jest – a JavaScript testing framework created by Facebook for React apps. But now it works also with projects using Angular, Vue, and others.

Supported and maintained by Facebook and a strong community, React offers a number of benefits to developers and business owners. Having a component-based architecture, React makes the development process efficient due to reusable components. Dynamic websites and apps built with React are flexible, easily scalable, and feature high performance so they are SEO friendly and provide a better user experience. React popular website verticals include business, shopping, technology, and travel.

You might be interested in TypeScript web development.