React js is a jаvascript framework. React was originally created by engineers at Facebook to solve the challenges involved when developing complex user interfaces with datasets that change over time. This is not a trivial undertaking and must not only be maintainable, but also scalable to work at the scale of Facebook. React js was actually born in Facebook’s ads organization, where they had been utilizing a traditional client-side Model-View-Controller approach. Applications such as these normally consist of two-way data binding along with rendering template. React changed the way that these applications were created by making some daring advances in web development. When React js was released in 2013, the web development community was both interested and seemingly disgusted by what React was doing. As you will discover throughout this book, React challenges conventions that have become the de-facto standards for jаvascript framework best practices. React does this by introducing many new paradigms and shifting the status quo of what it takes to create scalable and maintainable jаvascript applications and user interfaces. Along with the shift in front-end development mentality, React comes with a rich set of features that make composing a single-page application or user interface approachable for developers of many skill levels—from those who have just been introduced to jаvascript, to seasoned veterans of the web. You will see these features—such as the virtual DOM, JSX, and Flux concepts—as you read this book and discover how they can be used to create complex user interfaces.
Defining React js
You will also see, in brief, how Facebook is continually challenging the development world with React Native. React Native is a new open source library for creating native user interfaces utilizing the same principles as React’s jаvascript library. By creating a Native UI library, React has pushed its value proposition of “learn once, write anywhere.” This paradigm shift applies to being able to utilize the core concepts of React in order to make maintainable interfaces. By now it is possible you are thinking that there is nothing React can’t do when it comes to development. This is not the case, and in order to further understand what React is, you need an understanding of what React is not, which you learn later in this chapter. First, you will understand the underlying problems that caused React to be created and how React solves those problems.
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