What is React
React is a front-end library created and maintained by Facebook.
The central idea behind React is that everything can be built with reusable components which have own lifecycle.
Among companies that choose React as a front-end technology, you can find Netflix, Dropbox, Coursera, IMDb, Khan Academy, New York Times and a lot of other notable organizations.
If you asked us what are the main features that make React great for the development of user interfaces, we’d outline these:
- Quick process of writing components with JSX.
- Virtual DOM & the diffing algorithm that ensure effective updates of the DOM tree, leading to higher app’s performance. This aspect is critical for building large-scale applications with real-time data.
- Stability of code due to the downward data flow.
- Ability to build mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms with React Native.
- Shorter learning curve comparing to Angular. As soon as you are comfortable with the concepts of components and their lifecycle, you can proceed to create user interfaces.
Another advantage of React is its rich ecosystem that’s backed by the strong community of developers across the globe. Thanks to them, all possible tools are available to you: IDEs, extensions for code editors, plugins for web browser, boilerplates, libraries, etc. And these are what we’re going to dedicate this blog post to.
Regardless of your level of expertise, you can greatly benefit from tools that speed up web development. To simplify your searching, we’ve picked the most useful tools that will help you to build a successful project.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
CodeSandBox is on the top of our list. And not by chance – it’s one of the most progressive online IDEs we know. The companies that use CodeSandBox are GitLab, Atlassian, Shopify.
With the available toolkit, you can create any type of web project that uses React, Angular, Vue, Vanilla JS, Preact, Reason, Svelte, CxJS, Unibit, Dojo as client templates and Next.js, Nuxt.js, Gatsby, Ember, Apollo, Nest, Node.js as server templates. If you don’t want to be limited to provided templates, you can create your custom ones.
The IDE smoothly integrates with GitHub: you can import your repository as a sandbox which will stay in sync with the original repo.
You can even create commits and open pull requests from a forked sandbox. It’s also possible to create a new GitHub repository based on the existing sandbox.
Another cool feature is that React DevTools are integrated directly inside CodeSandBox.
The feature we’d like to highlight is the capability to embed the project anywhere, even on Medium. This is what makes it perfect for sharing projects.
Lastly, the IDE is almost entirely open-source – you can contribute to its development.
You shouldn’t miss this stand-alone IDE as well. Rekit Studio offers a lot of features which make building scalable web applications with React, Redux, and React Router easier: code generation, dependency diagraming, building, unit tests, navigating code in a meaningful manner. It also facilitates refactoring, which is especially important for large-scale apps.
With the project explorer, you can quickly navigate between project elements.
To understand your code better, you can always review your project visually – Rekit generates diagrams that display dependencies between features, modules, and actions. This functionality increases the visibility of your work and simplifies refactoring.
Read about it in more details on freeCodeCamp.
Whether you prefer using a design- or code-first approach for building projects, you are going to like React Studio.
It provides the functionality that makes easier to control all the top-level aspects of your application’s design, assemble the components into an application and keep your code clean. As soon as you’re satisfied with your project, you can publish it right to the web. All these features bolster rapid development.
It should be noted that the IDE is especially suitable for designers. Completely from scratch, they can create a web application via the drag-and-drop gesture and test it even before the real-world data is available.
Other features for designers include built-in drawing tools for Illustrator, Photoshop, and Sketch.
Discover more about new features of React Studio on Hackernoon.
React boilerplate is a real find for developers who want to enhance their performance. It automates everything – creating of components, routers, containers, selectors right from the CLI.
The built React applications are offline-first, meaning that they remain accessible to the users even without a network connection.
When editing code, you can see changes to the CSS and JS in an instant, without the need to update the page.
You are free to contribute to this evolving project on GitHub.
Create React App
Create React App is an official start-kit for React created by Facebook. It considerably reduces time spent on configuring projects. With one simple command, you can create a project with its live development server, compiled React, JSX, ES6, CSS files. For testing, ESLint is used.
Keeping the library up-to-date is effortless as well – once a new version of Create React App is rolled out, you can update it with a single command.
React DevTools for Chrome
React DevTools for Chrome is a handy extension for making the development process more manageable. As well as ‘Create React App’, it’s created and maintained by Facebook.
With the Component tab, you can thoroughly inspect the components, edit their properties and states.
With the Profiler feature, you can track performance information.
By the way, you can select one of the 18 predefined themes to change its Look & Feel. Or even create your custom styling.
React DevTools for Firefox
React DevTools for Firefox is another add-on that offers alike functionality for inspecting a React tree right in Firefox.
All the listed React developer tools are meant to make your development process more efficient and fast. We truly hope they will.
More to learn
If you are getting started with React, you’ll find useful this amazing overview.
If you prefer a visual approach, check out the React for designers guide.