What Is React? A Complete Guide –

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React is a popular JavaScript library for web development, preferred for building reusable UI components. This comprehensive guide covers all aspects of React for both experienced and beginner developers.

Introduction To React

In 2013, Facebook software engineer Jordan Walke introduced React as an in-house solution for constructing user interfaces. It gained popularity and was later released as an open-source library.

React employs a component-based design approach, where the user interface is fragmented into reusable and independent components. These components have their own state and can be combined to construct intricate user interfaces. By utilizing a virtual DOM (Document Object Model), React optimizes the process of updating and rendering components, resulting in quick and interactive user interfaces.

Key Concepts in React

To understand React thoroughly, it’s essential to grasp the key concepts that underpin its architecture. Let’s explore these concepts in detail: 

  • Components: React applications are built using components, which are modular and self-contained code blocks that contain the logic for the user interface. There are two types of components in React: functional components and class components. Functional components are simpler and easier to understand, while class components offer additional features such as state management.
  • JSX: React applications are built using components, which are modular and self-contained code blocks that contain the logic for the user interface. There are two types of components in React: functional components and class components. 
  • State: State refers to the data that can change within a React component. It allows components to keep track of dynamic information and update the user interface accordingly. The state is typically managed within class components using the setState method, and within functional components using React hooks like useState.
  • Props: Props, short for properties, are a way to pass data from a parent component to its child components. Props are immutable, meaning they cannot be modified by the child components. They allow components to be configurable and reusable.
  • Virtual DOM: Virtual DOM is a crucial concept in React that enhances its performance. It serves as a lightweight representation of the actual DOM and acts as a middle layer between the components and the browser’s rendering engine. The virtual DOM allows React to efficiently update and render components by minimizing direct manipulation of the real DOM.
  • Lifecycle Methods (Class Components): Class components in React have a set of lifecycle methods that enable developers to hook into different phases of a component’s life cycle. These methods include componentDidMount, componentDidUpdate, and componentWillUnmount, among others. They provide developers with precise control over component initialization, updating, and removal.
  • Hooks (Functional Components): Hooks were introduced in React 16.8 as functions that allow the use of state and other React features in functional components. Hooks, such as useState and useEffect, simplify the management of state and side effects in React applications.

Setting up a React Environment

Install Node.js: React projects require Node.js. Download and install the latest version from the official website.

Create a New React Project: Once Node.js is installed, use the Create React App (CRA) command-line tool in your terminal to create a new React project.

npx create-react-app my-app

This command creates a “my-app” directory with a basic React project.

 Start the Development Server: Change the directory to “my-app” using “cd my-app” and start the development server with the given command.

npm start

Running this command starts the development server, and you can view your React app at http://localhost:3000.

Building a React Component

After setting up your development environment, let’s create a simple React component to practice core concepts. We’ll build a basic counter that increments on button clicks.

Open your preferred code editor, navigate to the src directory, and create a new file called Counter.js. Add the provided code.

import React, { useState } from 'react'; function Counter() { const [count, setCount] = useState(0); const increment = () => { setCount(count + 1); }; return (

Count: {count}

); } export default Counter;

In the provided code, we utilize React and the useState hook from the React library. The Counter component is established as a functional component, employing the useState hook to handle the count state. Whenever the button is clicked, the increment function modifies the count value. Ultimately, we display both the count value and the increment button.

To use the Counter component, open the App.js file in the same src directory and replace its content with the following code: 

React Counter Example

); } export default App; ” data-lang=”text/javascript” contenteditable=”false”>

import React from 'react'; import Counter from './Counter';  function App() {   return (     

React Counter Example

); } export default App;

After saving the files, if you visit http://localhost:3000 in your browser, you will be able to view the counter component. By clicking the “Increment” button, the count value will be adjusted accordingly.


React has transformed web application development, providing a powerful way to create interactive user interfaces. This guide covers React fundamentals: components, JSX, state, props, virtual DOM, lifecycle methods, and hooks. We also explain setting up a React environment and building a simple component. With React’s vast ecosystem of libraries and tools, it’s an excellent choice for modern web apps. Explore the endless possibilities with React!

JavaScript React (JavaScript library) DOM events React Native facebook

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