In the second part of this Learn React series, I will show you how to set up a local web development environment that will allow you to build React web apps on your computer. This requires installing a server and running it from your command line. Since these are not trivial topics, I recommend that you get some experience through courses that set up the web development environment for you.
What is React.js?
Why do Developers (and End Users) Love React?
React provides an effective and efficient means of updating the DOM. Rather than rebuilding the DOM every time the app changes, React builds a “virtual DOM” and updates only the parts that change. Because it holds the different versions of our user interface in memory, it compares the two versions and renders only our changes to the real DOM tree. And this is what makes React so fast: it only updates the changes. Updating changes is much faster than rebuilding an entire DOM tree. From an end user standpoint, React web apps provide a seamless experience, thanks to its speed and efficiency.
How are React Web Apps Built?
You may have read that React is component based. This means that we can break a user-interface down into small parts or components. As web developers, we can design, build and test one component, and when we’re certain it works, we can use it in multiple web applications and share it with other web developers. Rather than continually re-build the different parts of our web applications from scratch, we can reuse these components when we design our user interfaces. Component-based web development makes creating a large web app more manageable, allows teams to work efficiently, and makes it easier for developers to share their code.
How to Learn React.js
Free Sources to Learn React
The self-guided tutorial through Reactjs.org is another option, during which you’ll build an interactive tic-tac-toe game. In the documentation, you can learn how to use the Babel REPL to compile your ES6 code so that it will run in the browser. This negates the need to run React from a server or a local web development environment. These are more advanced topics that we will revisit in a future article that will be Part 2 of this series.
Continue Forward with a Premium Curriculum
Even though you’ll be familiar with introductory React at this point, Schwarzmueller discusses in which capacities React is a good choice for web developers, as well as alternatives you can consider depending on what you want to accomplish. I think this is a great approach. There are many times when we, as web developers, get enamored with the next hot thing. We want to learn the new technology, but sometimes we forget to do our research to figure out if it’s the best tool for our goal.
From engaging in the thought process of why you should choose React (or something else) through testing and deploying a React.js app, by the time you reach the end of Schwarzmueller’s 30+ hour course, you’ll have quite a bit of practice with this exciting, challenging library.
Once you’ve taken a comprehensive course in React.js such as Schwarzmuller’s course, you’re ready to start developing React web applications on your own computer. This requires server-side rendering, which is not a trivial topic. As I mentioned, I will explore this in an upcoming article, so be sure to check back. In the meantime, if you have questions about any of the courses or resources, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.