Is JSON Schema the Tool of the Future?

json-schema

JSON Schema is a lightweight data interchange format that generates clear, easy-to-understand documentation, making validation and testing easier.

JSON Schema is used to describe the structure and validation constraints of JSON documents.

Some have called it “the future for well-developed systems that have nested structures”.

There’s some weight to those claims; it’s definitely become a go-to tool for those who get past its steep learning curve.

Reviewing the Basics

JSON, which is the acronym for JavaScript Object Notation, is a lightweight data-interchange format.

It’s easy for humans to read and write, and equally easy for machines to parse and generate.

JSON Schema is a declarative language for validating the format and structure of a JSON Object.

It describes how data should look for a specific application and how it can be modified.

There are three main parts to JSON Schema:

JSON Schema Core

This is the specification where the terminology for a schema is defined.

Schema Validation

The JSON Schema validation is a document which explains how validation constraints may be defined. It lists and defines the set of keywords which can be used to specify validations for a JSON API.

Hyper-schema

This is where keywords associated with hyperlinks and hypermedia are defined.

What Problem Does JSON Schema Solve?

Schemas in general are used to validate files before use to prevent (or at least lower the risk of) software failing in unexpected ways.

If there’s an error in the data, the schema fails immediately. Schemas can serve as an extra quality filter for client-supplied data.

Using JSON Schema solves most of the communication problems between the front-end and the back-end, as well as between ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) and data consumption flows.

It creates a process for detailing the format of JSON messages in a language both humans and machines understand. This is especially useful in test automation.

Strengths of JSON Schema

The primary strength of JSON Schema is that it generates clear, human- and machine-readable documentation.

It’s easy to accurately describe the structure of data in a way that developers can use for automating validation.

This makes work easier for developers and testers, but the benefits go beyond productivity.

Clearer language allows developers to spot potential problem faster, and good documentation leads to more economical maintenance over time.

Weaknesses of JSON Schema

JSON Schema has a surprisingly sharp learning curve.

Some developers feel it’s hard to work with, dismissing it as “too verbose”. Because of the criticism, it isn’t well known.

Using JSON Schema makes projects grow quickly. For example, every nested level of JSON adds two levels of JSON Schema to the project.

This is a weakness common to schemas, though, and depending on the project it may be outweighed by the benefits. It’s also worth considering that JSON Schema has features which keep the size expansion down.

For example, objects can be described in the “definitions section” and simply referenced later.

What Else Is There?

Some developers prefer to use Mongoose, an Object Document Mapper (ODM) that allows them to define schemas, then create models based on those schemas.

The obvious drawback is that an extra abstraction layer delivers a hit to performance.

Another option is Joi, a validation library used to create schemas for controlling JavaScript objects. The syntax is completely different, though, and Joi works best for small projects.

Sometimes developers jump into a new MongoDB with a very flexible schema. This inevitably dooms them to “schema hell”, where they lose control as the project grows.

When JSON Schema Is the Right Choice

Performance is undeniably important. However, there are times when the cost of recovering from mistakes is far higher than the cost of taking the speed hit that comes with schema validation.

For those times the performance drop isn’t large enough to justify the risk of bad data entering the system, and that’s where JSON Schema comes into play.

JSON Schema is proving itself as a development option, but there’s no single “best tool” for every project. Concepta takes pride in designing a business-oriented solution that focuses on delivering value for our clients. To see what that solution might look like for your company, reserve your free consultation today!

Request a Consultation

The Best JavaScript Frameworks for Mobile Development

javascript-frameworks

JavaScript frameworks are great tools for building mobile apps. They’re efficient, lower development costs, and tend to have the security benefits that come with large, active communities of developers.

Deciding to use a framework is an easy choice. The harder question is, which framework fits the project at hand?

Here’s Concepta’s take on four of the best JavaScript frameworks for mobile development.

jQuery Mobile

This lightweight mobile framework is based on the popular jQuery library. Developers use jQuery Mobile for mobile website development as well as apps. It’s touch-optimized with a focus on broad compatibility (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry).

Eliminating cross-browser issues is one of jQuery Mobile’s biggest draws. The framework supports a huge variety of platforms, devices, display sizes, and screen resolutions. There’s no need to use a device-specific programming language. Instead, developers can use standards like JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, or AJAX.

Designing is simplified with the ThemeRoller customization toolkit. ThemeRoller offers a lot of tools that make editing themes easy, including drag and drop color and component changes. There are plenty of options for manipulating page layouts, headers and footers, and other design details.

Limitations

While jQuery Mobile makes it possible to perform complex scripting operations with little code, there are drawbacks. Performance varies by device. For example, jQuery Mobile apps lag noticeably on Android but run more smoothly on iOS.

Although the framework can outperform other mobile websites, it doesn’t outperform native apps. jQuery also lacks the full access to device features offered by other mobile app development tools.

NativeScript

NativeScript aims for a “write once, use everywhere” philosophy and comes very close. It’s an open-source framework for building Android, iOS, and Windows apps. With access to native API, it creates applications that behave like native apps on those platforms. Heavy code reuse between platform versions cuts the overall development time, too.

The framework supports the use of Angular, Vue.js, TypeScript, and Javascript. There are hundreds of NativeScript plugins, but developers aren’t limited to that toolset. They can integrate Node Package Manager, CocoaPods for iOS, and Gradle for Android.

Being open-source and free lowers the cost of working with NativeScript. Companies see extra savings through shorter development timelines.

Limitations

NativeScript aims for native performance. In practice, though, users experience some lag when opening apps. Also, critics point out that there are many inefficiencies in the NativeScript core that make debugging unnecessarily complicated.

It’s worth noting that plugins aren’t 100% verified and vary widely in quality. An inexperienced developer could accidentally introduce a vulnerability if they aren’t careful to check every plugin before use.

React Native

Facebook created this cross-platform native app development tool for its own use before releasing it to the public in 2015. Like NativeScript it features heavy code reuse, though the philosophy here is “learn once, write everywhere”. Once the tools are learned they can be applied to any platform.

React Native provides the native performance missing with NativeScript. It renders native UI elements for a “true to platform” feel that appeals to device loyalists while being less expensive to develop than a native app.

Real-time reloading leads to a smoother, more responsive development process where users can get faster feedback on changes as they work. This is one of the developer-friendly aspect of React Native that attract its large, active community of developers.

Limitations

Despite matching native apps in performance, React Native doesn’t fully support all native features yet. Users have to wait for Facebook to add those capabilities. There are generally fewer specialty and custom modules than some frameworks, as well.

The different design styles of Android and iOS will result in unpolished apps if a designer isn’t careful. Navigation is sometimes a little irregular regardless of skill.

Aside from technical considerations, some developers are wary of being totally reliant on Facebook. All signs point to a long future for React Native and Facebook is still putting resources into it, but the platform does still own the license and can theoretically revoke it.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is a hybrid app development framework that is open source version of Apache Cordova. Users can build for multiple platforms with a single codebase, writing in HTML, CSS or JavaScript. Apps built with PhoneGap have decent access to device hardware. There are allowances for offline capabilities as well.

PhoneGap has a healthy library and a robust backend that makes development fast and easy. Developers don’t need specialty skill sets to use it; web development skills will give them access to all the framework’s features. Those qualities combine to make it a great tool for rapid prototyping on a budget.

Limitations

PhoneGap doesn’t offer a lot of UI widgets, but performance is far and away its biggest limitation. It suffers from noticeably lower performance than other frameworks.

Making the call

There’s no single framework that’s best in every case.

  • PhoneGap is great for rapid prototyping, but the performance issues may frustrate end users in the long run.
  • React Native and NativeScript take opposite approaches to cross-platform development which should factor into their choice for a specific project.
  • jQuery provides slightly lower performance but much wider compatibility, making it useful when end users can be expected to access the app through many kinds of devices.

Try not to go into a project with a favorite framework in mind. Look at the specific needs of the app, consider its purpose and who the end users will be, and discuss options with an experienced developer.

The wrong framework can lead to a frustrating, “square peg in a round hole” development process. The right one saves enough time and money to make it worth a little extra forethought.

Mobile Development Company in Orlando

As one of Orlando’s most renowned mobile development agencies, Concepta has a collection of clients who need fast, economical development.

Our developers stay on top of emerging JavaScript frameworks to be sure they have the right tool for any job, whether it’s building a client-facing app for The Learning Company or a sales portal for Anago.

Getting ready to build your next mobile app? Concepta has more than a decade’s experiences building dynamic enterprise apps for everyone from state-wide chains to national celebrities. We can guide you through the JavaScript frameworks that will help you meet- and beat- this year’s business goals. Reserve your free consultation today!

Request a Consultation

Reusable JavaScript Ushers In A New Era of Full-Stack Development

reusable-javascript

Reusable JavaScript helps developers create innovative, high-quality software without sacrificing time or budget. Better yet, it makes full-stack development easier than ever.

JavaScript is the most commonly used coding language around, and its popularity grows every day. More important than popularity, though, is innovation. The JavaScript ecosystem is constantly evolving.

So far the most transformative development has been “reusable JavaScript”. Shared repositories of pre-made components create a shortcut through repetitive tasks without sacrificing quality, and they’re sparking a change in the way developers innovate.

The Value of JavaScript

In 2017 JavaScript was ranked the most popular programming language for the sixth year in a row, and for good reason. It’s a powerful language which plays well with other languages, so developers can use it in any webpage.

Being able to run natively in a browser makes it fast and lowers the server load. Through JavaScript frameworks and tools like React Native it can be used to build hybrid or cross-platform apps.

On top of that, JavaScript has a low barrier to entry. It’s easy to learn and easy to read. There’s a hugely active community behind it, with representation both in online repositories like GitHub and in local developer groups.

How Does Reusable JavaScript Work?

The flexibility and accessibility of JavaScript means developers have created and shared a lot of useful components with the community at large. However, for a while it was incredibly hard to find and use these tools on their own.

Developers had to follow a complex integration process for each component they borrowed, and maintaining them was a hassle.

That’s where packages and package managers came into play. A package is a reusable piece of software that serves as a shortcut to a specific task. Rather than recreating the component from scratch, developers can simply download the package and copy it into their project.

The package might or might not have dependencies required for it to work. Dependencies are complex to manage.

Sometimes when a package is updated some dependencies are no longer compatible and require the old version, creating a situation known to developers as “dependency hell”. This can’t be avoided by skipping updates, though; packages have to be updated to maintain performance and close security vulnerabilities.

The solution to this problem is package managers: tools that automate and simplify the use of packages. They automatically handle dependencies, configuring updates, installing new packages, and other tedious yet essential tasks. Package managers are what makes using so many different components possible, reducing the overall time spent on maintenance and installation.

Another reusable code trend gaining traction is the idea of a “starter kit”. This is a developer or organization-specific foundation for building apps that has all the basic opinions and configurations built in.

When beginning a new project, the team uses the starter kit as a jumping-off point. They don’t have to worry about skipping a step that might cause trouble down the road because the foundation work is already done.

This approach has several advantages. It eliminates the time spent on less productive discussions like arguments about syntax. Instead, the team jumps straight into the project at hand. Starter kits also streamline the quality control process by ensures the entire team is working to the same settings.

Why Not Start From Scratch?

Working with reusable JavaScript helps developers work at a higher layer of abstraction. They can separate concerns by functional components, not languages or tools, which lays the groundwork for new ways of looking at architecture.

The layer of abstraction necessary for reusable code does make it a little slower than pure JavaScript. However, that slight hit to speed comes with some valuable advantages over vanilla JavaScript.

Time

Enterprise technology moves fast. Businesses need to get their software finished and working towards ROI as soon as possible. Starting with a blank project every time is a much, much slower process than using reusable JavaScript. It eats up too much of the development schedule without a balancing increase in quality.

Quality

There are dozens of decisions to make when configuring a new project. It’s easy to forget a step or take shortcuts to compensate for the longer development timeline. When this happens the product could reach the market with avoidable flaws or weaknesses. Reusable JavaScript starter kits serve as solid foundations for quality software with no skipped steps. Plus, the time saved can be redirected towards user experience, leading to a better final product.

Practicality

It makes no sense to reinvent the wheel every time every time someone needs to go to the grocery store. JavaScript has been around long enough that there are plenty of solid, reliable packages that will take care of basic software functions while still holding to a high standard of quality. The performance gap between vanilla JavaScript and reusable code isn’t large enough to offset the risks of slower development.

Innovation

Time spent recreating components which have been built many times before is time that isn’t spent trying new things. It doesn’t push technology forward. Developers need to build on the community’s work if they want to reach higher levels of sophistication and create something new.

Going Full-Stack with Reusable Code

JavaScript frameworks built on reusable components blur the line between front-end and back-end development. These used to be handled by separate teams with very different skill sets. Because they were usually working in different languages, coordinating between the front- and back-end teams could lead to frustrating misunderstandings.

The current crop of frameworks makes full-stack JavaScript development more practical. Using one primary language end to end removes those barriers in communication that complicate interdeveloper cooperation. Everyone can read and understand each other’s work.

Using reusable JavaScript like this expands the tools available to developers, too. The front-end team has more to do than designing layouts. They can be more interactive and innovative.

Back-end developers have access to more tools for building out the front end. The team can work together to create a better experience for end users (which should be one of the primary goals of any software development project).

Developer productivity isn’t the only reason to use reusable JavaScript for both the front- and back-end. It harnesses many of the language’s benefits, such as:

  • Reduced server load
  • Faster response and page load times
  • Wide compatibility across devices and platforms
  • Easy maintenance and debugging
  • Offline access
  • Faster development and updating
  • Lower maintenance costs

Committing to Reusable Components

In this day and age most developers are probably already using reusable components to some extent. However, the majority haven’t fully committed to applying reusable code wherever it’s relevant. They’re missing opportunities to improve their products and provide faster development to their clients.

There are two main steps to making sure a company is realizing the full potential of reusable JavaScript. First, they should both use and contribute to package managers and code repositories.

Package managers are the form of reusable code mostly likely to be used by developers at the moment. The increasingly popular Node Package Manager (NPM) is the fastest growing, though others like Bower, jspm, and Duo have their uses as well.

Despite using package managers in rising numbers, a large portion of developers don’t publish their own work to these collections at the company level. That’s a missed opportunity. They should be taking reusable JavaScript a step further by creating shortcuts for their frequently used functions and adding it to the collected toolkits for anyone to use.

Sharing code like this meets resistance from a lot of executives who worry about giving away trade secrets. In practice, that isn’t a serious concern. Sharing components isn’t the same as putting completed software online for free; it won’t let competitors steal a product under development and release it early.

There are relatively few instances where publishing a package to NPM would put a company at risk. It’s just a harmless way to build the communal base of JavaScript knowledge.

Beyond that altruistic motive, sharing code builds a company’s reputation as an industry leader. Peers who use the components gain respect for the developer, which makes hiring and retention easier.

Reviews serve to validate the company’s expertise for potential clients. There’s also the possibility of spurring a new trend in programming that could inspire industry press attention, which leads to more and better clients.

Make it simple for team members to share their JavaScript components. Set up a standard procedure for use company-wide, and consider offering incentives for engineers who publish solid packages. At the very least it should be a positive factor in promotion or raise decisions.

The second element of adopting reusable JavaScript is more internal: creating a customized starter kit for JavaScript projects. This should be the result of a group workshop about company ideals and priorities instead of something created by executives and handed down.

Team members need to buy into the concept, and the best way to ensure that is to give them the sense of ownership collaboration provides.

These kits should lay out standards for start-of-project decisions, touching on topics like editors, bundlers, testing frameworks, preferred HTML versions, logging protocols, API structure, and anything else that makes sense for the company.

Aim for a “highest common ground” where many set-up decisions are premade but the team isn’t prevented from creative problem-solving.

However far developers take it, adopting reusable JavaScript should be seen more as an opportunity than a chore. The effort invested saves both time and money in the long run through the creation of faster, higher quality software.

Developers have nothing to lose by sharing their expertise- and everything to gain.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, reusable JavaScript (and by extension full-stack JavaScript development) solves a lot of problems raised by digital transformation efforts. It powers fast, agile development and takes advantage of a deep pool of talented experts. While JavaScript can stumble with computationally intensive projects, its combination of performance and speed makes it an excellent choice for enterprise software.

Choosing a JavaScript Library for Web Apps: Vue.js [REVIEW]

vuejs-review

Vue.js is a lightweight JavaScript library that focuses on the view layer of user interfaces.

A JavaScript library is a collection of functions pre-written in JavaScript that can be used instead of writing code from scratch for common functions.

Here is a review of Vue.js and what makes it ideal for web development.

What problem does Vue.js solve?

Using a JavaScript library like Vue.js cuts the amount of code developers need to write. Vue specifically can be used to add interactivity to existing websites.

Benefits of Vue.js

  • Real time state management
  • Virtual DOM
  • Reactive/composable view components
  • Two-way data binding
  • Transition effects system

Strengths

Vue is only the interface layer. It can be used as a feature within a page rather than building a complete Single Page Application (SPA). Also, it can be dropped into an existing project to add a degree of interactivity.

New Vue.js are often surprised by how easy it is to learn. Vue is close to ordinary JavaScript, so those with a grasp of JS can pick it up almost immediately. Programmers spend less than half an hour studying it before being able to code something simple. That simplicity extends to building and troubleshooting, as well.

Large frameworks impose their own form of order on developers, but Vue has few opinions of its own. Programmers are free to approach challenges in their own way. There are a wide variety of options for adding templates definition libraries.

A lot of JavaScript goes into an app, which leads to slower load times. Vue has a work around for this problem through an async components feature, resulting in “lazy loading” where components are only loaded upon request. This provides high performance on older browsers or in low signal areas.

Weaknesses

Though many people compare Vue to Angular, Vue is a library and not a full framework. It primarily addresses the view layer. As a default it doesn’t come with necessary features such as a router. Creating fast, flexible SPAs with Vue.js is possible, but only in tandem with supporting libraries.

The developer community for Vue is still quite small. As a result there aren’t many stable components, and neophyte Vue users may have trouble telling which version of Vue a particular library was built for. This problem should gradually diminish as Vue’s popularity grows.

Unlike Angular, which is maintained by Google, Vue has a single creator in Evan You. Many of the plug-ins are written in his native language of Chinese.

There aren’t many examples of Vue’s scalability. It’s possible to write large-scale apps with Vue.js, but having so few examples of scalability can be a concern for some users.

How does it compare to React, Polymer, or Angular?

React: Vue employs a virtual DOM like React and is also a view layer library. However, Vue has a gentler learning curve than React.

Polymer: Vue’s components are very much like Polymer’s custom elements. The biggest difference is that because Polymer, unlike Vue, is based on Web Components. Many browsers aren’t yet compatible with Web Components, so Polymer requires polyfills to adapt to those browsers.

Angular: Both Angular and Vue share two-way data binding capabilities. The programs interact well with each other, too. View is a simpler tool for less complex projects that don’t require the full power of Angular.

Real-life application

GitLab incorporated Vue.js into its front end towards the end of 2016. Frontend lead Jacob Schatz describes Vue as having “the perfect balance of what it will do for you and what you need to do yourself”.

Reddit News, a browser extension that displays updates and new posts from Reddit, was built using Vue as were applications like Expedia, Alibaba, Baidu, Nintendo, and Facebook Newsfeed.

Conclusion

For simple projects that call for high performance, interactivity, and ease of maintenance, Vue.js can be a better fit than more robust full frameworks.

If you need highly experienced front-end developers who know Vue.js, share with us your challenges and we’ll help come up with the right solution tailored to fit your needs.

Request a Consultation

Choosing a JavaScript Library for Web Apps: Polymer [REVIEW]

polymer-javascript-review

Polymer is a JavaScript library for creating web components which are then used to build web pages and web apps.

A JavaScript library is a collection of functions pre-written in JavaScript that can be used instead of writing code from scratch for common functions.

Web components is the collective term for a set of features the W3C is adding to the HTML and DOM specifications. They allow for the creation of reusable, encapsulated cross-browser HTML elements to use when building web pages and web apps. Here’s a review of what makes Polymer such an excellent tool for front-end development.

What problem does Polymer solve?

Polymer helps build custom web components which are compliant with the latest standards from the W3C. Web components help reduce the complexity of tooling needed to build modern web applications. They allow for lighter libraries and faster apps by offloading much of the work to browsers.

Benefits of Polymer

  • Supports the creation of custom web components
  • Shadow DOM
  • Google Web Components (plus other element lines)
  • Polyfills (to bridge the gap left by browsers that aren’t yet equipped to handle web components)
  • Modular routing using elements
  • Supports local storage
  • Offline caching

Strengths

Polymer is forward compatible with upcoming W3C standards, providing longevity to apps. It’s easy to use, learn, and teach, so onboarding new team members is a breeze.

Almost any function that can be done with HTML, CSS, or JavaScript can be made into a portable, reusable web component. Using Polymer to compose web components simplifies the development process, making it both more streamlined for developers and less expensive for clients.

Polymer supports serving an app multiple ways: unbundled for delivery over HTTP/2 with server push or bundled for delivery over HTTP/1.

Apps built with web components are easy to break up into modular pieces, so they’re simple to understand, scale, and refactor.

Polymer connects well with third-party libraries. Integrating it into an app or page can be done at the developer’s own pace, starting with a single custom element and moving to as much or as little “Polymerization” as desired.

Above all, Polymer creates fast, responsive websites. It’s up to three times faster on Chrome and four times faster on Safari.

Weaknesses

Polymer is a tool of the future. With all the benefits implied by that status, there are drawbacks. It relies on browser features that aren’t yet standardized across browsers. Developers can work around this with polyfills, but that’s a fairly clunky solution. Fortunately, the need for polyfills is being eroded as browsers catch up to W3C standards.

In Polymer 1.0 there were some problems with dependency errors, though that seems to have been ironed out in Polymer 2.0.

Though Polymer is backed by Google and has an enthusiastic group of users, some components don’t have much existing documentation or examples. Finding experts may also be difficult, since many are still focused on React or Angular.

How does it compare to Angular or React?

Angular: Both Angular and Polymer support the creation of reusable web components. Angular is much more powerful as it’s a fully-fleshed framework. There are, however, two major areas where Polymer has the edge. It’s a third the size of Angular even with the webcomponents.js polyfill needed for non-compliant browsers (much smaller without that polyfill). Also, components created with Polymer are compatible with any application while Angular 2 components are limited to Angular 2 applications.

React: Polymer is much like React in that they’re both libraries, not complete frameworks. React is not compliant with the W3C’s web components standard, preferring to rely on its own component architecture. It’s ideal for projects with a lot of rapidly changing content within the view. However, Polymer has a better template engine and better forward compatibility than React.

Real-life application

In April of this year, McDonald’s used Polymer to upgrade the Menu Board software for their United States locations. Polymer fulfilled the restaurant’s requirement for completely modular software with the ability for layouts to shift based on an individual store’s needs. The app supports more than 10,000 product configurations in over 15,000 locations nationwide.

As expected of a Google tool, many Google properties employ Polymer. Google Earth’s redesigned site and app use Polymer-created web components. So do YouTube Web, Google Translate, and Google Music.

Other users of Polymer include Coca-Cola, Comcast, ING, Bloomberg, and USA Today.

Conclusion

Polymer 2.0 was released in May with increased interoperability, but it still has some browser limitations. It also faces skepticism from those who are loyal to React or Angular. With the growing popularity of web components, however, more developers are realizing how easy they are to create with Polymer. Features like forward compatibility, ease of learning and use, and compatibility with third party libraries are winning the skeptics over. It’s poised to become a well-accepted part of a developer’s toolkit.

If you need highly experienced front-end developers who know Polymer, share with us your challenges and we’ll help come up with the right solution tailored to fit your needs.

Request a Consultation

ReactJS: A Specialized JavaScript Library [REVIEW]

reactjs

What is ReactJS?

ReactJS is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It’s not a complete front-end framework like AngularJS; rather, it is a creative solution to handling the view layer for apps. Developers describe this as “replacing the V in the MVC model”. Using React provides simplified programming, scalability, and dynamic user interfaces.

Background of ReactJS

There are dozens of “origin stories” for React, but the truth is that it started as a JavaScript port of XHP. Jordan Walke, an employee working at Facebook’s Ads Org, created the earliest version to solve the division’s problem with overly-complex apps. Engineers were experiencing unintentional changes caused by cascading updates. In response Walke put together the prototype for React, which was applied to Facebook’s newsfeed in 2011. His solution was heavily reliant on Facebook’s existing infrastructure.

The following year, Instagram creators saw the proto-React at Facebook and wanted to use it for Instagram. Pete Hunt convinced Facebook to let him decouple the code from its Facebook-specific state to a more general use tool. At this point it was given the name React, and in 2013 it went open source. React is maintained by a number of users including both Facebook and Instagram.

Keep reading to find out how we review React.JS.

Features

  • Server-side rendering
  • JSX (simplified JavaScript)
  • One way data flow
  • Virtual DOM
  • Component-driven development
  • Testability

Strengths

Speed is React’s core strength. Rather than re-rendering the DOM every time there’s a change, it creates a Virtual DOM for comparison. Only nodes that change are updated. This allows for dynamic features that use real-time data (friends lists, likes, chat programs, market tickers, etc) without users having to reload the page.

React is very simple to read. Users can easily see how components are rendered, how components interact with each other, and the general layout. Simplicity takes much of the hassle out of maintenance.

Also, React is very SEO friendly. This is not the case with many Javascript frameworks.

  • Has a large community
  • Easier to find developers
  • Hybrid platform that compiles natively
  • It’s really fast
  • Easy for testing
  • Solutions can be tested with customized coding, so the final result can be guaranteed
  • Faster interface deployment
  • Component-driven interface development

Weaknesses

As a specialized library, React will not provide the same structure as a complete framework like AngularJS. Some see this as an advantage- after all, a large framework can be restrictive. However, you can’t build a fully functional app with React alone. Custom configurations are required to integrate ReactJS into a traditional MVC framework.

Also, React requires a specific way of approaching programming that can be hard for experienced programmers to get their heads around. It’s evolving very quickly given a recent upsurge in interest, but that has resulted in some confusion. What was once relatively easy to learn has become more complicated. Also, there isn’t good documentation available for React.

Real Life Applications

React is used by major players like AirBNB, Bloomberg, Tesla, and Discord. Here are a few specific examples of how it’s benefiting big companies.

  • The desktop version of Facebook uses React in its Friends, Notifications, and Chat features.
  • React powers the Push Notification Settings and Edit Profile views at Instagram.
  • Walmart started using React Native to improve the performance of their iOS and Android shopping apps.

Future Outlook

It’s hard to estimate the future of React. Only about .11% of websites currently use it, but React is showing comparatively similar rates of growth to AngularJS (on a smaller scale, of course). Component-driven development is also gaining popularity, seeing some representation in recent Angular releases. It will be interesting to see if React continues to grow with its core features being picked up by more complete toolsets.

If you need highly experienced developers who know ReactJS, share with us your challenges and we’ll help come up with the right solution tailored to fit your needs.

Request a Consultation