React Popularity and When Not to Use React

There are many big reasons for why React has become so popular. Let's examine how popular React is, what people like about it, and when we should/shouldn't use React.

Main Benefits of React

There are many big benefits to React, but the main ones are:

  • Clean programming. By creating your views with React, you get easy-to-read and easy-to-reuse code.
  • Strong community. If you need a package like a map or a graph, you can bet that there’s a great package that you can install. The strong community means you have a breadth of packages that you can install and use immediately. Less writing for you!
  • Fast performance. React for small and large projects works very quickly thanks to the Virtual DOM it uses.

Per the stateofjs.com 2018 survey, these are the most liked aspects of React:

Who uses React?

Many large scale companies are using React in production. This is very encouraging when deciding to use React for your own projects, big and small. Here are some of the biggest sites built with React:

  • Netflix
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Airbnb
  • Cloudflare
  • Dropbox
  • BBC
  • Flipboard
  • Imgur
  • Postmates
  • Reddit
  • And the list goes on!

Another cool thing about learning React is that we can use that knowledge to build mobile apps with React Native.

  • Facebook and Instagram
  • Walmart
  • Bloomberg
  • Tesla
  • Wix

React’s Popularity

In 2019, React is one of (if not the most) popular JavaScript frontend framework.

According to StackOverflow’s 2018 surveys, React ranks #3 in most popular.

React ranks 2nd among the developers that loved it:

It ranks #1 on the list of most wanted tools:

Per the stateofjs.com survey for 2018, React ranks highly on amount of users that have used it and would use it again.

  • 64.8% used it and would use it again
  • Only 6.7% of users would not use it again

Also, on GitHub stars (Stars may not be the best ranking factor. Clicking the star doesn’t always correlate to using in real life), React ranks second behind Vue for stars on JavaScript libraries/frameworks.

  • React: 119,425 Stars
  • Vue: 124,544 Stars
  • Angular: 44,175 Stars

When to use React

React excels because it’s pure JavaScript. If you have a team of JavaScript developers that know the ins and outs of the language, then it’s a great fit.

JavaScript developers will be able to:

  • Embrace JS
  • Build components with pure JavaScript
  • Understand styling with CSS-in-JS

Of course these are quick assumptions. This is not to say that JavaScript developers would have a hard time in the other frameworks. JavaScript developers would excel in any of the JavaScript type frameworks.

The biggest difference for when NOT to use React is when your team doesn’t solely consist of JavaScript developers. Let’s explore why you would want to choose something else.

When NOT to use React

The biggest reason I see for teams not choosing React is if the teams aren’t the strongest in pure JavaScript. You may not want to use React if your team:

  • Has frontend designers that are familiar with HTML and aren't comfortable with JSX
  • Has frontend designers that are familiar with CSS

JSX can be somewhat of a non-starter for some designers that are more familiar with HTML. JSX can be learned quickly, but that could be a learning curve that you don't want to apply on your designers.

With React styles, you can use CSS, Sass, and CSS-in-JS. If your app uses CSS or Sass, then your designers will have an easy time jumping into the code base.

If you are using a CSS-in-JS solution like styled-components then there will probably be an adjustment period.

This section won’t be that long because React is a great fit for any team. There just may be a larger learning curve with some teams. It all depends on your project to determine if you want to spend the time on that learning curve.

React is a great fit for any team. There just may be a larger learning curve with some teams.

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