History of ReactJS
React’s history starts in 2011 when Jordan Walke, Facebook specialist responsible for Facebook Ads, created FaxJS, the early prototype of the soon-to-be hit framework. His efforts had a purpose – Facebook had problems with proper management of their advertising tool and needed a dedicated solution. ReactJS finally debuted as an open-source in 2013 – however, it wasn’t loved straight away by the tech community. Creators went on ReactJsWorldTour in order to popularize their library and convince developers and CTOs about its technical advantages and benefits for business.
From there it was a bunny slope. Since then, React gathered a massive following – it hits more than five million downloads per week and has thousands of contributors. Its recent 16.12 version includes a massive milestone – React Hooks.
Why is React so popular?
First of the React’s advantages is its simplicity. If you had any previous experience in coding, it will be easy for you to understand, learn and master it. Additionally, it’s ridiculously easy to test. ReactJS is reusable and designed for scaling – the component architecture means that you write the code once and you can use it again in other applications. In case of an update, change in one component won’t affect the others which are probably the most important benefit. All this means that React developers basically save time and money since they can literally reuse some of the code’s parts many times.
As far as performance is concerned, React introduced the Virtual DOM (its own copy of Document Object Model) – it uses this virtual tree transfers any changes to the real DOM and updates the subcomponents.
Finally, you don’t need to worry about your apps going down. React is well supported, constantly developed and there’s no chance it will die in the near future.
Which big companies use the React library?
Facebook – creators of React. The library is implemented in Facebook’s frontend and allows for real-time notifications about posts, messages or comments.
Instagram – Acquired by Facebook in 2012, straight away got a web app built in React. The purpose is basically the same as with Facebook – real-time display of new updates (e.g. photos on maps) or hashtag counters.
Netflix – streaming powerhouse introduced React in 2014 in order to speed up loading, improve performance, scalability, and UX when the application started to boom and userbase grow rapidly.
Disney+ – a brand new streaming service from Mickey Mouse is written in Redux to control the app’s state and store downloaded information about TV series and films.
WhatsApp Web – web version of a popular messenger has been created after the acquisition by Facebook. React helped with displaying messages in real-time.
Atlassian – if you worked in a bigger company, you probably used tools like Jira or Confluence. In most Atlassian products you will find React because of its reusability advantage. And Atlassian needs that desperately since they develop web, desktop and mobile versions of their tools.
Yahoo! Mail – Yahoo! Introduced React in 2015 mostly because of Virtual DOM, easy testing and debugging, independent components and constantly growing to React community.
Of course, the list is not complete. There are many more companies that at some point used/use React in their web applications, such as American Express, BBC, Dailymotion, Dropbox, The Economist, HBO, IMDb, Imgur, Lyft, New York Times, OKCupid, PayPal, Reddit, Uber, Variety.