What is React? And Why do Nearshore Developers Prefer it?

Written by Santiago Castro
Technology
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React, or more formally, ReactJS is a Javascript library or framework. It helps web designers manage the multiple components of a webpage which drive User Interface. React allows you to build and reuse these components with Javascript in a way that also holds HTML and therefore can react (get it?) dynamically to user actions and choices, driving a user experience which is fluid, interactive, and data-driven. Because of this built-in dynamism, UI can be updated with React in real time, without having to do any server-side work. This reduces developer workload and is a great asset for remote and nearshore developer teams working in dispersed locations.

All in all, React is best used as a library for creating user interfaces, a simple alternative to Angular, and a great addition to any coding repertoire.

What React Does

React was developed by a Facebook engineer named Jordan Walke and found its first implementation via the Facebook newsfeed in 2011, and later on Instagram in 2012. The reason Walke and the Facebook team developed React was to increase the capability of developers to drive large web-based applications in a way where data can be modulated without having to reload the page. So when you scan down on your phone, what you see can change fluidly, and endlessly, without having to refresh your browser.

For this reason, React helps nearshore developers create fast, clean, and simple one-page web applications, where the user interface is the primary focal point. It can be used with other Javascript frameworks (like Angular) or in place of them.

How React Differs

Part of what sets React apart from frameworks like Angular, however, is that it was built to be easier to use, and more flexible, and it remains so today. It uses plain Javascript, and a special custom syntax called JSX which allows nearshore developers to mix HTML with Javascript fluidly and with ease--while still being able to write in plain Javascript if that’s what they prefer.

Unlike Angular and Ember (another Javascript framework), React is not a “domain specific language.” Which means, in short, it’s simpler to learn. Really all you need to understand in order to effectively begin to use React is a basic level of CSS and HTML. This is great for nearshore developers who are brought on to help in-house teams create and iterate on existing web applications.

Reuse, Recycle, React

A React feature which makes it ideal for nearshore developers, is that React applications save time and money through the principle of reusability. Using React Native, developers can build applications from scratch, which requires, as you would imagine, quite a bit of writing of original code.

However, because React is built on the principle of reusability, this code can easily be reused to run the same application on iOS, Android, and for the web. This means your nearshore team can fuel in-house development while your in-house team works on an entirely different project, all without losing precious time or money.

Do one thing, and do it well

Finally, when weighing the pros and cons of React, it’s important to remember something that sets it apart from a lot of other languages and frameworks: it does only one thing, and it does it well. Because Javascript can be run on almost any webpage anywhere, it’s important to work with it and to recognize its power for building dynamic web pages.

But it can also be overwhelming to decide which way and which approach to use. With React it’s simple: all it does is focus on the viewer experience: rending your user interface. That’s all. It can fit in with many other frameworks, flexibly and effectively. But on its own it only does one thing, and it does that one thing well.

In today’s world, and especially when working with dispersed teams of nearshore and in-house programmers, that specificity of focus, and promise of excellence, is important and can really come in handy for making your development experience much more effective over the long haul.

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Written by Santiago Castro
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With over +16 years of experience in the technology and software industry and +12 of those years at Jobsity, Santi has performed a variety of roles including UX/UI web designer, senior front-end developer, technical project manager, and account manager. Wearing all of these hats has provided him with a wide range of expertise and the ability to manage teams, create solutions, and understand industry needs. At present, he runs the Operations Department at Jobsity, creating a high-level strategy for the company's success and leading a team of more than 400 professionals in their work on major projects.