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Top React Libraries for Developers to Check Out in 2019

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Top React Libraries for Developers to Check Out in 2019

We look into some of the best libraries that can be used alongside React for UI and front-end web application development.

· Web Dev Zone ·
Free Resource

Whether you are a single developer or a project manager, the first and the foremost thing you want is to keep up with the latest trends in the market and have a clear idea about the newest core technologies. Now, this does not come as a surprise as a core characteristic of a developer is to keep up with changing technologies. If we look at the things from the perspective of an entrepreneur, things are not much different. They want to opt for the best technology solution for their business to progress and grow.

So, from every perspective, if you are thinking about JavaScript, then it has to be React. React is an open source JavaScript library which is used to build amazing interfaces for mobile and web applications. This JavaScript library comes with standalone code in bits, which are called components, and it has the ability to combine with other JavaScript frameworks and libraries out there easily. Now, these components have managed to take up the limelight.

There are several JavaScript libraries available in the market and developers can find different options to choose from. Still, what makes React.js so popular? It is because of the large number of tools, components, and libraries that it offers which makes development an effortless job for the folks.

Benefits of Using React.js

Front-end development has been undergoing constant changes in order to continuously come up with appealing and intuitive UIs which are capable of attracting users and urging them to take some actions. This is where JavaScript libraries come into the picture.

Do you know that more than 32,000 websites are developed using React.js? Now this includes many top brands like Netflix, PayPal, Apple, etc. React.js was developed by engineers at Facebook and is maintained today by their developer community. It is one of the top JavaScript libraries used to build web and mobile app UIs.

There are definitely several benefits of choosing React for your project, such as:

  • It helps ease the process of component writing.

  • It boosts productivity and helps with further project maintenance.

  • It helps with faster rendering.

  • It guarantees stable coding.

  • It is SEO friendly.

  • It offers a developer toolset.

  • React Native can be used to build mobile apps.

  • It comes with a smaller learning curve.

  • It has support from an active and large community.

Top React.js Libraries

Redux

This is a state management solution which is used for JavaScript applications. You can easily use it with React, but it also works equally well with other frameworks that are similar to React. You can easily connect each and every component with the entire state using Redux, which reduces the need for callbacks or props.

Redux has more than 47,956 stars on GitHub and has 3,308219 weekly downloads.

Some of the FAQs that often pop up regarding Redux are:

When should I use Redux?

It would be best if you chose to use Redux for your project when you have a good amount of data coming from a single source. Again, there is no need to keep everything above React's component state.

Can Redux only work with React?

You can use Redux to store data for the UI layer. Redux is commonly used with React and React Native, but it can be used with Angular, Angular 2, Mithril, Vue, and others. You can use Redux along with any other code as it offers a subscription mechanism. You can use Redux along with declarative view implementation which implement the UI updates that come from any state changes.

Do I need any specific build tool to use Redux?

Redux was written in ES6 and then transpiled to ES5 for production with Babel and Webpack. So regardless of your JavaScript build process, you should be able to use it. Again, if you wish to use it without any build process, you can go for UMD build that Redux offers you.

In terms of performance and architecture, how well does Redux “scale”?

Even though there is no single right answer to this question, this should not come as a concern for you.  Some of the tasks performed by Redux are processing actions in reducers and middleware, once the actions are dispatched notifying subscribers and updating UI components based on the state changes. In case of complex situations it can seem to be a performance problem, but when it comes to Redux implementation, there is nothing relatively slow.

When compared with other libraries, Redux may not be that efficient. When used with a React application, you can expect maximum rendering performance, as more number of individual components should be connected to the store, the state should have a normalized shape when stored, and the list components that are connected should pass item IDs to the list items of the connected child. This decreases the amount of rendering which has to be done. You can use Redux for different kinds of projects that are of varying team sizes and project sizes. 

Why should I use React-Redux?

Redux is an independent library which is used with any framework or UI layer which includes Vue, React, Ember, Angular, and Vanilla JS. Even though we use React and Redux together most of the time, they are separate and independent on their own.

Whenever you are using Redux with any UI framework, you should make use of the UI binding library to keep it together with the framework instead of using UI code to interact with the store directly.

React-Redux is a UI binding library which is officially used for Redux. Again, if you are using React and Redux together, you should use this library for binding.

Writing Redux store subscription logic on your own can seem like a repetitive task and you will also require complicated logic to optimize the UI's performance.  

The process of checking for any kind of data updates, subscribing to the store and triggering re-render can be turned out to be more reusable and generic. When you use React-Redux like UI binding library, you will not have to write your own codes as it handles store interaction logic.

This clearly means that by using this UI binding library you will be able to have better React architecture as well go ahead with complex performance optimizations. Moreover, it goes under constant updates regarding the API changes that happen to React and Redux.

Are there any larger, “real” Redux projects?

Yes, there many projects to name and some of them have been listed here:

  • Firefox’s new debugger

  • Twitter’s mobile site

  • The HyperTerm terminal application

  • WordPress’s new admin page

You can easily find more just by visiting the Add-ons Catalog of Redux. You will find there a list of examples and applications that are Redux-based which points towards a number of small and large actual applications. 

MaterialUI

Material UI is a set of components that comes from Google. By using this, you will be able to implement Material Design. When we compare the different React libraries, this is the most famous one. It is now in the market for a good number of years and goes under constant updates which have ensured it remains the most popular one in the market. Material UI is user-friendly, light, simple, and eye-catching.

MaterialUI enjoys more than 45,894 stars on GitHub and has 1,169,843 weekly downloads.

Material UI is an open source project that comes with MIT license. It is an independent project and it enjoys the support of developers who are responsible for its continuous development.

Usage

Here is a live demo which can help you get started

import React from 'react';

import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';

import Button from '@material-ui/core/Button';

 function App() {

  return (

    <Button variant="contained" color="primary">

      Hello World

    </Button>

  );

}

 ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.querySelector('#app'));

Supported Platforms

Material UI offers support to all the major platforms and browsers. For server rendering, Material UI supports the latest releases of Node.js. It also offers a prefixer plugin for the postprocessing of CSS features for the clients.

Redux Form

Redux Form is a set of action creators and reducers which can be used to implement complex forms in a customized manner with ease. The tool was basically developed to work with Redux, as the name suggests. When compared to other such tools in the market, you can say that it is relatively well-performing and simple to use. Again as forms and components are self-written, you will not lose flexibility with this library.

ReduxForm enjoys more than 11,415 stars on  GitHub and has 3,83,352 weekly downloads.

As Redux Form uses React's component state, it is a great option to choose. It keeps track of all common application form states such as:

  • If the field values are valid.

  • The fields that are in the form.

  • The values of each field.

  • If the form is being submitted.

  • The focused field.

  • Is it happening during asynchronous validation.

  • The fields that the user have interacted with.

Gatsby

This is something better than the traditional libraries you will find. Compared to any other web technology, you will be able to generate a website with GraphQL and React.js faster using Gatsby. In order to come up with a high-quality solution, most websites make use of static generators. Gatsby focuses on offering seamless maintenance and support to websites in order to extend its functionality. By making use of special plugins, it becomes possible for websites using Gatsby to load data easily from any resources. Without any manual modifications, websites will load automatically by speeding up lazy-loading, image optimization. and styling. One of the amazing things about Gatsby is that you can have your website running without server requirements.

Gatsby has more than 33,628 stars on GitHub and has 335,336 weekly downloads.

Why Gatsby? Why Choose it?

  • Gatsby has a loyal community and a strong following.

  • You can use Gatsby to reach \ all the information available on the internet which includes APIs and GraphQL.

  • Comes with a Gatsby-image plugin to preload images when resizing them and delivers them in an appropriate size.

  • The data splitting and out-of-the-box code of Gatsby pre-fetches data for the areas where you are not looking for and readily shows the information when users come there.

Enzyme

The JavaScript library, which is used to test React components is a development product from the engineering team at Airbnb and was open sourced in 2015. The tool is intuitive and is capable of influencing the output of React components by asserting, traversing, and manipulating it.  

Enzyme has more than 16,901 stars on GitHub and has 1,567,267 weekly downloads.

Enzyme is used for:

  • Shallow rendering.

  • Full DOM rendering.

  • Statically rendered markup.

Styled Components

If you want to organize your React project then you can make use of this CSS tool. By making use of this tool, it becomes possible to build reusable and small components which will be capable of influencing the look of your app. When you are using other CSS tools, chances are  that you may overwrite the selectors which are present on other areas of the site. But when you are using Styles Components for your project, you will be able to use the CSS syntax directly within the components which will avoid this issue completely.

Styled Components has more than 23,121 stars on GitHub and has 859,701 weekly downloads.

Why Choose Styled Components?

There are a few reasons to choose Styled Components for your CSS in JS needs and they are:

  • It has a large and thriving community - When it comes to using Styled Components, you get to enjoy the support of a large community. They are keen to offer feedback and suggestions to the developers who are working on Styled Components.

  • Template literal syntax - By following the template literal syntax, it becomes easy for the developers to get into it and start writing styles immediately.

  • Sass Support and Polished - The Sass support comes with the library. This way code can be written naturally and with fewer lines. In order to offer additional Sass functionality, Styled Components come with a small toolset called Polished. 

  • Native mobile support - If you are planning to develop a native mobile app using React Native, then you should consider Styled Components for a consistent UI for mobile.

React DnD

If you are focusing on developing complex drag and drop interfaces, you should consider using this library. No doubt you can find a number of libraries which offer drag and drop capabilities in the market, but, React DnD makes use of the HTML5 drag and drop API, making it different from others. The only issue with this library is that it does not offer support to touchscreens. 

React DnD has more than 10,855 stars on GitHub and has 320,945 weekly downloads.

Features of React DnD

  • It works with your components - React DnD wraps your components and injects them with props instead of offering readymade widgets. In you have already used Flummox or React Router, you will be aware of this.

  • It embraces unidirectional data flow - React DnD does not mutate the DOM and it even accepts the declarative rendering paradigms of React. It is a great complement to Redux and others libraries which use unidirectional flow.

  • It hides platform quirks - HTML5 comes browser inconsistencies and API issues and React DnD takes care of them for you internally. This means that instead of wasting your time and effort to resolve browser bugs, you can concentrate on app development.

  • It is extensible and testable - React DnD makes use of the HTML5 drag and drop feature but it also lets you have a custom backend. You can come up with such a custom DnD backend for mouse events, touch events, or even for something else.

Mobx

While other libraries were focused on stopping developers from making any changes to state, Mobx focused on ensuring that everything can be extracted automatically and efficiently. 

Mobx has more than 19,042 stars on GitHub and has 252,322 weekly downloads.

Some best practices/rules to follow when using Mobx with React are:

  • The stores represent the application’s UI state.

  • Separate your rest calls from the stores and place them in separate classes.

  • Place business logic in stores and not in components as you cannot reuse it.

  • Don’t build global store instances as you will not be able to write reliable and reasonable tests for the components.

  • The only store can change its properties.

  • Use @computed if you want to disable the admin mode for any user.

  • With @observer, always annotate each component as it will ensure the components get updated with store prop changes.

  • You may not need to React router.

  • Choose controlled components over uncontrolled ones.

React Intl

Different languages come with their own set of rules and conventions. Now, when you are trying to build a project for the international market, it is not easy to adapt to those differences with ease and this is where you will need React Intl. It comes with an API and ready-to-go components to format dates, strings, numbers, and to take care of pluralization.

React-Intl has more than 9,607 stars on GitHub and has 373,906 weekly downloads.

Different Components Provided by React Intl Are:

  • <FormattedDate>: It is used to render the formatted date.

  • <FormattedTime>: It is used to render the formatted time.

  • <FormattedRelative>: It is used to render the formatted relative and update it in every 10 seconds.

  • <FormattedNumber>: It is used to render the formatted number.

  • <FormattedPlural>: It will select a plural category and then render the corresponding React element.

  • <FormattedMessage>: It is used for the rich-text formatting features it offers.

  • <FormattedHTMLMessage>: It is used for apps which contains HTML-based legacy external strings.

Ant Design

Ant Design is a React library which you can use to design amazing apps. Some even believe that it is a design programming language. For the designers, it has just taken the development experience to a new level. It helps them with a number of things like resources, out-of-the-box components, and tools for process optimization. Compared to other React libraries, it is easy to understand and is written in TypeScript. A better development experience will lead to a better user experience. The library was famous for this fact and was used mostly by Chinese developers in the beginning. Later it was translated to English and was used by developers across the globe. 

Ant Design has more than 44,935 stars on GitHub and has 6,341 weekly downloads.

What This Library Brings to Modern Web Development

  • Design principles: You will find guiding principles in the documentation section of Ant Design. It will offer you considerations on UI/UX designs.

  • Grid System: The Ant layout comes with 24 grids and a Layout Component which is separate to use. The grid follows the system of Row/Col, but you can also make use of flex – a prop to bring in responsive UI to the design.

  • Grid Props: The Col elements can be used to define how many grids a column will have while Row will use gutter to define the space between columns present in a row. 

  • Forms: Here you will find a good number of options in terms of forms like vertical forms, horizontal forms, inline forms, select boxes, and validation messages with icons. 

Storybook

Do you remember the amazing experience you had when the Meteor framework was launched or when Firebase was used to improve the experience? You will be able to enjoy the same with your front-end development when you use Storybook. It is a complete environment for external UI development and can be used to develop components within a few minutes. It offers easy installation and can be used outside the work environment. You can easily use this tool using NPM commands for installation like some other libraries. 

Storybook has more than 36,266 stars on GitHub and has 1,153,859 weekly downloads.

Storybook 4.0 Features

  • Support for new view layers MarkoJS, HTML, Ember, Riot, Mithril, Svelte.

  • It offers faster development with Webpack 4 and Babel 7.

  • Excellent support for React Native.

  • Theming to design Storybook your way.

  • Easier web app development.

  • New parameter APIs to configure new stories.

React Virtualized

You can improve the efficiency of tabular data and large list rendering using the React Virtualized library. By using it, you can restrict the number of DOM elements and requests and thereby improve the complete performance of React apps. You can easily find other tools that are just like React Virtualized, but what makes it better from others are the functionalities that it offers and the maintenance you get to enjoy.

React Virtualized enjoys more than 15,112 stars on GitHub and has 373,906 weekly downloads.

ElementalUI

ElementalUI is a tool which is used for design. This library is almost the same as Material UI and is quite light. You can add this library to your project by making use of tools like Webpack and Browserify. It is quite accessible, and you can find them available for desktop and mobile browsers which includes Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and even on Internet Explorer. 

ElementalUI enjoys more than 4,227 stars on GitHub and has 115,615 weekly downloads.

Conclusion

Each of these React.js libraries is unique in terms of features and functionality. They are capable of resolving some issues you may face with React.js development. Some of the areas that it covers are user experience upgrade, static websites improvements, beautiful interface design and testing. The best thing about these libraries is that you can start working on them easily and gain new experiences in no time.

Topics:
web dev ,react.js ,react ,redux

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