What is React and what are the benefits?

Jason Treloar
April 27, 2022
Choosing the right development platform has always been a conundrum. Anyone making those decisions is faced with an array of possibilities and each comes with advantages and disadvantages. Rarely though, has there been a platform for developing user interfaces that has gripped the development community quite like React.

Firstly though, what is React? Quite simply, and without going into too much tech talk, it is a framework for developers to build web and app interfaces.

Why use React?

As a digital design and development agency, we need to distinguish the difference between the benefits for us internally to that of any of our clients. Where the development team is concerned, it is easy to learn, thanks to its intuitive nature. This means that front-end developers can pick it up quickly. Development time is also sped up because of the fact that it allows developers to reuse components, thereby creating time efficiencies. This is clearly beneficial to our clients since time is money, so any savings made in development time are represented in financial terms.

Facebook essentially created the React framework and whatever your stance on Facebook as an organisation, they have done a phenomenal job in making it easy for developers to create highly interactive interfaces. Since our early adoption of React, we have been able to develop even more engaging websites than ever before. We have recently been nominated for best website design at the DADI Awards and being able to use React has played its part in delivering standout design.

Not only can websites and apps look and feel better from a user engagement perspective but they perform better. Page load speeds are vital to ensuring our clients’ users, customers or fans don’t have to hang around waiting for pages to download. Page performance is a vital metric for any of our clients’ businesses.

There is also the opinion that it is SEO friendly. The more discoverable our clients are, the better!

And if you need more convincing, then take a look at this:

React is used for the front-end of many of the world’s most well-known brands, including Airbnb, Netflix, BBC, Instagram and Dropbox to name a few. So when brands like that make use of technology like this, it is worth sitting up and taking notice.

Stack Overflow is the largest, most trusted online community for developers and is well known for its surveys of technology. In its annual survey of frameworks, libraries and tools, React (and Node.js which we also employ at Clock) are both highly loved and well regarded by the technology community as the graphs below highlight. Source: StackOverflow 2018 Surveys.

Stack Overflow Survey 2019 i

We’ve used React to build component libraries for many of our clients over the last few years and it has brought great consistency and promotes huge reuse. Once a well put together palette of components is assembled, it makes it much easier to ensure the interfaces that we build for our clients are consistent, with greater separation of concerns meaning we can build once and use many times. The other benefit of React is that the ecosystem and community are massive so common tasks, question and answers, tutorials and components are being both shared freely and paid-for. This makes building, debugging, and skilling-up easier than ever, especially compared to using esoteric or in-house libraries.

Get in touch to find out how we could create amazing interfaces to help you with your strategic goals.