Home 9 Software Development 9 React Components and Their Importance

React Components and Their Importance

Remember the joy of playing with building blocks as a child? Well, get ready to experience it again with React components! In this article, we delve into the world of React components and discover how they support you in creating dynamic, highly effective UIs.
Daniel Zacharias

Code Power Team

January 30, 2024

What connects Facebook, Netflix, and Office365? *Aside from billions of dollars in revenue, of course.* 

These companies (and many others!) use the same JavaScript library in their projects: React.

In fact, React has been trending for quite some time now, and it’s for good reasons. The technology provides engineers with valuable features and capabilities that make React solutions extremely effective.

Some of these powerful features are React components. These support component-based architecture, encouraging developers to divide user interfaces into independent, reusable components. As a result, React allows for higher code reusability, productivity, and scalability.

So, it’s no wonder the tech world is buzzing about this JavaScript library! React components have a major influence on the development process and are 100% worth knowing about them.

What are React components?

React components are the “building blocks” of React. They are self-contained, reusable pieces of code that let you work on each of them independently rather than developing the entire UI in a single file. This way, you can develop a number of individual components (such as forms, buttons, menus, etc.) before combining them into the final user interface.

You can think of React components as actual building blocks set. They come in various sizes and colors, and you can combine them to form any structure! 

There are two main types: functional components and class components.

Functional components

Functional components are JavaScript/ES6 functions that take in “props” or properties (instructions on how components should look or behave) as input and return JSX (JavaScript XML) elements. In our analogy with the building blocks set, functional components are like basic building blocks. And there are two ways to create functional components.

You can define them as regular functions:

function WelcomeMessage(props) {

  return <h1>Welcome, {props.name}!</h1>;

}

… or use the arrow function:

const WelcomeMessage = (props) => {

  return <h1>Welcome, {props.name}!</h1>;

}

Class components

Class components were primarily introduced because, in earlier React versions, functional components couldn’t manage state and lifecycle methods or access APIs. However, with the release of React hooks in React 16.8, functional components got the ability to use state and access some previously exclusive class component features.

But, there are still situations in which you need class components. For instance, some projects require older versions of React, and in some cases, you have to use third-party libraries that rely on class components. 

So, you can think of class components as advanced “building blocks” that can handle complex UI interactions, such as directly accessing the lifecycle methods, allowing for greater customization.

Here’s an example of WelcomeMessage as a class component:

class WelcomeMessage extends React.Component {

  render() {

    return <h1>Welcome, {this.props.name}!</h1>;

  }

}

The importance of React components

React components allow for numerous advantages that support easier coding and advanced, high-performing solutions.

Code reusability

React components allow you to use the same code in various aspects and adjust it to fit different needs. This significantly accelerates the development process.

Hierarchical structure

By building react components, you’re essentially constructing a tree-like hierarchical structure. This hierarchy creates parent-child relationships among your components, allowing you to organize and review your UI effortlessly. Furthermore, it enables sharing of data and behavior from “parent” components to their “children”.

Scalability

As mentioned, React components divide the UI into smaller, self-contained units. One of the key advantages of this approach is the ability to develop and change components independently. As a result, it’s much easier to maintain and scale your solutions.

Reactivity

Since React components can manage their state, they can update themselves dynamically in response to user interaction (or any other trigger). And, when components’ states change, React reactively handles the UI updates without requiring a full page reload (thanks to its virtual DOM and reconciliation algorithm). It’s precisely this reactivity that makes this JavaScript library perfect for projects with highly interactive UIs.

Testability

Because of their enclosure, you can test each component in isolation. This streamlines testing processes as you can write and execute specific tests for the functionalities of individual components. 

Flexibility

React components are simple to integrate with various libraries and frameworks. Furthermore, you can quickly extend their functionality with higher-order components (HOCs), render properties, or custom hooks. These techniques promote flexibility and make your code even more reusable by allowing you to add new behaviors to React components and share logic between them.

The art of solid base: building your React knowledge

This brings us to the end of today’s article about React’s “building blocks”! We went over the definition, two primary types, and the importance of React components for your project.

And, as you can now see, everything in React builds on pre-existing elements, highlighting the importance of understanding the basics well. 

So, if you’re an aspiring React developer or simply passionate about expanding your tech knowledge ― understanding these fundamental concepts will lay a solid base for your journey into React!

Get the best of Code Power News in your inbox every week

    You may also like

    Principles and Benefits of Reactive Programming

    Principles and Benefits of Reactive Programming

    Unlike traditional programming, reactive programming revolves around asynchronous data streams. However, code is usually written linearly, one step after another. Reactive programming offers a way for developers to deal with scenarios where events occur unpredictably...

    Get the best of Code Power News in your inbox every week