Technology

What are the best React components in 2021?

Marlena Walburg

Needless to say, React is now a very powerful technology, appreciated and loved in the IT world. Companies from virtually every industry, startups, and corporations willingly pick React for their projects. This JavaScript-based frontend library is the heart of many mobile and single-page applications. Besides, continued support from Facebook ensures React is up to date and will continue to be for a long time to come, giving a feeling of security and confidence in the technology. Moreover, using React brings a lot of benefits to numerous kinds of projects.

Today we will focus on the technical side of this library. You may know that code written in React is composed of independent components. These elements work like JavaScript functions except that they run in isolation and return HTML via the rendering function. To facilitate programming and speed up the development process, there are many React component kits available for developers’ use. It is, of course, determined by the ever-growing community gathered around the framework. Let’s take a closer look at this subject.

What’s a React component?

Components are independent and reusable code bits. They serve the same purpose as JavaScript functions, but operate in isolation and return HTML via the render() function. React allows you to define components as classes or functions. For a component to be defined as a class, it must inherit from React.Component. In turn, the only method that must be defined in a class that inherits from React.Component is render(). Each component has several “lifecycle methods” that you can override to run your code at specific times in your program. The three phases of the lifecycle are Mounting, Updating, and Unmounting.

The mounting phase is about putting elements into the DOM. React has four built-in methods that get called when mounting a component, in this exact order:

constructor()

getDerivedStateFromProps()

render()

componentDidMount()

The render() method is required and will always be called. The rest of the methods are optional and will be called if you define them.

Updating stage is when a component is updated. It happens whenever there is a change in the component’s state or props. As in the previous stage, React has its built-in methods that get called when a component is updated:

getDerivedStateFromProps()

shouldComponentUpdate()

render()

getSnapshotBeforeUpdate()

componentDidUpdate()

Same as before, the render() method is required and will always be called, and the others are voluntary.

Unmounting is the next phase in the lifecycle when a component is removed from the DOM. React has only one method that gets called  at this stage:

componentWillUnmount().

The entire described lifecycle is shown in the diagram below.

What are the different types of components in React?

In React, we can distinguish 2 main types of components – functional and class. In addition to them, there are also types of components that are not listed in this main division but form a separate group, such as Pure Components.

Functional Components

A functional component is a function that takes props and returns the JSX code to render to the DOM tree. They do not have state or lifecycle methods. These functions may or may not receive data as parameters. Functional components are generally easier to read, debug, and test. They offer decreased coupling, better reusability and performance. Functional components lack several functions compared to class components. To solve it, there is a special ReactJS concept called “hooks”. Hooks are special functions that allow ReactJS features to be used in functional components.

Class Components
These components are used with ES6 class syntax. They are more complex than functional components, including constructors, life-cycle methods, render() function and state management. Class components can accept props (in the constructor) if needed. In React, props and state are two types of “model” data, plain JavaScript objects. They both hold information that controls the output of render. However, props get passed to the component, whereas the state is managed within the component.

Pure Components

In React, you can also find the concept of pure components. Based on the idea of purity in functional programming paradigms, a function is said to be pure if its return value is determined only by its input values and is always the same. So, a React component is considered pure if it renders the same output for the same state and props. For such class components, React provides the base class PureComponent. Class components that extend the React.PureComponent class are treated as pure components. They have some performance and rendering optimization improvements due to the implementation of shouldComponentUpdate() with a shallow props-state comparison.

React Components libraries worth knowing in 2021

To design an engaging, beautiful, and highly interactive user interface, developers do not have to code everything from scratch. React offers several UI component libraries to facilitate the development process and save a lot of time. Here are some libraries that are worth knowing due to their increasing popularity and great features.

React Bootstrap

React Bootstrap is the first example of a UI component library on our list. It is a set that relies entirely on Bootstrap stylesheets and works with thousands of Bootstrap themes. Each component is built to be easily accessible and to behave like a React component, without requiring unneeded dependencies like jQuery. To give you more control over the structure and function of each component, Bootstrap’s JavaScript is replaced with React. Each component is deployed with availability in mind. The result is a set of components available by default, beyond what is possible with regular Bootstrap.

Material UI

Material-UI is the most popular React UI component library, as evidenced by its star rating on GitHub (over 60k in January 2021). It creates a set of React components that use Google’s Material Design. It is user-friendly, simple and updated frequently. Material-UI has many useful components, such as buttons, tabs, dialogue boxes, application bars, icons, menus, sliders and more. It also has themes and templates for React, so you can have a custom colour theme in your app. Material-UI is used by companies like NASA, Capgemini, and J.P. Morgan.

Ant Design for React

Ant Design is an enterprise design system with React UI. It includes high-quality, customizable components and demos for interactive user interfaces. It is written entirely in TypeScript with predictable static types making it easy to understand and understand. Ant Design supports modern browsers, as well as server and electron rendering. It is a very refined and thoughtful set built based on the authors’ original design system. It was created for internal desktop applications and is based on several principles and uniform specifications. It is perfect for applications that provide their users with a native feel.

Rebass

Rebass is a foundational UI component library for creating a set of customizable UI elements, which are based on the Styled System library. It gives the ability for React components to render to the canvas rather than the DOM. Rebass contains eight core components in a very small file, all specially made for responsive web design. If you don’t want to completely rely on component libraries and plan to extend an existing one during development, Rebass is a good choice. It allows you to create a consistent user interface with design constraints and user-defined scales, and built-in flexibility ensures high-speed design and development with a minimal footprint.

Blueprint UI

Blueprint is a React-based UI toolkit for web apps. The React components in Blueprint are primarily intended for use in desktop applications. These components are especially beneficial and optimized for building complex, rich web interfaces for apps running on modern browsers. It is not a UI toolkit designed for mobile devices. It is ideal for systems that require high flexibility and consist of many components. From the component library, you can download numerous pieces of code for interacting with dates and times, selecting time zones, generating and displaying icons, etc.

Semantic UI React

Semantic UI is a jQuery based library that adds extra functionality. It is the official React integration for Semantic UI. It uses user-friendly HTML code as part of its programming structure and is integrated with many platforms, including React and Angular, Meteor, Ember. Allows you to load any Semantic UI CSS theme on top of the Semantic UI React application. It includes a huge list of pre-built components specifically designed for creating semantics friendly code.

Evergreen

Evergreen is another framework for building web products. It includes a suite of React components that are suitable for enterprise-grade web applications and work out of the box. Thanks to the use of React Primitive, it is very flexible. It promotes building systems that anticipate new and changing design requirements. Evergreen is a wide variety of components and tools, from basic layouts, colours and icons to functional components. After installing the Evergreen package, you are free to choose the components you want to import. It is a simple, intuitive framework with decent documentation and all development tools.

Summary

It would be difficult to describe all the React component libraries because as you can easily see, there are many options available. Which one to use depends largely on the agreed functionalities and goals of the individual project. After all, these libraries serve a variety of specific tasks. Your development team will try to choose them as best as possible. Nevertheless, React will undoubtedly be a fantastic technology in many cases and will bring many benefits to both business and future users of your application. If you are still looking for the right team for your React project, at BinarApps, we have specialists who will meet this challenge.

Table of contents

Subscribe for weekly updates


    You may also be interested in...

    Let's bring your project to life

    Request a consultation