React and E-commerce

Thank you to Andrew Bamidele for this article!

Recently, most e-commerce sites have opted to use the react library in order to navigate the front-end, despite the existence of several other technologies available for use. This got me thinking as to why the react framework was chosen. In my journey into the world of software development one of the questions on my mind was the front-end framework with which to get started with having learned the foundations of HTML, CSS and Javascript I needed something that was widely used and found several there was Angular, Vue, Backbone and several others to choose from. I have tried to desist from the notion in this article that one framework is more important than the other which would be an outrageous claim.

A very important reason why react is so involved in e-commerce is the provision of stability, react was developed by Facebook and this has helped to provide a solid foundation upon which it currently thrives. One thing people consider in selecting a framework is its ability to evolve with times and React offers that potential since its developers are engineers at Facebook it is guaranteed to be maintained and regularly updated to meet a developer’s need as web technology evolves in the nearest future at least. Not limited to only its developers, it has an extremely wide community. Most often than not problems encountered could be raised and solved within minutes of raising the issue often the Reactiflux helps a great deal.

One thing enjoyed by most react users is the ability to manage state easily and without intricacies that might be encountered with other frameworks, this feature is particularly advantageous to web e-commerce sites since they can easily track changes made by each user and stores this change in an array-like object. This makes it useful to manage information and reduces the length of code the developer would have had to write to store that information. The best part though is the fact that manipulating the state in react is also quite easy. For instance, a customer selects several items to add to a cart, let's say the customer wants to purchase phones a Samsung and a nexus. Each item can be assigned a key and when the customer clicks the add button, react basically just gets the current state and stores that information for the user. Assuming the user then decides he only needs one of these products for some reason he decides Samsung is the go-to choice what simply happens is that that item is removed from the state and as simple as that the change reflects. Having this is a huge advantage to e-commerce site since it all comes as part of the react package.

The reusability of React components is also a great asset for most sites using React. A component once created can be added several times over and over to different parts of the site without having to repeat code. Since e-commerce sites require regular maintenance this serves as a huge asset. In large firms, the person that starts writing code doesn't necessarily have to be available to finish it up. Having a maintainable code base helps continuity in development and reacts reusable components serve as huge assets on that front.

Irrespective of the varying opinions to the virtual DOM. A virtual DOM is used by the react library, this accounts for the state changes discussed earlier two virtual DOMs are in existence at each point in time

The present state and the previous state. The benefits provided by these are improved performance, efficiency and memory conservation, With the later serving as a huge asset. When dealing with javascript one of the things I encountered in starting up, was the presence of several unnecessary properties when inspecting from the console. React helps to provide mostly what is needed an has been said to save space as a result.

In my little time as a software developer, I have heard different perspectives as to why react is a library and not a framework. I like to consider it as a balance between the two since it successfully balances features of both effectively. This is another reason why react stands out. It is dynamic in operation thus is not tied to just one aspect of the front-end. It has been known to integrate well with several other frameworks both on the server side and client side. It is thus easy to write a react application around other frameworks rather than choosing the front-end framework and then building your application around it. Moreover, with the presence of create-react-app it has become increasingly straightforward in its setup. I could go on about how React has influenced e-commerce and how using react native saves cost in hiring developers to build a separate mobile application, it's cross platform capacities and so much more. Needless to say, React’s dominion on e-commerce sites isn't going to end this year.

The contributors to JavaScript January are passionate engineers, designers and teachers. Emily Freeman is a developer advocate at Kickbox and curates the articles for JavaScript January.