A Guide to Creating Your First React App
You already have several skills to needed to build a React app
Assuming that you know CSS and JS, you already have many of the skills that you need to understand a React app guide and start building your first app. If you feel confused at first, keep at it for a few days. Also, take time to read Thinking in React. Many developers say that it helps that the five-step tutorial helps immensely.
Some prerequisites to getting started
- Create React App (it isn’t the only coding environment available, but it’s probably the best)
You might not need a toolchain for your first React project. However, you might want to check out options like:
All of these development tool kits will come in handy. You don’t have to use them, but you should. They will make your life a lot easier.
Despite the similarities between React and JS, you will have to overcome some hurdles before you can use React proficiently. Some of the differences that stand out the most include:
- How the app manages user data—When JS, data submitted by the user gets stored in a document object model (DOM) that the browser handles. For example, when you enter your name in a text field, the information goes to the DOM before transferring it to a server. React stores user data as variables. From the user’s perspective, nothing changes much. On the backend, data becomes much easier to manage.
Practice using React to build apps
You can gain more experience by:
- Making a Tic-Tac-Toe game using React syntax.
- Experimenting in sandboxes like CodePen, CodeSandbox, and Stackblitz.
- Creating a UXPin Merge Library for React.js components.
- Taking the Codecademy course (courses cost money, but many public library systems have memberships that give their patrons free access)
Why bother learning React when you already know JS?
You should learn React because it:
- Offers reuseable components that will save you time in the long run.
- Avoids the pitfalls of DOM.
- Has a robust community of developers who freely contribute tools and advice.
- Is rapidly becoming the industry standard.
Learning to build with React also gives you access to numerous design patterns. Some recommended patterns that you should learn from the beginning include:
- Stateless components
- Conditional rendering
- Render props
- Controlled components
- React hooks
You can gain a more in-depth understanding of React design patterns by reading The Best React Design Patterns You Should Know About.
Create and test your React app prototypes in UXPin
UXPin makes it easy for you to create and test React app prototypes. Check out Authoring and Managing JSX Presets to see how easy it is to test your code in UXPin. You just have to drop your components into the UXPin Editor canvas to determine whether they work as intended.
With UXPin Merge you can go even one step further and build whole designs using React as it lets you import and keep in sync coded React.js components from Git repositories to the UXPin Editor. In short: whatever you can code in React, you can show in your prototype. Also, if you work closely with a design department, it’s extremely beneficial as the handoff process is shortened and friction in the communication process is gone.
No matter how much app development experience you have, UXPin can help. Use the cloud-based tool’s collaboration feature to share your ideas with others. They can view your projects and leave feedback without creating their own UXPin accounts. As long as you give them the right link, they will have access to your prototypes.
You can also use UXPin to explore ideas before committing anything to code. Built-in libraries give you quick, easy ways to test features. If you like the way they work, you can build your own versions with tweaks that suit your product.
Start your free trial with UXPin
Not sure whether UXPin has the features that you need to create React app prototypes? Start your 14-day free trial to see UXPin in action. If you don’t want to continue using UXPin, your trial membership will expire. You don’t have to provide your credit card number, so you never get charged for services you don’t want. If you enjoy the benefits that developers at companies like HBO and PayPal like, choose a membership option that will help you make better React apps more efficiently.
If you’re ready to go one step further and design with live code – with components that aren’t just flat symbols but are already production-ready and interactive, request access to UXPin Merge.