A Guide to Creating Your First React App

A Guide to Creating Your First React App 1

Facebook started using an early version of React in the early 2010s. App developers didn’t get a stable release until 2020, though. As a result, some developers have a lot of experience using the open-source JavaScript library while others could benefit from a React app guide that addresses basic and advanced uses.

Luckily, most developers can create their first React apps rather quickly because they already have experience using JavaScript.

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

If you have experience with JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, you’re already very close to using React. Before you can build anything with React, though, you need to install:

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.

Know the differences between React and JavaScript

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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 you build a UI—In JavaScript, you create the interface in your HTML document, which reaches out to a server for your code. With React, you define the UI in the browser. At first, it feels unnatural to add such a short bit of HTML. Realistically, though, you get the same result. The difference is that React works within the browser, and JS needs help from a server.
  • How you divide functionally across apps—The ways developers use JavaScript have gotten so complex that JS code often looks unbearably complex. As a result, you end up keeping a lot of files open while working on the same app. React makes projects more manageable by splitting features into components. Each component holds all of the code that it needs to perform. As a result, you get code that looks more like a short list than a cluttered library.
  • 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

No matter how many apps you have built with JavaScript, you will need more than a React app guide to start making applications in React. W3Schools has a primer that will teach you how to build a simple application.

You can gain more experience by:

Why bother learning React when you already know JS?

If you’re a beginning developer who enjoys using JavaScript to build apps, you may wonder why other people in your field get excited about React. You will discover the reason once you reach a point in your career where you need to build applications that perform complex functions. At some point, JavaScript becomes a huge pain because it doesn’t cater to the needs of today’s app developers.

You should learn React because it:

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  • 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.

test react app in UXPin

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.

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