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React Best Practices for Scalable Web Application Development

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DhiWise

September 12, 2022
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DhiWise

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September 12, 2022
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Want to make your web application scalable, and better organized? 

This article is all about the React best practices which we should follow to build a better web application. Because good code is not only that works according to your business logic it is something that is:

  1. Easy to understand
  2. Consumes less bandwidth
  3. Can be easily optimized
  4. Easy to maintain and test
  5. Well documented

Let’s understand in detail React.js and the best practices for React web application development.

Overview of React.js

React.js is a  popular JavaScript library for building user interfaces. According to Stack Overflow developer’s survey, 2022 React.js is the most wanted technology among the developers. 

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Popular organizations including Meta Inc, Instagram, Netflix, Walmart, and Airbnb have built their web app frontend using  React.js.

 

Building an app with React.js has the following benefits. 

  1. Speed up application development with the virtual DOM
  2. Facilitates seamless code crafting with JSX- JavaScript XML Syntax
  3. Reusable UI components
  4. Better learning curve
  5. SEO friendly- Make your site lead first in the Google organic searches
  6. Lets you add new components to web applications and support scalable app development
  7. Simplify testing, code refactoring, and maintenance
  8. A large community of developers, better documentation, and accessible resources

React best practices for scalable web applications development

Every application keeps on growing as we add new features, integrations, and functionalities to the app. In the React.js app, you can customize the existing component or add a new component while upgrading app features.  

However, if you don’t pay attention to app source code all from the beginning, you might end up with lots of spaghetti code that is difficult to manage and scale. 

So, here is how you can avoid issues in code maintenance, scalability, and organization by following the best React web development practices.

1. File organization is important

Though create-react-app is the one possible way of organizing your app files, as the app started growing it became difficult to manage the source code. When there are product changes it requires a lot of work like renaming files and organizing things to keep everything in harmony with the new version. 

So what can you do?

  1. Add an asset folder to keep your style sheet, images, and font files.
  2. Create a helper folder for functionalities.
  3. Create a layout folder that contains layouts available for the whole project such as header, footer, etc.
  4. To organize routes, create a route folder.
  5. Component folder, to keep a collection of UI components like button, model, loader, inputs, etc.
  6. The middleware folder contains middleware that allows side effects in the application.
  7. Create a config folder to store environment variables.
  8. Add a services folder in your project if you use redux. 
  9. Create a utils folder to store repeatedly used functions like a dropdown option, regex condition, data formatting, etc.

Overall, your folder structure will look something like this.

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2. Create a custom component library

Even if you are using a UI library like Material UI, you still need customization on props, logic, and styles. A custom component library lets you reuse them across pages and even inside the other projects. 

Other benefits of the custom component library:

  1. Makes your web application accessible by providing a basic level of accessibility to your components. 
  2. It is a huge time saver. Having a repository of ready-to-use components means less development time and communication overhead.
  3. It is useful for documenting react components. 

3. Use state management tools

Use state management tools, whether it is Redux or MobX. Even if your project is small you still need to manage things like authentication, and alerts that need to be managed globally. It is helpful when you want to sync up states for several components and want to use props and callback functions.

Moreover, state management works like a controller between the UI and the database. The state and actions in the layer can be used across many components.

Tracking the waiting status for the asynchronous calls on conditional component rendering can save you from unnecessary errors.

4. Avoid using props in the initial state

The constructor is called only once when the component is created. So whenever you make the changes to the props the component state will remain the same and won’t be updated. Therefore using props in the initial state is a bad practice.

You can fix this issue using React lifecycle method componentDidUpdate. The method allows you to update components when the prop changes. However, the method can’t be invoked on the initial render so make sure to initialize the component state with the necessary values. Not only that, use methods to update those values.

5. Write smaller components

React.js works on reusable components. So try to keep your React UI components smaller, they are easy to read, reuse and maintain. One component in React should be responsible for only one functionality (single responsibility principle). 

In this case, your component seems to be getting more extensive than expected. Try to split it into small components through code refactoring. 

6. Always define types

Defining the type of variable not only improves the readability of the code but also helps you to minimize unnecessary errors like undefined types and null. As JavaScript is a dynamically typed language, it's better to define your type to avoid any issues when your project scales. 

7. Handle style with grace

In the project, you need to handle both unified styles and individual styles. If you have your app design ready, try to define styles in the global theme. You can also use theme providers to easily customize palettes. 

For styling React components, first, include them in the custom component library. And if the style is specific to a particular component, include them in the style file under that component.

Bottom line:

In the article, we have discussed React.js best practices for building scalable applications. Following these practices will help you to overcome common issues that may arrive in web application development. 

React.js is the most loved JavaScript library instrumental in rapidly building beautiful web apps. React developers can benefit from its reusable components if they are well separated and kept organized. 

Want to make your web development more efficient, reliable and highly scalable? Then try using DhiWise React web app builder- A developer's tool for building web apps faster.

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