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React Best Practices for 2023 – A Developer’s Guide for Best Results

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React has maintained its position among the most widely used libraries for developing web application user interfaces, with a significant user base and a thriving community. However, working as a developer of React, simply grasping the library’s mechanics is insufficient for creating scalable, easily managed, and user-friendly projects.

In addition, it is important to comprehend specific conventions that facilitate writing tidy React source code. This improves the quality of service provided to users and simplifies code base maintenance for yourself and others involved in the project.

In this guide, we will discuss some of the primary challenges developers face and then dig deep into some of the React best practices to follow that helps a developer write thecode more efficiently.

What is React JS?

ReactJS (referred to as React) is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It was developed by Facebook and released as an open-source project in 2013. React focuses on efficiently rendering components that make up a user interface.

React allows developers to create complex UIs by breaking them into smaller, reusable components. These components can be combined to form larger, more complex interfaces. React also uses a virtual DOM (Document Object Model), which allows for efficient updates to the UI by only re-rendering the parts of the interface that have changed rather than re-rendering the entire page.

React has gained popularity due to its simplicity, performance, and reusability. Developers widely use React JS to build web, mobile, and desktop applications. Additionally, React has a large community of developers, which has contributed to creating numerous tools and libraries that extend its capabilities.

Challenges Faced by React Developers

Challenges-Faced

This section will review some primary challenges that beginners and sometimes React JS development services face. 

The good news is that these challenges can be overcome by following the React JS best practices during development.

Let us start by addressing these challenges head-on: 

1. Setting Prerequisites

React developers encounter a significant hurdle in comprehending the library’s functioning and prerequisites. 

One must possess certain knowledge to use React JS, including familiarity withJavaScript and HTML since React employs JSX. Additionally, proficiency in basic  CSS or a contemporary CSS framework is necessary for web application design.

Specifically, there are fundamental concepts and functionsin JavaScript that one should be familiar with before delving into React. These concepts, primarily categorized under ES6, comprise:

  • Rest operators
  • Spread operators
  • Arrow functions
  • Promises
  • Template literals 
  • Modules
  • DE-structuring
  • Variables (let and const)
  • Array methods

The topics mentioned above help developers understand how the library works and how it associates with React component best practices. Some of the fresh concepts in React JS include:

  • Hooks
  • Styling
  • Props
  • JSX
  • Element Rendering
  • Event handling
  • State management
  • Components
  • Conditional rendering
  • Forms and their validation
  • Lists and keys

A thorough grasp of concepts and all the necessary prerequisites will enable you to effectively employ its features. It may seem daunting initially, but with consistent practice and habit of learning learning, one can swiftly gain proficiency in utilizing React to develop exceptional projects. It is comparable to acquiring proficiency in a new language — it takes time, effort, and practice to attain mastery.

2. State Management

In React, modifying the state or value of variables operates differently from how it would appear in plain JavaScript. Updates on a variable in JavaScript involves setting a new value using the equal to operator (=), unlike React.

Here is an example for better understanding:

				
					var x = 300;
function updateX(){
  x = 100;
}
updateX();
console.log(x);
// 100

				
			

(The code mentioned above set a variable termed “x” with a starting value 300).

Utilizing the operator (=), we can assign a fresh value of 100. This will be written inside the “updateX” function.

As a React JS best practice, the updating of the value or the state of the variables is a different process that works in the following code:

				
					import { useState } from 'react';
function App() {
  const [x, setX] = useState(300)
  let updateX =()=>{
    setX(100);
  }
  return (
    <div className="App">
    <h1>{x}</h1>
    <button onClick={updateX}>Update X</button>
    </div>
  );
}
export default App;
				
			

When we update the variable’s state in React, we have to use the function of “useState” Hook, which has many points to consider, such as:

  • Name of the variable
  • Assigned function to update the variable
  • Any variable’s starting state or value

 

In the example code used above, ‘x’ is variable’s name, and the function to update its value is ‘setX.’ The starting value of ‘x’ is set to 300, passed on as a parameter using the “useState” function.

				
					const [x, setX] = useState(300)
We use the 'setX' function to update the state:
import { useState } from 'react';
let updateX =()=>{
  setX(100);
}
				
			

Hence, the ‘updateX’ function initiates the ‘setX,’ which in turn changes the  value of ‘x’ to 100.

Although it may appear to function effectively for updating variable states, this method can significantly complicate the ‘codebase’ in extensive projects. Utilizing numerous State “Hooks” can make the code challenging to comprehend and maintain, particularly as the project expands in scale.

Another issue with utilizing the State “Hook” is that the variables generated are not sharable among the various components that constitute the application. As a result, Props are still necessary for transmitting data from one to other variable.

Fortunately, certain libraries have been developed to efficiently manage states in React, enabling the creation of a variable that can be utilized anywhere in the application Recoil ,Redux, and Zustand are some examples of such libraries.

Selecting a 3rd-party library for State management entails the challenge of acquiring knowledge on unfamiliar concepts that differ from those learned in the framework. Redux, for example, was infamous for its abundance of code “boilerplate”, making it challenging for novices to comprehend. However, this has been resolved significantly with Redux, which allows one to write fewer lines of codes than required with Redux.

3. Scalability

As the user demands for a product evolve, modifications to existing code constituting the product become necessary.

Scaling the code becomes challenging when it is not simple to maintain for the working team. This issue can arise from poor coding practices, which may appear to yield the expected result initially. However, relying on anything that merely “works for now” can prove inefficient for the future and hinder the project’s growth.

React JS Best Practices for 2023

In the following segment, we will discuss some of React’s best practices that can enhance the quality of your code and facilitate smoother collaboration when dealing with a team of professionals such as ClickySoft.

1. Folder Structure & Organization

Organized folder structures aid both you and your team members comprehend the organization of assets and files utilized by the project. Effective folder structures facilitate easy navigation, time efficiency and avoiding confusion. While folders vary according to each team’s preferences, some commonly used structures by React are mentioned below.

2. Folder grouping according to routes or features

Organizing your files according to features and routes ensures that all the relevant components of a specific feature are kept together. For instance, if you have a dashboard, you can group all the files for CSS, JavaScript, and tests related to the dashboard within a single folder.

A demonstration is as follows:

  • dashboard/
  • index.js
  • dashboard.css
  • dashboard.test.js
  • home/
  • index.js
  • Home.css
  • HomeAPI.js
  • Home.test.js
  • blog/
  • index.js
  • Blog.css
  • Blog.test.js

 

Each core function has its files and all the assets in the similar folder.

3. Grouping Same Files

Alternatively, you can group all the similar files in one folder. A separate folder is available for the Hooks function, the components, and others. Here is an example.

  • hooks/
  • useFetchData.js
  • usePostData.js
  • components/
  • Dashboard.js
  • Dashboard.css
  • Home.js
  • Home.css
  • Blog.js
  • Blog.css

 

While it is useful to have standardized folder structures, it is not mandatory to adhere to them rigidly. If you prefer a specific way of organizing your files, feel free to use it. The important thing is that you and your fellow developers can easily comprehend the structure to avoid any confusion.

4. Setting a Structured Import Order

As your application in React expands, you’ll likely end up with additional imports. The organization of the imports is crucial in understanding the components that make up your application.

As a React convention, it’s helpful to group same utilities together. For example, you can separate external or 3rd-party imports from local.

Here is an example for understanding:

				
					import { Routes, Route } from "react-router-dom";
import { createSlice } from "@reduxjs/toolkit";
import { Menu } from "@headlessui/react";
import Home from "./Home";
import logo from "./logo.svg";
import "./App.css";

				
			

The code mentioned above groups all the 3-party libraries, which we must pre-install.

The created, such as components, images, and sheets, are then imported.

Although the example we’re using may not demonstrate a significant codebase, it’s crucial to maintain consistency with the format of your imports to promote simplicity and comprehension. 

You may even group your local files based on file types, such as images, grouping components, stylesheets, and Hooks separately under local imports to make it easier for you and your team to understand your React application.

Here is another example:

				
					import Home from "./Home";
import About from "./About"
import Contact from "./Contact"
import logo from "./logo.svg";
import closeBtn from "./close-btn.svg"
import "./App.css";
import "Home.css"
				
			

5. Naming Conventions

Improving code readability is aided by naming conventions, not just for components but also for variables and “Hooks”. The documentation in React does not prescribe any official naming convention for components, but the two most commonly used conventions are PascalCase and camelCase.

PascalCase is widely used to name components:

				
					import React from 'react'
function StudentList() {
  return (
    <div>StudentList</div>
  )
}
export default StudentList
				
			

The component’s name is “StudentList ”. It  is much easier to read than ‘Studentlist’ or ‘studentlist.’

Alternatively, the camelCase is used mostly to name variables, arrays, functions, and Hooks. Its example is as follows:

				
					&const [firstName, setFirstName] = useState("Ihechikara");
const studentList = [];
const studentObject = {};
const getStudent = () => {}

				
			

6. Linter Usage

ESLint is a popular linter tool for improving code quality in React and JavaScript.. But how does it achieve this goal exactly?

Using a linter tool, such as ESLint, ensures consistency within the codebase. By setting rules every developer must follow, you can ensure the code adheres to a certain standard. These rules could specify things like using double quotes instead of single quotes, including braces around arrow functions, following a specific naming convention, etc.

Linter tools aid in maintaining code consistency. By utilizing a tool like ESLint, you can establish guidelines for all developers on the project to adhere to. These guidelines could involve requirements like utilizing double quotes over single quotes, using braces around arrow functions, adhering to specific naming conventions, and more.

The Linting tool scans your code and alerts you of any rule violation, often by underlining the line or a keyword that broke the rule with color red.

Each developer works with a different coding style, so linter tools assist in creating a uniform code base for everyone.

Linting tools are also useful for catching and fixing bugs. They can detect spelling errors, unused variables, and other issues that can cause errors in your code. Some linting tools can even automatically fix certain errors as you code.

Most editors have built-in linting tools, including ESLint, making it easy to catch and fix errors as you write code. It also enables customizing the rules and settings of these tools to fit your specific coding needs.

7. Setting Snippet Libraries

One of the benefits of utilizing a framework with a vibrant user community is the abundance of tools designed to simplify the development process. Snippet libraries, for instance, can expedite development by offering ready-made code snippets that developers frequently use.

The ES7+ React/Redux/React-Native snippets extension is an excellent illustration, which contains numerous useful commands that assist in generating prebuilt codes. 

For example, instead of writing out all the code, you can create a functional component in React simply by typing “rfce” and pressing Enter, thanks to the extension.

Using the ES7+ React/Redux/React-Native snippets extension, the following code was generated for a functional component with a name corresponding to the name of a file:

				
					import React from 'react'
function StudentList() {
  return (
    <div>StudentList</div>
  )
}
export default StudentList
				
			

The Tailwind CSS IntelliSense extension is another handy snippet tool that simplifies web page styling using Tailwind CSS. This extension offers various functionalities, such as auto-completion of linting, syntax highlighting and utility classes. Additionally, while coding, you can preview your website’s color.

8. Combination of JavaScript and CSS

Combining CSS and JSX code can be the best solution to the problem of bulky file structures and difficulty in navigation, especially in large projects. Frameworks and libraries like Emotion and Tailwind CSS can be used for this purpose.

Here is an example of Tailwind CSS:

<p className=”font-bold mr-8″>resource edge</p>

Using the framework’s utility classes, we can add some margin on the right and give the element of a paragraph as a bold font, as seen in the above code.

Here is an example of styling using Emotion:

				
					<h1
css={css`
  color: black;
  font-size: 30px;
`}
>
Hello World!
</h1>
				
			

9. Limiting Component Creation

Another React best practice, and its fundamental principle, is the ability to reuse code. With React, you can develop a component and utilize its logic multiple times without having to rewrite it from scratch.

Considering code reusability, you must be mindful of the amount of components you develop. Excessive component creation results in bloated file structures with useless files that are not essential in anyway.

A demonstration is as follows:

				
					function UserInfo() {
  return (
    <div>
    <h1>My name is Ihechikara.</h1>
    </div>
  );
}
export default UserInfo
				
			

User component displayed above renders a user’s name. Creating a separate file for each user would result in an unreasonable file count, especially when dealing with more complex logic.

Here is how we can set the component as reusable:

				
					function UserInfo({userName}) {
  return (
    <div>
    <h1>My name is {userName}.</h1>
    </div>
  );
}
export default UserInfo

We import the component and reuseit multiple times after the above action:

import UserInfo from "./UserInfo";
function App() {
  return (
    <div className="App">
    <UserInfo userName={"Ihechikara"} />
    <UserInfo userName={"John"} />
    <UserInfo userName={"Jane"} />
    </div>
  );
}
export default App;

				
			

By creating the UserInfo component logic in one file, we now have three instances of “UserInfo” component serving three different users instead of running separate files for every user.

10. Implementation of Lazy Loading

Lazy loading can be a valuable technique as your application expands. As the codebase grows, the loading time for the web pages may slow since the entire app must be loaded for each user every time.

The term “lazy loading” can be used in various contexts. Here, we’re referring to it in the context of JavaScript and React, but it can also be applied to many visuals and videos.

React, by default, bundles and deploys the entire application. However, we can modify this behavior by utilizing lazy loading, also called code splitting.

In essence, code splitting through lazy loading allows you to restrict which sections of your application are loaded at any given time. This is achieved by dividing the bundles and load only those necessary for the users. 

For example, you can load only the code needed for user authentication first and then load the code for the user’s dashboard only after successful authentication.

11. Employing Reusable Hooks

React Hooks enable developers to utilize additional features of React, such as managing component states and triggering effects based on state changes, without the need to write class components. 

Moreover, Hooks can be reusable to prevent duplicating code across multiple files. This is achieved by setting custom Hooks that can be easily imported anywhere within the application.

We will develop a Hook to fetch the data from API in the following example:

				
					import { useState, useEffect } from "react";
function useFetchData(url) {
  const [data, setData] = useState(null);
  useEffect(() => {
    fetch(url)
    .then((res) => res.json())
    .then((data) => setData(data))
    .catch((err) => console.log(`Error: ${err}`));
  }, [url]);
  return { data };
}
export default useFetchData;
				
			

The above code demonstrates how we can develop a custom Hook for retrieving API data, which can then be imported into any component in our application. This approach saves us from the tedium of replicating the same logic in multiple components every time we need to fetch data from an external source.

Custom Hooks in React are versatile and can be tailored to various use cases. When deciding how to utilize them, it is essential to remember that they should be created for functionalities that need to be replicated across various components, making them reusable in different parts of your app.

12. Logs & Managing Errors

React offers various methods to handle errors, such as implementing error boundaries, using catching blocks, or utilizing outer libraries like “react-error-boundary”.

Since the introduction of React 16, error boundaries have been a built-in feature for class “components”. However, it is recommended that functional components be used instead of class components, so we will not delve into the details of using error boundaries for the class.

In contrast, try-catch blocks are only suitable for handling errors in imperative code and may not be effective in managing declarative code, such as JSX.

Our top recommendation is to utilize a library such as “react-error-boundary”. By wrapping the library’s functionalities around the components allowing  you to easily detect errors while rendering your React application.

13. Testing the Code

Despite its significant benefits, developers often overlook the importance of testing their code during the process of development. While some may disagree that testing is not essential when building a web application, it offers numerous advantages, including the following:

  • Testing helps in detecting bugs and errors
  • Bug detection improves the quality of code
  • These tests when documented collects data and reference for future
  • Bug detection in early phases saves time and the cost of extra payment to developers
  • Bug-free apps and programs earn the trust of the audience and better growth

 

Testing tools such as Jest or React Testing Library can be employed to test your code, which is another one of React JS best practices. With many testing tools available, it ultimately boils down to which is most effective for your particular needs.

One way to test your React apps as you develop them is by running them in a browser, which will usually display any detected errors. 

14. Using Functional Components

React’s functional components offer many advantages, such as concise code, improved readability, and the ongoing shift toward their use in official React documents. As a result, it is highly recommended that you become familiar with using components “Hooks” in your React applications.

Functional components in React provide several benefits, such as avoiding using “this” keyword and class components. Additionally, managing component state is easier with Hooks, allowing for writing fewer lines of code. As a result, getting familiar with using functional components in React is highly recommended.

Most up-to-date React resources use functional components, which means you can easily find useful guides and have resources created by the developer community to follow when encountering issues.

15. Updated React Versions

As React evolves, new features are added, and existing ones may be modified. The official React documentation is the most reliable information source on these changes. Additionally, you can stay up to date by joining React communities and social media, where you can receive information about updates and changes as they happen.

Keeping up with the latest version of React is crucial for identifying the optimal time to optimize or modify your codebase to achieve the best performance.

Keeping up-to-date with external libraries built around React, such as React Router, which facilitates routing in React, is equally important. Awareness of any changes made to these libraries can help you make relevant updates to your app and facilitate collaboration among team members working on the project.

To ensure that your code stays relevant and compatible with new versions of React, it’s important to stay informed about any changes that might affect your project. This includes watching out for deprecated functionalities and keywords that may be modified in new releases.

To avoid any potential issues, it’s recommended that you regularly check the official documentation and guides for any updates or changes to React. Doing so lets you stay informed about the latest best practices and ensure that your code remains current with current standards.

16. Using a Secured Hosting

To make a web application accessible to everyone after building it, you must host it with a fast and secure 

You can utilize various tools that simplify managing and scaling your website by hosting a website. The server that hosts a website stores the files securely, enabling others to access your created content. In essence, hosting your website makes it accessible to a wider audience.

Various platforms offer hosting services to developers for free, such as Firebase, Vercel, Netlify, and GitHub Pages. There are also paid services, such as Azure, AWS, GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.

Final Word

Utilizing React JS best practices is not the only factor that improves a code. Other frameworks such as Angular, Vue, and others also have a set of best practices that helps a developer build efficient applications.

Following the conventions of React JS not only helps your apps but also improves the skills of front-end developers. You can learn to develop efficient and manageable codes that stand out among other developers.

Bear these React best practices in mind when developing your next web app with user-friendly, manageable, and functional codes.

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