DEV Community

Arafin Ahmed
Arafin Ahmed

Posted on

React Revision

If you are willing to revise your ‘React’ knowledge this tutorial is suitable for you. Let revise together.

What is React?
React is an open-source frontend JavaScript library which is used for building user interfaces especially for single page applications. It is used for handling view layer for web and mobile apps. React was created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer working for Facebook. React was first deployed on Facebook's News Feed in 2011 and on Instagram in 2012.

Say Hello, World from React

  <h1>Hello, world!</h1>,
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

What is JSX?
JSX is a XML-like syntax extension to ECMAScript (the acronym stands for JavaScript XML). Basically it just provides syntactic sugar for the React.createElement() function, giving us expressiveness of JavaScript along with HTML like template syntax.

In the example below text inside h1 tag is returned as JavaScript function to the render function.

function App {
        <h1>{'Welcome to React world!'}</h1>
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

What is an element?

An Element is a plain object describing what you want to appear on the screen in terms of the DOM nodes or other components. Elements can contain other Elements in their props. Creating a React element is cheap. Once an element is created, it is never mutated.

The object representation of React Element would be as follows:

const element = React.createElement(
  {id: 'login-btn'},
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

The above React.createElement() function returns an object:

  type: 'div',
  props: {
    children: 'Login',
    id: 'login-btn'
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

And finally it renders to the DOM using ReactDOM.render():

<div id='login-btn'>Login</div>
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

What is React components?
Components are independent and reusable bits of code. They serve the same purpose as JavaScript functions, but work in isolation and return HTML via a render() function. Components come in two types, Class components and Function components, in this tutorial we will concentrate on Class components.

There are two possible ways to create a component.

Function Components: This is the simplest way to create a component. Those are pure JavaScript functions that accept props object as first parameter and return React elements:

function Greeting({ message }) {
  return <h1>{`Hello, ${message}`}</h1>

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Class Components: You can also use ES6 class to define a component. The above function component can be written as:

class Greeting extends React.Component {
  render() {
    return <h1>{`Hello, ${this.props.message}`}</h1>
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

What is state in React?
The state is an instance of React Component Class can be defined as an object of a set of observable properties that control the behavior of the component. In other words, the State of a component is an object that holds some information that may change over the lifetime of the component.

In previous version state is the only property of React class components. Now state can be used from react function components by using react state hook.

import React, { useState } from 'react';

function Example() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  return (
      <p>You clicked {count} times</p>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>
        Click me
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

What is props in React?

Props are inputs to components. They are single values or objects containing a set of values that are passed to components on creation using a naming convention similar to HTML-tag attributes. They are data passed down from a parent component to a child component.

The primary purpose of props in React is to provide following component functionality:

Pass custom data to your component.
Trigger state changes.
Use via this.props.reactProp inside component's render() method.
For example, let us create an element with reactProp property:

<Element reactProp={'1'} />
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

This reactProp (or whatever you came up with) name then becomes a property attached to React's native props object which originally already exists on all components created using React library.


What is React Router?
React Router, and dynamic, client-side routing, allows us to build a single-page web application with navigation without the page refreshing as the user navigates. React Router uses component structure to call components, which display the appropriate information.
React router can be an overkill for certain projects where all you need is basic navigation and routing functionalities

For installing react router in project.
npm install react-router-dom

Example of react router:

import React from "react";
import {
  BrowserRouter as Router,
} from "react-router-dom";

export default function App() {
  return (
              <Link to="/">Home</Link>
              <Link to="/about">About</Link>
              <Link to="/users">Users</Link>

        {/* A <Switch> looks through its children <Route>s and
            renders the first one that matches the current URL. */}
          <Route path="/about">
            <About />
          <Route path="/users">
            <Users />
          <Route path="/">
            <Home />

function Home() {
  return <h2>Home</h2>;

function About() {
  return <h2>About</h2>;

function Users() {
  return <h2>Users</h2>;
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

What is "key" prop and what is the benefit of using it in arrays of elements?
A key is a special string attribute you should include when creating arrays of elements. Key prop helps React identify which items have changed, are added, or are removed.

Most often we use ID from our data as key:

const todoItems = =>
  <li key={}>

When you don't have stable IDs for rendered items, you may use the item index as a key as a last resort:

```const todoItems =, index) =>
  <li key={index}>
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode


Using indexes for keys is not recommended if the order of items may change. This can negatively impact performance and may cause issues with component state.
If you extract list item as separate component then apply keys on list component instead of li tag.
There will be a warning message in the console if the key prop is not present on list items.

What is Virtual DOM?
The Virtual DOM (VDOM) is an in-memory representation of Real DOM. The representation of a UI is kept in memory and synced with the "real" DOM. It's a step that happens between the render function being called and the displaying of elements on the screen. This entire process is called reconciliation.

What is Lifting State Up in React?
When several components need to share the same changing data then it is recommended to lift the shared state up to their closest common ancestor. That means if two child components share the same data from its parent, then move the state to parent instead of maintaining local state in both of the child components.

What are Higher-Order Components?
A higher-order component (HOC) is a function that takes a component and returns a new component. Basically, it's a pattern that is derived from React's compositional nature.

We call them pure components because they can accept any dynamically provided child component but they won't modify or copy any behavior from their input components.

const EnhancedComponent = higherOrderComponent(WrappedComponent)
HOC can be used for many use cases:

Code reuse, logic and bootstrap abstraction.
Render hijacking.
State abstraction and manipulation.
Props manipulation.

Top comments (0)