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7 Timeless React Frameworks and Libraries

By: Taru M. Taru M.
28 Jul, 2022

React.js is still effortlessly ruling the web development paradigm. It is a declarative Javascript library that changed how we approach building SPA (Single Page Application). Besides being efficient, fast, and powerful because of innovating DOM manipulation through React Fibre, adopting server-side rendering principles and concurrency, and eliminating the use of classes by introducing Hooks. Its crucial differentiating factor is its rich ecosystem.

It supports amazing frameworks for client-side routing, server-side rendering, state management, and testing. You can utilize UI frameworks for pixel-perfect and accessible UI. In this blog, we have curated seven timeless React frameworks that are the personal favorites of our React.js developers.

React Router

Single Page Applications (SPA) rely on client-side routing (CSR) to load and render UI components. CSR can reduce time-to-paint and improve other website performance metrics as there is no need to reparse and load the entire page when there is a change in one sub-section. The dynamic web apps that we are used to today are made possible because of CSR. Nevertheless, CSR has downsides, which is why server-side rendering is coming back.

Anyways, React Router lets developers optimize client-side routing to save users’ time that impacts UX. Manipulate the URLs and map them with UI components to build routing for optimizing performance.
React Router Gif

Let’s quickly see in action the most common scenario where React Router helps – shared layout. Web applications today have nested UI components where some components remain the same as we move deeper into the web app. The above picture has a top and left nav bar persistent as users move from Portfolio to Fashion category. React Router is a nice tool to accurately map layout segments to URLs for any level of hierarchies.

Besides other useful features, ranking routes is one that not only aids effective routing. It also enhances developers’ productivity. They don’t need to be cautious of the exact ordering of path patterns like “/teams”, “/teams/new”, etc. React Router can match the pattern listed in the route config with the correct URL irrespective of order. It does so using dynamic segments (/teams/:teamId), star patterns(“/docs/*”), etc.

React router also supports Hooks. Hooks are special functions in React framework for state management. Developers can make their code more readable and easy to maintain using Hooks inside the React Router.

Some companies that use it are Netflix, Twitter, Airbnb, Microsoft, etc.

Redux

Dynamic web apps with so many UI components require effective state management. A state in a React app is an object that stores a component’s values or information. Users can trigger changes in the state of components whenever they interact with them, or it could be because of the system itself.

Managing components’ tree in an enterprise-level web app becomes cumbersome and error-prone. At a given point in time, several UI components interact with each other. Mutations happen on a large scale. Consequently, developers lose sight of how, when, and what triggered the state change. It further escalates into a poor developer experience that results in loss of productivity and more errors.

Redux Workflow

Redux is a lightweight library to solve the above problem. It acts as a single source of truth that makes state changes predictable. Developers can keep track of the flow of changes as these happen through Reducers. Reducers are nothing but pure functions in the Redux. Some of the benefits of Redux core:

  • Easy and quick debugging
  • The global state is stored in a single tree, facilitating the easy implementation of undo/redo functionalities.
  • Reusable functions or reducers for similar tasks.

Redux officially advises using it with Redux Toolkit if developing on a web framework other than React. For React, there is React Redux which is the UI binding library. Its benefits:

  • Reduces boilerplate code. Otherwise, you may develop a love-hate relationship with Redux.
  • Performance optimization by eliminating unnecessary re-rendering.
  • Extensive community support for adopting best practices.

React Spring

It is a spring-physics, cross-platform animation library inspired by React Motion-another React library for animation. It can work on the web as well as with React Native. Its animation principle is not based on curves and duration, which leads to jank animations in the view of experienced developers.

React spring gif

Benefits:

  • API supports React Hooks
  • Avoids re-rendering, thus maintaining performance
  • Features to make animations accessible. Let’s take an example of people with vestibular dysfunction – a disorder in the body’s balance system. One of its symptoms is acute intolerance to head motion. With the react-reduce-motion hook, developers can provide the functionality to switch off or reduce motion for the affected users.
  • Designed for interpolation. React Spring can handle arrays, colors, CSS variables, SVG paths, spring patterns, etc.
  • There are shorthand props to reduce boilerplate code in the web version. Unfortunately, as of now, these are not supported in native versions.

Jest

Jest screenshot

Jest is a testing framework with a focus on running tests simply. Its widespread adoption by large and small companies proves Jest delivered what it promised. It seamlessly works with Babel, TypeScript, React, Angular, Node.js, Vue.js, Redux, and Svelte. The latest version of Jest – Jest 28 – has been downloaded 50 million times in the last month. You can install it with npm or yarn and more easily with Create react app.

Benefits:

  • Snapshot Testing
  • Fake timer Mocks
  • Isolated Testing
  • Manual and automatic mockups.
  • Easy to understand and well-documented APIs
  • In milliseconds test functions that directly manipulate the DOM.

Material UI

Material UI screenshot

It is one of the most popular React component libraries. Material UI provides free foundational components like menus, progress indicators, sliders, text fields, etc., and themes with which you can build the User Interface of less complex web applications fast. Support for extensive customization, React Hooks, and Context is the reason for its popularity among React developers.

Nevertheless, it has its own issues, which you will understand in a couple of minutes in the next section.

Their paid products include advanced components like data grids, charts, premium themes, and integration of MUI components with your design tools to improve the design workflow.

Benefits of Material UI:

  • Out-of-box React components that follow Google’s material design. It is a digital design language inspired by the textures, shadows, and accessibility inherent in physical paper and ink.
  • Make aesthetic and accessible web and mobile apps faster.
  • To completely control and style Material UI components, developers can now use MUI Base. It is a library inspired by headless architecture. The default styling of Material UI components uses Emotion, whereas, in MUI Base, developers can employ any CSS styling. It allows developers to handle edge cases perfectly where default styling can fail.
  • JoyUI library comes with a default theme and foundational components but without Google’s material design look and feel. But both JoyUI and MUI Base are currently in alpha.
  • The team behind this component library has worked on fine-tuning the developer and designer experience. Thus, improving collaboration among cross-functional teams.
  • It is trusted by Netflix, NASA, Shutterstock, and Amazon, to name a few. Material UI boasts of having 3.2 million weekly downloads on npm.

Some other famous popular React UI component frameworks:

  • Ant design
  • React Bootstrap
  • Semantic UI
  • Chakra UI

Headless UI

Headless UI screenshot

Headless commerce has already disrupted the online eCommerce market. Mainly because developers, marketers, and designers can deliver a highly personalized Customer Experience (CX) that is impossible with traditional eCommerce stores. Interpolating the same principles for the UI design, Headless UI is a React component library that can solve the accessibility and performance issues on UI libraries like React bootstrap, Chakra UI, Semantic UI, etc.

As mentioned in the previous section, headless in the context of UI means having unstyled components. Developers have complete control over the functionality and look of React components and thus are not bounded by the customization mechanism of a specific component library. Front-end developers can style with CSS-JS, Tailwind CSS, Vanilla-Extract – anything which suits your taste.

Benefits:

  • Developing UI components like autocomplete and combo box are relatively easy with a headless approach.
  • Headless UI offers improvement in accessibility. Its components don’t break on different browsers, devices, and screen sizes. Alongside, developers need not worry about focus management, screen readers, keyboard shortcuts, and WAI-ARIA compliance.
  • Less bundle size and, as a result, more excellent performance than traditional React UI framework component libraries.
  • Potential to craft unique and complex User Interfaces.

Other React UI component libraries that are based on headless architecture:

  • Radix UI
  • Reach UI
  • Downshift
  • Real Kit

Hydrogen

Hydrogen Framework Screenshot

First, Hydrogen is quite an interesting name for a framework based on React JavaScript library.

Hydrogen is a front-end framework developed by Shopify for building Headless Shopify storefronts. Anyone familiar with React development can grasp Hydrogen working and implementation in no time.

Features of Hydrogen:

  • Server-side rendering for good core web vitals and faster indexing by Google.
  • Progressive hydration
  • Support use of Hooks
  • Reduce boilerplate code for building a custom storefront.

Features of Headless Shopify:

  • Ability to craft a unique brand experience.
  • Develop and leverage omnichannel strategy.
  • Freedom from vendor lock-in.
  • Reduce time-to-market for launching new products.

More useful React frameworks

  • Next.js
  • Gatsby
  • React 360
  • React Testing Library
  • React Native
  • Stroybook
  • MobX

Which is your go-to React framework?

We have listed all the most effective frameworks and UI component libraries you can integrate with React for your next web development project. Do you know any newer libraries or recommendations to help us build your web project fast? Contact us. We would love to be your technology solutions partner.

Taru M. Author
Taru M.

For over 18 years, Taru M. is a successful technology entrepreneur by profession and a tech enthusiast by spirit. She takes pride in offering expertise in her domain to business people's success across the globe. As a business woman and technology expert, she manages to keep her balance along with her family responsibilities. She did her masters in computers, and her work delivery shows the expertise of her education. Connect with her via Linkedin profile to know more about her exciting personality

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