Services | Front-End Development
React also has a strong developer community and utilises the Node Package Manager (NPM) to make available a large number of Open Source Software (OSS) libraries that speed up development and ultimately deliver better results.
The framework is highly popular and provides similar benefits to Node.js in that the framework is becoming a common skill-set amongst front-end developers and offers an ecosystem of high maturity and sophisticated third party OSS, thanks to companies such as Facebook being significant OSS contributors to the ecosystem.
UserCentric's engineering team have presented at a number of developer meetups, platform conferences and user-group sessions on React.js, including React Sydney and the Kentico Connections global summit in Melbourne where UserCentric took the auditorium to showcase our implementation for the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria.
Kristian presenting at Kentico Developer User Group
Karolis presenting at React Sydney
Understanding How React.js Works
React.js is a modern Front-End Development framework that, at its core focuses on building writing reusable components. The framework provides developers an intuitive way of capturing the state of these components and reflecting this state into HTML elements that are rendered on the screen. This is where the magic of React comes in, the internals of React runs a reconciliation algorithm that determines when the HTML elements (the DOM) should be re-rendered, due to updates in the state of the component.
Are you able to explain that in English?
Sure, by using React to build your website - your development team will be able to easily reuse bits-and-pieces across the site and ultimately build the site much more quickly. The developers are able to write their code in a way that results in less bugs, rather than writing mainly procedural code (first do this, then do that, then that), the developers instead write code that is expressive - expressing where to fetch data from, how that data maps into the UI and how the UI changes based on variations in the data.
Where did React come from, why the sudden buzz?
React is an Open Source Front-End framework that has had over 1,000 contributors work on it, received over 70,000 stars on Github and is downloaded over 7,000,000 times per week. With these types of numbers it is hard to imagine where it came from, and what brought about its existence.
React originated as an experimental project with Facebook's Ads team, as you can imagine, the Ads team at Facebook is extremely important due to it's direct revenue impact on the company - and as such boasted some of the world's most talented Front-End Engineers. It quickly moved beyond being an experimental framework when the Instagram team began using it for their strategic move towards delivering a web-based experience. React has since been open-sourced and is now used across thousands of reputable companies including Facebook, AirBnb, Netflix, PayPal, Walmart and many others.
React.js vs Vue.js vs Angular vs jQuery
If you are currently undertaking the development of a new greenfield project you will be confronted with the decision of which front-end framework to use.
React currently boasts the largest developer community and arguably the most reputable set of leading digital innovators who employ it in their arsenal, including the likes of Facebook, AirBnb, PayPal, Netflix, Walmart, etc. When it comes to developer community, size does matter. A larger community brings the benefits of:
More open-source code, tools and frameworks for potential use in your own project.
A larger pool of developers in the workforce who understand it and have experience with it.
More public information on how to solve common challenges with that framework.
The fastest rate of updates and improvements, due to larger number of contributors.
More learning resources as book publishers, video makers and content producers will favour larger target audiences.
Case Study - Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria
UserCentric delivered a modern platform to facilitate the allocation and placement of medical candidates in Victoria. This program of work involved an end-to-end digital transformation project, involving up-front User Experience and Brand Identity deliverables, through to solution design and execution.
Node.js API platform using Express
React.js responsive web application
Headless CMS integration with Kentico Kontent
Payment gateway integration with ANZ Cybersource
AWS cluster management with Docker & Kubernetes
Placement & allocation mathematical algorithm
The Front-End codebase was delivered using a combination of React.js and Next.js. Next is a framework that bundles together Node, Express and React with the goal of achieving SSR (Server Side Rendering), resulting in better performance through faster "initial time to render".
What made this project most special however was how it integrated seamlessly into the headless CMS Kentico Kontent, creating reusable components that easily fetched data using React hooks made this integration intuitive and effortless. Detailed articles about the integrations can be read from the following blog posts:
Kentico Kontent Blog:
Australian Government Digital Awards finalist for 'Outstanding use of emerging technology'