React JS Application

Starting with React JS can sometimes be a tiny bit overwhelming. The difficulty in getting going is mostly due to the following issues:

  • The information available is not written for ordinary developers.
  • There have been massive updates to JavaScript and other related concepts.
  • React is a rather small abstraction that is a tiny gear in a large system of complex components. Understanding the components and React at the same time may prove to be rather difficult.

Prerequisites for Training in React

The following are some prerequisites for React training:

  • You should have some HTML and JavaScript knowledge. This will help you when you start learning React.
  • You will also need a good understanding of Node, npm, ES6 (including ECMAScript modules and either systemJS, Webpack, or Browserify), and Babel.

Steps for Learning React

Here are the steps to getting a hold on React for developing apps:

#1. Set Up the Environment

The first thing you should do is set up an environment that supports minimum JSX, which is the XML-like syntax most React code depends upon. You will also probably need ES6 or ES7, and perhaps TypeScript even.

If you are setting up your first React project and want to complete a few tutorials rather than messing with the configuration, we recommend that you use Create React App, which will generate all the boilerplate stuff you need to begin.

Create React App will most likely not provide the level of custom configuration later, but when you get to that point, it gives you greater control over the build steps.

#2. Obtain the React Extension for Your Browser

The React extension gets added as another tab to your browser’s dev tools, allowing you to browse through React components in the same way you would with HTML elements. Apart from the structure of the components, it also shows the state, props, and context that a component contains. This can be a big help when you are trying to debug.

#3. Start undergoing the React Course Tutorial

Once you have the tools, it is time to write some code. React’s documentation has a tutorial that teaches the steps to create a tic-tac-toe game. It is an easy way to learn the syntax and basic concepts of React, so you are on your way to learning React before you dig into more depth in the documentation. Therefore, start with a React course now.

 #4. Read the React Documentation

The docs provide a good overview of the basics you need to understand React development. You should concentrate on the following topics:

Preferring composition over inheritance: If you have a strong OOP background, you may be tempted to extend a Component to specialize a class through subclass creation. This is not recommended in React; the right way to accomplish the normal method of inheritance is by passing different children or props to a Component.

Passing callback functions as props: This is generally done when a child component must update the state of a parent component. A common example is that a parent component may pass an event listener to a child component, which attaches it to a button through the use of onClick.

Controlled components: These are generally form elements on which you bind event listeners for detecting changes, and then pass the new value to the element as props. A typical example is to manage the state of text input, instead of letting the input box handle it itself.

#5. Begin Testing

Enzyme is the standard for testing React components. Enzyme builds wrappers around components so that they can be rendered either separately or inside of other components, and be displayed in your web-app. It allows you to simulate user interaction like mouse clicks and text entry easily.

The Jest testing framework is often used with Enzyme to test components. It works using snapshot testing. The first time a snapshot test for a component is run, it documents how the component renders– the elements, what text is present, any child components, and so on. Any later run of the test verifies that things are unchanged.

Whenever the rendering of the component changes, you will be alerted via a failing test. If the change was unintentional, you will see the difference and be able to rectify it easily. However, if the change was intended, you can just update the snapshot.

The best approach is to learn what you can and also attend a professional course, so you have access to an expert faculty for resolving queries and receiving guidance.