What Are the Differences Between and Advantages of ReactJS and JavaScript?

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Do you find yourself reaching for your phone the moment you wake up?

And is your first instinct to browse through your social media? As it turns out, this behavior is almost universal. A study by the International Data Convention (IDC) found that 4 out of 5 smartphone users grab their phones before starting their day. And the most heightened activity is on social media and web browsers, after e-mailing platforms.

Social media is objectively addictive because of the connections we form and keep in that digital space. But aside from our human need to socialize, what lures us to keep going back is how easy it is to use and interact with the platform. The features in place allow us to easily update our status, communicate with friends, and consume information. It’s such an intuitive environment that using it has become second nature to most of us. And we can thank the design of social media for this. 

But have you ever wondered why using social media sites is so automatic to us? What technologies are behind their sleek design? It all boils down to the user interface (UI), and in this article, we will discuss a popular UI framework that’s well-known for its capacity to build single-page applications (SPAs): ReactJS. We will also look into its mother framework, JavaScript, for comparison.

What’s the Difference Between ReactJS and JavaScript?

User interfaces are the direct link between a person and an application. In social media sites, you can easily spot the UI by looking at the text and navigation tools you interact with to perform the desired action. These are called graphical user interfaces, which are essentially a subset of UIs.

Because of the high demand — and even necessity — of UIs to make the user experience more seamless, tech companies created libraries to simplify UI development. One such library is ReactJS. But before we tackle this popular JavaScript library, we have to discuss its foundation first.

What Is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a client-side scripting language developed in 1995 by programmer and technologist Brendan Eich. It is one of the three main components that create the web pages we see every day, the other two components being HTML and CSS.

On its own, JavaScript can execute different types of dynamic features on websites. If you see real-time updates, animation, multimedia, and other complex elements on a web page, then you can bet JavaScript had a hand in it. But creating UIs with plain JavaScript involves complicated work and results in wasted time. 

With plain JavaScript, developers who are assigned to maintain and update the code in large applications inevitably commit errors. Fortunately, as with most programming languages, the solution to this problem is a specialized framework. And when it comes to UIs, JavaScript’s saving grace is ReactJS.

What Is ReactJS?

ReactJS is a JavaScript library specifically made to help developers design UIs. Thanks to ReactJS, the process of UI development can be broken down into reusable and more manageable components. But did you know the idea for this JavaScript library came from the emergence of Facebook ads?

In 2012, Facebook needed a better way to manage the influx of ads and updates on the application. It was then that software engineer Jordan Walke developed ReactJS, leading to the success that the library is today. 

Eventually, ReactJS became available to developers and tech companies. And many of the applications we use today are a result of ReactJS. But why do people love this library so much?

Image credits to Pexels

Advantages of ReactJS Development

The Best Features of ReactJS

ReactJS knows the importance of well-designed UIs in desktop apps, but what draws the attention of tech companies to this library is its immense regard for the development process.

Virtual Document Object Model (virtual DOM) vs. Real Document Object Model (real DOM)

User interfaces need regular updating, especially if the application is large. Developers using plain JavaScript rely solely on the real DOM to make any changes to an application, drastically affecting the code in place to make it work. And it will take more than a few steps to fix it. With only the code-ridden real DOM as their tool, developers have to update the UI manually. This means they must go through lines and lines of code and spend a large portion of time trying to find the anomaly to fix it. In consequence, your application’s performance will suffer. 

This is one of the greatest advantages of ReactJS. With React’s virtual DOM, you can update the real DOM regularly without any fuss. It’s a feature that speeds up the real DOM’s operations, which tend to be slow. The virtual DOM’s task is to mirror your application’s real DOM so it can easily distinguish and update any changes you make to the code. ReactJS makes updating your software an effortless and time-saving task. So much so that your application’s performance will not at all be disturbed as you try to improve your digital product.

Reusable Components

Components are essentially the building blocks of a UI. They contain commands that render the desired output. Behind these components are multiple lines of code as well. If popular social media applications have at least 10,000 components, you can imagine just how much code developers need to write to produce a full-fledged application. 

What is at stake is the time it takes to develop a single application. But the good news is this is quickly solved by making components reusable, another one of the main advantages of ReactJS. These reusable components can be duplicated if the developer needs different UIs with similar functions. They can also reuse a component to build upon it. Either way, you reduce the time it takes to develop your app with this productive ReactJS feature. 

Image credits to Pexels

The Advantages of ReactJS: What You Can Build

The idea for ReactJS stemmed from the very challenging task of building UIs efficiently. It’s the main library for creating UIs written in JavaScript, and its environment — although versatile — is optimized for single-page applications (SPAs). These are apps that render real-time updates as users scroll through their screens. Big companies such as Netflix and Reddit owe their sleek UI design to ReactJS.

The other types of software you can build with ReactJS include:

Image credits to Pexels

Do the Advantages of ReactJS Outweigh Those of Plain JavaScript?

Many people have asked what the differences are between ReactJS and plain JavaScript. Naturally, the same people have also wondered whether the former is significantly better than the latter. 

However, both questions assume ReactJS and JavaScript are directly comparable technologies — when the truth is, they’re not. While ReactJS makes UI developers’ job much easier, it’s plain to see that at the core of ReactJS is JavaScript. The two are inextricably linked to each other.

JavaScript can execute anything you can conceive with ReactJS, including SPAs, multi-page websites, and dashboards. The only difference lies in the way an application is developed. Moreover, different projects call for different libraries. ReactJS is perfect for SPAs, but let’s say you want to create general web applications you need to test regularly. Then you might want to look into JavaScript’s Angular library. 

There are tons of libraries that make coding with JavaScript easier, and each one caters to your product’s specific needs.

In Summary

The main difference between JavaScript and ReactJS is that the former is the scripting language used for the latter. ReactJS improves the development of JavaScript-based applications, especially SPAs. 

Other types of software you can create with ReactJS include:

The main features you can find on ReactJS are:

  • The Virtual Document Object Model, and
  • Reusable Components

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NarraSoft’s outsourcing services range from project development to business processes. You can expect services involving data entry, technical support, 3D art creation, software development, and so many more. Want to partner with NarraSoft? Send an email to sales@narrasoft.com!

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan is a content and copy writer. She has written for a popular business daily in the Philippines and for various startups across the globe before transitioning to work for NarraSoft. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a bachelor's degree in journalism.