Reacting favorably to a simple framework

After weeks of trying to wrap my head around Backbone, along comes an assignment on React and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Mere days after celebrating having reached the halfway point in code school at The Iron Yard, our homework assignment was to watch a video and do a little research to learn more about React, a JavaScript library for building user interfaces.

The assigned video — Pete Hunt’s presentation React: Rethinking best practices — resulted in more questions than answers about a framework that veers off the MVC path and focuses more on the “View” part of the software development equation.

Some could argue that the “V” represents the framework’s Virtual DOM or its other term of endearment — “Vanilla JavaScript.” The open-source library was designed by developers at Facebook, with a goal to create a simple framework that focuses more on the user interface as well as giving developers the ability to build larger applications that use data that changes over a period of time. Large companies including Instagram, PayPal, Netflix, Bleacher Report and Airbnb all use React.

The decision to dig deeper to gain a better understanding of this new library resulted in spending several hours reading a host of articles of best practices from large companies that made the switch to the framework, as well as signing up for an additional online class.

Further research also netted a video Introduction to React.js from Facebook developers Tony Occhino and Jordan Walke. While the video is lengthy, the gem is the Q&A session that follows the duo’s presentation. There’s no better way to learn about the framework than hearing from the developers who came up with the concept. Where’s the “like” button?

I now understand why this framework is getting a lot of attention among software developers and businesses. I look forward to building applications using this framework in the future.

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