What we have in China about React.js

React is popular among English users. And it’s also popular in China. I’m going to talk about it. Probably I have talked on it before on Twitter or somewhere, this time is a little different. There are several day left before Dafeng take over the forum of http://react-china.org . I start that forum at about Oct 2014, 2 years ago, after talking with xvfeng after attending his meetup in Shanghai. It’s a long journey.

In China, there are a lot of front-end developers. We have Alibaba with lots companies under the group, we also have Tencent, and a lot of internet companies that are not famous around the globe. Some of them are targeting the Chinese market, you will probably never know it. Some of them are open to share, some are not. China is big enough, with a lot of programmers. I’m currently working in Eleme, and my previous one is Teambiton, and the story began there.

Back in 2014 we were looking for a powerful tool to replace Backbone that was powering our apps. Some are trying Angular, Vue was new at the time, and lots of other libraries. I chose React because of the “uni-directional data flow” feature. But in China there was not many people working on this area. They were watching, and slowly trying privately. I have to find people use React by myself. I know they are there, but I don’t know them.

Before that, I have been an active member in Chinese Node.js community even though I don’t program web servers. I spent two years in the forum and I already familiar with situation.

In China, we don’t use IRCs often, and text messages, maybe, but not quite. Since we started learning to use computer, there was QQ from Tencent, then in 2010 we have Weibo from Sina, around 2014 I started picking up WeChat since people use it for contact during the meetups. These three apps are like Facebook and Twitter, a lot people are using them every day.

At first, I registered an standalone Weibo account called react-china to broadcast news on React. Long time after that, I noticed IFTTT can do that for me, so now all the messages are posted via IFTTT. And I talked about about React on Weibo and started to know people. Now we have 5k+ followers and 8k+ tweets there.

I forgot when we created that WeChat group. It’s also very popular. However WeChat is more likely a private place to communicate. There are some limitations, you cannot join directly by scanning QR code to join, and one group can only contain 500 people. So it become tough work to add people into group at last. Now there are two groups, about 600+ people in total. More and more people still are joining.

And in that October, I rented server on DigitalOcean and Deployed Discourse on it, with the domain react-china.org . I used that domain since the Ruby community from Taobao chose ruby-china. And there was python-china too. Two year pasted, now there are 5k+ registered users. Every day tens more 100+ are browsing the site, not counting the anonymous users. Forum is still very popular among the Chinese developers, you can see more of that from https://gocn.io/, https://ruby-china.org/topics and http://cnodejs.org/.

I also got a Google Analytics for the forum. It’s not exactly accurate since Google is far from China. But you can see from the graph that there are 6k+ sessions per day. I don’t know how it’s compared to the English world. But it’s huge to me. And thanks to Facebook’s continues work, the number is still growing.

SegmentFault is a site like StackOverflow, that react.js tag there contains lots of questions and blogs. I cannot read the number but it’s very active tag. People help with each other there and blogs there. I do that too.

There are also hundreds of developers in communicating withQQ from Tencent. That group was created by my friend. Nearly 2k people are there. Personally I consider people on QQ are more chatty, and it has pros and cons. It may have been existed for more than 2 years too.

We also had offline talks in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and React related talks inside other talks around JavaScript. The bad part is that most meetups are not well documented. I can find one collection of photos on React Native at Guangzhou. I guess that tens of talks are given during that past two years. We have to do more in the future. Only a few photos by tracking back on Weibo:

After I left Teambiton, I got less time to do research on React. Eleme is a big fan of Vue since we have lots of mobile pages that requiring light weight dependencies. We do use React, but it’s far from what I have done in Teambiton. And I’m behaving more like a ClojureScript enthusiast now. React is only are part of the job. It became harder to catch up with the updates from Facebook and the communities. Even further, I consider virtual DOM in ClojureScript superior, though in theory.

So I talked with Dafeng and decided to hand the forum over to him since Strikingly is a heavy user of React. And I believe that he can do a lot more than I do in spreading React in China. After all I’m very shy, I never went abroad, and somehow I’m an odd Lisp programmer. There are a lot of work to do like React Confs, maintaining documents, doing speeches. I can see a lot of possibilities in China, by comparing to that in English world.

Well, there’s Vue and Angular groups in China too. The ClojureScript community here is very small. You can talk to me if you want to know more.

So these are my overview of the last two years about React forum. By the way there’s a navigation listing all the places I mentioned above. Check it as you like:

I forgot to mention about the React Native part. They built another site for it. And also WeChat groups and QQ groups. I’m not active member on that aspect. Maybe someone else will write about it later.

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