It is better because we have React now.
Could you expand? How is React better for developers? How is React better for the end users?
React is better because it is more popular. Therefore there are more jobs for developers who know it.
As long as you can create a website that works well and solves the customer's problems, no one is going to know whether you used React or not.
Shouldn't we all be writing everything in Java then?
Java isn't hip and new. Also, React is a frontend framework, which Java is not.
React has a great following among developers who rate it as the best thing since sliced bread. I wouldn't dispute that, but I have concerns that once the product is delivered it's usually out of the hands of the developer and into those of a maintainer, who can't be guaranteed to have the same love for the framework or experience in using it.
It's fine if your customer is big, with pockets deep enough to maintain a pool of React (or Angular, Vue etc.) programmers and keep them motivated during those times when no maintenance is needed, but that doesn't cover everyone by a long chalk. For the rest, no, things haven't gotten any better - just more complicated.
React is easy to pick up as it has a small surface API. A maintainer will learn it easily and reason about the code without many issues. It's certainly much easier to maintain than a jQuery or Angular 1 app. Therefore React makes things better.
Note: I am supported in this view by the author of How Fast Can You Learn React?
How does that improve things for end users? End users generally don't know or care about React.
They don't need to know. React is fast and good at managing state. Developers love it, and can make smooth, performant websites with it. It's not the customers who typically choose the framework, they just want a good website.
They can also make them without React and React is one of the heaviest of current generation of client side front end tools, by itself. Without a router. Without an additional state library like Redux. Un-code-split-able. So what's extra good about React for users that justifies "taxing" users with React?
Kinda playing devil's advocate here, since I do think there are use cases that React is the best choice for. I just also think it's used way too much when it's not.
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