React has become one of the most popular front-end development tools in recent years, and for good reason. Its flexibility, performance, and community support make it an ideal choice for building web applications.
However, when building a new app or site fully with React, you might find yourself wondering whether you should use a framework or build your own custom setup. While both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, in this article, we'll explain why we recommend using a framework for your next project.
As your data fetching needs become more complex, you may encounter server-client network waterfalls that make your app feel slow. With a React framework, you can take advantage of server-side rendering, which allows you to generate HTML from your components to display content early on the server or during the build time. This can greatly improve your app's performance and user experience, especially for users with poor network conditions and low-end devices.
React frameworks give structure to your code, helping you and others retain context and skills between different projects. Frameworks like Next.js and Gatsby have predefined project structures and conventions, making it easier for developers to navigate and understand the codebase. This can also make it easier to onboard new team members and improve overall code quality. With a custom setup, you may end up creating your own framework, albeit one with no community or upgrade path.
Each React framework has a community, so finding answers to questions and upgrading tooling is easier. This means that if you encounter any issues or have questions, you can easily find help through online forums, documentation, or by reaching out to the community directly.
React frameworks allow you to start lean and scale your app as you need it. With pre-built functionality and optimized performance, you can focus on building features and creating a great user experience. This can lead to faster development times and more efficient use of resources. which can greatly simplify the development process.
Performance is a crucial factor for any web application, and React frameworks provide several advantages that can significantly improve the performance of your app. Let's take a look at some of these advantages:
Fetching data from an API or server can be a time-consuming process, especially when dealing with large datasets. React frameworks provide advanced data fetching capabilities that help reduce the time it takes to load and display data. For example, Next.js offers a built-in getStaticProps function that allows you to fetch data at build time and generate static HTML pages. This approach can significantly reduce the time it takes to load your app and improve performance.
Caching is an essential technique for improving the performance of web applications. React frameworks provide advanced caching mechanisms that can significantly improve the performance of your app. For example, Next.js provides built-in caching for dynamic routes, which allows you to cache pages and data on the server and improve load times for subsequent requests.
Lazy loading is a technique that defers the loading of non-critical resources until they are needed. React frameworks provide built-in support for lazy loading, allowing you to load images, videos, and other resources only when they are needed. This approach can significantly improve the initial load time of your app and improve the user experience.
Next.js is a React framework that offers versatility for creating apps of any size, ranging from a static blog to a complex dynamic application. It's considered production-grade and provides a full-stack solution.
To initiate a new project with Next.js, simply execute the command in your terminal
Remix is an all-in-one React framework with nested routing, providing the ability to divide your application into nested parts that can retrieve data in parallel and refresh in response to user actions.
You can create a new Remix project by simply running
Gatsby is a powerful React framework designed for building fast CMS-backed websites. With its GraphQL data layer and vast plugin ecosystem, Gatsby makes it easy to integrate content, APIs, and services into a single website.
To initiate a new Gatsby project, simply run the following command
By using a framework, you can focus on building your app's features and functionality, rather than worrying about the underlying infrastructure.
If you're still not convinced or your app has unusual constraints not served well by these frameworks and you'd like to roll your own custom setup, You can grab React and react-dom from npm, set up your custom build process with a bundler like Vite or Parcel, and add other tools as you need them for routing, static generation or server-side rendering, and more. However, if you want to ensure optimal performance for your app, a React framework is the way to go.
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