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React JS Architecture - The Complete Guide

React JS Architecture - The Complete Guide
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Let’s dive into this blog, where we’ll look into React JS architecture, explore its fundamental concepts, and guide you through implementing React architecture patterns. Get ready to elevate your web development skills to new heights! 

Table of Contents

Watch our React JS video tutorial for practical tips to learn React:

What is React Architecture?

What is React Architecture?

React is a popular JavaScript library for building web user interfaces. React architecture centers around components, which are reusable building blocks for the user interface. These components manage their own state and can update when that state changes. React uses a virtual DOM to efficiently update only the parts of the webpage that need changing, reducing the need to manipulate the real DOM directly. 

React also follows a unidirectional data flow, meaning data moves from parent to child components. This architecture promotes a structured and efficient way to create dynamic and responsive web applications. Its architecture can be broken down into three main parts; let us discuss each one of them in detail-

React Elements

React elements are the basic building blocks of a React application. They represent the smallest units of a user interface and are often referred to as virtual DOM (Document Object Model) elements. Each React element is a lightweight, immutable object that describes what should appear on the screen. React elements are typically created using JSX, a syntax extension for JavaScript that allows developers to write HTML-like code within their JavaScript files.

For example, a simple React element in JSX might look like this:

const element = <h1>Hello, React!</h1>;

This element represents a heading with the text “Hello, React!” and can be rendered in a React application.

JSX

JSX (JavaScript XML) is a syntax extension for JavaScript that allows developers to write HTML-like code directly within their JavaScript files. It is a key feature of React and is used to define the structure and appearance of React elements. JSX makes it more intuitive and readable to create user interfaces in React by providing a familiar HTML-like syntax.

Here’s an example of JSX code:

const name = "React";
const element = <h1>Hello, {name}!</h1>;

React Components

React components form the core of a React app, serving as reusable, self-contained code units that encapsulate specific UI elements. Composing these components is the usual approach to constructing React applications.

A React component is defined as a JavaScript class or a function. It takes in data, called props (short for properties), and returns a hierarchy of React Elements. Components can have their own internal state, which allows them to store and manage data that can change over time.

In this example, Greeting is a React Component that takes a name prop and renders a greeting message.

function Greeting(props) {
  return <h1>Hello, {props.name}!</h1>;
}

Lifecycle methods are functions that are automatically run at various stages in a component’s life, such as when it is first created, modified, or deleted. You can use these methods to control side effects, handle data updates, and interact with the DOM.

To use a component, simply include it in your JSX code as you would any HTML tag:

const element = <Greeting name="React" />;

Ready to build amazing user interfaces? Join our React course today!

Why is React JS Architecture Important?

Why is React JS Architecture Important?

React JS architecture is crucial for web development for several reasons:

  • Efficient UI Rendering: React’s Virtual DOM and reconciliation algorithm allow it to update only the parts of the user interface that have changed. This minimizes unnecessary DOM manipulation, resulting in faster and more efficient rendering of web pages.
  • Component Reusability: React Components promote modular design. You can create reusable, self-contained components that can be easily combined to build complex user interfaces. This reusability saves development time and ensures consistency in the UI.
  • Improved Code Maintainability: React’s component-based architecture and JSX syntax make the codebase more organized and readable. Developers can work on different parts of the application without interfering with each other, simplifying collaboration and long-term maintenance.
  • Declarative Programming: In React, it follows a declarative method, where developers describe how they want the user interface to appear at a certain time. This makes the task of creating user interfaces simpler because developers don’t have to concern themselves with the detailed, step-by-step process of changing the DOM (Document Object Model).
  • Vibrant Ecosystem: React’s popularity has led to a vast ecosystem of libraries, tools, and community support. This rich ecosystem provides solutions for various aspects of web development, from routing and state management to testing and debugging, making it an excellent choice for web development projects.

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How to Implement React Architecture Pattern

Implementing a React architecture pattern involves structuring your React application in a way that promotes maintainability, scalability, and code organization. While React itself doesn’t prescribe a specific architecture, there are popular patterns and best practices that developers commonly follow. 

1. Project Setup

Start by setting up your React project. You can use tools like the Create React App or set up your project manually. The choice of development tools and libraries may depend on your project’s specific requirements, but a basic project structure usually includes the following:

  • src: This is where your application source code resides.
  • components: Create a folder to store your React components. These components are reusable pieces of your user interface.
  • containers: This folder can house components that handle data and state management. They often contain business logic and are responsible for data fetching and manipulation.
  • App.js: App.js: Your main application component brings all the pieces together.

2. Component Creation

In a React architecture, your application is constructed through components, which act as the fundamental building blocks for your user interface. Ideally, each component should adhere to the Single Responsibility Principle (SRP) by focusing on a singular task or function.

For instance, you might create components like Header, Sidebar, ProductList, and CartItem. These components should be self-contained, meaning they should not depend on global variables and should be reusable across your application.

3. Props and State

Props and state are fundamental concepts in React architecture. Props (short for properties) allow you to pass data from parent components to child components. State is used to manage data that can change over time.

  • Props: Use props to pass data and configuration to your components. For example, you can pass a product’s details to the Product component as props.
<Product name="Laptop" price={999.99} />
  • State: State is used for data that can change within a component. For instance, a shopping cart component might maintain the state of the items in the cart.
class ShoppingCart extends React.Component {
  constructor() {
    super();
    this.state = {
      items: []
    };
  }
  // ...
}

4. Component Composition

React encourages component composition, meaning you build complex UIs by combining smaller, simpler components. This promotes reusability and makes your code more maintainable.

For instance, your App component may include child components like Header, Sidebar, and ProductList to create the complete application layout.

function App() {
  return (
    <div>
      <Header />
      <div className="content">
        <Sidebar />
        <ProductList />
      </div>
    </div>
  );
}

5. State Management

For more complex applications, you might need state management solutions like Redux or React’s built-in useState and useReducer hooks. State management allows you to centralize and manage the state of your application, making it easier to share data between components.

For instance, Redux provides a global store where you can store and access the application state.

6. Routing

In many React applications, you need to handle navigation between different views or pages. The React Router library is a popular choice for managing routing in React applications. You can define routes and components to render for each route.

import { BrowserRouter as Router, Route, Switch } from 'react-router-dom';
function App() {
  return (
    <Router>
      <Switch>
        <Route path="/" exact component={Home} />
        <Route path="/products" component={ProductList} />
        <Route path="/cart" component={ShoppingCart} />
      </Switch>
    </Router>
  );
}

7. Component Lifecycle

React components have a lifecycle, which includes methods that are automatically called at various points in a component’s existence. You can use these methods to perform actions like data fetching, UI updates, and cleanup.

For instance, you might use the componentDidMount lifecycle method to fetch data when a component is mounted:

class ProductList extends React.Component {
  componentDidMount() {
    // Fetch product data from an API
  }
  // ...
}

8. Code Organization

Effective code organization is crucial for maintainability. Keep related components, styles, and utility functions together. Group components by feature or functionality and maintain a clear folder structure.

A common structure might look like this:

  • components
  • Product
  • Cart
  • Common (for shared components)
  • containers
  • ProductList
  • ShoppingCart
  • styles (for CSS or styling-related files)
  • utils (for utility functions)

9. Testing

Testing is a critical part of building robust React applications. Use testing libraries like Jest and tools like React Testing Library to write unit tests for your components and integration tests for your application.

Ensure that your components and application behave as expected and continue to work correctly as you make changes.

10. Build and Deployment

When your application is ready for deployment, use tools like Webpack or create-react-app’s build script to bundle your application for production. This creates optimized, minified, and production-ready code.

You can then deploy your React application to a web server, a content delivery network (CDN), or a hosting platform like Netlify, Vercel, or GitHub Pages.

To get in-depth knowledge of ReactJS, check out our ReactJS Tutorial!

React Architecture Diagram for Building Large Web Applications

Incorporating this React architecture into your web development projects will help you create robust, scalable, and maintainable applications that can meet the demands of a rapidly evolving digital domain.

Here are some reasons why this architecture stands out as an ideal choice for creating expansive React applications:

  • Consistent Global State: The React architecture establishes a Central State Management repository within the application. This repository greatly enhances data communication between various components, ensuring a seamless user experience.
  • Increased Scalability: This architecture optimizes interactions with backend services, enhancing efficiency and scalability. As your application grows, it adapts effortlessly to handle higher workloads and data flow.
  • Improved Testability: Thanks to React’s component-based nature, testing becomes more straightforward. You can systematically test individual components, ensuring the reliability of your application.
  • Decoupled Components: React’s design philosophy emphasizes a component-based approach to software development. By breaking down the application into distinct parts, it becomes easier to manage and maintain, reducing complexity and facilitating updates.

Applying for a Front End Developer job? Read our blog on React JS Interview Questions and get yourself prepared!

React Architecture Best Practices 

The below-listed React architecture best practices will help you build efficient, maintainable, and user-friendly React applications.

  • Component Modularity- Break down your application into smaller, reusable components. Each component should have a specific job, making your code easier to manage and maintain.
  • State Management- Use a state management system like Redux to centralize and control the data flow within your app. This ensures a consistent and predictable data flow, especially in larger applications.
  • Routing with React Router- Use React Router to handle navigation and routing in your application. This makes it easy to create multiple pages and manage user interactions without reloading the entire page.
  • Efficient Data Fetching- Opt for asynchronous data fetching techniques, such as Axios or Fetch API, to retrieve data from external sources like APIs. This ensures that your app remains responsive and doesn’t block user interactions during data loading.
  • Testing and Debugging- Make testing a habit. Write unit tests for your components and use debugging tools like the React DevTools extension to identify and fix issues quickly. This practice saves time and ensures your app works as expected.

Conclusion

React JS architecture offers a powerful foundation for web development. Its component-based structure promotes modularity, making it easier to create and maintain applications. The efficient state management and routing provided by tools like Redux and React Router enhance data flow and user navigation. Using asynchronous data fetching techniques ensures responsiveness, even with extensive data requirements. Lastly, prioritizing testing and debugging guarantees reliability. React’s architecture empowers developers to build robust, scalable, and user-friendly web applications, making it a top choice for those seeking a dynamic and efficient framework for modern web development.

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FAQs

How do state management work in React architecture, and when should I use Redux?

React uses a local state for managing component-specific data. When an application becomes more complex, or you need to share data between components, you can use libraries like Redux. Redux provides a centralized store for managing the application’s global state, making it easy to access and update data across components.

What is React JS architecture, and why is it important for web development?

React JS architecture is a structured approach to building web applications using the React JavaScript library. The React library has a strong foundation, offering simplicity, flexibility, and extensibility. It’s essential because it provides a framework for creating interactive and efficient user interfaces. React’s component-based architecture simplifies development, making it easier to manage and update complex applications.

What is the Virtual DOM in React, and how does it improve performance?

The Virtual DOM is a critical concept in React architecture. It’s a lightweight representation of the actual DOM, and React uses it to update the user interface efficiently. When changes occur, React efficiently compares the Virtual DOM to the actual DOM, pinpointing only the essential updates, thereby minimizing rendering time and improving performance.

Is React architecture suitable for building large-scale applications?

Yes, React is well-suited for large-scale applications. React JS architecture involves a set of components utilized in creating user interfaces for software applications, including elements like forms, buttons, and API services, among others. Its component-based structure and state management capabilities make it scalable and maintainable. React can efficiently handle the complexity of extensive web applications while delivering a great user experience.

What is the significance of React components in the architecture?

React components are the building blocks of a React application. They represent different parts of the user interface. Components can be reused, making the architecture modular and maintainable. This modular structure allows for easier development, testing, and debugging.

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About the Author

Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science

Presenting Sahil Mattoo, a Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science at Eli Lilly and Company is an accomplished professional with 14 years of experience across data science, analytics, and technical leadership domains, demonstrates a remarkable ability to drive business insights. Sahil holds a Post Graduate Program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence from Great Lakes Institute of Management.