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React Tutorial: How to Build Interactive User Interfaces

Embarking On The React Journey

Welcome to this comprehensive React JS tutorial! In this guide, we will explore different React concepts Whether you are a seasoned web developer or just starting your coding journey, this tutorial will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to create dynamic and scalable applications using React.

What is React JS?

React is one of the most popular, efficient, and powerful open-source JavaScript libraries for building dynamic and interactive user interfaces. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced developer, React Tutorials will significantly enhance your development skills. React JS is not a framework, it is a javascript library.

Why Learn React.js?

React.js has emerged as a powerhouse in the realm of front-end web development.

Let’s explore why learning React.js is not just a choice but a strategic move toward mastering the art of web development.

1. Declarative and Component-Based:

  • React adopts a declarative approach, allowing developers to describe how the UI should look based on the current application state.

  • Its component-based architecture enables the creation of modular, reusable UI elements.

  • This results in cleaner, more maintainable code.


// Example of a React Component
import React from 'react';

const MyComponent = () => {
  return <h1>Hello, React!</h1>;
};

export default MyComponent;

2. Efficient and Fast Rendering:

  • React employs a virtual DOM, a lightweight copy of the actual DOM, to enhance rendering speed.

  • By efficiently updating only the React elements affected by changes, React minimizes the need for extensive DOM manipulation, leading to improved performance and a smoother user experience.

3. React Native for Cross-Platform Development:

  • React isn’t limited to web development; React Native extends its capabilities to mobile app development.

  • By leveraging the same React principles, developers can build high-quality, native mobile applications for both iOS and Android platforms.

4. In-Demand Skill in the Job Market:

  • React.js proficiency is a sought-after skill in the job market. Many companies, ranging from startups to tech giants, use React in their projects.

  • Mastering React can open doors to a wide array of job opportunities and career advancements.

Refer to the original documentation at react.dev to learn more about react and its advantages and disadvantages.

Start with React

Let’s kick off this React JS tutorial by setting it up.

Step 1: Install Node.js and npm

Make sure you have Node.js and npm (Node Package Manager) installed on your machine. You can download them from nodejs.org , and npm will automatically install.

Step 2: Install Create React App

Open your terminal or command prompt and run the following command to install Create React App globally:

npm install -g create-react-app

Step 3: Create a New React App

Once Create React App is installed, you can create a new React app using the following command:

npx create-react-app my-react-app

Replace “my-react-app” with your desired project name. This command will create a new folder with the specified name and set up a basic React project inside it.

Step 4: Navigate to Your Project Folder

Move into the newly created project folder:

cd my-react-app

Step 5: Start the Development Server

To launch your React app in development mode, run the following command:

npm start

This will start the development server which should appear like the gif attached above, you can view your React app by navigating to http://localhost:3000 in your web browser.

Follow this video for a step-by-step guide on setting up React applications

Folder Structure Overview

After creating a new React app, you’ll find a well-organized folder structure. Here’s a brief overview of the essential folders and files:

Folder/FileDescription
publicContains public assets like HTML files and images.
index.htmlMain HTML file where your react code is mounted
srcSource code of your React app.
index.jsThe entry point of your React app
App.jsThe main component representing your application
App.cssStyles specific to the App component
index.cssGlobal styles for the entire application
logo.svgExample svg image
node_modulesContains the project dependencies.
package.jsonConfiguration file holding metadata about your project.
http://readme.md/The file contains information about your project.

Now that we have completed the setup and understood the basic folder structure let’s understand the features of ReactJS

Understanding ReactJS Features

Before we dive into building applications with React, let’s take a moment to understand some of its key features.

1. Virtual DOM and its Benefits

  • One of the standout features of ReactJS is its use of a Virtual DOM (Document Object Model).

  • In traditional web applications, any change in the state of a component triggers a re-rendering of the entire DOM tree.

  • This can be inefficient, especially when dealing with large and complex applications. However, React takes a different approach.

  • It compares the previous state of the react element with the current state and only updates the changes in the real DOM.

  • By leveraging the Virtual DOM, React significantly improves the speed of rendering web applications compared to conventional web applications that update all components again.

  • This makes React an ideal choice for building high-performance applications.

Refer to this blog virtual-dom-in-react to learn more about virtual dom in react components

2. Component-Based Development

Another key feature of ReactJS is its component-based approach to building applications. React allows developers to break down an application into multiple components, each responsible for a specific portion of the user interface.

This component-based architecture offers several advantages.

  1. It promotes code reusability: you can reuse components easily across different parts of an application.
  2. It improves maintainability, as each component is responsible for a specific functionality and can be easily tested in isolation.
  3. It enhances collaboration among team members, as different developers can work on different components simultaneously.

Let’s take a look at an example of nesting components within each other using JSX syntax, which we’ll discuss in more detail later:


import React from "react";
import ReactDOM from "react-dom";

function Header() {
  return <h1>Welcome to React APP!</h1>;
}

function Content() {
  return (
    <div>
      <p style={{ color: "blue" }}>Let's Learn React JS With Purecode.</p>
    </div>
  );
}

function Footer() {
  return <footer>© 2022 My App Sample Footer</footer>;
}

function App() {
  return (
    <div style={{ textAlign: "center" }}>
      <Header />
      <Content />
      <Footer />
    </div>
  );
}

const rootElement = document.getElementById("root");
ReactDOM.render(<App />, rootElement);

In this example,

  • We have an App component that serves as the root component of our application.

  • It consists of three child components: Header, Content, and Footer.

  • Each of these components is responsible for rendering a specific part of the UI.

By breaking down our application into smaller, manageable components, we can create reusable and independent pieces of code, making our application more maintainable and efficient.

By now, you know the basics of how to write React code!

Ready to get hands-on with what we have learned so far? Try using React components in your applications and exploring the different features React has in store for you. To make your development journey even easier explore Purecode.ai

PureCode has designed and built a developer tool that turns a design image into fully functional front-end code. It allows you to ship code faster and cheaper.

Introducing JSX – React’s Markup Language

  • In React, we use JSX (JavaScript XML) to create arbitrary HTML elements using a syntax similar to HTML.

  • JSX simplifies the creation of HTML documents and improves performance.

  • It allows us to write HTML-like code directly in our JavaScript files.

Here’s an example of creating a basic HTML element using JSX:

import React from 'react';

function App() {
  return <h1>Hello, React!</h1>;
}

export default App;

In this example, we have an App component that renders an <h1> element with the text “Hello, React!”. The JSX syntax allows us to seamlessly integrate HTML elements into our JavaScript code.

One important thing to note is that JSX must be transpiled into regular JavaScript before it can be executed in the browser. This is where tools like Babel come into play, which automatically transforms JSX syntax into regular JavaScript syntax during the build process.

Here is an article in official react documentation introducing-jsx that explains JSX in detail

How React Achieves One-Way Data Binding?

Data flow is a crucial aspect of building dynamic applications. In React, data flows from parent components to child components in a unidirectional manner. This concept is known as one-way data binding.

In one-way data binding, the parent component passes data down to its child components through props. Child components cannot directly modify the data passed to them; they can only use it for rendering or pass it further down the component hierarchy.

This approach simplifies data handling and reduces complexity. It allows us to have a clear flow of data within our application, making it easier to debug and maintain.

Here’s an example of one-way data binding in action:

import React from 'react';

function App() {
  const message = 'Hello, From Parent Component!';

  return <ChildComponent message={message} />;
}

function ChildComponent(props) {
  return <h1>{props.message}</h1>;
}

export default App;

In this example,

  • The App component passes a message prop to the ChildComponent component.

  • The ChildComponent then uses this prop to render an <h1> element with the message “Hello, From Parent Component!”.

By following the one-way data binding approach, we maintain a clear and predictable flow of data within our application.

Lifecycle Methods For Handling Complex Data Flow Efficiently

One of the reasons ReactJS is well-suited for building dynamic applications is its ability to handle complex data flow efficiently. React provides several lifecycle methods that allow developers to perform actions at specific points in a component’s lifecycle.

Some commonly used lifecycle methods include

  1. componentWillMount(): It is called before the initial render

  2. componentDidMount(): It is called immediately after a component is mounted. This is a good place to fetch data from an API or set up any subscriptions

  3. componentWillUnmount(): It is called just before a component is unmounted.

  4. shouldComponentUpdate(): It is called before rendering when new props or states are received

  5. componentDidUpdate(): It is called immediately after the component updates

By using these lifecycle methods effectively, we can handle complex data flow scenarios and ensure our components are always in sync with the latest data.

Let’s take a look at an example of efficiently handling data flow in a dynamic web application:

import React, { useState, useEffect } from "react";
import ReactDOM from "react-dom";

function App() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  useEffect(() => {
    document.title = `Count: ${count}`;

    return () => {
      document.title = "React App Tutorial";
    };
  }, [count]);

  return (
    <div>
      <h2> Let's Learn LifeCycle Methods Of React With Purecode</h2>
      <p>Count: {count}</p>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>Increment</button>
    </div>
  );
}

export default App;

const rootElement = document.getElementById("root");
ReactDOM.render(<App />, rootElement);


In this example,

  • We have an App component that maintains a count state using the useState hook.

  • We also utilize the useEffect hook to update the document title whenever the count state changes.

  • The cleanup function returned by the useEffect hook sets the title back to “React App Tutorial” when the component is unmounted.

By leveraging the power of lifecycle methods and hooks, we can create dynamic applications that handle complex data flow efficiently.

Styling React Components

  • Styling is a crucial aspect of any user interface.

  • While traditional web development uses CSS files for styling, React offers an alternative approach called CSS-in-JS.

  • CSS-in-JS libraries like styled components allow you to write CSS directly in JavaScript, providing better control and modularity.

Here’s an example of using styled components for styling a component:

import React from "react";
import ReactDOM from "react-dom";
import styled from "styled-components";

const Button = styled.button`
  background-color: #007bff;
  color: #fff;
  padding: 10px 20px;
  border: none;
  border-radius: 4px;
  cursor: pointer;
  transition: background-color 0.3s ease;

  &:hover {
    background-color: green;
  }

  @media (max-width: 768px) {
    /* Adjust styling for smaller screens */
    padding: 80px 100px;
    font-size: 14px;
  }
`;

function App() {
  return (
    <div>
      <h2>Let's Learn Styling With React & Purecode</h2>
      <Button>Click me</Button>
    </div>
  );
}

const rootElement = document.getElementById("root");
ReactDOM.render(<App />, rootElement);

In this example,

  1. We define a Button component using styled components.

  2. The CSS styles are defined directly within the JavaScript code using template literals.

  3. This allows us to easily customize the styles of our components without the need for separate CSS files.

By embracing CSS-in-JS libraries like styled components, you can create modular and reusable styles that seamlessly integrate with your React components.

Here is a detailed video tutorial on styling in React and how we can leverage it in React components for building web applications.

React State Management Approaches

1. React Hooks: Local Component State

In React, state management is fundamental, and the introduction of React Hooks has provided an elegant solution for managing state within functional components. The two primary hooks, useState and useEffect, simplify local state management and side effect handling, respectively.

  • useState Hook: Enables components to manage local state effortlessly. For instance, it can be used to control the state of a counter or any component-specific data.

  • useEffect Hook: Handles side effects within functional components, such as fetching data from an API or subscribing to external events.

2. Redux: Global State Management

For larger applications with complex state logic, Redux is a widely adopted state management library. It introduces a structured pattern involving actions, reducers, and a store to manage the global state of the application.

  • Actions and Reducers: Actions define state changes, and reducers specify how the state should change in response to actions. For example, a counter application might have an action to increment the count and a reducer to update the state accordingly.

  • Redux Store: Acts as a centralized repository for the state, providing a single source of truth for the entire application.

  • Provider Component: Wraps the application, making the Redux store accessible to all nested components.

Let’s Build A TO-DO App Using React

A to-do list application is a classic example of how React can be used to build an interactive user interface. With React’s component-based approach and efficient data handling, creating a to-do list application becomes a breeze.

// App.js 
import React, { useState } from "react";
import ReactDOM from "react-dom";
import Todo from "./Todo";
import TodoForm from "./TodoForm";

const App = () => {
  const [todos, setTodos] = useState([]);

  const addTodo = (text) => {
    const newTodos = [...todos, { text, isCompleted: false }];
    setTodos(newTodos);
  };

  const completeTodo = (index) => {
    const newTodos = [...todos];
    newTodos[index].isCompleted = true;
    setTodos(newTodos);
  };

  const removeTodo = (index) => {
    const newTodos = [...todos];
    newTodos.splice(index, 1);
    setTodos(newTodos);
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Todo App</h1>
      <TodoForm addTodo={addTodo} />
      {todos.map((todo, index) => (
        <Todo
          key={index}
          index={index}
          todo={todo}
          completeTodo={completeTodo}
          removeTodo={removeTodo}
        />
      ))}
    </div>
  );
};

export default App;

const rootElement = document.getElementById("root");
ReactDOM.render(<App />, rootElement);
// Todo.js
import React from "react";

const Todo = ({ todo, index, completeTodo, removeTodo }) => {
  return (
    <div style={{ textDecoration: todo.isCompleted ? "line-through" : "" }}>
      {todo.text}
      <button onClick={() => completeTodo(index)}>Complete</button>
      <button onClick={() => removeTodo(index)}>Remove</button>
    </div>
  );
};

export default Todo;

// TodoForm.js
import React, { useState } from "react";

const TodoForm = ({ addTodo }) => {
  const [value, setValue] = useState("");

  const handleSubmit = (e) => {
    e.preventDefault();
    if (!value) return;
    addTodo(value);
    setValue("");
  };

  return (
    <form onSubmit={handleSubmit}>
      <input
        type="text"
        placeholder="Add Todo..."
        value={value}
        onChange={(e) => setValue(e.target.value)}
      />
      <button type="submit">Add</button>
    </form>
  );
};

export default TodoForm;

These examples demonstrate how React can be applied in real-world scenarios. With its component-based architecture, efficient data flow, and extensive ecosystem of libraries and tools, React provides a solid foundation for building user interfaces.

React: Your Gateway To Dynamic Web Development

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of this comprehensive React tutorial. We have covered the fundamentals of ReactJS, its features, architecture, lifecycle methods, styling options, state management, and practical applications.

ReactJS offers a powerful and flexible framework for building user interfaces. Its component-based approach, efficient data flow, and extensive ecosystem make it a popular choice among web developers.

As you continue your journey with React, remember to explore and experiment with the concepts we’ve covered and create react projects. Don’t be afraid to customize and tweak them to meet your design vision. The possibilities with React are endless, and we look forward to seeing the amazing applications you’ll build!

Don’t forget to explore Purecode.ai for an unparalleled development experience. It provides a cutting-edge developer tool that leverages AI to transform design images into ready-to-use front-end code. Explore over 10,000 AI-generated custom components and apply custom themes seamlessly on top of Tailwind, MUI, and CSS3. Visit PureCode.ai to experience the future of front-end development.

Happy coding!

Yash Poojari

Yash Poojari