Improve your React project with these 15 best practices

15 Best Practices to Improve your React project

React.js is a popular front-end framework for JavaScript. Developers use React to create the easiest to most complex user interfaces. Facebook developed this library to build interactive web applications in 2011.

Developers prefer this framework for its ability to create reusable components and assemble them to form the UI. Thus, it provides a structured, simple, fast, and organized process of web development. So, its popularity is increasing day-by-day in the developing community.

Since React has a young library, there are only a few established conventions in it. Because of the absence of standards, new developers need expert help to develop apps. So, we provide you with a list of best practices to follow when developing apps or user interfaces with React.

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The basic principle of React framework is component reusability. So, to enable to use the same component again, write smaller components for each function. Every component must define only one functionality.

Larger components take more work to maintain, test, and update. Also, their reusability is minimal because they define more than one functionality. Building large components increase the complexity and rigidity of your application.

The size of the components depends on the rendering method. For more than 10 lines, the component is vast. What you need to do is refactor it and divide it into smaller components. Thus, it becomes easier for developers to read, update, maintain, debug, and reuse each component.

With smaller components, it is easier for developers to optimize performance. These components are shared on the community forums, which you can borrow for your apps. You need to find the components suitable for your project needs and combine them.

There must not be any hurdles in testing of the code. It is a crucial need to make any project development successful. So, when you write a code, ensure it is testable and verifiable. Testing helps you verify if the component is behaving as expected.

You must name them clearly so developers know which files are yet to be tested. Testers can use JEST or to test the behavior of the code. Any difficulty in testing it or a time-taking testing activity results in the downfall of the project.

When developers use React, they need to make a choice between a functional component and a Class component. Functional components are basic JavaScript functions with less coding requirement. So, it is better to use functional components because you get better performance in less coding.

Also, you find it easy to read, understand, and test a functional component. One of the key advantages is that you can extract smaller components from one functional component. So, developers prefer functional components for a less complex developing experience.

Proper organization of files is crucial for any project. It helps you understand what you have done and what parts of the project are pending. An appropriate structure and arrangement of files help you with the project flow.

You must create one main folder for all the components of the project. One significant component folder will have sub-folders for all smaller components. Each component folder must have the component, JavaScript file, style sheet, and other asset files.

Creating one individual folder for each component gives clarity to developers. It lends a strict hierarchy and structure to folders, helping you use them whenever required. You can do that easily whenever you need to reuse, share, or debug the component.

The use of state in React helps you track data. So, you will need to track a good amount of data if you use it excessively in your application development. Also, if the data changes, you need to re-render the React component. Thus, you must use it only when necessary and reduce it as much as possible.

When you create a code for a program, you also need to check if it contains any errors. There must be a program to assess the code quality that ensures it contains no errors. Linting is the process of running such a program.

You must use linter in your React code to make your code error-free. Linter also helps you fix the code’s style or check for bugs.

Developers have reduced the use of stateful components compared to stateless components in React. Stateful components provide context and have the memory of information.

Alternatively, you need less code in stateless components for execution. So, the application’s performance improves. But these components lack memory and provide no context to other UI components. The best part is that you can reuse them and scale your application with them.

The Hooks feature of React helps developers to write stateful functional components. Now, you can write code using Hooks. A code that has fewer lines and looks clean. Code developed using Hooks is easy to read, work on, and is testable. In such cases, you would not need class-based components.

Generally, project developers keep CSS files in a single SCSS file. But when you scale up your project, this may not work. You will face issues such as:

CSS in JS solution is the best solution in this case. You can use one of the libraries from Styled Components, EmotionJS, and Glamorous based on your project requirements.

You must allocate small, meaningful names to the component’s props. Instead of using the Props as it is, refer to the text directly with the help of object destructuring. Thus, you do not need to refer to the Props object when you use it; you can do it directly using object destructuring.

You must conduct type-checking for your apps to catch and prevent bugs. You can use either built-in type-checking abilities or JS extensions such as TypeScript or Flow. React propTypes helps you check for those bugs and prevent errors in applications.

Incorporate the ‘Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY)’ code structure in your application. Instead of writing duplicate code, you must convert them into components. The best part of components is that you can reuse them when needed.

To avoid repeating the code, you must check the code for patterns. If you see some patterns, it means you are duplicating the code. You must rewrite it with care to avoid repetition and improve conciseness.

Let’s consider an example. Most of the components require a navigation menu. So, you must create one component for it. In such cases, you would not need to write the code for it whenever you want a menu.

Item identification in an array in React is possible with crucial props. After identification, you can determine what needs to be rendered or re-rendered. If two elements have the same key Props, React sees them as duplicates and does not render, leading to possible elimination.

So do not use indexes to denote a value to a key prop. This is because if the list changes, there might be issues if you use the index as a key.

ES6 spread function is a better way to clean your code and make it more maintainable. The assignment of object properties to variables becomes easier. You don’t need ternary operators in the code.

But you should know when to use the ES6 spread function. If the application has dynamic qualities or needs object or array characteristics, don’t use ES6. Also, in the case of render, where nested tags are required, you must not use the spread function.

Add comments only when necessary. You can avoid adding obvious and redundant comments. Only add comments that provide information, explain something, clarify a doubt, or are legal in nature.

In your comments, explain the ‘why’. Your comments must not add to the confusion of the code-changing process.

Follow the naming conventions

The name of the file must be the same as the name of the component inside it. The casing and extension of file names must be consistent. You must use PascalCase or CamelCase and .jsx or .js for filenames.

The filenames of variables, modules, and functions must be consistent with cases. Their names must be specific to the application to make it easy for a new developer or a third party to understand.

These are the best practices developers must follow when doing a React project. Once you adopt these practices, you will be able to develop better applications in a quick time. Not only good results but adopting these React practices also reduce development complications.

But keep your project objectives in mind. Do not follow these practices blindly. If they are relevant to your project needs, use them. Make the best use of the powerful tool – React to generate maximum benefits for your customers.

We, at Digiwagon, use React to develop many applications. We are a leading digital marketing, web development, and app development company in India. We develop apps for clients in different industries based on React and other front-end frameworks.