According to Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey, React.js is the most loved web framework favored by developers. React is so popular that sites like Facebook, Codecademy, and the New York Times are all built using the React framework.
This guide will discuss the best way to learn how to code using React online. We’ll walk through what you need to know to start your journey to learning React.
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There are two main components to a website—front end and back end. The front end is what the user sees on a site. The back-end is what the users don’t see, such as the scripts that process forms on a site.
What is React?
You can bundle up parts of a website into components with React, which are small building blocks for your application. This component-based approach to coding allows you to reduce repetition in your code and improve the speed of a web application.
Should You Study React?
Learning how to code in React.js is a great investment of your time for any aspiring front-end web developer. But why is this the case?
First, a wide range of huge organizations use React, from the New York Times to Facebook. If you know how to code in React, you’ll have a great skill that you can list on your resume.
Second, React makes it easier to develop modern web applications. React offers features like declarative syntax and a wide range of external libraries that allow you to build powerful web experiences.
As React has become more popular, a growing body of starter resources has emerged. This should make it easier for you to get started.
What is React Used For?
React is used for front-end web development. This is the side of web development that concerns building the part of a website a user sees.
Back-end development, on the other hand, is the “brains” behind a website.
React lets developers create reusable components for the front-end. This brings more structure into the process of writing the front-end of a website and helps to cut down on code repetition.
How Long Does it Take to Learn ReactJS?
In short, becoming proficient with the basics of React will take you between one and six months. The exact time to master React depends on your software development experience and the time you are willing to dedicate toward learning.
If you spend 10 hours a week learning React, you’ll learn how to use the library much quicker than you would if you spent less time learning. If you spend two hours per day learning React, you should be able to master the fundamentals within a few months.
Is React Hard to Learn?
While React has its own unique ecosystem and development practices, you do not need to be an expert coder to get started. Your knowledge of general web development practices will take you a long way.
Learn React Fast
Are you convinced that learning React is a good use of your time? Great! There’s one question left to answer: How can you learn React fast?
First, we’ll discuss the main skills you need to know about when it comes to React. Then, we’ll talk about how you can actually acquire those skills.
Build Your Skills
To help you on your journey, we have compiled a list of the top skills you’ll need to build.
- Codecademy’s web development tutorials
Here are a few topics you should explore to further your understanding of JSX:
- What is JSX?
- What is a JSX element?
- How to work with attributes
- Nested and outer JSX elements
- Rendering elements using JSX
- Rendering elements using the React DOM
- The Virtual DOM
Routing, in plain English, shows how users will move throughout your website. It’s a tool that links a URL and your application. Consider this example. You’re on your homepage, and you’ve clicked and navigated to your bio page. This is routing in action.
React Router allows us to build a single page web application without the page refreshing as the user navigates. Router uses a component structure to call components, which holds and displays the appropriate information.
Components are the building blocks upon which all React JS-powered applications are built. All web pages that use React use components to declare each part of the site. For instance, a navigation bar may be a component, or an article on a web page may be a component. In turn, the article component could consist of a comment component or a text component.
Components allow you to develop user interfaces that are easier to maintain and load quickly. Here are the main topics you should master when it comes to React components:
- How to create a component class
- How to render a component
- How to create an instance of a component
- How do components interact
- How to use components in a render function
- How to reference components from another file
- Controlled and uncontrolled components
Lists are an important part of any website. Building a list in React is a great way to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of coding in React. As you start to learn about React, you should spend time learning about how you can render lists of data on a web page.
Managing States and Props
The state refers to how each object on a web page appears. Every component in a React app can have its own state, which is part of an object called this.
Props, on the other hand, are used to share code between components. To work with React, you need to have a good understanding of both states and props. Here are the main topics you should learn about:
- What is the React state?
- How to use props in React
Did that confuse you? Another way of looking at Redux is that it helps you manage the data you display and how you respond to user actions. Redux makes state management much simpler; however, there is a bit of a learning curve when getting started.
We have only scratched the surface of React JS concepts. Because the library is so popular, there are frequent updates made available. These updates continue to add in even more features to make using React a more pleasurable experience.
The topics we have covered above will give you a good sense of the foundational React skills. Once you’ve mastered these topics, you can go on to explore more advanced React ecosystem concepts:
- Higher-order components
- React context
- React hooks
- React render prop components
- React icons
- React forms
- React Native
- Handling API requests using React
As you can see, there’s a lot you can learn once you master the basics! When you know the essentials, these topics will come naturally to you. They are all built on the same fundamental principles used to create the React library.
Best Way to Learn React Free
React has a massive developer community supporting the library. This means there is no shortage of resources out there that you can use to learn React. While this is a good thing, it also means that it can be difficult to find the resources that are worth your time.
Before you start learning React, ask yourself: How do you learn best? Do you like tutorials? Or do you prefer online videos? Do you like working on interactive projects, or prefer to work through theory then build your own projects? By answering this question upfront, you’ll be able to refine your focus as you look for learning materials.
To help you get started, here are a few places you can go to learn React:
Online React Resources
Learn React Documentation
The official React documentation is one of the best sources of content when it comes to learning React. The React documentation is updated with every change to the library. This means that everything you read on the site should reflect the latest version of React.
The React documentation was written by the core React team and a community of passionate React developers. It is well regarded as a high-quality source of content.
Bcause the documentation was written by the React team, there are no commercial interests you have to worry about. The documentation was written solely to help people better understand React. You can find the official React documentation here.
React Resources is a directory of resources for people who work with React. You’ll find plenty of guides to assist you along the way, divided into categories such as podcasts, books, and talks.
This guide by freeCodeCamp covers the fundamentals of React. You’ll learn to build a small project that retrieves data from an API throughout following this guide.
Aside from the official Intro to React tutorial, there are plenty of great guides and tutorials out there you can use to learn React. Using tutorials to learn React is a great way to refine your skills because authors usually elaborate on their thinking step-by-step.
This means that you can easily walk your way through what is being discussed. If you need to, you can always go back to an earlier point in the tutorial if you get stuck.
Here are a few of the top tutorials and guides out there for React:
Online React Courses
Another great way to learn React is to follow along with online courses. Online courses are like a class you would attend in college. But, you get to control the pace at which you go through the course. And, you can always rewind a video if you get stuck.
React Starter Kit is a free, five-part course that introduces you to React. This course is accompanied by code snippets that illustrate the concepts covered in the course.
Codecademy has an online course covering React development. You’ll learn about JSX, lifecycle methods, hooks, and everything else you need to know to build a web application using React.
Learn React for Free is an online course with 48 video tutorials. You’ll cover topics like the ReactDOM and conditional rendering in depth.
If you’re looking for more courses, check out the official React Community course list.
Online React Books
There are plenty of books out there that will help you master ReactJS.
The Road to Learn React guides you throught he fundamentals of React. By the end of reading this book, you’ll have created a real-world project using React that demonstrates your new skills. The book comes with exercises to help you reinforce what you learn.
Learning React shows you how to create user interfaces using React and ECMAScript. You’ll cover topics like functional programming, how React works, and how to use routing to direct users around a web application.
This book focused on vanilla React. This is React without relying on any external libraries. Pure React was written for beginners who want to master the fundamentals of React. You’ll focus solely on React and not adjacent tools like Next.js or Apollo which are commonly used with React.
How to Get Set Up to Learn React Free
How do you actually start coding using React? That’s a great question. Here are a few tools you may want to set up in order to start working with React:
- Install NPM. NPM (Node Package Manager) is a site that allows you to install libraries into your React project. You’ll need to use NPM to access external libraries and to install React itself.
- Choose an IDE. IDEs are the development environments in which developers build applications. For React developers, Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a popular choice, alongside Atom.
- Use Prettier. Quickly, your React code can become messy. That’s why it is handy to have a tool like Prettier at hand, which can format your code in your development environment. Prettier has a custom React feature you can use to format your React code.
- Try out create-react-app. create-react-app is a boilerplate that gives you everything you need to start a new React app. Many tutorials recommend that you start from the create-react-app project because all the basics are configured.
Practice Your React Skills
Building projects are so effective at helping you learn to code because it is a form of practice. When you are building a project, you cannot learn passively by watching a tutorial. You need to be in the weeds and focus all your attention on what you are building.
Practice is so important when you’re programming because many of the issues you will encounter will come up again and again. By doing more coding, you’ll be able to build up a clear list of errors in your mind. You can use this knowledge to resolve those mistakes more effectively in the future.
Practice every day is a great mantra to use. Try to code as much as you possibly can. If you’re looking for ways to get in more practice, here are a few suggestions:
- Work toward a project. Build a project that you are passionate about, then share it with the world to get feedback.
- Participate in coding challenges. Sign up to a platform like Codewars, which hosts a wide range of coding challenges that you can use to refine your skills.
- Sign up to 100 Days of Code. 100 Days of Code is a challenge where you publicly commit to writing code for 100 days in a row. This is a great way to stay committed to coding and to hold yourself accountable.
It’s simple—the more you practice, the better you’ll get.
Learn React in Public and Get Feedback
Learning in public introduces a new accountability mechanism in your learning. When you commit to learning something in public, you can’t easily back out. There will be people who are following your progress and who will root to see you succeed.
When you’re learning React, you should try to be vocal about your intentions, and talk widely about the goals you have set for yourself.
Once you’ve met a goal, you should try to get feedback on your work from other developers. This will give you an opportunity to hear suggestions on how you can improve from people who are more experienced at using React.
Join a React Community
If you’re new to coding or are learning to code on the site, you may not yet know any—or many—other developers. But, there is an easy way to find other people with whom to talk by joining a developer community.
Developer communities are places where you can go to talk about code, share your ideas, and collaborate on projects. Here are a few great communities for React developers that you should consider joining (if you haven’t already):
- StackOverflow: StackOverflow is a popular asks-and-answers site used by developers. There are plenty of existing threads on there about common React topics.
- Dev.to: Dev.to has an active community of React developers who come together and chat about the latest in React.
- Spectrum’s React community: Spectrum’s React community is a great place to meet other React developers and discuss coding issues.
Upon joining a community, you should start to look for ways you can add value. Do you know the answer to a question someone has? Answer it. Do you need help with a question? Post it on the site so anyone else with that problem has a place to go. The more you contribute, the easier it will be to develop connections in the community.
React.js is an established web technology that allows you to painlessly build interactive user interfaces.
The React library is based on a “learn once, write anywhere” principle. This means that when you master the basics, you should be able to easily reuse your code across a wide range of contexts.
In this guide, we laid out a few main steps you should follow to learn React fast. They were:
- Find learning resources
- Master the basics
- Learn by doing
- Practice your skills
- Join a developer community
By following all these steps, you’ll be on a good path to becoming a React master! Once you’ve learned React, there is no limit to the projects you can build. If you are interested in becoming a professional web developer, React is a great skill to have in your tool belt.
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