React, the innovative and popular Javascript library, has changed the entire game of web development. It’s versatile, efficient, and helps to build reactive user interfaces. But, many developers assume that building modern applications with React from scratch is a mammoth task, which is not entirely true. With modern tools and a proper workflow, it’s easier than you might think.

So, if you want to build modern React applications from scratch, then this article is for you. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Choose a Proper Toolchain

The essential step in building a modern React application is to choose the proper toolchain. There are various tools available in the market, and choosing the right ones can make your project faster and compatible with future updates.

One of the most popular React frameworks is Create React App, which is a toolkit used to build React applications. It includes everything that you need to start developing a React application such as Webpack, Babel, and React scripts, etc. Create React App helps you to set up a project without worrying about the configuration, thus saving you a lot of time.

Other popular toolchains include Next.js, Gatsby, and React Native, among others. Choose a toolchain that matches your project requirements and the scope of the project.

2. Set Up the Development Environment

Once you’ve chosen a toolchain, the next step is to set up the development environment. Setting up a development environment may seem daunting, but with proper documentation and tutorials, it’s easy to do. You’re only required to install Node.js and a text editor such as Visual Studio Code or Atom- and you’re all set.

Once you’ve set up the development environment, it’s advisable to customize the setup to match your project. To customize the setup, edit the configuration files of the toolchain and make the necessary changes. For example, you’ll use the package.json file to specify dependencies and scripts, and the .babelrc file to specify Babel configurations.

3. Work with React Components

React is all about components, which are small, self-contained units of code that render a particular part of the user interface. With React, you can use pre-built components or build your own components. However, building your own components is the way to go as it gives you more control over the application’s behavior.

To build React components, start by writing the code in Javascript or Typescript. Then, you can use the .jsx extension to convert the code to React components. .jsx is a file extension used to write React components instead of writing them in Javascript.

After converting the code to .jsx, you can use the component in your application by importing and rendering it. It’s advisable to keep your components in a separate folder to boost reusability, and avoid cluttering the code.

4. Use a Styling Framework

React applications require proper styling to achieve the desired User Interface (UI). However, styling can be time-consuming and tedious, especially when had to start from scratch.
To make your life easier, consider using a styling framework like Bootstrap, Material-UI, or Ant Design. Styling frameworks provide ready-made components that you can use in your application, leaving you to focus on building the application logic.

Styling frameworks also offer pre-built CSS, JS, and design templates to help you avoid the tedious process of writing stylesheets from scratch. However, you can always customize your styles and make your application unique.

5. Debugging, Testing, and Deployment

Debugging and testing are essential steps in building modern React applications from scratch. Debugging helps you identify and fix errors in your code, while testing helps you verify whether the application meets the expected behavior.

React provides a testing library called React Testing Library used to test the application’s UI behavior. The testing library helps you write tests that check that the components behave as expected.

Once you’re confident that the application is functioning as expected, the next step is to deploy it. You can deploy the application to different hosting platforms such as Netlify, Vercel, AWS, or any other hosting platform of your choice. Deploying the application helps you to share the application with other users and get feedback on its usability.

Conclusion

Building modern React applications from scratch is easier than you might think, thanks to modern tools, workflows, and frameworks. The key is to choose the proper toolchain, set up the development environment, work with React components, use a styling framework, and debug, test and deploy the application. With these tips, you can create efficient, functional, and reactive user interfaces with ease.

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