React 101 for SAP-based business applications

Research shows that the human attention span has now dropped to just eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000 (source: Microsoft). Such a short attention span makes building intuitive and smooth applications an essential requirment to keep their users engaged. ReactJS and React Native are two fairly new technologies for web and mobile development built to simplify the development process and provide an intuitive user experience across all devices.

Creating applications that keep the audience actively engaged is often challenging, but React has made it easy. React has become more and more popular over the last few years, becoming the technology of choice for new applications due to its ability to simplify complex applications and make them more user-friendly.

So, what makes React different from other technologies? Why do brands like Facebook, Netflix, PayPal, etc., build their applications using React.js framework?

Is React.js the future of mobile business applications?

Before we dive deep into React, let’s start with the basics.

 

WHAT IS REACT TECHNOLOGY?

React is an open-source, front-end JavaScript library that is used to build interactive and intuitive user interfaces, also known as React.js or ReactJS. Built and maintained by Facebook, React was designed to solve some of the inefficiencies of HTML5.

In an interview, Mark Zuckerberg said that betting too much on HTML5 for Facebook’s mobile app was one of his biggest mistakes, and it led to an unstable application that retrieved data too slowly. So, in 2015 after months of research, Facebook made the first version of React available to the public. Over time, and with more updating and development, new versions of React were born - including React Native.

But what’s the difference between React Native and ReactJS? 

React Native Vs. ReactJS

React Native is an open-source mobile application framework created by Facebook that is used to develop applications for Android, iOS, macOS, tvOS, Web, Windows, and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) by enabling developers to use React's framework along with native platform capabilities. Although ReactJS and Native are virtually identical, ReactJS manipulates the DOM, and React Native runs in the background process directly on the end-device and communicates with the native platform via a serialization, asynchronous, and batched Bridge. 

 

Here’s a feature breakdown to help simplify:

 

 

REACTJS

REACT NATIVE

Platform independency

Can be executed on all platforms.

Not natively platform-independent. It takes more effort to be executed on all platforms.

Animation

Uses a JavaScript library and CSS for animations.

Comes with built-in animation libraries.

Navigation

Uses React-router for navigating web pages.

Has a built-in Navigator library for navigating mobile applications.

HTML tags

Uses HTML tags.

Does not use HTML tags.

Code components & modules

Can use code components, which saves a lot of valuable time.

Can reuse React Native UI components & modules, which allows hybrid apps to render natively.

Security

Provides high security.

Provides low security in comparison to ReactJS.

Code rendering

Virtual DOM renders the browser code.

Uses its API to render code for mobile applications.

React has come a long way since 2013 (when its deisgn started) and is now one of the preferred JavaScript frameworks in the world. It’s now the go-to framework for creating interactive websites and applications. Companies like Airbnb, Netflix, and WhatsApp all use React to build the applications, reaching their millions of users worldwide 

Technically, React.js is just a JavaScript library to build User Interfaces. In other terms, React.js is a JavaScript, i.e., scripting language used to create and control dynamic web content. It is known to intertwine JavaScript’s speed with its interactive features to build dynamic and responsive applications.

React breaks down complex website/application components into simpler parts for easy configuration and tuning.

ADVANTAGES OF REACT.JS

Why do so many companies prefer React.js over the alternatives? Why do app design agencies prefer react.js for SAP?

Here are some of the advantages that React.js has to offer:

BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY 

The one React.js feature that impresses every developer and company is its ability to increase productivity and facilitate maintenance. 

In its early development, any changes to a single component of a complex framework in React would adversely affect the whole system. But, Facebook soon figured out how to let developers reuse system components without affecting the entire framework, this key feature saves lots of time and energy and helps increase productivity resulting in positive changes in work.

FAST RENDERING WITH VIRTUAL DOM

Sometimes when you use an application that is heavily loaded with various UI components, it has to traverse through all the HTML5 components to load the page, thereby slowing down performance and ruining the user experience. But, react.js gives developers a safe escape. It has a feature where changes can be made to a virtual representation of the DOM (Document Object Model) and then it calculates the minimal scope of required DOM operations before it actually updates the real DOM making it faster. 

This feature gives users a better experience and improved application performance.

STABLE CODE

React.js platform uses downward data flow, which doesn’t affect parent structures if changes are made in child structures. 

Also, one feature that makes React.js stand apart from other platforms is that code can be reused when combined with other technologies. This saves a lot of time and money, resulting in data binding, which leads to code stability and continuous application performance.

SEO FRIENDLY 

Standing out among the competition is always a challenge, especially with hundreds of new businesses coming to market each year. One way to ensure that your application makes it through to Google ranks is by making it SEO-friendly. React.js solves the issue of search engine failures and reading heavily loaded JavaScript apps. This makes it the preferred platform for developers and businesses to develop a successful, SEO-friendly application.

DISADVANTAGES OF REACT.JS

If you are considering building an application with React.js, there are few disadvantages that you should be aware of, including:

THE PACE OF DEVELOPMENT 

Native.js as a platform is still evolving and constantly changing. This requires developers to regularly learn and relearn new things, which can be challenging to keep up with. The on-going changes made to the library and features make React.JS framework sometimes difficult for developers and companies to keep up with the pace of new development.

POOR DOCUMENTATION 

With the continuous changes and new libraries’ creation, developers have very little time to document the changes and new developments properly. 

JSX BARRIER

ReactJS uses JSX (a syntax extension to JavaScript), which enables the intertwining of HTML and JavaScript. JSX is an older system and has a steep learning curve, which makes the development process more complex.

REACT.JS - IDEAL FOR THE SAP MARKET?

Today, SAP Fiori is designed and built using HTML5 and SAP UI5 libraries. But Fiori customers often complain about Fiori’s performance, scalability and flexibility required for enterprise-grade applications.

React.js is becoming the platform of choice for SAP-based applications because of its high speed, UI-friendly nature, and flexibility to build interactive apps. React.JS provides enterprises with the performance and flexibility needed for today’s business while helping them prepare for tomorrow’s digitally transformed SAP landscape. 



Irit Gillath

Irit Gillath

Irit is tech-savvy digital marketer, who is obsessed with growing companies. With a background in product and partner management, Irit enjoys writing on the ERP low-code market and industry trends