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Why do I still use React and advise you to do the same?

empty image for details pictureWhy do I still use React and advise you to do the same?

   I will start with a bit of background about myself. While studying at the Computer Science faculty, I got my first IT job at 18 - junior mobile developer. Twelve years later, I worked in 7 different companies, including US-based startups and a Ukrainian outsource. I grew to mobile lead and later to CTO, delivering dozens of mobile projects from scratch to release.  

I've been asked several times about using a trendy framework for a new project in a well-established business. It has confused me every time. I dislike it when technology is chosen randomly without a clear understanding. Evaluating technology used to develop the product visual side is less common than for database communication, but this still has a tremendous impact on the future.

When many say "this is the best framework to use", it’s still a question if it’s a good fit for you. Unless this is your pet project and MVP, which you are ready to throw away as soon as you demonstrate the progress to investors and have time/money to build another stable version.

I have a personal list of criteria when I choose a technology for a client. Here is the list:

1. Age of the framework

The longer lives the tool,  the more people have tested it, the more bugs are found, and the lower the chance that it will die anytime soon.

2. Popularity and community size

larger community means more questions are discussed, more people are driving improvements, and more repetitive tasks are automated, which also speeds up the development.

3. The number of experts who can use the technology

The fewer people in the market who know the technology, the more time is needed to find the right person, the higher the developer's salary, and there is a higher chance that the developer may switch to another company due to high demand.

4. How often updates are done  

It’s crucial to perform regular framework updates. They keep things secure and running smoothly. Plus, it ensures your tech stays fresh, adapts to the latest trends, and gets cool new features along the way.

5. Quality of the documentation

Better documentation results in less time to find specific information, leading to faster development and bug fixing.

I did a bit of investigation (I love numbers), so find below the information about 5 javascript frameworks that are most used nowadays.

Comparison between Next.js, React.jS, Due.Js, Angular and Svelte
A comparison table between most used frameworks

While choosing the framework, you must also ask yourself whether you want to have a mobile app. If yes - then look into React, Next.js, or Vue. They may save time and money and allow you to cooperate with the same developer or development team. React and Next can share its data layer with React Native, and similarly, Vue integrates well with Vue Native or Ionic, streamlining the mobile app development process.

It’s also worth checking the downsides of the technology. What problems will specific technology bring to your business in the future? My personal experience from ReactNative is that if you do not keep your project up to date, you end up in trouble maintaining it and spending more time/money to support it. How do we know what problems to expect after running the project for a year if the technology is only 3 months old? Or when the average project life is 2 months? Not really. So, always remember that with the new technology, you do not know what to expect in production with real customers in half a year.

“Node.js and React.js are the two most common web technologies all respondents use,” says StackOverflow statistics about the state of the technology in 2023.

In the same survey, 24,325 respondents indicated using React, 9,818 reported using Next.js, and only 3,411 mentioned Svelte in response to the question: "Which web frameworks and web technologies have you done extensive development work in over the past year, and which do you want to work in over the next year?"

Positive/Negative split between most common js framework usage
Framework comparison stats was taken here

The stats above kinda show the state of things to me. I see Svelte is trending this year, but from my perspective, it’s too early to say something about it and use it for production. Vue.js and Angular are keeping more or less the same position as they used to be a year ago.

I still see React or Next.js as the best option to move forward with a new project this year. Why Next? For now, it is a top framework if you need your website to be SEO-optimised. However, next year, if newly created projects with Svelte are still alive and the dev market fills a bit with developers, it is a good idea to consider it.

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