Software Architecture Best Practices

As a software developer, chances are that you’ve heard of ReactJS or even have it in your toolbox with the best frontend web and app Java frameworks. Essentially, ReactJS is an open-source JavaScript library, only responsible for the Viewer layer (“V” component) in MVC (Model-View-Controller) or MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) structural designs. When it comes to software architecture patterns, ReactJS uses Flux for building data layers in JavaScript and web applications (the ”M” in MVC).

My experience working in a bespoke software development company taught me to strive for mastery and always give more than expected. We don’t have clients, we build partnerships by delivering supreme software product quality. For this to happen, it all comes down to fundamental steps, and one of the most essential ones is choosing the right software architecture design for the project. A solid architecture plan is the backbone of any successful software project. Read further to find out about the top three best practices for ReactJS software architecture.

ReactJS Instead of Other Javascript Frameworks: Why?

What is ReactJS?

ReactJS is an open-source JavaScript library used to build Web applications, especially SPAs, (single-page applications) like Gmail, Netflix, Facebook or Paypal. React uses JavaScript (JS) as a programming language and a special syntax called JSX that provides you with the ability to combine HTML with JS if you wish to.

ReactJS’ Main Features

As I already mentioned, ReactJS uses JSX, which is a JS syntax extension that enables embedded HTML structures like this:

const name = ‘Dreamix’;

const greet = <h1>Hello, {name}</h1>

Another main component of React is the Virtual DOM (document object model), ensuring faster rendering when compared with web apps developed with other frontend frameworks. Virtual DOM makes it possible to make an ideal representation of UI (user interface), keep it in memory and sync it with the real DOM using a library.

Worthy of mention are features such as one-way data binding to help unidirectional data flow from parent components to child components. This feature keeps modular components well-organized and allows developers to spot and search for code bugs easily. Speaking of debugging, ReactJS applications are also easy to fix thanks to the large and robust dev community, contributing daily to the React library.

Why you should choose ReactJS?

The popularity of ReactJS continues to grow since its launch back in 2013, but why is that? One of the significant ReactJS benefits is that it allows developers to build reusable components that can be simultaneously used across multiple UIs. Unlike Angular or Ember, which are domain-specific languages, React JS is easy to learn, if developers have some background knowledge. What is more, ReactJS guarantees stable code because it only uses downward data flow and is SEO friendly – something other JavaScript-heavy apps struggle with.

Why you Need to Consider Software Architecture?

Much like architects who design buildings, it is up to the software architect to create the software system that will facilitate development, deployment, operation and maintenance.

The top 3 React Software Architecture Best Practices:

●    Higher-Order Component (HOC)

What software architecture patterns can you design using ReactJS? The Higher-Order-Component (HOC) or Decorator Pattern, is one of the many software architecture types you can choose for your next software projects. As already mentioned above, React provides unidirectional data flow from higher-order components (parents) to nested (child) components. This design pattern is very neat and convenient as it allows easy interactions between components. The HOC accepts data with all its properties and adds extra functionality or extra properties to it before passing it down to the nested components.

This happens when web app users trigger actions (e.g. press a button) in the parent component. Essentially, we have a “Data down, Actions up” design type used for components interaction. Once an action is triggered in a parent component, this results in changes that are reflected in the global application state. Keeping this in mind, a good practice is to pass down only those props that are of relevance for the composed components.

●    Choose Libraries For Your Stack

Though it might be difficult to choose from the wide variety of available libraries, once you have your project goal and some background knowledge of how React libraries can help your stack, the journey gets a lot easier. These can influence your project tremendously by optimizing its natural workflow and preventing common mistakes. The best option for you and your project will depend on your architecture ecosystem and its envisioned purpose.

In 2021 there are robust React libraries to choose from that entail essential tools to help you navigate through a software project. For instance, the React Router is ideal for smoothless SPA navigation. It encompasses a set of navigational components to synchronize UI components with the web browser’s address. Ant-design is another UI library that assures stable component integration and offers ES6 support. It is famous for its strong and high quality customer base to choose from, so you can build a unique and engaging UI.

Even though there are numerous excellent quality libraries, chances are that sometimes none of them will serve your specific project’s needs. In this case, you always have the options of consulting with a community or delegate parts of the project to an experienced ReactJS dev team.

●    Render Props

In ReactJS “render props” describe a technique based on the notion of sharing code between different React components while using a prop that has the value of a function. It is so far similar to HOC as they are both advanced code architecture patterns but render props are more flexible and declarative than HOCs. Such a pattern comes to action when you have a component that dynamically renders an element from its prop value to the screen. Render props are used to make a React component reusable by encapsulating the same behaviour or code state that needs to be valid for another component.

These patterns were very popular among software developers and still have necessary use cases but then React Hooks emerged. Hooks are simpler and thus easier to use. Those hooks essentially allow you to “hook into” React state and access the component lifecycle features directly from function components. The fundamental difference here is that hooks let you skip  class instances and instead provide a direct API to create and access stateful components. There are built-in hooks like  useState,useEffect or useContext but you can also make your own hooks. As a rule of thumb regarding hooks, only use them at the top level (don’t call them inside loops or nested functions) and make sure you only call hooks from React function components instead of regular JS functions.

Author Biography Aleksandrina Vasileva

Aleksandrina is a Content Creator at Dreamix, a custom software development company, and is keen оn innovative technological solutions with a positive impact on our world. Her teaching background mixed with interests in psychology drives her to share knowledge. She is an avid reader and an enthusiastic blogger, always looking for the next inspiration.