React.js architecture- A beginner friendly guide


3 min read

1. Components: The Building Blocks

In React.js, everything revolves around components. Think of a component as a reusable, self-contained piece of your user interface. Components can be as simple as a button or as complex as an entire page.

2. The Virtual DOM: Optimizing Rendering

What is the Virtual DOM?

The Virtual DOM is like a lightweight copy of the actual DOM (Document Object Model). When you make changes to your UI in React, these changes are first applied to the Virtual DOM.

Why Virtual DOM?

Manipulating the real DOM can be slow and resource-intensive. The Virtual DOM serves as a middleman, allowing React to batch and optimize changes before committing them to the actual DOM.

How Does it Work?

  • When you update your React app, a new Virtual DOM representation is created.

  • React compares this new Virtual DOM with the previous one (diffing).

  • Only the differences are identified (diffing algorithm), reducing the number of changes that need to be made in the actual DOM.

  • React then updates the real DOM efficiently, resulting in better performance.

3. State Management: Handling Component Data

What is State?

State is a way for components to keep track of data that can change over time. It's like a memory for a component, storing information that affects how it renders.

How Do Components Manage State?

  • Components can have their own internal state, accessible via useState hook.

  • Changes to state trigger a re-render, updating the Virtual DOM and subsequently the real DOM.

Common Questions about State:

  • Q: Why not just use variables?

    • A: State enables React to manage changes efficiently, triggering updates and re-renders only when necessary.
  • Q: Can state be shared between components?

    • A: Yes, through "lifting state up" or using advanced state management libraries like Redux.
  • Q: What's the difference between state and props?

    • A: State is internal and controlled by the component, while props are external inputs passed to a component.

4. Component Lifecycle: The Phases of Existence

Every React component goes through a lifecycle from birth to death. Understanding these phases helps manage state and perform actions at specific times.

  • Mounting Phase: When a component is created and inserted into the DOM.

  • Updating Phase: When a component re-renders due to changes in props or state.

  • Unmounting Phase: When a component is removed from the DOM.

Why Does This Matter?

Understanding the lifecycle allows you to perform actions at specific moments, like fetching data when a component is first mounted.

5. React Hooks: Simplifying State and Lifecycle Management

Introduced in React 16.8, hooks like useState and useEffect simplify state management and allow functional components to use lifecycle methods.

What are Hooks?

Hooks are functions that let you use state and lifecycle features in functional components, making them more powerful and easier to read.


import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

function ExampleComponent() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  useEffect(() => {
    document.title = `Count: ${count}`;
  }, [count]);

  return (
      <p>Count: {count}</p>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>Increment</button>

6. Conclusion: React.js, the Declarative Paradigm

React's architecture empowers developers to build user interfaces in a declarative manner. You declare what the UI should look like, and React takes care of the rest.

By mastering the Virtual DOM and understanding state management, you'll be well-equipped to create efficient, scalable, and maintainable React applications. Happy coding!