ReactJS: The champion

Last edited 2023-10-12

ReactJS has marked the most significant evolution in front-end development since jQuery, establishing itself as the de facto library for building front-end interfaces. A longstanding belief in the front-end community is that everything changes every 10 years or sooner. Unlike those before it, I believe React is here to stay a while longer.

Why did it become the biggest?
  • Intuitive.

    Writing with React was the first time that building a front-end application just felt right. The combination of JSX, component-based architecture, unidirectional data flow, and now hooks just all click like a cohesive unit rather than something you fight.

  • Unopinionated.

    React does not force you down certain paths - it’s a foundation for people to map their thoughts and ideas into. Things like routing, class vs functional components, state management, CSS handling, directory structure, and build tools are for you to naively or arrogantly pick.

Why will it stay the biggest?
  • Ecosystem.

    The React ecosystem is HUGE, it’s so big that there are ecosystems within the ecosystem. Frameworks and libraries that have dedicated companies behind them. Replicating this level of tooling and community is years of work and it will need to be something as revolutionary as React to justify it.

  • Evolving.

    Like Madonna or Michael Jackson, to stay on top for a long time you have to change with the times. Web development has historically changed rapidly and React has both led this change and had to adapt to it.

  • Popularity.

    A large community and industry adoption creates a gravitational pull that makes it harder to escape. Like with any other gravitational body, the more mass it pulls in, the stronger the pull and so the more mass it pulls in and etc.

But what about VueJS/SolidJS/Svelte/other new framework?

Any small gains in performance or a slight change in API aren’t going to overcome an established giant. Nothing holds a candle to React and these graphs prove it.

If or when something does come to take the crown, we will know it.