If you remember, Facebook started as a plain-old dynamic website and gradually moved to a single page foundation. I mean it wasn’t feasible to run millions of concurrent users on a yet-another PHP website. Imagine your WordPress website with ten thousand pages, you will quit before I finish this blog. Your server-costs will skyrocket because of too many user requests. Just imagine if a user likes-unlikes a photo, it will count as two server round trips. Simultaneous processing of millions of requests means you have to run the application on a supercomputer of a server and you’ll end up paying thousands of dollars for hosting. In case you compromise on either, you will irritate your users with a bad user experience. You don’t want either of the problems; you don’t want your social network to be a dynamic website.
If you have been using one or more social networking app, then you know you’re repeating the same set of actions in different states of the application. If I attempt to brief the most common usage of social networking app, it will be Like-Unlike photos, uploading photos and videos and chatting.
In the rest of the blog, I will take each of the app features into consideration and highlight how they are better to implement with ReactJS while taking in account benefits of React I mentioned in the blog:
1. Like-Unlike Photos
When you ‘Like’ your friends’ photos on Instagram, the ‘heart’ turns red the very instant. The same goes when you ‘Unlike’ the photo. On the web, such instant Likes/Unlikes are only possible with single page application and React builds uncomplicated single page applications. Downwards data binding makes way for predictable states by making parent states immune to child states. That is when you tap a photo, it zooms in but the action won’t zoom the layout of entire applications. This may be a rough example but I guess you get what I mean to say here.
2. Uploading Photos and Videos
Did you remember those days when you have to upload a photo on a website? They used to show you a dumb GIF animation, indicating the progress of the file being uploaded. Nobody liked it but a workaround was impossible because there was no way around to upload and ping the server at the same time. ReactJS made it possible thanks to Async Await in React.
3. Real-time Chatting
ReactJS changed the dynamics of web development and raised the expectations of users from web app. They want the applications to look and feel like apps on their iPhones and Androids. Also, they want instant time and event based responses. Not to mention, social media applications are known for entertaining many users at a time. Did I mention scalability? Let’s take a look at why you should choose React.
If you have been using Facebook and Instagram, you know how often they bring new changes despite having a near monopoly. The demands of users are constantly evolving. The era of yearlong development cycles is long gone. If you can’t introduce a new version of app every month, you won’t stand a chance among your competitors. Therefore, rapid development is what you need with your social networking app goals.
Unidirectional data binding makes way for predictable application states which cuts chaos around web development. Developers tend to spend more time adding new features than figuring out the application. There is a reason so many developers are choosing React+Redux for build social networking applications
I have been an advocate of HTML templates for a long time. Then React came around and now I find them intimidating to work with when developing single page features. Let’s say, on the fly, photo editing feature integrated into the application. With templates, we that features would be a nightmare to implement and you probably have to develop a custom web component to encompass the feature.
React use components so that you don’t have go through those bad dreams.
While this has more to do with single-threaded, non-blocking architecture of Node, React and Node are match made in heaven. Theoretically, Node.js can partake infinite number of requests in its event loop without showing as sign of slowing down. Somebody said, social networking apps have to handle too many concurrent requests.
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