ReactEurope, 2016: The Year of React Native
Paris 2016. This year ReactEurope wasn't dampened by the torrential rains that were flooding the Seine river. The mood was one of excitement from both attendees and speakers about the current state and future of the React development ecosystem.
This year participants got glimpses into the future of Redux, utilizing Redux middleware to manage analytics, and optimizing performance in React applications. We heard talks on a range of topics such as best practices for React Native, using GraphQL/Relay effectively, and using software like Flow. Meanwhile, Falcor (a product similar to GraphQL) was introduced by Netflix. Throughout the 3-day conference, the excitement was palpable.
Rangle had a contingent of eight attending, including two speakers on the topic of React Redux Analytics. There were a lot of great talks and perspectives shared and we've selected some of the highlights for this post.
The year React Native Eats Native Development
Since ReactEurope 2015 a lot has changed with React Native. It went from being a newly released technology that supported iOS only, to a full-fledged cross-platform development solution that many companies are using to build mobile applications. This evolution was most evident by the sheer number of talks that focused on React Native.
There were a sizable number of native developers at the conference who we spoke to, who said they are making (or have already made) the switch to React Native. Most of the talks focused on native performance, animation and building successful native UIs. We encourage you to check out some of the things Rangle's developers are saying about React Native here.
Another fascinating discussion point was 'React Native for Web: A framework for building Native Web Apps,' a project which allows developers to bridge the gap between React Native components and React web components. The project was hailed as bringing about a "golden age of shared code across React." React-Native-Web will allow developers to build omni-channel apps more easily with React Native, and developers can now create a reusable set of components across all their applications in both web and mobile.
Redux: Building the Immutable Architecture
Dan Abramov, the creator of Redux, kicked off the conference with a great talk about using Redux, best practices, and what the future holds. His talk discussed a lot of great best practices for Redux as well as the future state of applications and the "immutable architecture" that Redux is bringing us towards. The Immutable architecture allows us to manage state in a way that eliminates unintended side-effects, and Redux gives us an easy-to-use framework for developers to create their own immutable design with the maximum amount of flexibility.
Redux: Lean Analytics Middleware
Rangle's own Evan Schultz and Bertrand Karerangabo had a great talk on React Redux Analytics. Lean Analytics is a new data-driven approach to iterative development that allows us to understand user needs in our applications more quickly and make changes based on that data. Lean analytics is all about building, analyzing and adapting based on user interactions. Our demo during the talk featured the rangle/redux-segment, Rangle's Open Source project, which allows us to analyze the applications we build quickly.
Amazing Tools for Building a Demand Driven Architecture
Several of the talks this year revolved around GraphQL, Facebook's solution to retrieving complex data. Traditional REST interfaces have a problem referred to as the REST + 1 problem, where we make a call to one endpoint and then have to call another endpoint (or more) to get the data required to render a view. This takes time and is not very efficient. GraphQL allows developers to retrieve all the data they need for a view in a single call with a simple query syntax that mirrors the JSON object being returned.
Instead of writing imperative API for your data-driven application Relay works with GraphQL to allow developers to set data requirements and then Relay will determine the appropriate time to fetch your data.
Falcor is Netflix's solution for managing large amounts of data. Falcor allows you to create virtual JSON resources. As a developer, you can interact with your data as if it's already in memory and Falcor will fetch your data from the remote server as it becomes required for the application.
Both tools solve the same problem but in different ways. Falcor is a little less prescriptive, features a smaller file size and is easier to learn, while GraphQL is more powerful, has static typing and introspection, and a steeper learning curve. Both projects show a lot of promise and as 2016 rolls forward we will see more data-driven applications utilizing these tools.
2016 was the second consecutive year Rangle was the ReactEurope Diamond Sponsor. We had a unique opportunity to speak in detail with the speakers as well as attendees. There are a lot of really great teams and projects from across the world that are having a lot of success using React and Redux, and ReactEurope was a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge and talk with other teams working with the React stack.
React's ecosystem is dynamic, growing, and the software with regards to Hybrid Native development has taken a large leap forward since it was first announced last year. We can't wait to see what's next.
React Resources & Training
For more on React, from our team to yours, you can check out these informative videos and webinars. Better yet, we encourage you to inquire about our custom training for your team. We will ramp up your knowledge of the fundamentals and best practices with custom course material designed and delivered to address your immediate needs.