When comparing NPM vs React, the Slant community recommends NPM for most people. In the question“What are the best web design tools?” NPM is ranked 8th while React is ranked 17th. The most important reason people chose NPM is:
NPM is compatible with any CLI the developer wants to use.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Compatible with any CLI
NPM is compatible with any CLI the developer wants to use.
Pro Plenty of helpful NPM modules/plugins
NPM has a strong community that has developed plenty of libraries and plugins that are useful to developers.
Pro Very concise configuration
NPM scripts require fewer lines of code to run a given task. This is true even when it's for running build processes. Using Unix pipes lots of tasks can be reduced to one-liners.
Pro Does not need any wrapper modules
With other task runners, you need to install wrapper modules for tools you may already have installed. When using NPM that's not necessary, to use the tools you need, just install them directly through NPM.
Pro Part of node.js distribution
Pro You're most likely using NPM already
Pro Uncomplicated package management system
When it works...
Pro Easy to reuse components
Pro Server side rendering
React can render it's components and data server side, then it sends those components as HTML to the browser.
This ensures faster initial loading time and SEO friendliness out of the box, since it's indexed as any other static website by search engines.
Pro Virtual DOM support
Instead of relying on the DOM, React implements a virtual DOM from scratch, allowing it to calculate precisely what needs to be patched during the next screen refresh. This is orders of magnitude faster than fiddling with the DOM itself.
Pro One-way data flow
React's one-way data binding (or one-way data flow) means that it's easy to see where and how your UI is updated and where you need to make changes. It's also very easy to keep everything modular, fast and well-organized.
Pro Supported by Facebook and Instagram
React is built by Facebook engineers initially to be used only for their inner projects especially to solve the problem of building large complex applications with constantly changing data.
Pro Can be used with different libraries
Pro Template engine independent
React provides a template engine (JSX) which is easy to use. But it's not mandatory.
Pro Functional programming style leads to less buggy UIs
Pro Easy to write tests
Pro Good debugging tools
React has an official Chrome Extension which is used as a developing and debugging tool. It can be used to quickly and painlessly debug your application or view the whole application structure as it's rendered.
Pro Flux architecture pattern
Flux is a platform agnostic pattern which can technically be used with any application or programming language.
One of Flux' main features is that it enforces uni-directional data flow which means that views do not change the data directly.
With React this is useful because this way it's easier to understand an application as it starts getting more complicated. By having two-way data binding, lead to unpredictable changes, where changing one model's data would end up updating another model. By using the Flux architecture, this can be avoided.
Pro Extensive SVG support
Since React v0.15, SVG is fully supported. React supports all SVG attributes that are recognized by today's browsers.
Pro Keep control over your app's logic
React is just a view library, so you still have (almost) full control over how your app behaves.
Pro Supported by ClojureScript libraries
Reagent, Om, Rum, etc.
Pro Tested on Facebook itself
React is used on one of the most visited websites on the planet, Facebook. With stellar results and with millions of people experiencing it every day.
Con Custom tasks require additional keyword 'run'
Only a few standard tasks support being executed without the
run keyword (e.g.,
npm start vs
npm run customtask)
Con Not a build system, only a task runner
It is supposed to be used for running gulp, webpack or whatever. But it is not supposed to be used as a build system.
Con Passing parameters is awkward
In order to pass additional parameters to npm you must add them after
npm run build -- --custom='foo').
Con Badly documented
Less than bare minimum official documentation leaves users in the dark without taking often expensive external courses. Even the --help text has unpluggable gaps. One official source notes the documentation isn't adequate yet nothing has been done to fix this.
Con Lot of issues with authentication and random node problems
Unable to recover from common depencies conflicts consistantly. Error messages are not always helpful to debugging. Doesn't account well for users with different versions of node.
Con Does not run well with Windows
Since a lot of projects that use NPM as a build tool most of the time make use of Bash scripts as well. This means that open source projects that run the command
npm run may run into issues when used in a Windows environment.
Con Doesn't allow you to create build process with complicated logic on its own
In complex heterogeneous app you will quickly migrate to gulp, webpack or whatever leaving to NPM only simple task running responsibility.
Con Heavy on memory
React's virtual DOM is fast, but it requires storing elements in the virtual and real DOM increasing memory usage for the page. This can be a real problem for single-page webapps designed to be left running in the background.
Con Template(view) mixed into code
Con You have to learn a new syntax
Requires learning a custom syntax, JSX, that has some gotchas and introduce complexity, a steeper learning curve, and incompatibility with other tools.
Though you can opt out from JSX and use vanilla JS instead. But that is not recommended since it adds a lot of unneeded complexity which JSX tries to avoid.
Con Not a complete solution
React does not do everything for the developer, it's merely a tool for building the UI of a web app. It does not have support for routing or models, at least not out of the box. While some missing features can be added through libraries, to start using React and use it in production, you still would need to have experience, or at least a good grasp on what the best libraries to use would be.
Con Large file size
react.min.js is 145.5KB in size. It's much larger than some other libraries that offer roughly the same features and it's almost the same size as some MV* frameworks such as Angular or Ember that offer more features out of the box.
Although, it should be mentioned that sometimes having a smaller library may force developers to reinvent the wheel and write inefficient implementations on features that React already has. Ending up with a larger application that's harder to maintain and/or that has bad performance.
Con Renders too frequently
Con No support for legacy browsers
React has recently dropped support for Internet Explorer 8. While the library may still work on IE8, issues that affect only IE8 will not be prioritized and/or solved.