Lessons Learnt While Creating a New Framework on Top of React

Rate this content
Bookmark
Slides

React is so powerful that it can be used for more than frontend development. E.g. creating UI programmatically in the backend using a rule-based system or machine learning is another use case where React can serve as the best fit. Similarly, documentation earlier used to have only .md files but now it also includes .mdx file that contains React code. To fulfill such use cases, developers need to understand the internals of React and the tooling around it. Some great sources are popular codebases such as create-react-app, Next.js, etc. In this talk, I will share the lessons we learnt while creating a framework that achieves more than web development using React. Firstly, I will cover how create-react-app codebase is the best codebase to understand how webpack, babel, eslint, typescript etc. can be used alongside React. Secondly, I will share how Next.js teaches us to create a js framework where we can write backend and frontend in the same file and still be able to separate the two during calls. Thirdly, I will share how our framework supports plugins, i.e. the React code resides in multiple repositories but all of this code can share a single React runtime inside the browser. This is a very advanced use of React that cannot be achieved by code splitting using React.lazy. This talk will enable developers to use React for more than frontend development.

Shyam Swaroop
Shyam Swaroop
20 min
24 Oct, 2022

Comments

Sign in or register to post your comment.

Video Summary and Transcription

React is a versatile tool that goes beyond front-end development and can be used for synthesizing music. Creating a specialized framework with React requires understanding the tooling ecosystem and React's design philosophy. Examining good codebases like createreactapp can accelerate development. Handling side effects and module replacement can be achieved through techniques like dead code elimination and hot module replacement. Maintaining component state and implementing hot module replacement are important considerations for a React application.

Available in Español

1. Introduction to React and Its Applications

Short description:

Hello everyone, I'm thankful to React Advanced London team for inviting me to share what I have learned while creating a new full stack framework. A bit about me, my name is Shyam Swaroop and I am the co-founder and CTO of Atrilabs. I have been using React for now more than a year, and it has become one of the go-to choices for generating HTML. React goes beyond just front-end development. We are mixing plain content in markdown files with react code for writing content. React Native was used to create native mobile apps for Androids and iOS. React Reconciler can be adapted for rendering UI on any device. I recently came across a very interesting use case that does not involve rendering UI, but rather synthesizing music by writing React code.

Hello everyone, I'm thankful to React Advanced London team for inviting me to share what I have learned while creating a new full stack framework that allows developers to write React code to build frontends.

A bit about me, my name is Shyam Swaroop and I am the co-founder and CTO of Atrilabs, a company that is building an exciting new full stack framework. I was pursuing Masters from Columbia University, then I dropped out and started working on my own startup.

I have been using React for now more than a year, I was more of an Angular person before that. We can find the use of JSX beyond just web development. It has become one of the go-to choices for generating HTML, a use case very similar to SSG, SSR, or you can say a replacement for template engines. Some projects have extended grammar of languages like Go and Python to include JSX.

React goes beyond just front-end development. We are mixing plain content in markdown files with react code for writing content. This has given rise to frameworks that specialize in specific tasks like documentation. A popular example would be DocuSource. React Native was used to create native mobile apps for Androids and iOS. There are few frameworks that can be used to create native Windows or MacOS apps using React. React Reconciler can be adapted for rendering UI on any device. I recently came across a very interesting use case that does not involve rendering UI, but rather synthesizing music by writing React code. I remember the power I felt when I learned React or Bison, where you just write a context-free grammar and it generates the parser. Since I knew how to create parsers easily, I was able to innovate fast in many scenarios.

2. Creating a Specialized Framework with React

Short description:

Now that I know React and the tools to handle a React code base, I can easily create a specialized framework to enhance developer productivity. Understanding the tooling ecosystem and React's design philosophy were crucial in defining the framework's philosophies. Tools like compilers, transpilers, bundlers, and linters enable handling different JavaScript syntax and importing non-JavaScript typescript files. Supporting React in both browsers and Node.js requires realizing the difference between module types. Choosing the right bundler and build tools depends on your requirements, such as code mods. We use Webpack and Babel together, leveraging Webpack's resource query feature for better intellisense and build time checks.

This is how I feel now with web development, because now that I know the React and tools to handle a React code base, I can easily create a very specialized framework that can enhance the developer productivity of a web developer team.

We have seen quite a few frameworks on top of React and all of these innovate and differentiate in their offerings for developers. It wasn't easy to reach this comfort level. When I decided to create a full stack framework, it took me more than a month to just understand the tooling ecosystem around React or JavaScript type script in general. This was even harder because I had to dive a bit into the history of JavaScript type script and how they came to be. I landed upon React's design philosophy which motivated me to write down philosophies for the framework.

It has really helped me in deciding two major categories of tools that our framework should use. Those are bundler and transpiler. More on this later. Once we had pinned these down, then only we can move to development of the framework. When we think of a framework, we quickly start to think that they provide abstraction, helper functions, components, server side rendering, server side generation, etc. We take many other things for granted. For example, how are we handling different JavaScript syntax and type script all in one code base? How are we able to import non-JavaScript typescript files in JavaScript typescript files? For example, we import image files as string URLs, and VG as React components, etc. These have become the de facto standards for a good developer experience in any framework.

This is made possible by tools like compilers, transpilers, bundlers, formatters, and linters. Rendering on the server side is a common requirement for most of the frameworks, if not all. Hence, our framework has to support React in both browsers and Node.js. In other words, it becomes crucial to realize the difference between different module types, especially ECMAScript and common.js. When we think about what bundler and build tools to use, we mostly think in terms of how fast they run. But as a framework creator, you might have to think more about your requirements. For example, if the developer's experience entails code mods, then you might prefer something like Babel over ESBuild because Babel exposes AST to load as plugins, while ESBuild doesn't. We're using Webpack and Babel together at a 3 framework.

A 3 framework allows developers to write plugins etc. where JavaScript modules are treated as different resources. We needed a way so that one resource can point to another resource. One way could have been that you write the path to a module you want to point as in the first statement you see here. It has several drawbacks. While the developer is writing or typing the code, the developer won't get any intellisense and no checks at build time. To circumvent these, we are using a feature from Webpack called resource query that we can add at the end of the import path as you can see in the second example. In the second example we are able to offer good intellisense and build time checks.

Check out more articles and videos

We constantly think of articles and videos that might spark Git people interest / skill us up or help building a stellar career

A Guide to React Rendering Behavior
React Advanced Conference 2022React Advanced Conference 2022
25 min
A Guide to React Rendering Behavior
Top Content
React is a library for "rendering" UI from components, but many users find themselves confused about how React rendering actually works. What do terms like "rendering", "reconciliation", "Fibers", and "committing" actually mean? When do renders happen? How does Context affect rendering, and how do libraries like Redux cause updates? In this talk, we'll clear up the confusion and provide a solid foundation for understanding when, why, and how React renders. We'll look at: - What "rendering" actually is - How React queues renders and the standard rendering behavior - How keys and component types are used in rendering - Techniques for optimizing render performance - How context usage affects rendering behavior| - How external libraries tie into React rendering
Building Better Websites with Remix
React Summit Remote Edition 2021React Summit Remote Edition 2021
33 min
Building Better Websites with Remix
Top Content
Remix is a new web framework from the creators of React Router that helps you build better, faster websites through a solid understanding of web fundamentals. Remix takes care of the heavy lifting like server rendering, code splitting, prefetching, and navigation and leaves you with the fun part: building something awesome!
React Compiler - Understanding Idiomatic React (React Forget)
React Advanced Conference 2023React Advanced Conference 2023
33 min
React Compiler - Understanding Idiomatic React (React Forget)
Top Content
React provides a contract to developers- uphold certain rules, and React can efficiently and correctly update the UI. In this talk we'll explore these rules in depth, understanding the reasoning behind them and how they unlock new directions such as automatic memoization. 
Using useEffect Effectively
React Advanced Conference 2022React Advanced Conference 2022
30 min
Using useEffect Effectively
Top Content
Can useEffect affect your codebase negatively? From fetching data to fighting with imperative APIs, side effects are one of the biggest sources of frustration in web app development. And let’s be honest, putting everything in useEffect hooks doesn’t help much. In this talk, we'll demystify the useEffect hook and get a better understanding of when (and when not) to use it, as well as discover how declarative effects can make effect management more maintainable in even the most complex React apps.
Speeding Up Your React App With Less JavaScript
React Summit 2023React Summit 2023
32 min
Speeding Up Your React App With Less JavaScript
Top Content
Too much JavaScript is getting you down? New frameworks promising no JavaScript look interesting, but you have an existing React application to maintain. What if Qwik React is your answer for faster applications startup and better user experience? Qwik React allows you to easily turn your React application into a collection of islands, which can be SSRed and delayed hydrated, and in some instances, hydration skipped altogether. And all of this in an incremental way without a rewrite.
Full Stack Documentation
JSNation 2022JSNation 2022
28 min
Full Stack Documentation
Top Content
Interactive web-based tutorials have become a staple of front end frameworks, and it's easy to see why — developers love being able to try out new tools without the hassle of installing packages or cloning repos.But in the age of full stack meta-frameworks like Next, Remix and SvelteKit, these tutorials only go so far. In this talk, we'll look at how we on the Svelte team are using cutting edge web technology to rethink how we teach each other the tools of our trade.

Workshops on related topic

React Performance Debugging Masterclass
React Summit 2023React Summit 2023
170 min
React Performance Debugging Masterclass
Top Content
Featured WorkshopFree
Ivan Akulov
Ivan Akulov
Ivan’s first attempts at performance debugging were chaotic. He would see a slow interaction, try a random optimization, see that it didn't help, and keep trying other optimizations until he found the right one (or gave up).
Back then, Ivan didn’t know how to use performance devtools well. He would do a recording in Chrome DevTools or React Profiler, poke around it, try clicking random things, and then close it in frustration a few minutes later. Now, Ivan knows exactly where and what to look for. And in this workshop, Ivan will teach you that too.
Here’s how this is going to work. We’ll take a slow app → debug it (using tools like Chrome DevTools, React Profiler, and why-did-you-render) → pinpoint the bottleneck → and then repeat, several times more. We won’t talk about the solutions (in 90% of the cases, it’s just the ol’ regular useMemo() or memo()). But we’ll talk about everything that comes before – and learn how to analyze any React performance problem, step by step.
(Note: This workshop is best suited for engineers who are already familiar with how useMemo() and memo() work – but want to get better at using the performance tools around React. Also, we’ll be covering interaction performance, not load speed, so you won’t hear a word about Lighthouse 🤐)
Concurrent Rendering Adventures in React 18
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
132 min
Concurrent Rendering Adventures in React 18
Top Content
Featured WorkshopFree
Maurice de Beijer
Maurice de Beijer
With the release of React 18 we finally get the long awaited concurrent rendering. But how is that going to affect your application? What are the benefits of concurrent rendering in React? What do you need to do to switch to concurrent rendering when you upgrade to React 18? And what if you don’t want or can’t use concurrent rendering yet?

There are some behavior changes you need to be aware of! In this workshop we will cover all of those subjects and more.

Join me with your laptop in this interactive workshop. You will see how easy it is to switch to concurrent rendering in your React application. You will learn all about concurrent rendering, SuspenseList, the startTransition API and more.
React Hooks Tips Only the Pros Know
React Summit Remote Edition 2021React Summit Remote Edition 2021
177 min
React Hooks Tips Only the Pros Know
Top Content
Featured Workshop
Maurice de Beijer
Maurice de Beijer
The addition of the hooks API to React was quite a major change. Before hooks most components had to be class based. Now, with hooks, these are often much simpler functional components. Hooks can be really simple to use. Almost deceptively simple. Because there are still plenty of ways you can mess up with hooks. And it often turns out there are many ways where you can improve your components a better understanding of how each React hook can be used.You will learn all about the pros and cons of the various hooks. You will learn when to use useState() versus useReducer(). We will look at using useContext() efficiently. You will see when to use useLayoutEffect() and when useEffect() is better.
React, TypeScript, and TDD
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
174 min
React, TypeScript, and TDD
Top Content
Featured WorkshopFree
Paul Everitt
Paul Everitt
ReactJS is wildly popular and thus wildly supported. TypeScript is increasingly popular, and thus increasingly supported.

The two together? Not as much. Given that they both change quickly, it's hard to find accurate learning materials.

React+TypeScript, with JetBrains IDEs? That three-part combination is the topic of this series. We'll show a little about a lot. Meaning, the key steps to getting productive, in the IDE, for React projects using TypeScript. Along the way we'll show test-driven development and emphasize tips-and-tricks in the IDE.
Web3 Workshop - Building Your First Dapp
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
145 min
Web3 Workshop - Building Your First Dapp
Top Content
Featured WorkshopFree
Nader Dabit
Nader Dabit
In this workshop, you'll learn how to build your first full stack dapp on the Ethereum blockchain, reading and writing data to the network, and connecting a front end application to the contract you've deployed. By the end of the workshop, you'll understand how to set up a full stack development environment, run a local node, and interact with any smart contract using React, HardHat, and Ethers.js.
Designing Effective Tests With React Testing Library
React Summit 2023React Summit 2023
151 min
Designing Effective Tests With React Testing Library
Top Content
Featured Workshop
Josh Justice
Josh Justice
React Testing Library is a great framework for React component tests because there are a lot of questions it answers for you, so you don’t need to worry about those questions. But that doesn’t mean testing is easy. There are still a lot of questions you have to figure out for yourself: How many component tests should you write vs end-to-end tests or lower-level unit tests? How can you test a certain line of code that is tricky to test? And what in the world are you supposed to do about that persistent act() warning?
In this three-hour workshop we’ll introduce React Testing Library along with a mental model for how to think about designing your component tests. This mental model will help you see how to test each bit of logic, whether or not to mock dependencies, and will help improve the design of your components. You’ll walk away with the tools, techniques, and principles you need to implement low-cost, high-value component tests.
Table of contents- The different kinds of React application tests, and where component tests fit in- A mental model for thinking about the inputs and outputs of the components you test- Options for selecting DOM elements to verify and interact with them- The value of mocks and why they shouldn’t be avoided- The challenges with asynchrony in RTL tests and how to handle them
Prerequisites- Familiarity with building applications with React- Basic experience writing automated tests with Jest or another unit testing framework- You do not need any experience with React Testing Library- Machine setup: Node LTS, Yarn