The Virtual DOM in React.js

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In this talk I’ll be discussing why we built a virtual DOM, how it compares to other systems, and its relevance to the future of browser technologies.

– Pete Hunt, React.js core contributor

What is React.js

React.js is the library built and used by the guys at Facebook. It powers most of the new things on facebook.com, Facebook mobile and all of instagram.com.

Pete Hunt walks through why we need reactive interfaces and the main concepts of React’s Virtual DOM. He also talks about the difference between React’s Virtual DOM and traditional key/value observation and data binding (The technology behind Knockout, Ember and Angular).

React is a library, not a framework

One of the things I really like about React, is that it’s a library, not a framework. That means, React provides you with tools to make certain things easier/better/faster. It doesn’t force you to re-write your entire app.

For instance, you could use Backbone to talk to the server, handle models and collections and just use React for the views — It also means that you could take your existing app and slowly start implementing React in the views, without having to rewrite everything from scratch. Being able to transition slowly into new technology, without sacrificing a lot of hours all up front, is a huge deal.

This is in stark contrast to Angular (and Ember), where you have to do everything The Angular Way. That issue is one the biggest reasons I’m hesitant with any kind of framework … But that’s for a whole other blog post.

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