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This article is a guest post by Harikrishna Kundariya. He wrote this blog post through the Write for the Community program.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is no more the technology of the future, it has become our present. The way IoT is growing, it would be apt to say that it is one of the most burgeoning and exciting developments in technology.
Why are we saying this? There was a time when IoT technology was only used in pilot programs. Only companies with giant technology budgets could afford IoT. As time has passed, the tides have turned. Now, IoT has not remained reserved for big-budget companies. Any company willing to implement IoT can go for it now at an a-not-so huge budget. At this point, IoT technology has its usage in every industry.
React.js is used to make the development of IoT applications easy-to-use and smarter. The integration of React.js for IoT application development has done wonders. This technique is getting even more traction in the coming time.
React.js is mostly chosen by developers over other options as you can leverage it to create reusable UI components. As a developer, many times you need to create large web applications, where React.js can be of good use.
You do not need to reload the page every time after making changes to the data. Using React JS, the right components can be easily updated and rendered when your data modifies. The popularity of React JS is the result of it being scalable, fast, and straightforward.
Not to mention, the adoption of IoT is already at the peak and there are no signs of slowing down. According to research, around 35 billion IoT devices are going to be installed across the globe by the year 2021. This figure is enough to signify how fast IoT technology is rising.
With the growing IoT adoption, a doorway to new opportunities has been generated for developers for showcasing their knowledge of IoT devices. The Kaspersky study stated that about 61% of companies are leveraging IoT platforms in their business.
The adoption rate of IoT devices has undeniably risen, but every coin has two sides. On one side, even companies with limited resources can now choose to jump into IoT development projects, and on the flip side, independent web developers and software companies have masses to look forward to owing to the continual upsurge in the adoption of IoT devices.
React has a plethora of features that make it a good choice to use for IoT projects. Here are some features that show the usefulness of React for IoT.
The projects in React have a structure based on composition rather than inheritance. The compositional structure of React has its own advantages.
It makes it easy for you to create lean and small components. You can leverage these components to develop more functionality on top of them.
All this effortful work becomes easy because the compositional structure allows you to put your codes in a systematic manner. Generally, object-oriented programming requires the creations of a class or an object first.
Then you have to create another class or sub-class that will take over the properties of the initially created class or object. This concept is called inheritance.
You can implement inheritance in huge IoT projects, but this is the way to make the process even more complicated and hard. That’s Why React JS has an upper hand in IoT projects. Developing an IoT application with React is as easy as building a Lego set.
You just need to create one component and then you can easily use other components within it. This ease of creation and implementation of components has made React a preference for IoT applications.
Another peculiar and expedient feature of React is Lifecycle methods. Every component created in React has its own lifecycle methods. You need to learn the lifecycle methods of React before coding your application with expertise.
Lifecycle methods ensure that all the components created are upgrading along with a change in data. It smoothens and streamlines the interaction of the application with the real world. A series of lifecycle methods are launched when any update in a component is detected.
To explain, if any temperature change is detected, a new cycle will be triggered in React. Let’s say, in a smart home, if the temperature crosses 25 C, the user gets notified that it has become hot inside the house.
How does this happen? The application notifies the Led component to turn on and intimate the user about the temperature rise. This is how smart React is and why it is used in IoT applications.
The lifecycle methods feature of React has eased down the way of managing updates of applications. The application gets the data from the real world. Then it checks if it is passable. If the data from the real world is passable, React updates the components.
React allows you to work with every component in isolation. How? Because every component in React is independent.
So if you are changing one component, it will not alter the rest of the code. The separation of concerns feature in React makes components independent and lets them only know what they need to know.
You can easily manage data in one place and forward it to the children’s components when needed. You can effortlessly separate components that are receiving and processing data from sensor components. Due to this, you do not get confused among complex code interactions happening between data and IoT sensors.
React uses props to pass on the data to the components. What is Props? It is an object in React, which carries information about a component. With props, parent and child components can effectively communicate with each other without the children components affecting the parent components.
Props can be anything, such as strings, numbers, or functions. Props are linked with a state that stores data. This state has its own important role. The component in React JS re-renders when there are any changes in state to make the application flawless and updated with the latest data.
Do you have a question in your mind that why all these features of React are important for IoT projects? You can create two types of components at a time in component-based applications. The one component receives, processes, and passes data to the children components while the second component communicates with IoT sensors.
The second type of component receives or passes props. They follow the data received from the real world without accessing the data more than required.
Now you know what React is and its features are. The next is the need to know the results and advantages you will get after implementing React for your IoT project.
The component structure of React JS is one of the top reasons to choose it. Even Walmart is using React for their IoT applications. Despite having numerous branches and emblems across the world, every corporation has an effective and unique online presence.
Even being unique, there are several unit components common among many or any branches. Such unit components include image carousel, payment kind components, bread crumbs, etc.
Version management and installation become easy when you have the power to use the code elements in the IoT project. The simple process of component reusability and code maintenance positively impact the developer’s productivity.
Developing high-load applications is already a tedious and complex process. Above that, if every component will affect rendering, then it will double-fold the complexity and impact your application’s performance.
This intricacy is the result of DOM, a tree-structured model. Because of DOM, a small change in the upper layer makes terrible waves in the interface. Facebook took a step ahead and introduced Virtual DOM to eradicate this issue.
As the name suggests, Virtual DOM is the virtual portrayal of DOM. If any changes are made, they are first applied to virtual DOM. After applying changes, all the calculations are made to evaluate the risk with each modification.
Then, the changes are applied to DOM as needed without consuming much time. As a result, rendering becomes faster as not every component is disturbed.
The aim of the virtual DOM approach is to maintain app performance at the highest level and improve client experience.
In React, the data flows downward so that changes in children’s components do not affect parent components and code remains stable.
Due to the descending information stream, when changes are required in any object, the designer only needs to adjust the state and make amendments. As a result, only a few specific components will be updated.
The descending information stream improves code strength, enhances application execution, and facilitates smooth application performance.
Even being equipped with advanced features and a myriad range of benefits, React has the other side, which makes it not so good a choice for IoT applications.
Before implementing React for your IoT application, you must know about some challenges coming with it. Here are a few drawbacks of React for IoT applications.
You may have to frequently face odds when new libraries are integrated. This may result in unpredictable behavior of your IoT application. React cannot be considered as stable and reliable as Node.js.
If you are looking to build a giant Industrial IoT application, reliability and stability are major aspects, which React lacks.
The suitability of React for IoT and IoT applications is still a question, which can be answered soon but has not been answered yet.
Another reason is that React can undoubtedly bolster your application’s performance but to a limited degree as it is not a standalone solution. For even better performance, you need to integrate other libraries with React.
If you will focus on the rate of adoption of React JS for IoT applications, you may find it a little low. Developers and companies are still not considering it their priority for IoT applications as they find difficulties following this unfamiliar choice.
React JS can be integrated with other libraries but the process and coding become complicated. This may challenge developers to bring their own creative solutions, which is not everyone’s cup of tea and time consuming as well.
Despite having a few challenges, the features of React still bring it to the list of considerations for IoT applications.
The features like compositional structure, lifecycle methods, and separation of concerns have their own benefits for IoT projects. Some of the benefits that define the better future of React JS for IoT applications are as follows.
The faster rendering process of React results in effortless updates.
Due to the compositional structure of React, components are easy to combine and reuse, which accelerates development.
The component-based structure of React makes the code easy to read and understand.
It is easier to detect problems in coding and debug them with React JS as it has independent bits of code.
There may come a time soon when React will overcome all of its challenges with more contribution of developers to the library and it will become the top priority of developers for IoT applications.
If you want to learn more:
Harikrishna is a contributing author to several blogs in including Hubspot, SAP, Inc42 Media and others and managing director of eSparkBiz.
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