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Recitation 3: React (Frontend)

Staff Overview

Concept: Frontend

  • What the user sees + interacts with.
  • “Client-side code”
  • Probably know of HTML/CSS/JS. You can build vanilla frontends.
  • We will learn React (



Interruption: Styling and CSS

  • We don’t have a dedicated recitation for styling, because there are so many many systems you can follow.
  • Google is your friend.

Intro to ReactJS (or just React)

  • Created 2011 (by Facebook)
  • “Frontend JS Library” (technically not a framework, but its chill)
  • Declarative, Component-Based
  • Uses JSX syntax (HTML inside your JS)


React: Components + Props

  • “React Only Updates What’s Necessary”
  • Function vs Class components image
  • You can nest components (intuitive)
  • STRICT Rule: “All React components must act like pure functions with respect to their props” (this does not apply to State)

React: Components + State

  • Component State = saved (and usually important) information about a component
  • Changing state -> trigger a component reload
  • Do not modify state directly (will not trigger reload). Use React’s state funcs.

React: Data (States & Props) Flow

  • Parent-Child relationships (think Tree)
  • State is always local, but can flow downwards (to children) as props.
  • Common Workaround: pass a state-modifying function as prop to child.
  • Child can then call the passed function to indirectly modify parent state.

  • Summary: State flows down (waterfall). Changes can sometimes flow back up.

  • (We will learn about state management libraries later on)

React: Design Process

How to think + code like a React dev: - Break UI into component list/hierarchy (form the Tree) - Build static version of UI first - Compatible with data models, but no interactions - Find simplest representation of UI state for each component - Identify where state should live - Add inverse data flow (changes go back up)

Component Libraries/Frameworks

  • SUPER USEFUL (and fun to explore)
  • You no longer have to style everything by hand (b/c CSS bad).
  • Find one that you enjoy and read the docs on how to use it!

Popular ones: - MaterialUI (google) - Bootstrap - Ant Design (Ant Financial, Alibaba) - Evergreen - We’re gonna use Tailwind CSS

React demo app

  • Clone either the MongoDB or Postgres reference solution
  • cd into server directory with cd server
  • Run npm install in command line
  • Run npm start in command line
  • cd into client directory with cd client from root directory
  • Run npm install in command line
  • Run npm start in command line