Why Should You Not Use Plain React Anymore in 2023

Saswat Singh
Woman Programming on a Notebook pexels.com
Woman Programming on a Notebook pexels.com

React, developed by Facebook, has been one of the most popular JavaScript libraries for building user interfaces. Its component-based architecture, virtual DOM, and declarative approach have made it a favorite among developers. However, as technology continues to evolve, using plain React without additional tools and libraries has its limitations. In this article, we will explore the reasons why you should consider moving away from plain React and explore the benefits of leveraging additional tools and frameworks to enhance your development process and improve the overall performance of your applications.

1. Complexity of State Management

React provides a simple way to manage state within a component using its built-in state management system. However, as your application grows and becomes more complex, managing state solely within React components can become challenging. Handling complex data flow, sharing state between different components, and managing the state at the application level can lead to tangled and hard-to-maintain code.

Instead of relying solely on React's state management, using dedicated state management libraries like Redux or MobX can provide better solutions for managing application state. These libraries offer centralized stores, immutability, and robust tools for debugging and time-traveling through state changes, making it easier to manage state in larger applications.

2. Limited Routing Capabilities

React by itself does not provide built-in routing capabilities for handling navigation within a single-page application (SPA). While you can manually handle routing within components, it can quickly become cumbersome as your application grows with multiple routes and nested components.

By incorporating additional routing libraries like React Router, developers can take advantage of a more structured approach to handling navigation and defining routes. React Router allows for dynamic routing, nested routes, and route-based code splitting, enabling better organization of your application and improved user experience.

3. Styling Limitations

Styling components in plain React often involves writing CSS classes and managing styles manually. While this might be sufficient for simple projects, it can lead to styling inconsistencies, global style pollution, and difficulties in maintaining a large codebase.

Modern front-end development has introduced various CSS-in-JS solutions, such as styled-components and Emotion, which allow developers to write CSS directly in their JavaScript components. These libraries provide scoped styles, better reusability, and the ability to use dynamic styles based on props or state. Adopting CSS-in-JS can significantly improve the maintainability and performance of your styling workflow.

4. Performance Optimization Challenges

While React's virtual DOM efficiently updates the user interface by only rendering changed components, it may not be enough to achieve the best performance, especially in large applications. As the application grows, the number of components and the complexity of the rendering process can impact performance and lead to slower user experiences.

To address performance optimization challenges, developers can use performance-focused tools like React's built-in React.memo and useMemo hooks to memoize expensive computations and prevent unnecessary re-renders. Additionally, libraries like React's Concurrent Mode or using a virtualization library like react-virtualized can improve the rendering efficiency, especially when dealing with long lists of data or large datasets.

5. Lack of Server-Side Rendering (SSR) Support

Server-Side Rendering (SSR) is crucial for search engine optimization (SEO) and improving initial page load times. Plain React does not offer built-in support for SSR, making it challenging to implement this essential feature for your application.

By adopting Next.js or other SSR frameworks, developers can achieve server-side rendering effortlessly. Next.js, built on top of React, provides a robust SSR solution out of the box, simplifying the process of creating server-rendered React applications. This not only improves SEO but also enhances the perceived performance of your application by delivering content to the user faster.

6. Lack of Code Splitting

As your application grows, the JavaScript bundle size also increases, leading to longer initial load times. Without proper code splitting, the entire application code, including components that the user might not even interact with initially, is loaded at once.

Integrating code splitting into your application can significantly improve load times by splitting the bundle into smaller chunks and loading only the required code for each route or user interaction. Libraries like Webpack's dynamic import or React.lazy and Suspense allow developers to achieve code splitting with ease, enhancing the performance and user experience of the application.

7. Lack of Type Safety

Plain React, by default, does not provide built-in support for type safety. JavaScript, being a dynamically typed language, can lead to runtime errors that are not caught until runtime.

By adopting TypeScript or Flow with your React projects, you can introduce type safety to your codebase, catching potential errors at compile time. This can significantly improve code quality, reduce debugging efforts, and make your application more maintainable and less error-prone.

8. Testing Complexity

Testing is a critical aspect of web development to ensure the reliability and stability of your application. However, testing components in plain React can be more challenging, especially when dealing with components that have complex state management or asynchronous behavior.

By integrating testing libraries like Jest and Enzyme or using modern testing frameworks like React Testing Library, developers can write cleaner and more efficient tests. These testing tools provide better support for testing React components, including handling asynchronous behavior, simulating user interactions, and ensuring the correctness of component rendering.


While React has been a game-changer in the world of front-end development, using plain React without additional tools and libraries can lead to various limitations and challenges, especially as your application becomes more complex and demanding.

By embracing the vast ecosystem of tools and frameworks that have emerged around React, developers can overcome these limitations and enhance the development process, performance, and maintainability of their applications. Whether it's state management, routing, styling, performance optimization, server-side rendering, code splitting, type safety, or testing, there are dedicated libraries and solutions available to address each aspect of web development with React.

So, as you embark on your next React project, consider leveraging these additional tools and frameworks to elevate your development workflow and create more powerful, scalable, and performant applications that meet the demands of modern web development.