Web Development

Is React A Library Or A Framework? Here’s Why It Matters

Pradeep VR

02 Jun 2024

React is A Library Or A Framework

JavaScript is one of the most preferred languages for developing frontend, user interface elements, and other rendering pathways. It uses a syntax, called JSX extension, to combine HTML-based codes with JavaScript during the entire build process. Numerous JS-based platforms are currently being used for software development, out of which React seems to be the most used.

React is a JavaScript-based library, which plays a major role in frontend application development projects. It is used in developing intuitive and scalable user interface elements by focusing primarily on the View layer. Although it does not follow the stringent MVC framework all by itself, React can still be used in combination with other tools to design and implement various components of a MVC architecture. Despite being a popular choice amongst frontend developers globally, there is a never-ending controversy about it being a JavaScript-based framework.

Having said that, this following discussion will highlight if ReactJS is framework or library, its significance in software development, and certain other relevant facts.

What Are Libraries And Frameworks In Software Development?

Before making React the main discussion topic, developers should have clarity about libraries and frameworks in general to avoid confusions. In the software development field, libraries are sets of pre-defined rules, methods, variables, and objects, each having a dedicated functionality. Developers can reuse these components to build a highly interactive software application as per the requirements. However, the pre-built codes in libraries have limited functionalities and do not provision other tools or methods needed to build a large-scale, exhaustive application.

Frameworks, on the other hand, are opinionated and comprehensive platforms. Unlike libraries, they have more composite architectures, workflows, methods, and functions that are already pre-defined in the framework codebase and domain. Developers have less freedom in choosing the development approach for the specific project since frameworks offer a guided path to write the codebase. Also, a distinctive feature of frameworks that set them apart from libraries is the availability of almost every tool needed for development, like data management, user interfaces, routing modules, and many more.

What Are The Grounds Proving React Is Not A Framework?

Declaring ReactJS as a library and not a framework requires a solid foundation that can’t be abandoned. So, below we have mentioned a few points based on which React can be omitted from being a framework.

  • Unlike typical front-end JavaScript-based frameworks like Angular or Vue, React is not entirely opinionated. In other words, it does not dictate to developers about using third-party libraries or structuring the entire code for the concerned project.
  • While React allows the use of Redux or Flux pattern for state management and comes with different lifecycle methods for handling component behavior in a structured manner, it cannot be used to implement a strict code architecture.
  • Also, React does not provide the full set of tools used for frontend application development like other frameworks based on JavaScript despite having essential building blocks to develop user interface elements.

How Does React Work As a JavaScript-Based Library?

React is much simpler than other JavaScript-based libraries, owing to which developers can easily build single-page applications, server-rendered websites, and many more. To understand this tool in detail, we have provided a brief overview of its working.


React is a declarative JavaScript-based library where developers can easily design and develop views of different state variables. If there is any data change from the frontend, it automatically updates the variable states and renders the information on the interface accordingly. With declarative views, debugging and scaling codes become easier and swifter.


Unlike the usual JavaScript-based frameworks, React works on a component basis. In other words, developers can create numerous components with dedicated functionalities and compose them together to form the entire user interface. These components work independently to ensure the workflows are not impacted negatively.

Scalable and customizable

Even though React comes with a specific set of pre-built codes, it has the provision to accept new features or codes as add-ons. In other words, developers can add new UI components or features by adding new codes in the React library without having to change the entire codebase from scratch. Such a high level of scalability and customizability makes React perfect for reusing UI components in different states.

How React Provides Leverage In Building Interactive UI?

React has proven to be a comprehensive JavaScript-based library to develop View-based components and render the same on the user interface. Having said that, the below points will help understand how it can be leveraged to develop a fast, responsive, and interactive user interface.

  1. Intuitiveness: React is a highly intuitive platform, allowing developers to use the library codes and develop any kind of UI as per the project requirements. Additionally, it automatically updates component states based on new data and renders the same on the interface without any manual input.
  2. JavaScript-based library: The library codes existing in React can easily transform HTML components into appropriate functions as per the project requirements. There is no need to write business logic for elemental conversion explicitly with React.
  3. Components: In React, the components comprise different state variables and library functions. These can easily pass rich and huge data volumes to the interface while mediating with the DOM to change the states appropriately for perfect results.
  4. Data binding: Thanks to the one-way data binding methodology, React ensures maximum transparency to the codebase and data changes done in the user interface.
  5. Scalable control flow: In React, the data flow changes from the parent to the child components in a regular process. However, in most cases, it is the component hierarchy that determines the control flow of data along with the events and sub-events triggered inside the components. So, the entire control flow can be scaled from top to bottom or vice-versa, thereby allowing event handling at different levels of the entire component tree.


With React being a popular JavaScript-based library, developers can design numerous view components and render data to the frontend user interface without major failure risks. Additionally, it also provides independence in choosing the technology stack to be used for the project.

Also Read:

1.  https://www.cumulations.com/blog/react-js-app-development-projects/