13 Reasons Why… Netflix uses React

Spoiler alert, I’m not going to enumerate 13 Reasons Why… because that would be painful (no pun intended), however I couldn’t resist the pop culture reference.

From time to time I come across articles and podcast that inspire me. While watching game 4 of  the Western Conference and listening to podcasts, I came across another good one. Shop Talk is a weekly podcast about front end web design, development, and UX. Recent episodes have covered a myriad of topics to include WebVR, AMP and CSS Grid. All very interesting, but at present Facebook’s React JS and React Native libraries are transforming how web and mobile apps are developed. From a high level, React is a declarative way of building a UI. At both Keystoke and SandBox Commerce we regularly use these libraries in conjunction with native code, API’s and SDK’s to build both web and mobile applications that reach millions of end users on a monthly basis. It just so happens that Netflix does too!

When asked if Netflix prefers to hire an engineer who has a ton of experience writing React vs an engineer who thoroughly understands the fundamentals of JavaScript, they expressed that the developer who has a working knowledge of JavaScript get’s the job every time.

In this weeks episode of Shop Talk, I learned that Netflix utilizes React to develop apps across web, mobile and TV! Three React developers at Netflix joined the podcast to participate in an hour-long Q&A. When asked why Netflix chose React, one the developers answered that React’s inherent modularity and performance were two of the main reasons why they chose React over other popular libraries. Netflix engineers and data scientists use React components to build A/B test that help them learn from end users in real-time. However, when asked if Netflix prefers to hire an engineer who has a ton of experience writing React vs an engineer who thoroughly understands the fundamentals of JavaScript, they expressed that the developer who has a working knowledge of JavaScript get’s the job every time. I echo that sentiment.

Over the past four years at Keystoke, we’ve transitioned from writing apps using native code (Objective C & Java) to using the MEAN (Mongo, Express, Angular, Node) stack, to Ionic, to ReactJS and React Native. In order for our developers to migrate from one stack to another as industry demands change, they need to have a firm grasp of the underlying language, which as of late is more often than not, JavaScript. Other fortune 1000 companies, leveraging React and React Native in production, include AirBnb, Twitter, Walmart, Tesla, and of course Facebook.

To learn more about how and why Netflix uses React to build apps that engage nearly 100M monthly subscribers check out the latest episode of Shop Talk (link here). If you’d like to have a more comprehensive discussion about whether or not React might be the best fit for your next project, hit me up (Twitter, Email, Blog)!


Also published on Medium.

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