The year 2020 has brought nothing but horror to the world. Honestly, the whole pandemic problem is the stuff straight out of a doomsday dystopian movie. I remember watching ‘Contagion’ and laughing to myself. Well, I guess I didn’t get the last laugh. But do you know what the best thing about being a developer is? When we’re locked down and asked to work from home, we are at our best. It is safe to say that this is probably the only good thing that has come out of the CoVid-19 situation (well, apart from all the low pollution and go green stuff). So, let’s talk about what you’re really here for, React UI Component Libraries and Frameworks that are an absolute success in 2020.
To begin with, I have to declare that it’s been seven years since its release in 2013 and React still enjoys popularity to match the Beatles. Therefore, the React community has been thriving and growing, making it even more convenient for developers to build fabulous apps using this.
In 2020, of course as is with any technology, there has been a lot of headway in terms of updates. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at the top 6 React UI Component Libraries and Frameworks for 2020. Without any more ado (yeah, I get it. You don’t want to hear me rant anymore), let’s get cracking.
Without a doubt, Ant Design is the most loved enterprise class UI designed to build web apps. Earlier, Material UI was Numero Uno when it came to React UI Component Libraries, but it was recently dethroned by Ant Design owing to the fact that it offers 50+ components that are completely customizable and help in building world class beautiful applications. Don’t take my word for it; check out GitHub where it’s gotten over 56k stars.
The beauty of Ant Design lies in the fact that it is a very well thought out design system where every single detail has been meticulously added. Built on the foundations of multiple principles and unitary specifications, it can be said that Ant is created particularly for desktop applications. Most developers who believe in creating apps which offer a native feel to users prefer to work with Ant Design. They also offer a mobile version which makes it very convenient.
In direct contrast to Ant Design is Rebass. This one is a very small, almost petit, React UI components library. But don’t be fooled by its size. This guy (or let’s call her a dame, coz, you know petit, and the name’s kinda sassy too) so, this dame can help you create very powerful UI elements that are themeable. This is based on the Styled System library.
There are a few highlights to this library. They are:
- This eliminates the need to work with boilerplate codes. It is very simple to start with. All you need to do is import before you begin to extend the primate components so that you can create the ones that you require.
- Styled System offers a very good developer experience and since we’re the guys making stuff, that’s the least that we deserve.
- The theming system with Rebass is completely compatible with Theme UI, which ensures that you don’t need to put in too much effort at any stage. One might even say that the entire system was created over a very robust library specifically to design react apps.
- Since the dame is so petit, it puts forth a tiny amount of footprint. It only sits at roughly about 4KB. That’s the stuff of dreams, guys.
If you are planning to build B2B (business to business) type of admin apps, then this is the React UI component library that you should go for. It is customizable and can work with REST/ GraphQL APIs. So, with React Admin, you will find the free version is very helpful, however, if you want to go beyond that, you may always opt for the free version along with its components. If you do go for the enterprise version, you will enjoy pro support from the creators (Marmelab) and get access to many private modules.
While other React UI component frameworks have fluctuated in time on GitHub, this guy right here has maintained a solid 12k stars.
No list for React UI components library is complete without mentioning Material UI (don’t worry, the list is not complete, there’s a lot more to go through). The best thing about Material is that it has been created keeping in mind the design guidelines laid down by Google. And, honestly, since Google’s the big daddy when it comes to the internet, it helps greatly to be able to build an app which is in direct sync with what they want.
Many accessible and configurable UI widgets comprise of Material UI. These components support themselves (just like yours truly, if I may add). Material UI is known to facilitate enhancement of performance by limiting the styles to ones that are strictly needed.
I guess I’ve mentioned this before, but Material UI is something like the Targarian bloodline. It had the throne but Ant Design (here, acting as the Lannisters) took it. However, that has not stopped it from enjoying solid support across the React community which is amply clear with its 54k stars on GitHub. Fire and Blood forever.
The biggest reason for its popularity is that it is very simple to work with. It offers extremely lightweight designs which make building apps not only easy but enjoyable. While working with it, you’ll almost feel like you are tapping into Google’s design team’s repository of consistent and user friendly designs.
I don’t know if I’m entering disputed territory here because the opinion on Shards React is divided in the community at best. Shards is open source. It boasts a modern React UI kit which harps upon fast performance. Considering that people prefer to use apps that work with lightning speed, I’ve always appreciated designing with it. The Shards react kit is built from the ground up and therefore its modern design enables customization to a great degree. When I say great degree, I mean you can change stuff right up to the code level. The SCSS which facilitates styling provides a fabulous developer experience too.
Using React Datepicker, React Popper (a positioning engine) and noUIShlider, this library is garrisoned on Shards. Honestly, I’m not sure why there is any dispute over Shards at all, because it offers over 350 components which give you enough flexibility to create just about any type of website. What’s more, it includes scores of custom React components like range sliders and toggle inputs. Right, so, you’re ready for the numbers? Well, 270. That’s the number of starts it has on GitHub.
There are so many bootstrap themes available that working with React Bootstrap becomes super easy. There couldn’t be a faster way to start building interfaces using React. With 17k starts on GitHub and over 500k downloads on npm weekly it is easy to see how popular it has become over time.
Wrapping it up
This was my list of top 6 React UI component libraries and frameworks which I believe have a lot of potential in 2020. There is a huge community of React developers who help in ensuring that the process of development is easy and fun. Some people prefer to code alone, others like the support of the community. So, whatever floats your boat, man. Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but in my opinion reading what others in the React community have to say about their new discoveries, their favorites, and of course, their tips and tricks helps in self growth as well! Do you have a list too? If yes, I’d love to see if my contenders are there on yours as well. If not, share the ones that you love working with.
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