Top 9 React Development Tools For Faster Application Development

Krunal Shah

Jan 05, 2021 | 9 min read

React development tools

As one of the oldest software development technologies, JavaScript has evolved tremendously by now. Front-end JavaScript frameworks have been a boon for web developers because they don’t have to build everything from scratch. However, the problem is each framework now has its own set of tools built for one purpose or the other. How do you decide which one to use for your app then? If you have already zeroed in on React as a front-end library, this blog will help you choose the best React development tools to make your development process efficient and productive.

Table of Content
1. React Developer Tools For Chrome or Firefox
2. Storybook
3. Reactide
4. Create React App
5. React Sight
6. Bit
7. React Styleguidist
8. CodeSandbox
9. React Bootstrap

1. React Developer Tools For Chrome or Firefox

React Developer Tools

React Developers Tools are the most popular and easy to use tools for speeding up React development. These tools are extremely handy for debugging and are completely open-source.

React Dev Tools are essentially a JavaScript library that enables you to examine props, components, and other elements in a React tree.

The tool lets you see the rendered components as well as the spawning sub-components under the Components tab. This makes it easy for you to identify how each component is related to the other. Moreover, you can view, select, and edit the state and props of the components such that the other parts of the app are not altered.

So React Dev Tools definitely make debugging a React app simpler and faster. It’s also great for evaluating the performance of your React app. Plus, you can view the source code of the app in an instant, with all the necessary details.

2. Storybook

storybook react development tool

Storybook is a software development environment particularly useful for writing the UI of an application. Reactjs developers love to use Storybook when they want to write the UI code in an independent environment, outside of the main application.

The need to use Storybook arises more in React development because React is majorly a UI development library. So if you choose to write the UI in the main app code itself, you have to keep going back to the browser to see how the components appear on the screen.

On the other hand, when you write code in Storybook, you don’t have to keep rushing between the app code and the browser. The tool runs on its own web server and is able to present a catalog view for your UI code as and when you like.

Another advantage of using Storybook is that it makes most React developers create high-quality, highly reusable code. That’s because the code you are writing in Storybook is separate from the main app code. So you would wish that you could reuse it as much as you can!

3. Reactide

reactide developer developer tool

Reactide is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) especially built for easier React web development. As a cross-platform application, Reactide has a custom browser simulator and an integrated Node server. So you don’t need to configure any build-tools or servers. You can render a React project simply by clicking a React JSX file.

Secondly, Reactide offers highly efficient component visualization. You have access to a live representation of your React app’s architecture while coding in Reactide. So editing or upgrading your React app will likely not go wrong if you are using Reactide to keep track of the changes in the app architecture.

You also get a few GUI controls that you can use to get live feedback from browser simulation.

5 React Security Vulnerabilities Serious Enough To Break Your Application

Read More

4. Create React App

create react app

Facebook’s command-line tool, the Create React App makes setting up a development environment for a React app very quickly. You can use npm or yarn to begin using the tool.

For running Create React App using npm, you just need to run this one command line:

$ npm init react-app my-app

In the case of yarn, you will need to write the following code:

$ yarn create react-app my-app

Just make sure you have Node.js installed on the system when you run these command lines.

Upon inserting the above commands, the tool will present a readymade folder structure like this:

my-app
├── README.md
├── node_modules
├── package.json
├── .gitignore
├── public
│ ├── favicon.ico
│ ├── index.html
│ └── manifest.json
└── src
├── App.css
├── App.js
├── App.test.js
├── index.css
├── index.js
├── logo.svg
└── serviceWorker.js

Now all you need to do is write the following code and you are all set to begin building your React application!

$ cd my-app
$ npm start #or yarn start depending on what you prefer

After this, the tool will launch a local development server for your React application. Whenever you edit the code while using Create React App, it will be automatically reloaded in the same local development server. This, in turn, reduces the development time and effort that would otherwise go in manually refreshing the app code.

The Create React App tool also has a bunch of in-built features for importing UI JavaScript modules, adding styles to the UI, and running unit tests (Using Jest).

5. React Sight

react sight development tool

React Sight is one of the best React development tools used for app structure visualization. It gives you a live-view of the hierarchy in your app’s components.

With a tree-like flow chart of your app’s architecture, you can track the relationships between components easily. Additionally, you can see the current state and props of each component while hovering the cursor over them.

React Sight is an extremely lightweight tool and requires no modification in the code if you want to use it. You can use it as just another chrome extension for your browser.

Just make sure that access to local file URLs is enabled in the extension settings. Oh, and you will also need to have React Dev Tools installed on your Chrome.

The best thing about React Sight is it supports all the popular React libraries like React Router, Redux, and more. Also, its filtering options make the app structure appear less cluttered. You can hide the elements that you aren’t working on so you can focus on your work better.

Top 14 React Libraries You Must Try in 2020

Read More

6. Bit

bit is react development tool

Out of all the top React development tools, Bit is certainly the best tool for creating your own React components. It’s a scalable platform that enables easy collaboration for components in one place.

With Bit, you don’t have to worry about taking care of different repositories for various app components. You can import any component you like, experiment with it, and test the changes before you publish it.

Bit also makes it easier to discover components that suit your React app requirements. It lets you browse the component collection you or your team have built. It presents a preview with each component too. So you can easily find the ones that you can reuse for different parts of the app.

If other developers have built certain environments as efficient code compilers, Bit lets you reuse them. You can then build, test, and render your components in complete isolation from the rest of the app.

What’s more? You can customize these pre-built environments per your own needs. Bit ensures these new changes don’t break in the future when they are used in the app code.

So choose Bit for React app development to gain considerable flexibility and speed up the development process.

7. React Styleguidist

react styleguidist react developer tool

React Styleguidist is one of the most popular React developer tools for creating and enhancing UI components of React apps.

It is essentially a component development environment that lets you build isolated components with a living style guide. React developers love it for how it lets them focus on building one component at a time while also having all its variants available to see at a click.

Secondly, it stores all the components built by different team members at one place. So like BIt, React Styleguidist too facilitates a collaborative approach towards UI component development.

Moreover, it compels you to use comments and the prop-types library to document your components. With these, the tool automatically generates detailed usage documentation for each component.

Lastly, it provides you with an interactive playground for building the best possible combination of props for your UI. Look at the gif below.

github button UI

Image source: GitHub

You can see how the UI changes in response to any edits in the code, live. That’s the best advantage of using top React development tools like React Styleguidist.

8. CodeSandbox

CreateSandbox

A prominent online code editor, CodeSandbox for React is one of the most popular React developer tools for quick web application development.

It’s a super-fast web development environment that needs no setup. You can use any of the pre-built templates to start a new project with a single click.

Alternatively, you can also use a GitHub repo to kickstart coding for your new project within seconds. In addition to importing GitHub repos, the tool also lets you work on a GitHub repo directly.

CodeSandbox is a collaborative React developer tool so multiple developers can work on the same project synchronously or asynchronously.

Moreover, it has a live preview feature that lets you see how your app reacts in response to any changes you make in the code.

CodeSandbox for React supports all the npm packages so you can easily integrate one with your existing app code in the tool. Using this tool, you can build React components, static sites, and even full-stack web apps.

9. React Bootstrap

react bootstrap

Both React and Bootstrap have been popular front-end development libraries/frameworks for a while now. While Bootstrap eases UI development with its pre-built set of CSS and JS classes, React has a set of UI tools for efficient front-end development.  

However, the inherent ways in which they work are quite different, and a bit contradictory, so to say. React Bootstrap was built specifically keeping these differences in mind and thus, offers great compatibility between the two.

React Bootstrap is a tool that combines the benefits of both Bootstrap and React and has gotten rid of their individual limitations. For example, Bootstrap mandates the use of jQuery but you don’t have to worry about jQuery dependency while using React Bootstrap.

React Bootstrap makes kickstarting a React app project super easy. You can install it with a package manager very easily and it ensures that your app UI is clean and aesthetic.

So React Bootstrap gives you plenty of time to focus on back-end development because you don’t need to work much on the front-end.

The Bottom Line

So these were the best React development tools I’d personally recommend. However, it’s important that you keep the unique needs of your project in mind while choosing the right tools. I have covered the features of the above React developer tools in brief but you should check out their websites to get an in-depth understanding of each one.

The right tool for a Reactjs developer depends on the kind of tasks they want to put the minimum effort in. For example, some developers are more inclined to use tools like CodeSandbox because they want to work in a collaborative way. Others may use React Styleguidist or React Sight to get some help with the UI components of the app.

TRT

We are a team of expert developers, testers and business consultants who strive to deliver nothing but the best. Planning to build a completely secure and efficient React app? 'Hire ReactJS Developers'.


Krunal Shah

Krunal Shah is the CTO and Co-founder at Third Rock Techkno. With extensive experience gained over a decade, Krunal helps his clients build software solutions that stand out in the industry and are lighter on the pocket.

Linkedin | Let's connect!