Our ReactEurope Recap

by Henrik Andersen, Christian Sandvoss - 21 Sep 2016

React has become widely popular within Zalando, making our attendance at this year’s ReactEurope Conference in Paris a no-brainer. With around 800 like-minded developers and techies, this was set to be a great place to share some hands-on experiences with React.

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A lot of this year’s talks were centered around React Native and GraphQL. Let’s take a quick look into them below.

React Native

React Native has gained a lot of traction lately, which was also apparent by the number of talks about React Native at the conference.

One interesting talk was given by Brent Vatne, who shared his insights into building an Android App with React Native:

  • Available for all major mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows)
  • Microsoft announced support for React Native at F8 earlier this year
  • Developer experience -> Hot module reloading
  • Push updates directly to users (without going via the App Store review process)

GraphQL

GraphQL is a query language created by Facebook. It’s an alternative to the REST approach to fetch data from a server. GraphQL was open sourced around a year ago and has been used internally at Facebook for more than 4 years now.

With a GraphQL query, a client can define which data it needs from a server.

Query sent to the Server:

{
article(id: 1234567) {
id,
brand,
price,
articleImage {
uri
}
}
}

Response from the Server:

{
"aricle" : {
"id": 1234567,
"brand": "nike",
"price": "1,10",
"articleImage": {
"uri": "http://server/article.png"
}
}
}

The server responds purely with the fields that were defined in the query.

On the server side, a GraphQL server is needed which can interpret the query schema. A reference implementation from Facebook can be found here. I haven’t seen many uses of GraphQL, but it’s going to be interesting to see what people will do with it.

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Talks to highlight

Lin Clark – A Cartoon Guide to Performance in React
Lin gave a really solid presentation on performance in React. Understanding performance can be quite a challenge in any framework or library, but with her visualizing, I think she took an interesting topic and made it understandable, even for those in attendance who aren’t engineers. Watch it here.

Christopher Chedeau – Being Successful at Open Source
This talk was probably the best non-technical presentation I’ve had the pleasure of attending. Christopher gave really useful insight into making an open source project successful. Check out his presentation here.

A lot of the talks at React Europe were held by people working at Facebook. While this is understandable, it would have been good to see more input from people in the greater tech community. I look forward to future React innovation!

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