Top 5 React.js Frameworks for Building Modern Web Applications in 2023

Wow your users with high-performing and cool-looking apps! Leverage the power of React.js frameworks to build them in a couple of hours.

Sharing is caring!

by Matias Emiliano Alvarez Duran


If you have a talented team of back-end developers with limited front-end capabilities. Or, your front-end programmers have no capacity to take on extensive projects—like developing an application’s interface from scratch. Then, you should try using React.js.

React.js is a JavaScript library that gives you access to reusable components for building high-performance user interfaces (UI). But developing with React.js alone is like having a Pikachu and never getting to use the thunder stone. Instead, equip your team with React.js frameworks to help your website evolve into a highly powerful web or mobile app.

To help you choose the right tools for your project, we’ve explained when and when not to use React.js and compiled a list of five React.js frameworks. These will shorten the time you spend on front-end app development and will help you make them interactive. 

Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We’re not code monkeys, we care about you.

Table of contents

When to use React.js

If you’re about to build your web app’s front-end, why can’t you use plain HTML and JavaScript? Why do you need to make your team use an additional tool? 

You could certainly write it in vanilla JavaScript, but React.js will simplify and shorten the development process. React.js will also help you write code that’s easier to maintain and debug in the future. React.js, and most JavaScript frameworks and libraries, help you standardize your process and create code structures. Here are three scenarios when you should consider using React.js. 

1. Your app needs a complex user interface (UI)

Building feature-rich and fast-loading web applications is possible with React.js. This library lets you develop reusable and modular React UI components that are easy to maintain. That way, you can come up with a beautifully designed and high-performing web app without much hassle. Plus, React.js simplifies state management which allows you to track your app data and automate UI updates based on the most recent information. 

Pro tip: If you’re looking for a high-quality JavaScript state manager as an alternative to React.js, you can look into Redux.

2. You need the app to be super interactive

React.js is the best way to build a clickable interface, which is ideal for social media apps or SaaS B2B platforms, for example. You need to build a React app if your users will be pressing different buttons, searching on the page, and commenting on or sharing your posts. React libraries and frameworks make it possible for your app to process and retrieve large amounts of data without taking too much time to load. 

3. You want to develop SEO-friendly web apps

React.js can use server-side rendering and semantic HTML which means your progressive web apps (PWAs) become easier to crawl. That helps you improve the organic search ranking and grow your traffic coming from search engines. 

Also, pages that load fast, rank higher. And, one of React.js’s most used features is the virtual DOM. This copies the real DOM and lets you update the UI without having to reload the complete website, leading to better performance. You can access the React-DOM package in the library to use client- or server-side modules. 

When to avoid React.js

No one can deny the power of React.js, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good solution for every single use case. Try a different development tool if: 

The UI is very simple

If you’re creating a simple user interface, you don’t need to use React.js as it’s probably going to be an additional, unnecessary step. In this case, we’re talking about interfaces that don’t require too much user interaction. These may be simple static, institutional or information-sharing pages. 

If you’re a React developer, you might choose to still code simple websites on React.js, but it might be overkill if you’re not familiar with the tool. If you need a fast solution, you can use a JavaScript templating engine.

You don’t have experience with JavaScript 

If you’re not familiar with JavaScript or TypeScript, you’re probably better off coding your UI in Django, Ruby on Rails, or any other web framework that provides a simple HTML templating system. React.js is meant to help you save time, and while it’s easy to learn, you could probably code a simple front-end in a tool you’re already familiar with. 

If your platform has a lot of dependencies and you’re certain a React application is what you need, look for a company like NaNLABS to handle front-end development for you. We can augment your team or advise you on how to implement React.js from scratch. 

Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We’re not code monkeys, we care about you.

5 Best frameworks to use with React.js

React.js is a powerful JavaScript library on its own as it can help you shorten the time it takes to build interactive UIs. However, to unleash React.js’s full potential, you should try using these five frameworks on top of it.

FrameworkGitHub stars*Best suited forLicense
React Native108kBuilding native mobile appsMIT license
Next.js103kMaking apps discoverable by web crawlersMIT license
Gatsby54.3kDeveloping hyper-fast loading websitesMIT license
Grommet8.2kDesigning eye-catching user interfacesApache license 2.0
React Bootstrap21.6kAccessing reusable web app templatesMIT license
Create React App26.1kLearning how to use React.jsMIT license

* GitHub gives developers the option to "star" their favorite repositories. The more stars, the more popular the framework!

React Native: Best for building native mobile apps

React Native is a React.js framework that allows you to build native mobile apps—with React.js alone it’s only possible to develop PWAs. React Native was created by Facebook and is now one of the most popular React.js frameworks. Since React Native uses TypeScript as the default language, it lets you spot syntax errors or bugs before the app is live. 

React Native’s top features

  • Cross-platform development: React Native allows you to write the mobile app code in TypeScript and then translate it to iOS and Android. 

  • Hot reloading: This React Native feature lets you see development changes easily without having to reload the app every time you add or delete a line of code. 

  • APIs and code components: React Native comes with multiple component libraries that let you build your app as if you were using Lego blocks—and connect it to third parties using APIs. These libraries are open-source, so they’re frequently updated by the community.

Who should use React Native?

React Native is best suited for building iOS and Android apps using the same codebase. It’s ideal for startups and growing businesses since they can hire just one React developer to maintain both apps—and save money.

Next.js: Best for making your app discoverable by web crawlers

Next.js is a React.js framework that comes with out-of-the-box features that support server-side rendering (SSR) to improve page loading time and technical SEO. Next.js makes your website reachable by web crawlers because it turns your JavaScript code into HTML. 

Pro tip: If you’re looking for Next.js development services, you should consider a company that has experience in JavaScript, React.js, and Node.js development—like NaNLABS.

Next.js’s top features

  • Multi-lingual support: Next.js has an advanced feature called Internationalized Routing (i18n). It allows you to tag language locales—i.e., French, English, or German—and reroute your users to the right domain based on language usage. 

  • Automatic code splitting: It’s common to split your web apps into multiple pages that are accessed from different URLs. Next.js automatically creates small nuggets out of the app's bundle so you can improve the page load time by only running the code needed for each page.

  • In-app CSS support: With Next.js you can add CSS files to JavaScript code due to its ability to import more than just JavaScript files. You can also write CSS code in Next.js using its stylesheet.

Who should use Next.js?

Businesses of all sizes that want to grow their websites' organic traffic will benefit from developers using Next.js as it makes websites SEO-friendly. But that’s not the only thing you can do with Next.js. Netflix, for example, uses Next.js on the front-end of its career page.

Gatsby: Best for building hyper-fast loading websites

Jay Gatsby may be a millionaire fictional character but there’s nothing unreal about the rich static websites you can build with this open-source framework. Gatsby is built on top of Node.js and React.js. It lets you develop fast-loading and SEO-friendly static websites that can render multiple data sources fast.

Gatsby’s top features

  • Fast-loading websites: Gatsby lets you build pages that load faster and have a shorter response time compared to commonly used CMS like WordPress. It pre-loads the content of the website the user is accessing so it can be provided in no time.

  • Combine data from multiple sources: This framework has a unified data layer that lets you access and render information from multiple places. This is useful as you can build your website with content coming from different sources in a standardized way. For example, use the data from Stripe, Shopify, or your CRM. 

  • Growth-ready web pages: Gatsby helps you build robust and high-performing websites that are easy to maintain when your traffic grows. This framework also lets you add security measures easily so it’s always enterprise-ready. 

Who should use Gatsby?

Growing and enterprise-level businesses that want to develop lightspeed loading applications that support spikes and high traffic volumes. 

Grommet: Best for designing eye-catching user interfaces

Grommet provides an ecosystem of design-driven and extensive UI components for building rich user experiences. It offers a library of accessible components such as: layouts, colors, embedded media, and utilities. Developers can use both standard HTML/CSS markup and React components to create powerful and visually appealing user interfaces. 

Grommet’s top features

  • Flexible layouts: Grommet’s library of components makes it easy for developers to create layouts based on item size, padding, margin, spacing, and page visibility. Developing the front-end of websites on Grommet is like using design-ready building blocks.

  • Built-in animations: Developers can quickly add visual effects to their designs with Grommet’s built-in animation library.

  • Accessibility: Grommet supports W3c’s WCAG 2.1 spec. A set of rules that ensures Grommet’s websites are accessible to everyone despite disabilities or special needs.

  • Built-in theme tools: You can easily customize colors and typography with Grommet’s built-in theme engine. This means you can quickly create unique designs without having to write any code.

Who should use Grommet?

Grommet is ideal for businesses and developers who want to create accessible, visually appealing user interfaces with minimal effort. Or, use their existing codebases to create a richer, more engaging user experience.

React Bootstrap: Best for accessing reusable web app templates

React Bootstrap is an open-source tool that enables developers to use the popular front-end framework ‘Bootstrap’ with React components. It works by taking the Bootstrap HTML and CSS-based design templates and merging them with the functionality of React. React Bootstrap enables developers to create user interfaces (UI) fast using Bootstrap’s styling conventions.

React Bootstrap’s top features

  • Pre-built components: React Bootstrap comes with a library of pre-built React components to use in your applications without having to code everything from scratch.

  • Easy integration into existing projects: If you already have a Bootstrap project, you can use React Bootstrap to merge the two codebases. For example, developers can use this feature to create a Bootstrap-style navigation bar or menu without having to write all the HTML and CSS code again.

  • Lightweight codebase: The library has a lightweight codebase, which makes the apps fast to load. This is especially important for mobile applications, where loading times are critical to keep users engaged. 

  • Cross-browser compatibility: React Bootstrap components are designed to be compatible across browsers. This makes it easier to create consistent experiences across different platforms.

Who should use React Bootstrap?

React Bootstrap is an ideal tool for teams with limited resources that need to build UIs fast, reusing HTML and CSS components. Plus, it provides an easy way to leverage the popular Bootstrap styling conventions. If you’re using this tool, discover popular Bootstrap templates here.

Build your own adventure app with Create React App: Best for learning React.js

As well as fast-loading websites, React.js can be used to build your own development environment. Create React App (CRA) supports developers to quickly set up and configure a new React project with minimal configuration using this command: npx create-react-app my-app. CRA is essentially a Node.js command line module that lets you develop apps locally, import assets, create production bundles, and deploy your application.

Create React App is perfect for new developers that want to understand how React.js works and the potential features they could add to their apps. However, the Create React App tends to slow down when your application gets more complex. Plus, CRA isn’t production-ready, doesn’t allow for server-side generation, and is tricky to write in TypeScript. If you’re building large and complex React.js applications, you’re better off with alternative frameworks like Next.js. 

What’s the best React.js framework?

All of these frameworks can simplify your React.js web development, but each one is suited to a particular and individual use case. So, we’d be lying if we claimed to know which one is best for you without knowing what your project is about. However, we can say that we’re big suckers for Next.js because it allows different types of rendering and does code splitting to reduce the size of your PWA. 

But you don’t need to handle everything alone. If your team doesn’t have the expertise or the time to:

  • Research what each framework can do for you

  • Choose the one that suits the project

  • Watch tutorials to learn how to use it

  • Develop your app’s interface

Then, we can help out! At NaNLABS, we have a large team of developers with over 10 years of experience in JavaScript and React.js development services. As a React.js development company, we can act as consultants and help you choose the right tech stack for your project. Or, we’ll work as an augmented team to handle the front-end design, development, and maintenance next to your back-end team for as long as you need us.

Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We’re not code monkeys, we care about you.

Frequently asked questions about React.js frameworks

  • What is React.js?

    React.js is a free and open-source front-end library for JavaScript and TypeScript. It was built on Meta (formerly Facebook) and gives developers access to code components for creating interactive and flexible user interfaces (UI). 

  • What are the benefits of React.js?

    React.js has multiple benefits: 

    • Increases team velocity 

    • Lets you build flexible user interfaces

    • Allows you to code high-performing and fast websites

    • Has a shallow learning curve (for JavaScript developers)

    • Lets you write your own code components

  • Is React.js a UI framework?

    React.js isn’t technically a UI framework but a JavaScript library. But, in practice, React.js lets you use reusable front-end components to build rich user interfaces. So, we guess you could say that React.js works similarly to a UI framework.

  • How many frameworks are there for React.js?

    It’s impossible to know exactly how many React.js frameworks exist, especially since developers can build their own environments. However, the most popular React.js frameworks are: 

    • Next.js

    • Gatsby

    • React Native

More articles to read

Previous blog post



MVP Development With React.js: How Our Client Went from Ideation to Scalable App in 3 Months

Read the complete article

Next blog post

Web Technologies


6 Best React.js Companies for Stunning Front-End Websites in 2023

Read the complete article