React package management 101

React is a free and open-source front-end JavaScript library for building user interfaces based on UI components. In React, a package is a collection of files that have been bundled together into a single project. These files contain valuable classes, functions, and variables that developers can reuse in their own code bases, instead of rewriting them from scratch. For example, the Framer Motion package can add motions and animations to websites written in React.

React package management is the task of finding, installing, updating, and uninstalling React packages as necessary while using the React library. React package management occurs continually throughout the process of website development and maintenance. For example, developers may decide to switch from one package to another in order to decrease the website’s load time or to take advantage of new features and functionality.

React packages are hosted in centralized repositories, making it easy for users to find and download the packages they need. The most popular repository for React packages is the npm public registry.

Npm is a third-party tool for managing JavaScript packages, including those using the React library. The Framer Motion package, for example, can be installed with the command “npm i framer-motion.” npm also supports commands for updating and uninstalling packages and viewing the list of installed packages.

Why should I care

In general, packages make software development more modular and “plug-and-play.” Instead of reinventing the wheel, packages enable developers to build on the work of others, saving valuable development time and effort.

However, using packages in a software project in production requires an ongoing process of package management. While some packages are deprecated and fall out of use, others appear to take their place. In addition, package authors are constantly releasing new versions of their software, offering new features and bug fixes but also the potential for conflicts between packages.

To keep track of all the packages used in a React project, developers need to perform React package management on a regular basis. This ensures that the project does not suffer from issues such as tangled software dependencies and differences between development environments on separate machines.

For developers who use more than a handful of packages in their work, it’s a wise idea to use a React package management solution. Tools such as Packagecloud keep track of the React packages that developers have installed and make it easy to share these packages on different machines.

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Thanks to https://reactjs.org/blog/2022/03/29/react-v18.html for the image.

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