Top 9 NPM Packages for React.js Projects

Enhance Your React Development with These Essential NPM Packages

Harendra Kumar
10 min readSep 20, 2023

Today, I’d like to share with you a selection of the top 9 NPM (Node Package Manager) packages that are commonly needed when working on React.js projects. These packages are widely recognized for their utility in React.js development. It’s important to note that the popularity of these packages can shift over time, so it’s a good practice to stay updated with the latest recommendations and developments in the React.js ecosystem.

React Router is a popular library for handling routing and navigation in React applications. It allows you to create single-page applications (SPAs) by defining routes and rendering different components based on the URL. Here’s an example of how to use React Router:

In this example:

  • We import the necessary components and functions from react-router-dom.
  • We define three simple components: Home, About, and Contact, which represent different pages.
  • Inside the App component, we wrap everything in a Router component. This Router is the top-level component that provides routing functionality.
  • We create navigation links using the Link component. When a user clicks on these links, React Router handles the navigation without a full page reload.
  • We define routes using the Route component. Each Route maps a URL path to a component. The exact prop ensures that the / route only matches when the URL is exactly "/".

Now, when you navigate to different URLs (e.g., “/”, “/about”, or “/contact”), React Router will render the corresponding components without refreshing the page. This is the basic usage of React Router for handling navigation in a React application.

React Router Dom

Redux is an open-source JavaScript library commonly used with React for managing the state of an application. It provides a predictable state container and a set of rules for managing state changes. Redux is often employed in larger and more complex React applications to make state management more organized and maintainable.

Here are the core concepts of Redux:

  1. Store: The store is a single JavaScript object that holds the entire state of your application. It’s considered the single source of truth for the application’s data.
  2. Reducers: Reducers are pure functions that take the current state and an action as arguments and return a new state. They define how the state should change in response to an action. Reducers should not modify the existing state but create a new state object.
  3. Dispatch: Dispatch is a method provided by Redux to send actions to the store. When you dispatch an action, Redux invokes the appropriate reducer to update the state.
  4. Selectors: Selectors are functions used to extract specific pieces of data from the state. They help in accessing the state in a structured manner.
  5. Middleware: Middleware provides a way to extend the capabilities of Redux. It can intercept actions before they reach the reducer, allowing for tasks like logging, asynchronous operations, and more.

Redux follows a unidirectional data flow, which means that data flows in one direction through the application: action -> reducer -> store -> view. This strict data flow helps maintain a clear and predictable state management process.

Here’s a simplified example of how Redux might be set up in a React application:

In a real-world application, you would connect Redux to your React components using a library like react-redux to provide access to the store and automatically update components when the state changes. Redux is particularly beneficial in managing the state of larger and more complex applications, where tracking state changes becomes a crucial aspect of development.

Axios is a popular JavaScript library used in React (and other JavaScript environments) for making HTTP requests to web servers and interacting with APIs. It provides a simple and convenient way to send asynchronous HTTP requests and handle responses. Axios is commonly used in React applications to fetch data from a server, send data to a server, or perform other HTTP-related tasks.

Key features and benefits of Axios in React include:

  1. Promise-Based: Axios uses Promises, which makes it easy to work with asynchronous operations in a more readable and consistent manner. You can use .then() and .catch() to handle responses and errors.
  2. Support for Browsers and Node.js: Axios is versatile and can be used both in web browsers and server-side Node.js applications. This makes it a suitable choice for universal or isomorphic JavaScript applications.
  3. Automatic JSON Parsing: Axios automatically parses JSON responses, so you can work with JavaScript objects directly.
  4. Interceptors: Axios allows you to define request and response interceptors, which can be useful for adding global headers, handling authentication, or logging requests and responses.
  5. Concurrency Control: You can send multiple requests concurrently and handle them using Axios.
  6. Cancel Requests: Axios provides a built-in way to cancel requests, which can be helpful when dealing with components that unmount before a request is completed.

Here’s an example of how to use Axios in a React component to fetch data from an API:

In this example:

  • We import Axios and use the axios.get() method to make a GET request to an API endpoint.
  • We handle the response using .then() to update the data state and set loading to false once the data is fetched.
  • In the component’s rendering, we conditionally display either a loading message or the fetched data based on the loading state.

Axios simplifies the process of making HTTP requests in React applications, and it’s widely used in the React ecosystem for handling data fetching and API interactions.

4. Styled-components

“styled-components” is a popular npm package for styling React components using a technique called “CSS-in-JS.” With “styled-components,” you can write CSS code as JavaScript template literals, allowing you to create and manage component-specific styles directly within your React components. This approach provides several benefits:

Here’s an example of how to use “styled-components” in a React component:

In this example:

  • We import the styled function from "styled-components" to create a styled component called Button.
  • The styles are defined within the backticks (`) using template literals. This syntax allows you to write CSS directly in your JavaScript code.
  • The Button component can be used like any other React component and will render a button with the specified styles.

Using “styled-components” can make your code more maintainable and modular, as styles are closely associated with the components that use them. It’s a popular choice in the React community for managing styles, and it provides a powerful way to create responsive and dynamic user interfaces.

5. Material-UI

Material-UI is a popular npm package for building user interfaces (UIs) in React applications using Google’s Material Design principles. It provides a set of pre-designed and customizable UI components, styles, and icons that adhere to the Material Design guidelines. Material-UI simplifies the process of creating attractive and responsive web applications with a consistent and modern look and feel.

Key features and benefits of Material-UI in React include:

Here’s an example of how to use Material-UI components in a React application:

Install

npm install @mui/material @emotion/react @emotion/styled

Example

In this example:

  • We import Material-UI components such as Button, AppBar, Toolbar, and Typography from the @mui/material package.
  • We use these components to create a simple user interface, including an app bar with a title and a button.

Material-UI is a popular choice for building React applications with a modern and consistent design. It is well-documented and actively maintained, making it a reliable choice for developers who want to create visually appealing and responsive web applications in React.

6. Formik

Formik is a popular npm package used in React applications to simplify the process of building and managing forms. It provides a set of utilities and components for handling form validation, submission, and state management, making it easier to create robust and user-friendly forms in React.

Here are some key features and benefits of using Formik in React:

Here’s a simple example of using Formik in a React component:

In this example:

  • We use Formik to manage the form state and validation.
  • The <Formik> component wraps the form and provides the necessary context for form handling.
  • We define the form fields using the <Field> component and specify their names and types.
  • Validation rules are defined using Yup’s validation schema.
  • When the form is submitted, the handleSubmit function is called, where you can handle form submission logic (e.g., sending data to a server).

Formik simplifies the process of working with forms in React, reducing boilerplate code and providing a structured approach to form handling and validation. It’s a popular choice for form management in React applications.

7. React-Query

React Query is an npm package used to manage, cache, and synchronize data fetching and state management in React applications. It simplifies complex data-fetching scenarios by providing a powerful and efficient way to interact with remote APIs, databases, or other data sources.

Key features and benefits of React Query include:

  1. Data Fetching: React Query provides hooks for fetching data, including useQuery for reading data and useMutation for handling data mutations. These hooks abstract away the complexities of making HTTP requests and managing data fetching states.
  2. Automatic Caching: React Query automatically caches fetched data, reducing the need for redundant requests to the server. Cached data is automatically invalidated and refetched when needed.
  3. Data Synchronization: It offers real-time data synchronization capabilities, ensuring that data stays up to date with minimal effort. You can use polling or WebSockets for real-time updates.
  4. Optimistic Updates: React Query allows you to perform optimistic updates, where the UI is updated optimistically before the server responds to a mutation. This provides a smoother user experience.
  5. Pagination and Infinite Scrolling: It provides built-in support for pagination and infinite scrolling, making it easy to handle large datasets.
  6. Server State Management: React Query can manage server state alongside local state, helping you keep track of data changes on the server.
  7. Custom Queries: You can define custom queries and mutations to interact with any data source, not just REST APIs. This makes it highly flexible.
  8. Devtools: React Query comes with a browser extension that provides a visual interface for debugging and inspecting the queries and mutations in your application.

Here’s a simple example of using React Query to fetch data in a React component:

In this example:

  • We import the useQuery hook from React Query to fetch data from an API using the fetchData function.
  • The useQuery hook manages the loading state and automatically caches the data for subsequent renders.
  • We handle loading and error states, ensuring a smooth user experience.

React Query is a powerful tool for managing data in React applications, and it’s particularly beneficial in scenarios where you need to handle complex data-fetching requirements, real-time updates, and caching. It simplifies data management and helps improve the performance of your applications.

8. Redux-Saga

A library for managing side effects in Redux applications. Redux-Saga is a middleware library for Redux, a popular state management library in React applications. Redux-Saga is used to manage side effects, such as asynchronous data fetching, API calls, and more, in a Redux-based application. It provides an alternative approach to handling side effects compared to the more common Redux Thunk middleware.

Key features and benefits of Redux-Saga include:

Here’s a simple example of a Redux-Saga setup in a React application:

In this example:

  • We define a saga (fetchData) that listens for the 'FETCH_DATA_REQUEST' action, fetches data from an API, and dispatches success or failure actions accordingly.
  • The root saga (rootSaga) is composed of all the individual sagas.
  • In the Redux store configuration, we use createSagaMiddleware() to create the middleware and run the root saga.
  • In the React component, we dispatch the 'FETCH_DATA_REQUEST' action to trigger the saga when the component mounts.

Redux-Saga provides a powerful way to handle complex asynchronous logic in your React and Redux applications, making it a valuable choice for managing side effects and maintaining a clean separation of concerns in your codebase.

9. React Helmet

react-helmet is an npm package commonly used with React applications to manage the document head (e.g., <head>) of a web page. It allows you to dynamically update meta tags, title, and other elements within the document head based on the current state of your React application.

Here are some key features and benefits of using react-helmet:

Here’s a basic example of how to use react-helmet in a React component:

In this example:

  • We import the Helmet component from react-helmet and use it to set the title, description, and canonical URL of the page.
  • The contents of the Helmet component will be dynamically injected into the document head by react-helmet when the component is rendered.

This is a simplified example, but in a real-world application, you can use react-helmet to manage and update the document head based on the current route, user authentication status, or any other dynamic factors in your React application.

Overall, react-helmet is a valuable tool for managing the document head in React applications, ensuring that your web pages have the correct metadata and SEO-friendly content for optimal user experience and discoverability.

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Harendra Kumar

Hello, I am full stack software developer from last 6+ years, I love to learn and share about programming.