Frontend developers fear one thing when it comes to React application development – state management. It becomes inevitable for the developers to know the when, why, and how of its state for better control of dynamic components and their contexts of the React application. Here is where these pre-built code bundles called the state management libraries comes to play. Developers use these libraries to manage the ever-changing state of React applications.
One of the most popular and chosen state management libraries is Redux. Though it has been the top choice of developers, it comes with attributes that contribute to the complexity rather than solve it. Due to this reason, developers look for alternative state management libraries for React development.
Before knowing the alternative state management libraries to Redux, let us first have insight into the Redux state management library and its features.
Redux is a Predictable State Container for JS Apps.
Redux’s unidirectional data flow could be possible because of its three pillars or core components – Store, Action, and Reducers.
In a nutshell, Redux is inspired by Flux Architecture and functional programming concepts except for all its complexities! This means no Dispatcher concept, absence of multiple stores, and handling the Action object directly by Store.
The usage of Redux makes your application debuggable, predictable, centralized, and flexible.
Features of Redux state management library:
The companies which have incorporated Redux in their tech stack are:
Though Redux is the most widely used library, it does not been it has everything a developer is looking for in a state management library. We have compiled a list of some of the popular alternatives to Redux that bring good features to the table.
Let us explore these Redux competitors in detail.
It is a simple, scalable, boilerplate-free, and powerful state management library. It is a standalone library created using TFRP (transparently applying functional reactive programming). MobX derives inspiration from the model–view–viewmodel (MVVM) frameworks like Vue.js, MeteorJS’s Tracker, and Knockout. MobX is an unopinionated library as it enables a developer to manage the state outside any framework resulting in decoupled, easy-to-test, and portable code. Unlike Redux which uses the Flux pattern, MobX uses a proxy pattern.
Features of MobX state management library:
As MobX is the best Redux alternative, we have already compared MobX and Redux earlier in depth. You can refer to our comparison guide MobX vs Redux to get insights into the details of these two state management libraries.
Vuex is a state management pattern + library for Vue.js applications.
It is the library implementation tailored specifically for Vue.js. As it derives its inspiration from Flux, Redux, and Elm architecture, it serves as a centralized for application components and has a Single Source of Truth. Unlike Redux, its strong coupling with Vue.js results in less boilerplate code.
The core components of Vuex are States, Getters, Mutations, Actions, and Modules.
Features of Vuex State management tool:
According to the official website, the default state management library for vue.js is Pinia. The website also has mentioned that Vuex may not receive any updates and has recommended developers switch to Pinia Instead for new Vue.js development projects.
“Zustand” means “state” in German.
It is a small, fast, flexible, and scalable state management solution built by the developers of Jotai and React springs using simplified flux principles. Just like Redux it also uses Flux pattern. It provides centralized and action-based state management. Zustand provides an API based on hooks. The developer uses this API to create global State Stores or subscribe to these Stores via Selectors. Hooks remain the primary way to consume state.
Features of Zustand state management API:
GraphQL is a query language for your API.
It is not a replacement for any other state management library as it is a query language. But by integrating it with the client library you won’t need any state management. It is used to get lesser data or exact data that developers need. Developers still get data on the client side hence they need a library to manage the state. Developers use a client-side library with built-in caching like Apollo Client. It is a library by creators of Meteor which manages local and remotely fetched states.
The application of GraphQL is not limited to the front end. Some best examples of GraphQL backends are Apollo Server, PostGraphile, Hasura, dgraph.io (SaaS), Prisma, and FaunaDB (SaaS).
Features of GraphQL query language:
Jotai means “State” in Japanese!
It is a relatively new, robust, and granular state management library for React. Jotai is a simpler and smaller state management library with no Actions, Reducers, Dispatchers, or Stores! Unlike the above Redux competitors, Jotai uses an atomic pattern.
It uses Atoms which are objects that contain states. The state management mechanism is like Recoil and React Content except Jotai is simpler. This is the reason why a React-Jotai application has a straightforward structure.
Features of Jotai state manager:
Minimal and Reactish!
It is an experimental state management library for React apps invented by a software engineer at Facebook – Dave McCabe. Unlike Redux’s focus on centralizing management, this Redux alternative focus on diffusional management. It has several stores called “Atoms” which share each component directly meaning Recoil does not have one global state. The absence of actions and reducer in Recoil enables state management in lesser code. If you are looking to boost performance despite considerable interdependent components, then Recoil is a good consideration.
The core components of Recoil.js are Atoms (shared state) and Selectors (pure functions).
Features Recoil state management:
According to the official Rematchjs docs, Rematch is Redux best practices without the boilerplate. As this library is built on Redux, it works on the same paradigm as Redux.
If you choose Rematch, you opt for just one file to handle action types, action creators, switch statements, or thunks. Apart from out-of-the-box official plugins, it also enables the creation of custom plugins with its API interface. As it is an agnostic framework, it works well the frameworks like Vue, Angular, and more apart from React.
Features of Redux Rematch:
According to the official website, ReactiveX combines the best ideas from the Observer pattern, the Iterator pattern, and functional programming.
ReactiveJs uses Observable, Observer, Subscription, Operators, Subject, and Schedulers concepts for async event management resolution. These concepts enable this framework to offer predictable operations; having said that, the strict typing issues can’t be neglected.
Valtio is compatible with frameworks like Node.js, Next.js, React with hooks support, and more. It can also be used without React using vanilla-js.
Features of Valtio library:
React Context API was an experimental feature before it was introduced with the release of React v.16.3.
The ideal data passing in React application uses a top-down (parent to child) approach via props, which means that a prop is required to pass through each nested component (which doesn’t require the data) at all the levels of the component tree from the top to down.
Context provides a way to pass data through the component tree without having to pass props down manually at every level.
It enables avoiding prop drilling problems owing to its dependency injection mechanism.
The core component of React Context API is the context provider and context consumer.
Features of Context API React:
MVC architecture raised complexity in the relation between the components with the increasing size of the application and ended up becoming a hurdle to the scalability of the applications. Facebook (now Meta) then developed Flux to overcome the issues like instability and complexity with feature unidirectional data flow patterns. It is a design pattern rather than a state management library.
It supports front-end frameworks like React, Vue.js, Angular 2, TuxedoJS, Fluxxor, and Polymer.
The four main components of flux methodology are Action, Dispatcher, Store, and View.
Features of Flux Pattern:
• Multiple stores in an application
• Supports client-side framework
• The state is mutable.
• Enables fast debugging
The choice of how to manage the states in React application is the developer’s crucial decision. Also, it is tough to find the best alternatives to Redux without losing all its good features.
Thereby, it is inevitable for the developers to weigh these state management libraries on various criteria to make a data-backed decision.
Finally, the developer must keep in mind the cost of switching to a new state management library as it may affect the overall budget of the React application development project.
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