React Starter Kits

Duane OdumReact in itself is pretty easy to pick up if you have a good background in JavaScript, and that is ultimately one of its biggest selling points: simplicity.  Whether you choose to use JSX, ES6, or even TypeScript is completely up to you, but because React is meant to handle the View layer, you need to bring in other technologies to really get a full-fledged application up and running. This has lead to a plethora of React starter kits being created and published. So the great question is “Do I create yet another React starter kit or use an existing one?” As is the case in most other development exploits, it depends.

At any given point in time, you can type “react starter kit github” and find a plethora of ready-made kits to get you started on your next project. I am certainly not the first person to have this internal debate, and started my research by picking through the packages.json of the popular starter kits to see what everyone is using.  My biggest takeaway from this endeavor is that it is truly amazing (and at times, befuddling) how many options we have available.

After realizing that I might be reinventing the wheel, I found some blog posts on React starter kits and a few of them were very helpful. A Josh Habdas post titled Awesome React Boilerplates was the first result to come back and was probably the most helpful. It provides a listing of React starter kits along with a brief explanation and links to the kit itself. If you are trying to figure out which starter kit you want to use, this is great place to start.

My personal favorite was YARSK by Brad Daily. It’s not necessarily the best tool for our particular needs, but I just love the name (Yet Another React Starter Kit). What I actually did like about Brad’s kit from an implementation standpoint is that it gives you a decent starting point, but intentionally omits pieces (specifically a Flux type implementation and routing) to allow you to pick your poison. Cory House has a good one available on Github that he created for his Pluralsight course if you want include Redux and routing. If you want to go through the entirety of concepts/technologies behind created these types of kits, check out Cory’s Pluralsight course titled Building a JavaScript Development Environment.

So back to the original question…do I create yet another React starter kit? In my humble opinion no–at least not at first. Take into account what your team knows and is comfortable with, then choose a starter kit to begin your journey. After working through things, take what you have learned and evaluate whether another starter kit serves your needs better (or, if you want, go ahead and create your own). There are so many options out there that choosing just one can be hard and ultimately it depends on your situation…but don’t we all want to hack away at something?

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