One Year of Open-Source React

May 29, 2014 by Cheng Lou

Today marks the one-year open-source anniversary of React.

It’s been a crazy ride. 2.3k commits and 1.5k issues and pull requests later, we’re approaching version 1.0 and nearing 7k GitHub stars, with big names such as Khan Academy, New York Times, and Airbnb (and naturally, Facebook and Instagram) using React in production, and many more developers blogging their success stories with it. The roadmap gives a glimpse into the future of the library; exciting stuff lies ahead!

Every success has its story. React was born out of our frustration at existing solutions for building UIs. When it was first suggested at Facebook, few people thought that functionally re-rendering everything and diffing the results could ever perform well. However, support grew after we built the first implementation and people wrote their first components. When we open-sourced React, the initial reception was similarly skeptical. It challenges many pre-established conventions and received mostly disapproving first-impressions, intermingled with positive ones that often were votes of confidence in Facebook’s engineering capabilities. On an open, competitive platform such as the web, it’s been hard to convince people to try React. JSX, in particular, filtered out a huge chunk of potential early adopters.

Fast forward one year, React has strongly grown in popularity. Special acknowledgments go to Khan Academy, the ClojureScript community, and established frameworks such as Ember and Angular for contributing to and debating on our work. We’d also like to thank all the individual contributors who have taken the time to help out over the past year. React, as a library and as a new paradigm on the web, wouldn’t have gained as much traction without them. In the future, we will continue to try to set an example of what’s possible to achieve when we rethink about current “best practices”.

Here’s to another year!