SolidJS vs React: Functionality, performance, rendering

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For developers, selecting the appropriate JavaScript library is essential to determine the success of a project. SolidJS and ReactJS are often discussed and compared within the web development community as the most popular choices among many libraries out there, and if you’re currently choosing between the two, this guide will provide the knowledge you need to select the suitable library for your project.

Key features of React

React is a JavaScript library used for creating user interfaces. The library is a popular choice among various companies and developers to build complex web and mobile applications.

One of the main features of React is JSX, which refers to a syntactic extension for JavaScript. This feature allows developers to quickly write HTML structures in the same file as JavaScript code. To ensure browser functionality, the JSX adheres to JavaScript standardization.

Additionally, React also utilizes Virtual Document Object Model (DOM) representation. This feature updates only a specific object in the real DOM instead of updating the entire object if changes are made. As a result, the process can run more quickly.

Another key feature of React is hooks, which was introduced in React 16.8. Hooks refers to the JavaScript functions that isolate a reusable part from a functional component. The feature offers a more straightforward API for controlling side effects and state in components.

Key features of SolidJS

SolidJS is a frontend library that focuses on scalability and performance. The library is aimed to assist developers in building quick, practical, and reusable web applications. SolidJS offers extensive components using easy-to-use API to simplify building complex web applications quickly.

SolidJS is an ideal tool for server-side development since it can create user interfaces compatible with current web technologies, including HTML/CSS, and other frameworks, such as Backbone or AngularJS. Other key features of SolidJS include TypeScript support, reactive and declarative programming, asynchronous rendering, and others.

Comparing the two

Although the developer experience is almost the same for both, there is a notable difference between the mechanisms of each library.

A library may occasionally need to keep track of data and specific properties linked to a component. The feature is called a state in React, while in SolidJS, it is known as a signal. State and signal enable the library to track value changes by storing component data (as props). The component is rendered with the appropriate value(s) if changes are made.

When using a library, memoization can improve its performance by caching heavy component render results and using the cached values when necessary rather than recomputing them. Memoization is crucial for React to render applications quickly.

Meanwhile, SolidJS rarely needs explicit memoization due to its optimized DOM usage and change tracking. The library uses a single method called createMemo to handle memoization in extreme edge cases where changes to a component prop do not require a rendering update.

In terms of performance and rendering, the two libraries manipulate HTML very differently. The main difference refers to the way they update the browser DOM. React offers a lightweight Virtual DOM to connect with the browser’s actual DOM.

In contrast, SolidJS utilizes a fine-grained reactivity mechanism to manipulate the browser’s DOM, which delivers a small memory footprint and fast application of page edits and injected code. Compared to React, this yields a significant performance gain.

In terms of functionality, SolidJS has a more basic syntax and depends on third-party libraries for added functionality. In contrast, React provides a broader range of abstractions and tools for creating complex applications.

Ultimately, both React and SolidJS have areas where they are stronger than the other. Make sure to consider those benefits when choosing between the two libraries according to your project’s needs.