Why is Redux Useful?

With so many Javascript tools and libraries out there, it’s hard to keep track of them, let alone use them all. Thus, we end up having our favorites and some secrets up our sleeve. But there are certain times when a solution breaks the mold and takes us by surprise with a combination of ease of use and powerful functionality to catch the attention of the development community. Redux is one of those tools.

The state management tool isn’t precisely new but it has become essential for teams in big enterprises, startups, and offshore software development companies. There are several reasons why that happened over Redux’s 4+ years of existence. Let’s see why so many people think of this tool as fundamental and why they find it so useful!

What is Redux?

For those among you that don’t know it, Redux is a predictable state container for Javascript apps that aids you to develop consistent applications that can run in different environments and are easily tested. It’s commonly used with React, Facebook’s library for building interfaces, but it can be used with other Javascript frameworks or libraries.

Now, why would you use Redux with React if the latter has built-in state management capabilities? Because state management can get tricky as the app gets more complex. In React, a state has to live in the parent component for the data to be shared among siblings. Whenever the state has to be updated, it has to be changed in the parent component and passed along to the siblings.

That’s not a problem in a simple app but in complex software, where the component tree can get extremely complicated, managing states that are far apart from one another becomes highly challenging. Redux comes to bridge those gaps and make it easier to maintain these states.

This is done by using 3 components: stores, actions, and reducers. A store is the place that holds the application state. Being at the core, there can only be one store per Redux app. Each component can access the store without having to go through the component tree. The only way to send data from the app to the store is by using actions. Actions are basic events such as user interactions, form submissions or API calls.

Finally, there are reducers, pure functions that take the state of an app, carry out a specific action and then return a new state. They are the ones that define how the state is changed, depending on the action received by the store.

The combination of the three components is what makes Redux so wonderful because it simplifies the whole state management while also ensuring the states’ predictability. That’s the basic scenario where in-house, independent, and offshore development teams choose a tool like Redux. But that’s only one of the reasons. There are other benefits of using a tool like this to manage states.

Benefits of using Redux

While the explanation of how Redux works should be enough for you to understand how useful this tool can be, let us break down the benefits to make them crystal clear:

  • Apps are simpler: since all data related to states is managed by one store that provides access to all components, there’s no need to transfer the different states from one component to another. Redux handles everything state-related and simplifies the traceability, as you always know which action causes a specific change.
  • States are more predictable: any state and action passed to a reducer produces the same result. Thus, you can always know the different states. In fact, and given that states in Redux are immutable and never change, you can move freely among previous states to view the results as you desire.
  • Apps are easy to maintain: code in Redux is strictly organized and has a defined structure. That means that all applications built with Redux share the same “skeleton” that makes it easier to navigate and maintain for any developer that knows their way around this tool.
  • Debugging is easier: since Redux logs actions and states, it’s fairly easy to spot coding and networking errors that will surely appear during development. In other words, a change in a state can be traced back to an action, and since states in Redux remain immutable, you can use its developer tools to visualize the actions in real-time and identify the “story” of the interactions with the application to see where things went wrong.

These 4 benefits are what make Redux so useful and the reasons why it’s become a must in the toolkits of in-house developers, freelancers, and offshore development companies. However, even they know that not all applications need Redux. In fact, there are some apps that might still work without Redux.

Since the tool aims to abstract the complexity of state management, it will become useful only in scenarios where the app being developed experiments lots of state changes or has an intricate component tree. That’s why you should talk to your development team or offshore developers to learn if your project can benefit from one of the most popular Javascript tools around or if you can go off without it – for now.

If you have any questions, please ask below!