React: Getting Started - Pluralsight

I've spent the last year working with Vue and focusing my efforts more towards front-end development. Everything has been working well, I honestly can't complain, and yet every time I start something new I have the nagging feeling that my time would be better spent if I picked up another framework.

That's not to say I'm not content with Vue - Out of all the JS frameworks I've tested beforehand, and out of the few I've actually worked with, it's undoubtedly my favourite. However I'm finding myself in a situation where if the only tool I have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

To avoid Vue becoming my metaphorical hammer, I'm going to start diving headfirst into React. I'm a huge fan of Pluralsight, so naturally it's my first port of call when starting anything new.

As an introduction course, I went with "React: Getting Started" by Samer Buna. You can find the course here:

React: Getting Started

I won't go into any React or even JS specific, nor will I go into great detail into the content of the course, instead just focusing on the quality of the content and how effective the course is as a primer for the React library.

My first impressions? It begins by emphasising a focus on requiring a strong JavaScript foundation before beginning the course. I love this. Very often when I look at the descriptions for developer positions on job sites I see requirements like "Strong Ember knowledge essential" with no mention of the level of JavaScript expected. Possibly this is implied, but I'd always prioritise an expertise in JavaScript over a specific framework.

ES2015 seems to be used in the course, but knowledge of it isn't essential as they have a short crash course on this before the course begins. Another huge bonus for me also, since I've gone through this before but never had the chance to use modern JS at work (thanks to certain users refusing to upgrade their browsers!), so I'm definitely in need of revision. Anyone who's been working on an up-to-date JS stack can probably jump this section entirely.

I don't feel as though I need to go back and recap anything too often, and yet the author goes through the content very quickly. That's not to say the pacing is bad, quite the opposite in fact. The essentials have been efficiently packed into a couple of hours, where the normal um's, ah's and pauses you'd find on many YouTube tutorials have been completely cut out. For that, they have my gratitude.

It's got me working through two simple applications. The first goes through the basics of creating and styling components, working with user input and grabbing data via AJAX. The second goes into more detail around state management. They're your basic "to-do list" style applications, simple enough to create quickly and with little effort, but complex enough to cover a large amount of different techniques.

There's definitely so much more ground to cover that what was covered in these videos, but from a beginners course I got what I wanted. It finishes with a section on setting up a development environment, although at this stage I'm tempted to look at a few different setups before committing to a particular setup.

Overall, the course was excellent, and thanks to it I should (at some point, hopefully soon) be able to make something I've been planning in React and upload it for the world to see. Time permitting, of course!