Understanding Virtual DOM: The Key to Performance for Reactjs Developers

ReactJS is among the top web development frameworks that exist. In a 2023 survey report of Statista, around 40.7% of the respondents said they used React for their development projects, which is a whopping figure. 

This explains how ReactJS has completely revolutionised the web development sector and is offering a powerful approach to building astounding UIs. One of the major features that ReactJS developers like about this framework is the use of virtual DOM. 

Virtual DOM has helped the developers leverage the full potential of ReactJS and improve the overall performance of the web app. It reduces the overall development complexity! 

If you are a ReactJS developer or are planning to use this framework for your next project, dive into this article to learn more about virtual DOM and the efficacies associated with the framework.

What do You Understand by Virtual DOM?

Virtual DOM is better known as the lightweight representation of the real DOM. Every time you pick ReactJS for creating the UI of a web app, you must define the behaviour and layout in advance, associated with the dedicated components of the framework. 

React will then take these components and will convert them into virtual DOM elements, representing them as a tree structure called DOM (Document Object Model). It is a structural display of the web document in the form of objects or nodes. This will be stored within the memory. 

The virtual DOM representation will be designed to be easily manipulated when needed, which is not possible with the real DOM. When working with the virtual DOM, the developers have the liberty to make changes or updates to the interface more promptly without the need to incur overhead expenses.

Virtual DOM acts as the web document interface, allowing scripting languages such as JavaScript to easily access, program or manipulate the content within a web document. The developers will be able to use virtual DOM APIs for adding or removing specific elements, enhancing the appearance and performing various user actions on diverse web elements. 

How does the Virtual DOM Work with React Projects?

Upon rendering any application UI, React will create a virtual DOM tree structure. This structure will represent the UI and will store the same in the memory. 

When you intend to make some changes to your stored UI within the React application, the framework will update your virtual DOM tree with that latest information and create a new one. This process is called reconciliation, which approaches further to compare the new tree with that of the older one for specifying what’s changed.

Once the React framework successfully identifies the potential differences between the new and old DOM trees, the real DOM gets updated with the same changes using the renderer library, such as ReactDOM. This process is referred to as a diffing algorithm. This library will ensure that your actual DOM is liable for only repainting or receiving the updated nodes.

It means that only the nodes or information that’s changed will be repainted onto the actual DOM and not all of them. The design is to complete the process faster and with more efficiency, even when the ReactJS developers are dealing with complex UIs.

With the use of virtual DOM, the developers can update UIs more proficiently and quickly than traditional web development approaches. Thus, building dynamic and complex UIs will be easier, and you can ensure responsiveness and speed for them to work feasibly even for slower networks or devices. 

Hence, for every render done to the UI of your React project, it will compare the existing virtual DOM tree with that of the prior version. It is to ensure that the modified nodes match the actual DOM. 

What are the Benefits of Using Virtual DOM in ReactJS?

Undoubtedly, virtual DOM is considered a pivotal feature within the React development architecture. It boosts your ability to handle frequent updates associated with the UI of your application. To help you with more clarity, some of the benefits associated with using virtual DOM in your ReactJS projects include:

  • Enhanced Efficiency and Speed

Virtual DOM in ReactJS is crucial for ensuring more efficient and faster updates of the actual DOM. Instead of updating your real DOM for every change instance, it is better to address just the specific modifications done to the React UI. 

  • Better Usage of Memory

When you hire ReactJS developers for your web development project, they would be inclined towards using virtual DOM as it consumes a very less memory than when working with actual DOM. Thus, the professionals get the opportunity to work with a lightweight replication of the real DOM, which reduces the overall application consumption.

  •  Maintains Consistency Across All Platforms

Virtual DOM offers you a consistent and stable experience across diverse platforms. As it is an abstract representation, it bears no impact due to any specific behaviours by the browser. Thus, the applications are allowed to implement uniform functions. 

  • Promotes Optimised Rendering

Virtual DOM is meant to ensure that only the specific UI parts that need some updates will be re-rendered. This selective approach, associated with the rendering process, helps developers avoid any kind of unnecessary calculations, which will eventually reduce the computational load. 

  • Enhances the Developers’ Experience

Upon using the virtual DOM, the ReactJS developers find themselves becoming more skilled and experienced with the framework. The use of virtual DOM enables them to eradicate several complexities that are attached to direct DOM manipulations, providing you with a straightforward and intuitive method for handling updates proposed to the UI. 

Parting Words

Professional ReactJS developers have the right skills to utilise virtual DOM and optimise its performance for streamlining the overall web development approaches. It is more like a strategy that helps developers compute minimal operations of the actual DOM every time there is a need for UI rendering. 

Remember, virtual DOM is not a rival to real DOM but is an assisting element for enhancing collective operations. It implements a mechanism that abstracts the manual manipulations of DOM away from your developers. Thus, they will be able to write an even more predictable code. 

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