React is often described as “the V in the MVC structure”. This also happens to be the least tangible explanation one could give a newcomer, as (V)iews are typically logic-less files that are driven by a controller. Further, frameworks like Angular, Backbone, Ember, and more already have sufficient view layers — which then begs the question, why do we need to replace the V in MVC with React?

The answer is that this framework doesn’t necessarily want to replace our views — it wants to augment them by allowing you to create highly reusable UI components (tab bars, comment boxes, pop up modals, lists, sortable tables, etc).

In other words, the big idea behind React is this: what if you could create your own HTML element that has customized functionality? For example, one could make a element that would display a textarea, run validations on the text typed into the textarea, submits the form when the enter key is pressed, etc — all just by including one line of code: . (For those of you coming from the Angular world, you can think of React Components as a close analogy to Directives).

Components: The future of web development

However, React is capable of becoming an entire replacement for your views because you can nest components. What is a view, but a large UI component?