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TypeScript vs JavaScript on React

React Projects: TypeScript vs JavaScript

React keeps being a relevant and popular library for User Interfaces (UI). The 2023 Stack Overflow survey placed React.js as the most commonly used Web Development tool after Node! React combines speed with interactivity, giving your website a modern look and feel. Hence, it's unsurprising that cutting-edge website builders, like Webflow, added React.js to their component-based architecture tools to boost developer productivity. 

As you may well know, React.js is a popular JavaScript library for building dynamic User Interfaces. As with any other JavaScript tool, you can work with it using TypeScript. But should you? Which one is better for your React.js project? While many developers would've laughed at the idea of using TypeScript for React.js a few years ago, the truth is that TypeScript has gained massive popularity. More and more Web Development tools come with TypeScript support out of the box. Let’s discuss whether you should stick to JavaScript or use TypeScript in your React applications. 

What is JavaScript (JS)?

Not only is Javascript the most popular scripting language in the world, but it's also essential for Software Development. Technically speaking, you can build a website without JavaScript, but you won't be able to make an interactive User Interface. That’s why around 98% of websites use it. WordPress themes and even CSS frameworks like Bootstrap use it. It's everywhere!

Let's now get down to business. JavaScript is a high-level and dynamic typing programming language used in Front- and Back-End Development. Like other popular programming languages, like Python, it's also a general-purpose, interpreted, single-threaded language. In plain English, code executes line by line without separate compilation, handling only one task at a time sequentially. 

Since it’s responsible for websites’ interactivity, it mostly involves dynamic elements like buttons, pop-up messages, hamburger icons, forms, and animations. In addition, it responds to user actions like clicks, mouse movements, and inputs. That's called event handling. HTML and CSS create a website's raw elements and styles, but JavaScript brings it to life. Targeting HTML with JavaScript is what people call Document-Oriented Model (DOM) manipulation. That has a lot to do with how React.js optimizes JavaScript. 

React with JavaScript

One of the main goals behind creating React.js was to improve rendering performance. React.js uses a virtual DOM to update actual DOM elements much more efficiently without unnecessary rerendrs. As a Front-End framework with a component-based approach, React.js breaks down the UI into reusable components that encapsulate their logic. Moreover, React.js' vast ecosystem focuses on declarative syntax with a JavaScript syntax extension that allows developers to write HTML-like code in JavaScript files. This way, developers can work with HTML and JavaScript in the same files, boosting productivity. As a strong typing language, JavaScript makes it simple and fast to start with React.js. 

Say you were prototyping and trying to launch your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Javascript's flexibility will help you finish these small projects faster and help you easily validate your business idea. Also, being a relatively easy-to-learn language with a massive community, new developers can start quickly. Using JavaScript in your React.js projects will involve little boilerplate code and many functionalities. Product Development with React.js and JavaScript is fast and straightforward compared to "more strict" programming languages. In case you didn’t notice it, that involves TypeScript. Let's take a look at it. 

What is TypeScript (TS)?

Like SASS and CSS or Mojo and Python, TypeScript is an open-source programming language, whereas JavaScript is a prototype-based language. That means that all JavaScript language features are valid in TypeScript. Still, not all TypeScript code is useful in JavaScript because of TypeScript's strict typing. Besides, it adds new features and tools. What are these additional features TypeScript brings to the development ecosystem? 

Well, remember we mentioned JavaScript is a dynamic typing language? TypeScript, on the other hand, is static, focusing on type safety, scalability, and maintainable code quality. It brings the power of static typing features to the table, helping you catch type errors during development. Also, unlike JavaScript, TypeScript is a compiled language where the target in compile time is JavaScript. That means the TypeScript compiler will turn your code into JavaScript. After all, browsers support JavaScript, not TypeScript.

One of the greatest things about TypeScript is its robust tooling within the field of App Development. Strong Integrated Development Environment (IDE), code editor support, and static type checking allow developers early error detection during development time and autocompletion. That, combined with other features like Generics, Decorators, and Object Oriented Programming language, can help you write safer and more reusable code. Another cool thing about TypeScript is that it uses documentation from third-party libraries. As a result, working with TypeScript, an Open-Source language, also makes your code easy to maintain and refactor. 

React with TypeScript

TypeScript is a popular language you can combine with React.js, especially in projects with high financial risks. TypeScript's safety may make your processes a bit more complex, but it can save time for development in the long run. Experienced Developers are confident about writing complex React's Component-Based Architecture with IDE support, knowing their code is less likely to have errors at runtime.

If you're not used to strict languages like C# or Java, TypeScript will make writing React.js custom UI components more difficult. However, that will pay off in the long run, making refactoring and collaborating easier. Plus, remember that TypeScript provides automatic documentation. For these reasons, using TypeScript in large React.js projects or large app development projects requiring scalability may be a great option. 

Some experts claim that building User Interfaces is the most powerful feature of TypeScript. Interfaces let you define the shape of an object. Then, when you pass an Interface to a function React.js component, the interface properties will be required. In other words, TypeScript helps you ensure certain components have specific props.

Combined with the type-checking capabilities, that will help you avoid runtime errors before shipping your code to production. It's also worth noting that modern web development tools provide seamless support to TypeScript. Perfect examples are the new JavaScript runtime Bun and, of course, TypeScript Remote Procedure Calls (tRPC). Therefore, TypeScript translates to an overall improved Developer Experience (DX). 


As mentioned, it would be fair to say that TypeScript would be our preferred choice in React.js projects that are either large or require scalability. However, consider that the security provided by TypeScript does need you to write more boilerplate lines of code without adding functionality, making it a great alternative for developers. Plus, React.js components are small. Type-checking capabilities may not be super handy. Also, remember that Typescript can't do anything to help you avoid logic-related issues. On top of that, it’s worth pointing out that TypeScript has a steep learning curve compared to JavaScript. 

Both languages provide excellent performance for development teams to work on large-scale applications. So, whether you choose JavaScript or TypeScript, you're making a great choice. Plus, both languages are in high demand as web and mobile applications continue to increase, and there is a gigantic and active community of software developers, so you should learn to work with them. As a full-cycle agency focused on Product Development using the React ecosystem, we can endorse the effectiveness of both languages.