This book is for developers who want to learn the React library while learning the latest techniques currently emerging in the JavaScript language. This is an exciting time to be a JavaScript developer. The ecosystem is exploding with new tools, syntax, and best practices that promise to solve many of our development problems. Our aim with this book is to organize these techniques, so you can get to work with React right away. We’ll get into Redux, React Router, and build tooling, so we promise not to introduce only the basics and then throw you to the wolves.

This book does not assume any knowledge of React at all. We’ll introduce all of React’s basics from scratch. Similarly, we won’t assume that you’ve worked with ES6 or any of the latest JavaScript syntax. This will be introduced in Chapter 2 as foundation for the rest of the chapters.

You’ll be better prepared for the contents of the book if you’re comfortable with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It’s almost always best to be comfortable with these big three before diving into a JavaScript library.

Along the way, check out the GitHub repository. All of the examples are there and will allow you to practice with hands-on examples.

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Our journey with React wouldn’t have started without some good old fashioned luck. We used YUI when we created the training materials for the full stack JavaScript program that we taught internally at Yahoo. Then in August 2014, development on YUI ended. We had to change all of our course files, but to what? What were we supposed to use on the front end now? The answer: React. We didn’t fall in love with React immediately, it took us couple of hours to get hooked. It looked like React could potentially change everything. We got in early and got really lucky.

This book would not have been possible without the support of Ally MacDonald who helped us every step of the way and was monumentally patient with us through several library updates. We’re grateful to Melanie Yarbrough, Colleen Toporek, and Rachel Head for their amazing attention to detail. Thanks to Sarah Ronau for proofreading this book well before it was ready for human eyes and to Bonnie Eisenman for her great advice and overall delightfulness. Thanks also to Stoyan Stefanov, who was nice enough to provide a technical review even though he’s really busy building cool stuff at Facebook.

There’s also no way this book could have existed without the Sharon Adams and Marilyn Messineo. They conspired to purchase Alex’s first computer, a Tandy TRS 80 Color Computer. It also wouldn’t have made it to book form without the love, support, and encouragement of Jim and Lorri Porcello, and Mike and Sharon Adams.

We’d also like to acknowledge Coffee Connexion in Tahoe City, California for giving us the coffee we needed to finish this book, and its owner, Robin, who gave us the timeless advice: “A book on programming? Sounds boring!”

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