This is a problem faced by many React freshers when they complete the fundamentals of the React library and hit the intermediate stage of learning. The best way (and probably, the most productive way) to move forward is to focus on developing React projects.
No, we’re not talking of taking on big industry projects, but smaller real-world projects that can help you materialize your theoretical skills into practical experience. By working on real-world React projects, you can bridge the gap between being a React beginner and becoming a professional developer.
Developing React projects will not only help you solidify your React skills, but it will also allow you to explore your creative side. However, before we get started on discussing React projects, let us first address the “why” and “how” of React project development.
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Why should you work on React projects?
You’ve heard the old saying, “practice makes perfect,” right? This situation is the same. Once you gain mastery over the fundamental concepts of React, you must get handsy with building React projects. In the process of developing React projects, you will learn how to develop apps that actually function.
What’s more is that when you start developing React projects, you learn which tools and React ecosystem to use for which React project. The biggest advantage of building apps with React is that once you’ve successfully deployed them, you can incorporate them into your portfolio to impress potential employers.
However, the most tricky part of the process is figuring out what React apps you should build. To help you break the ice with React project development, we’ve compiled a list of React projects for beginners.
How to kickstart the process of developing React apps?
One of the first things to remember about React project development is that it is a largely self-directed process. Unlike learning the basics of React via online tutorials and learning materials, there’ll not be much to guide you on building React projects. You’ll have to learn on a trial and error basis.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s absolutely nothing to help you learn the fundamentals of project development with React. You can find plenty of material on how to get started with React project development. There are numerous online articles that teach the core steps of app development, along with the source code.
As a beginner, the task of developing React projects from scratch may seem challenging, but there’s a secret to simplifying the process – break down an application into smaller components. Try to focus on building one feature at a time, and keep connecting the dots as you go. As you continue to practice and experiment with different React tools and ecosystems, you will understand the common patterns of app development and also which tools are best for developing specific features of a React app.
Additional tip: Often, beginners harbor the misconception that they must build an app’s backend from the ground up, but it’s not necessary. You can simply leverage serverless technologies such as AWS Amplify, Firebase, and Hasura to equip your app with an out-of-the-box backend. These tools not only save your time but also help amplify your productivity.
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React Project Ideas for Beginners
1. Social Media App
Future of Social Media Marketing in India is amazing as Social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, are prime examples of sophisticated apps. These apps can be a great inspiration for a React project since they have an ever-increasing number of advanced features. The best part about building a social media app using React is that you know what kind of features you must include in the app. Some of the most common features of almost all social media apps are:
- User authentication
- Notification and newsfeed
- Easy integration with other platforms
- Posting, sharing, and commenting
Basically, a social media app provides you ample scope for experimentation. After adding the most basic features (as the ones mentioned above), you can create additional features for customization that will allow end-users to tweak their profiles and accounts according to their requirements and preferences.
Technologies you can use:
- Create React App or React Native for creating dynamic UI for posts, messages, and likes.
- AWS Amplify, or Firebase, or Hasura (using GraphQL subscriptions) for real-time data.
- AWS Lambda or Firebase Functions for app notifications
- Firebase or Cloudinary storage for uploading pictures and videos
2. e-Commerce App
Ever since e-commerce penetrated the mainstream industry, e-commerce apps (like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, etc.) have become omnipresent. These apps are now an integral part of our lives. Thus, if you build a functional e-commerce app, it will show that you have real-world skills to keep up with the latest trends in the industry. Needless to say, you will become an appealing candidate before potential employers.
Keep in mind that we’re talking about developing a small e-commerce project that is focused more on a particular industry and not a large marketplace like Amazon or eBay. You could choose any industry that interests you, such as electronic devices (mobiles, TVs, laptops, etc.) and develop your e-commerce app around that.
Your e-commerce app can either deliver products or services. In any case, you must ensure that apart from browsing products or services, customers can enjoy seamless customer service. This is crucial for app success – all-round customer support and good customer experience are two vital elements of any successful app.
As far as app features are concerned, keep the layout and interface neat and easy-to-navigate, include the location option for deliveries, incorporate a shopping cart, and a wishlist. Make sure the checkout process incorporates the necessary authentication options (as a guest or registered user).
Technologies you can use:
- Create React App, or Gatsby are excellent choices for building the storefront that displays the products/services.
- Algolia is perfect for creating a lightning-fast product search interface.
- Netlify/AWS Lambda for handling the checkout process.
- Stripe/react-stripe-elements for managing the payment process.
- Snipcart allows you to create a cart and also manage the cart products.
3. Weather App
This is the perfect React project for beginners. It is a straightforward project – you can code it in a matter of a few hours! In this project, you have to build a weather app that can display a 5-day weather forecast. For this app, you can leverage fake, hard-coded data until you get all the features correct.
The weather app must have all the basic functions, including city name, current weather icon, temperature, humidity, wind speed, etc. It must display the recording of both high and low temperatures of each day, including apt images for sunny/rainy/cloudy/snowy weather conditions. It should have a responsive design and refresh every five minutes with the exact temperature and weather conditions.
Once you get the key functionalities in place, you can further expand the app in the following ways:
- Include the functionality wherein the user can click on a particular day of the week to see the hourly forecast.
- Add React Router to the app (npm install react-router). Check out the quickstart guide to add routes. For instance, routes that can display the 5-day forecast, along with the name-of-day and the hourly forecast for that day.
- Sign up on the Open Weather Map to obtain a free API key and to fetch a 5-day forecast. Then feed this data in your app.
- If you wish to make the app even fancier, you can add a graphics library like vx. You can check out these vx examples for inspiration.
While developing this weather app, you will learn how to connect to an external API and display the appropriate results. This practical skill will come in very handy when you develop other kinds of single-page apps that are designed to fetch data from external sources and display the outcomes.
Technologies you can use:
- Node.js and Bower are two excellent options for this app.
- You can use Gulp Task Runner and SASS CSS pre-processor.
- You can check out Erik Flowers for weather icons, and for “require” modules, you can use Browserify.
4. Messaging App
Messaging apps and messaging services are hugely popular among netizens. As a matter of fact, messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are such as big part of our daily lives, that we can’t imagine a day without these. Instant messaging is a way of life now. Even companies (big or small) rely on the power of instant messaging to provide 24×7 customer support to their customers. So, building a messaging app is one of the best ways to monetize your React skills.
When developing a mobile-based messaging app, the first thing to consider is that you have to build a platform that can facilitate a conversation between two or more people in real-time. Real-time is the key here, for it is the essence of instant messaging. You can tools like Firebase or Hasura that transport data via WebSockets to display messages immediately in a conversation. React Native is the ideal choice for this project.
Technologies to utilize:
- React Native or React Native Web as these are both excellent for developing mobile messaging apps and hybrid (web + mobile) messaging apps.
- Firebase, AWS Amplify, or Hasura for sending and receiving messages in real-time.
- Cloudinary or Firebase storage for sending/receiving messages with image or video content.
- npm emoji-mart package for emojis that users can include in their messages
5. Productivity App
This is one of the easiest projects on the list, and given the fact that tutorials on productivity apps are abundant, this project should be relatively easy for a beginner. As the name suggests, productivity apps are the ones that help in enhancing your productivity. Some of the most commonly used productivity apps are note-taking apps, team management apps, task list apps, time management apps, to name a few.
While these are common productivity apps, you can try building an app that offers a detailed introduction to the app development process. This is an excellent idea for a productivity app owing to the simplistic design and features that will allow users to follow the steps of app development.
While developing a productivity app, you must ask what features will simplify the daily schedule or learning schedule, and that will be your cue to start. Start with a simple feature, like a text editor for writing formatted text with markdown. After you’ve successfully developed one or two such core features of the app, gradually start expanding upon the elements. For instance, the option to save the text as individual files on the computer, to export the text markdown as HTML for writing formatted emails.
Technologies you use:
- Create React App (for web) or React Native (for mobile platforms).
- react-markdown npm package for displaying markdown in your app UI.
- react-codemirror2 npm package for writing code in the notes.
- react-draggable npm package for re-ordering list content through a click-and-drag option.
6. Entertainment App
We’ve saved the most extensive app for the last – entertainment app. Entertainment apps are focused on media content, ranging from movies to music and podcasts. Netflix, Audible, Spotify, and Soundcloud are some examples of entertainment apps. Interestingly enough, today, we have many entertainment apps that share a close relationship with social media. TikTok is perhaps the best example of a social media entertainment app. It features short video clips created by users and is driven by high-user engagement. Then you have YouTube that encourages user engagement through subscriptions, likes, and comments.
Our project will be much, much simpler than any of these popular apps. Choose an entertainment media that interests you the most and design your app on that. The idea is to develop an entertainment app where users can log in to view and save the content of their choice. When you have the basic features in place, you can play around with social elements that will allow users to like, share, and comment on the app’s content.
Technologies you can use:
- Create React App, Next.js, or Gatsby for the app UI.
- Algolia for searching media (names of audio tracks, movies, podcasts, etc.).
- react-player npm package for playing media.
- Cloudinary/Firebase storage for uploading media content.
Apart from these six projects, there are some other easy projects that you can try:
7. Social cards
Although this is not a full-blown app, but rather a component of an app, it is a good project nonetheless. The internet is replete with numerous variations of social card UIs. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. A social card is an ideal project idea for a beginner since it lets you practice breaking down a UI into React components. Also, social cards are the perfect visual representations where you can display images along with relevant data.
Calculators are simple gadgets that perform a set of basic mathematical functions, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and percentage. This will be the idea behind our project – a calculator that can perform these essential functions. To create even a simple calculator, you must create a setup for all the different components, establish a mutual interactive platform, and also create a support system for handling failures, crashes, and bugs. You can use the Create React App package to instantiate a directory to hold and run the calculator app.
9. Github Issues Page
This project is to design a simplified version of Github’s Issues page. This is how it should look like:
You need to keep your scope small. Ignore the items in the header (search, filtering, stars, etc.) and only focus on implementing the list of issues. To begin the project, first, collect open issues from Github’s API and display them in a list. After this, add a pagination control to facilitate navigation across a complete list of issues. If you add React Router, you can navigate directly to a particular page of your choice. You can increase the complexity of the page by including the issue detail page as well.
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We hope this article was inspiring enough to get you into the app development mindset. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at developing real-world projects with React.
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