Now Available React Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide

Based on our React Essentials course, this book uses hands-on examples to guide you step by step through building a starter app and a complete, production-ready app, both crafted to help you quickly leverage React’s remarkable power. 

Your production-ready app will include a cart, a login page, and other e-commerce features. 

What do you need to know? 

Before you dive into the book, you will want to be familiar with the basics of HTML and CSS. It will also help to have a foundational knowledge of JavaScript, although we will cover some JavaScript concepts throughout the book. You will use these three languages as you build your React application. No need to know anything about React as we will take you through it step by step. 

What will you learn? 


You will build your application with functional components and JSX. Using components will allow you to reuse code across your application. Components also help organize your code in a logical way that makes it easier to understand and allows for the separation of concerns. 


You will learn how and when to use the most common React hooks: useEffect,  useState,  useReducer,  useRef, useContext,  useMemo,  and useCallback. You will have opportunities to compare similar hooks and choose the one to fit your situation best. Additionally, we will walk you through creating a custom hook so that you can further take advantage of all hooks have to offer. 

Sharing State 

You will use props and context to share the state between components and to keep up with the state between multiple pages. We will compare the trade-offs between the methods, so you can select which is best for each use case in your application. 

API Integration 

You will practice connecting your app to a server using both API requests and web sockets so that you can send and receive information. You will also learn how to display loading and error states to keep your users in the loop during API interactions. 


You will learn how to thoroughly test your React components and flows using React Testing Library. You will also gain experience writing end-to-end tests with Cypress, a powerful testing framework for modern web applications. Additionally, we will cover setting up a mock server to test your application in a controlled environment. By comparing different testing methods, you will learn to choose the most effective approach for your needs. 

Performance Tuning 

Once you’ve completed the two applications and honed your React skills, you will dive into performance optimization. You will discover how to fine-tune your components to ensure your applications respond quickly to user interactions. You will analyze the bundle size of your application and use lazy loading to reduce the time to first contentful paint. You will analyze a large page that responds slowly to user input and use tools like memo, useMemo, useCallback, and useTransition to improve responsiveness. 

Helpful Tools 

There are several community libraries that you will use throughout this book. One of those will be React Router, which you will use to navigate your application. You will use PropTypes to specify the props coming into your components, so you will know if your components receive incorrect props. You will also use ESLint to check your application for coding errors and to enforce coding style. 

Where can you buy the book? 

You can order print and DRM-free electronic copies from InformIT. It is also available from Amazon and other booksellers. 

If you want the whole Big Nerd Ranch experience, enroll in one of our bootcamps or bring us on-site with our corporate training. 

Loren Klingman

Big Nerd Ranch

Loren Klingman is a full-stack web developer and instructor at Big Nerd Ranch. He has over 15 years of experience across a variety of tech stacks. When he’s not at work, he can be found playing tabletop games.

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