React is a powerful JavaScript library for building user interfaces created by Facebook. This tutorial will provide detailed instructions on installing and setting up React for your next project. We will walk you through the process step-by-step, covering everything from prerequisites to creating your first React component.


Before installing React, ensure that you have the following software installed on your computer:

  • A code editor, such as Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, or Atom.
  • Node.js.
  • npm.
  • A modern web browser, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge

The Reason Why Angular Needs Node.js

React can be used in a browser without Node.js, but using Node.js provides the following benefits:

  1. Development server: Enhances the development experience with features like hot module replacement and live reloading.
  2. Build process optimization: Streamlines bundling and minification using tools like Webpack or Parcel.
  3. Package management: Simplifies dependency management using npm (Node Package Manager).
  4. Server-side rendering: Enables improved initial load performance and enhanced SEO.
  5. Back-end service creation: Supports the development of scalable and flexible back-end services for React applications.

Installing Node.js and npm

Check if Node.js is installed on your system or not. To confirm it, type node -v in your terminal prompt, which will show the installed Node.js version. Also, to check Node Package Manager (NPM), use npm -v command in your terminal prompt. Visit the Node.js website download page to install the latest version if it is not installed.

What is React CLI?

React CLI or Command Line Interface, refers to a set of command-line tools that help developers create, manage, and build React applications more efficiently. A popular CLI tool for React is create-react-app, which simplifies setting up a new React project by generating a pre-configured project structure, development server, and build scripts.

Creating a New React Project

Now that you have Node.js and npm installed, you can create a new ReactJS project. Follow these steps:

  1. Open your terminal and run the following command to install create-react-app globally:
    npm install -g create-react-app
  2. Once installed, run the following command to create a new React project:
    create-react-app my-react-app

    Replace my-react-app with your desired project name.

  3. Navigate to your newly created project directory:
    cd my-react-app
  4. Start the development server by running the following command:
    npm start

    Your new React application should now be running on http://localhost:3000.

The default screen of React app

The "create-react-app" is a command tool the React team provides for creating new React applications using Node.js. It sets up a pre-configured environment with a development server, build scripts, and a streamlined project structure, allowing developers to quickly start building React applications without manually configuring these aspects.

Exploring the Project Structure

Here's an overview of the default project structure created by create-react-app:

├── node_modules
├── public
│   ├── favicon.ico
│   ├── index.html
│   ├── logo192.png
│   ├── logo512.png
│   ├── manifest.json
│   └── robots.txt
├── src
│   ├── App.css
│   ├── App.js
│   ├── App.test.js
│   ├── index.css
│   ├── index.js
│   ├── logo.svg
│   ├── reportWebVitals.js
│   └── setupTests.js
├── .gitignore
├── package.json
└── yarn.lock or package-lock.json

The create-react-app command generates a well-organized project structure with pre-configured files and folders. It simplifies the development process by providing a clean and organized setup for building React applications. Here's an explanation of the project structure created by create-react-app:

  • my-react-app: The root folder that contains the entire React project.
    • node_modules: Holds all the installed packages and dependencies for the project.
    • public: Contains static files, such as the index.html file that serves as the template for the rendered React components, favicon, and other assets.
    • src: Stores the source code for your React components, CSS files, and tests. This is where you'll spend most of your development time.
      • App.js: The main App component that serves as the starting point for your React application.
      • App.css: Contains the CSS styles for the App component.
      • App.test.js: Holds tests related to the App component.
      • index.js: The entry point for your React application that renders the App component to the DOM.
      • index.css: Contains the global CSS styles for your application.
      • logo.svg: A sample SVG logo used in the App component.
      • reportWebVitals.js: A utility to measure and report on various web vitals, such as loading performance and accessibility.
      • setupTests.js: A configuration file for setting up test environments and tools like Jest and Enzyme.
    • .gitignore: Specifies the files and folders the Git version control system should ignore.
    • package.json: Contains the project's metadata, such as its name, version, and dependencies. It also includes various scripts for running, building, and testing the application.
    • A markdown file with instructions and information about the project.
    • yarn.lock or package-lock.json: If you're using Yarn or npm as your package manager, this file contains the exact dependency versions to ensure consistency across different development environments.

Creating Your First React Component

Now, let's create your first React component. Follow these steps:

  1. Inside the src folder, create a new file named MyComponent.js.
  2. Open the newly created MyComponent.js file in your code editor and add the following code:
    import React from 'react';
    class MyComponent extends React.Component {
      render() {
        return (
            <h1>Welcome to MyComponent!</h1>
            <p>This is your first custom React component.</p>
    export default MyComponent;

    This code defines a new React component called MyComponent that displays a heading and a paragraph.

  3. Open the App.js file and import MyComponent at the top:
    import MyComponent from './MyComponent';
  4. Replace the content inside the <div className="App"> element with <MyComponent />:
    import MyComponent from './MyComponent';
    function App() {
      return (
        <div className="App">
          <MyComponent />
    export default App;
  5. Save your changes and view your updated React application in your browser.
First React Component

Understanding React Components and JSX

React components are the building blocks of your application's UI. They are reusable and can be combined to create complex interfaces. Components are typically made using ES6 classes or functional components. In our example, MyComponent is an ES6 class component. It extends the React.Component class and contains a render method that returns the component's output. The output is written using JSX, a syntax extension for JavaScript that allows you to write HTML-like code inside your JavaScript files. JSX makes creating and manipulating the DOM in a React application easy. It is compiled down to JavaScript during the build process.


Congratulations! You have successfully installed React, set up a new project, and created your first custom React component. This comprehensive guide should serve as a solid foundation for your journey into React development. Remember to keep your components modular and reusable as you continue to learn and build your React applications. Remember to explore the vast ecosystem of React libraries and tools that can help you create even more powerful and efficient applications.

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