Add React to an Existing Application

You don’t need to rewrite your app to start using React.

We recommend adding React to a small part of your application, such as an individual widget, so you can see if it works well for your use case.

While React can be used without a build pipeline, we recommend setting it up so you can be more productive. A modern build pipeline typically consists of:

  • A package manager, such as Yarn or npm. It lets you take advantage of a vast ecosystem of third-party packages, and easily install or update them.
  • A bundler, such as webpack or Browserify. It lets you write modular code and bundle it together into small packages to optimize load time.
  • A compiler such as Babel. It lets you write modern JavaScript code that still works in older browsers.

Installing React


Once installed, we strongly recommend setting up a production build process to ensure you’re using the fast version of React in production.

We recommend using Yarn or npm for managing front-end dependencies. If you’re new to package managers, the Yarn documentation is a good place to get started.

To install React with Yarn, run:

yarn init
yarn add react react-dom

To install React with npm, run:

npm init
npm install --save react react-dom

Both Yarn and npm download packages from the npm registry.

Enabling ES6 and JSX

We recommend using React with Babel to let you use ES6 and JSX in your JavaScript code. ES6 is a set of modern JavaScript features that make development easier, and JSX is an extension to the JavaScript language that works nicely with React.

The Babel setup instructions explain how to configure Babel in many different build environments. Make sure you install babel-preset-react and babel-preset-env and enable them in your .babelrc configuration, and you’re good to go.

Hello World with ES6 and JSX

We recommend using a bundler like webpack or Browserify, so you can write modular code and bundle it together into small packages to optimize load time.

The smallest React example looks like this:

import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';

  <h1>Hello, world!</h1>,

This code renders into a DOM element with the id of root, so you need <div id="root"></div> somewhere in your HTML file.

Similarly, you can render a React component inside a DOM element somewhere inside your existing app written with any other JavaScript UI library.

Learn more about integrating React with existing code.

Development and Production Versions

By default, React includes many helpful warnings. These warnings are very useful in development.

However, they make the development version of React larger and slower so you should use the production version when you deploy the app.

Learn how to tell if your website is serving the right version of React, and how to configure the production build process most efficiently:

Using a CDN

If you don’t want to use npm to manage client packages, the react and react-dom npm packages also provide single-file distributions in umd folders. See the CDN page for links.

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