Aren’t you curious about the topics that interested React developers the most in 2021? I know I am!

Luckily, I have a handy way of finding out, so today I’m going to share the top 10 list of React hot topics of 2021 with you. Who knows, you may have missed something—and it’s not too late to catch up.

What is my method? Well, I have access to all the Telerik Blogs data and I’m not afraid to use it. Mua-ha-ha-ha-HA!… Erm, you know, it’s actually Google Analytics stuff, nothing crazy. But still—knowledge is power! Mua-ha-ha-ha-HA. Ha. Okay. I want to share that power with you.

You see, the Telerik Blogs serve millions of readers every year across all the technologies we cover, and we’ve had hundreds of thousands of unique views of our React blogs. Considering that there are about 6-7 million React developers today, I would call our React audience a representative sample and my method—semi-scientific.

(If you’re wondering about the size of the React developer community, I combined SlashData’s Q3 2021 survey data that there are ~16M JavaScript developers and took a conservative 40% of that number, based on Stack Overflow React usage stats. I say “conservative” because according to the State of JavaScript 2021, 80% of JavaScript devs use React.)

So, let’s begin! In true countdown fashion, we’ll start from #10 and work our way up to #1. This will also give you the opportunity to make a guess what the top topics are—and adjust your guesses as we go. Beware, if you peek at what sits on number 1, Santa may skip you this year. Nah! Just kidding. It’s the holiday season, do what makes you happy.

Here we go!

State management is always on React developers’ minds, which is why it’s no surprise that ever since graduating to “safe to use in production” with React 16.3, the React Context API has been growing in usage. Sometimes hailed as the Redux killer, one of React Context API’s main benefits is that with its help, you don’t need to install external libraries to handle state management.

Leonardo Maldonado did a great job explaining what the Context API is, the problems it solves and how to use it with his popular blog, Understand React Context API—number 10 on today’s list.

You can build all sorts of apps with React and it can be lots of fun. Where things get challenging is when you have to build more complex, line-of-business apps that need to handle a lot of data (perhaps even live-updating data), enable the users to edit, and visualize all this in a user-friendly way. In other words: it can be tough to build a dashboard with React.

That’s why we saw steady interest in our three popular dashboard building tutorials all year round. If you haven’t read them, you’re building dashboards the hard way: Let’s Build a Financial Dashboard with ReactLet’s Build a Sales Dashboard with React and How To Build an Interactive Dashboard with React.

How to export HTML to PDF in your React apps is a very popular question—mostly because it is hard to do, and you need to have a couple of tricks up your sleeve to do it right. That’s why Carl Bergenhem’s 3-part series on different React-to-PDF exporting scenarios was a true hit in 2021. You missed it? Now you haven’t:

We find that developers love design-related development tutorials—and no wonder! Creating good UI/UX often falls on them, yet one could argue that it requires a separate skillset. Products can be of great help (spotlight on KendoReact), but even so, there’s no doubt that good developers need to know a thing or two about UI/UX.

That’s why Eric Bishard’s blog has perennial appeal and has been helping developers create responsive layouts since 2019: Creating a Responsive Layout in React.

Hooks all the things!… or something. Ever since React Hooks were released in October 2018, they have been helping developers write clearer and more concise code. Needless to say, to make the most of them, you need to learn about them first. No wonder our Ultimate Guide to Learning React Hooks is still a go-to resource for tens of thousands of developers.

What’s more, Leonardo Maldonado strikes again in our top 10 chart with his helpful coverage of useCallback and useRef: Two React Hooks You Should Learn.

JSX is a custom syntax extension to JavaScript which is used for creating markup with React. The most common way of using a loop to render a list of items is with the map function that will return JSX. Not sure how to do that? You’re not alone! Happily, Thomas Findlay solved that mystery for all of us with his super helpful Beginner’s Guide to Loops in React JSX.

Four is my favorite number and forms are an interface React developers love to build. Okay, one of these statements is a lie. Forms are an extremely common thing to have in your React app and look deceptively simple to implement until you get down to it. We’ve done our fair share of helping demystify them, and based on readership interest, we’ve done a good job.

Start with How to Build Forms with React the Easy Way with TJ VanToll, dive into React Form validation with Eric Bishard’s Up and Running with React Form Validation and explore the KendoReact team’s best practices and usage examples for building great forms in React—all extremely popular resources throughout 2021.

If you thought Create React App (CRA) would be high on the list of the most popular React topics, you’ve guessed right! At number 3 of our most popular resources, we have Blanca Mendizábal Perelló’s short and sweet Dealing with CORS in Create React App—a blog that helps you get around CORS issues using CRA’s proxying capabilities. It’s great value for your time as you can scan the blog in three minutes and come out the wiser for it!

Did you guess that one? If you search for “what is React Router” with Google, you’ll get a mind-boggling 49,800,000 results. Developed by the Remix team, Ryan Florence and Michael Jackson, this lightweight, fully featured routing library generates over 6 million npm downloads each week!

Little wonder then, that Gift Egwuenu’s Programmatically Navigate with React Router served so many of you this year. If you don’t know what programmatic navigation is, now you know.

Does the most popular React topic of 2021 surprise you? How to control what gets displayed in your app is one of the first things you need to learn when you start developing—this holds the key to the incredible popularity of this topic.

A rough estimate based on this year’s developer surveys (referring to the SlashData’s Q3 2021 survey again, where they note that 4 million developers have joined the JavaScript community in the last year) indicates that every year, hundreds of thousands of developers enter the React ecosystem and start learning. Well, where else to start but from the beginning? With that, I present to you the most popular React blog on Telerik Blogs in 2021, by far: it is Leigh Halliday’s How to Show and Hide Elements in React.

This concludes our yearly retrospective of the topics that rocked the React world. How many of you guessed the top 3? What are the topics that didn’t make it in this list, but you would put in your personal Top 10? Don’t be a silent observer, let me know in the comments!

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