3 min. read

February 10, 2023

React.js: The Documentary - How it All Began

Honeypot presents the first-ever full-length documentary about React. It recounts how it all began back in 2013, and how the entire JS community first reacted to React.

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Melina Zacharia, Content Manager

These days, React is everywhere – even the Honeypot team uses it! But what was happening about a decade ago when React was first open-sourced? The JavaScript community didn’t just have a bad reaction, they couldn’t believe this project had any future.

In the early days, before React.js was even open-sourced a bunch of passionate engineers like Jordan Walke, Shane O'Sullivan, Christopher Chedeau, Jing Chen, Tom Occhino, Pete Hunt, Sebastian Markbåge, Paul O’Shannessy, and Lee Byron took a crazy idea that would revolutionize the way interactive user interfaces are built. If it wasn't for a small group of passionate developers at (what was then) Facebook, React might not have seen the light of day. In this documentary, Honeypot's filmmaker Ida Bechtle takes you back to the origins, right to the moment when 'Rethinking Best Practices' got real.

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React article

The story recounts:

  • These crazy early days, when Jordan Walke tried to convince a small group of engineers at Facebook that he had a solution that would improve their user interface and cut down the time to implement changes significantly.

  • The first struggles the engineering team at Facebook had to face, as well as what the acquisition of Instagram meant for the React project.

  • The unexpected and rather negative reaction of the javascript community when Tom Occhino and Jordan Walke presented the new framework at the US JS Conference in 2013.

  • How 'early adopters' helped the open-sourced React get to the next level. The moment Sophie Alpert becomes part of the team, and the 'reintroduction' of React to the JS community.

  • How Netflix came to be the first major tech company to adopt React.

  • The pivotal role the JS community played in making the framework what it is today.

  • Dan Abramov and Andrew Clark joining the React team.

Watch the origin story of React.js:

Don't forget to check out a riveting Q&A with the React cast and founding members.

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