ReactJS Typescript vs Javascript: Which One to Use?

ReactJS Typescript vs Javascript: You’ve decided to build your next web app with React. Excellent choice! But should you use plain JavaScript or TypeScript?

This question stirs heated debate. Both sides boast zealous backers.

TypeScript adds type safety and tooling. But JavaScript provides flexibility and a faster learning curve.

How do you decide? In this epic showdown, we’ll compare the tradeoffs of using TypeScript vs JavaScript for React apps in 2023.

By the end, you’ll have all the insights to pick the best option for your next React project! Let the battle commence.

Round 1: Type Safety

TypeScript’s main superpower is adding type safety checks to JavaScript. This catches bugs before runtime.

For example, TypeScript would warn you if you tried to assign a string to a number variable:

// Error detected at compile time  
let price = 'twenty';

In JavaScript this would silently cause issues later.

Type safety helps catch:

  • Passing wrong data types
  • Misspelled properties
  • Improper function calls

This makes refactoring safer too. The compiler verifies existing code still works.

TypeScript also provides:

  • Code auto-completion
  • Better documentation
  • Easier debugging

The cost is more verbosity in code annotations. But overall type safety boosts productivity in large apps.

TypeScript wins round 1.

Round 2: Tooling

TypeScript’s static typing also enables great editor tooling like:

  • Contextual autocomplete
  • Real-time error flagging
  • Automatic refactors
  • Built-in definitions

These tools enhance developer experience. However, they also rely on type definition files being available for libraries.

JavaScript leverages typedocs to enable some autocomplete, but tools are less robust. Dynamic typing means less analysis possible.

TypeScript wins round 2 with superior tooling.

Round 3: JavaScript Interoperability

A key strength of TypeScript is its great interoperability with JavaScript.

Typescript’s compiler emits standard JavaScript code. This means you can:

  • Incorporate JavaScript libraries
  • Migrate code progressively
  • Use JSX syntax extension

You can add types incrementally without rewriting everything. This allows managing risk when converting big codebases.

TypeScript also handles dynamic JavaScript patterns like eval() and document.write() by defaulting to any type when types can’t be determined.

TypeScript wins round 3 with seamless JavaScript integration.

Round 4: Learning Curve

No doubt about it, JavaScript has a shallower learning curve. The syntax is simple since you can ignore types altogether.

TypeScript’s static typing requires learning concepts like:

  • Type annotations
  • Interface and class structures
  • Generics
  • Access modifiers

This takes time up front. Converting untyped code also creates friction. Defining custom types for libraries requires more effort.

Skilled TypeScript developers are currently less common than JS ones as well.

JavaScript wins round 4 with a gentler intro for beginners.

Round 5: Codebase Maintenance

In large codebases, TypeScript starts to shine. Defined interfaces and types act like documentation.

Refactoring is safer thanks to compile-time checks. Improved tooling and autocomplete speed up development.

But in smaller codebases, JavaScript is more concise and flexible. You avoid boilerplate annotations that won’t provide much value.

If other team members don’t leverage types, conversions likely won’t be worth it either. Migrating piecemeal can cause confusion.

TypeScript wins round 5 for simplifying large, complex codebases. JavaScript better suits smaller ones.

Round 6: Performance

TypeScript code transpiles into equivalent JavaScript. This means runtime performance is nearly identical.

The TypeScript compiler is also very fast. The only performance hit is slightly longer compile times.

However, you can configure performance optimizations like:

  • Disabling type checking
  • Excluding unused code
  • noEmitOnError to skip emitting code with errors

Overall performance impact is negligible compared to code quality benefits.

Round 6 results in a draw – both TypeScript and JavaScript have great runtime performance.

Round 7: React Support

React and TypeScript make great partners. React has first-class TypeScript support including:

  • Official types for core library
  • Guidance on component patterns
  • Community type lib definitions

Types provide safety for complex components and state. Code completion aids JSX coding.

However, you can also safely use React without any types. Many React developers happily use vanilla JS.

TypeScript wins round 7 with dedicated React type tools, but plain JS remains completely viable.

Knockout? Evaluating TypeScript vs JavaScript for Your React App

So based on our 7 rounds, does TypeScript knock out JavaScript for React development?

The answer depends heavily on your specific app needs and team skills.

TypeScript wins for:

  • Large codebases
  • Teams with strong type experience
  • Critical applications where reliability is key

JavaScript wins for:

  • Smaller apps with limited complexity
  • Novice developers or coding education
  • Startups optimizing for speed over perfection

If your codebase will grow large, TypeScript’s tooling and safety bring high long-term value. But it requires an investment in learning.

Here are some guidelines based on project scope:

  • Prototypes / MVPs – Favor JavaScript for faster iteration
  • <5k Lines of Code – JavaScript provides flexibility
  • >50k Lines – Strongly consider TypeScript
  • Enterprise scale – TypeScript helps manage complexity

You could also trial TypeScript on non-critical sections first. Integrate it over time instead of rewriting everything at once.

TypeScript or not, the most important choice is picking React for your next web project! Both languages pair excellently with it.

Let us know if you still have questions about deciding between TypeScript vs JavaScript for your next React app! The future looks bright either way.

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