Explain Like I’m 5: The React Virtual DOM

Explain Like I’m 5: The React Virtual DOM

Explain Like I’m 5: The React Virtual DOM. How does React’s Virtual DOM really work? If you’re new to React, the concept of the virtual DOM has likely left your head virtually spinning. You’ve read that React solves the problem of DOM manipulation by using a virtual DOM.

How does React’s Virtual DOM really work?

If you’re new to React, the concept of the _virtual DOM _has likely left your head virtually spinning. You’ve read that React solves the problem of DOM manipulation by using a virtual DOM, which is a lightweight representation of the DOM object. You’ve read that manipulating the DOM is slow, whereas doing so with virtual DOM is fast. And yet you’re still confused as to what all this really means.

In this article, I will simplify the React virtual DOM in a way that hopefully will build a better representation of this concept in your head!

The Problem

The DOM (or the document object model) is a tree-like representation of your application. When an element updates in the real DOM, a new DOM is created. This process is slow and expensive.

If you think of the real DOM as a physical house. DOM manipulation is like needing to renovate a room of the house and doing so by tearing the house down to build an entirely new one. This is, of course, wasteful and effortful.

Example of DOM

Source: W3Schools

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