React Project Structure: A Guide to Best Practices

React is one of the most popular tools for building app UIs. One reason for this is that React provides users with a high level of freedom when organizing pieces of code, known as components, for their projects.

However, it may not always be clear what the best way to organize these components is.

By following some best practices, you’ll be able to better organize component files in React, making it easier to build on top of and scale your next React project.

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Does React Have a Standardized Way of Structuring Projects?

React does not offer guidance on structuring projects within its open-source library.

This is because one of the primary purposes of the React ecosystem is to provide users with control over all aspects of their projects without forcing them to do things in a certain way that limits them.

The logic behind this is that having too rigid of a project structure can lead to fragile code, while having a highly flexible project structure makes it easier to work on projects efficiently and develop high-quality apps.

That being said, it is helpful to devise your way of structuring React projects. Over time, it is easier to work on growing projects and start new projects using the same structure.

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Tips for Structuring React Projects

Group components by feature

One of the best ways to organize your React components is to group them by feature.

For example, you could grab all the components that apply to your app’s home page and group them, then grab all the components that apply to the app’s profile page and group them, and so on.

The above example would be a broader way to group components by feature, but it’s up to you to define features and how granular you want.

Let’s say you’re incorporating a rich text editor for React JS into your app — you could also group all the components of this to get more specific in your organization.

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Group components by file type

An alternative to grouping React components by feature is to group them by file type.

In this case, as an example, you might group all your app’s API files, avatar files, and button files.

This isn’t wildly different from grouping components by feature, and you could even use a hybrid of the two methods.

Ultimately, group components in the way that makes the most sense to you so you’ll be able to work most efficiently within your React project.

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Separate components into folders by role

Once you’ve grouped components using your chosen method, it can also be helpful to start nesting certain components into more specific subfolders.

For instance, if you grouped all your home page components, you could nest all the components for the app’s home page news feed into a subfolder.

Or, you might create a unique folder within each group for that group’s assets files to keep the assets separate from the actual UI components.

Again, do whatever makes the most sense to you here.

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Avoid too deep of a folder structure

Once you’ve started nesting components together into different subfolders, it’s important not to get too carried away.

If you use too deep of a folder structure, it becomes more of a hassle to write imports between components and update imports when you move files.

A good rule of thumb is to try and limit yourself to a maximum of four subfolders within any given React group.

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Don’t fret about the details too much at first

When starting a new React project, try not to get too hung up on how you’ll organize components within the project.

It’s easy to reorganize components and add folders as you get more of an idea of what your project needs.

Almost everyone is likely to change the way they organize their React projects along the way.

So, if you feel unsure where to start, the best thing to do is start plugging away at your project and organizing as you go.

When in doubt, it’s OK to keep all your components in a single folder at the beginning, then start grouping and nesting them as you work.

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As you experiment with structuring, shoot for the following goals:

  1. Productivity — it should be easier to find components
  2. Flexibility — different developers should have some freedom to change the structure
  3. Simplicity — it should be easy for new team members to understand the structure and get to work
  4. Mobility — moving components around should be seamless

The Bottom Line

There is no 100% correct way to structure your React projects, but React users have developed some best practices for structuring projects over time.

Try some of the tips above for organizing your components in React, and keep moving things around and experimenting until you find something that clicks for you.

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