1. Use React#

1.1. Status#


1.2. Context#

The Open edX community needs a standardized framework for building new UIs that is widely adopted, flexible, and feature rich.

1.3. Decision#

React must be used for building new UIs, as it is widely adopted by the community and strikes a balance between flexibility and feature richness.

1.4. Consequence#

React has been adopted by the community as the framework to use for building new UIs.

1.5. Rejected Alternatives#

Other modern frameworks considered for use included Polymer and Angular.

  1. Angular

    Angular was a popular web framework in its 1.x iteration, and its maintainer (Google) recently released Angular 2. Angular 1 was not considered due to its support status. Angular 2 was rejected due to its opinionated characteristics including its use of TypeScript (a compile-to-JavaScript language) and the difficulty of incrementally integrating Angular into an existing application (e.g., alongside legacy Backbone). Consensus in the front end community is that Angular has a higher learning curve than alternatives like React, which matches poorly with edX’s limited front end developers and larger community of infrequent JavaScript contributors.

  1. Polymer

    Polymer is a framework built around Web Components, a set of draft extensions to the HTML and DOM specs for UI encapsulation. Web Components are a very interesting area of emergent Web technology, but are not yet finalized as a spec or supported in many browsers. Because of this, the Polymer community is small and performance issues exist. As Web Components become more mature, edX may reevaluate their use, either with Polymer or without.