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HTMX vs React: A Comparative Analysis for Modern Web Development

/* by Ajay Patel - Jun 30, 2023 */

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In the world of web development, there are several libraries and frameworks that developers can choose from, each with their own unique features, benefits, and drawbacks. Two such technologies that have been gaining popularity are React and HTMX. In this blog post, we will delve into these two technologies, compare their differences, and discuss which one might be more suitable in different scenarios.


React.js is a JavaScript library developed by Facebook for building user interfaces, especially for single page applications. It's known for its efficient updates and rendering of components, allowing for a more interactive user experience. React.js is more popular than ever before, and it's arguably the most important JavaScript framework right now. React Hooks have become the default approach (actually since 2020), and with React 18, many new features were added that are aimed at helping developers build even more performant web apps.

Here is an example of a functional component in React using hooks:

import React, { useState } from 'react';

function Example() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  return (

You clicked {count} times

); }

In this code snippet, we define a component Example that uses the useState hook to manage its local state. The useState hook takes the initial state as a parameter (in this case, 0) and returns an array containing the current state and a function to update it.

React's philosophy revolves around the component-based architecture, where the UI is divided into reusable components. This architecture encourages reusability and modularity, leading to more maintainable codebases.

However, React also has a steep learning curve, and setting up a React project may require additional tooling and configuration. It also requires a good understanding of JavaScript and the React paradigm.


HTMX, on the other hand, is a relatively new entrant to the world of front-end development. It allows developers to access AJAX, CSS Transitions, WebSockets, and Server Sent Events directly in HTML, simplifying the process of creating fast, modern web applications. Unlike React, HTMX doesn't require a separate build step or bundler and doesn't require you to write JavaScript unless you want to. It's a lightweight library that provides a straightforward way to add interactivity to your web applications without the complexity of a full-fledged front-end framework.

Here's an example of how you might use HTMX to create a button that fetches and displays the current time from the server without a full page reload:

<button hx-post="/current-time" hx-swap="outerHTML">
  Get Current Time

In this example, the hx-post attribute tells HTMX to make a POST request to /current-time when the button is clicked. The hx-swap attribute tells HTMX to replace the button with the response from the server.

React vs HTMX: A Comparison

When comparing React and HTMX, the major differences come down to their philosophies, technicalities, and use cases.

React's philosophy revolves around the component-based architecture, where the UI is divided into reusable components. Each component has its own state and lifecycle methods. This architecture encourages reusability and modularity, leading to more maintainable codebases.

On the other hand, HTMX tries to keep things simple and lean. Instead of introducing a new paradigm, it enhances the existing HTML and allows developers to add interactivity using attributes directly in the markup.

From a technical standpoint, React is more advanced, with features such as virtual DOM, lifecycle methods, state management, and hooks. These features make React powerful and flexible, but at the same time, they introduce complexity and can make the learning curve steep for beginners.

HTMX, on the other hand, is simpler and more accessible, especially for beginners or for developers who are not comfortable with JavaScript. It doesn't introduce a new way of doing things but instead enhances the traditional way of building web applications.

In terms of use cases, React would be the choice for complex, state-intensive applications that require a high degree of interactivity and performance. This could include large-scale applications like social media platforms or e-commerce sites.

HTMX, meanwhile, would be more suitable for simpler applications or situations where developers prefer to work directly with HTML and avoid JavaScript complexity. It could be a great choice for adding interactive elements to static sites, or for enhancing server-rendered applications with dynamic behavior.


Both React and HTMX have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between the two often comes down to the specific needs of your project and your comfort level with JavaScript. If you're building a complex application and you're comfortable with JavaScript, React's rich feature set and component-based architecture could be very beneficial. However, if you're looking to add dynamic behavior to a simpler application or prefer to avoid JavaScript complexity, HTMX could be a great choice. In the end, the best tool is often the one that you and your team are most comfortable with and that best suits the needs of your project.