Your First React Component

The Render Function

A component class is like a factory that builds components. It builds these components by consulting a set of instructions, which you must provide. Let's talk about these instructions!

For starters, these instructions should take the form of a class declaration body. That means that they will be delimited by curly braces, like this:

class ComponentFactory extends React.Component {
    // instructions go here, between the curly braces

The instructions should be written in typical JavaScript ES2015 class syntax.

There is only one property that you have to include in your instructions: a render method.

A render method is a property whose name is render, and whose value is a function. The term "render method" can refer to the entire property, or to just the function part.

class ComponentFactory extends React.Component {
  render() {}

A render method must contain a return statement. Usually, this return statement returns a JSX expression:

class ComponentFactory extends React.Component {
  render() {
    return <h1>Hello world</h1>;

Of course, none of this explains the point of a render method. All you know so far is that its name is render, it needs a return statement for some reason, and you have to include it in the body of your component class declaration. We'll get to the 'why' of it soon!

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