What is Material UI

What is Material UI

With customers looking for more aesthetically pleasing designs, the world is witnessing several advancements in frontend design frameworks, libraries, and tools to deliver these designs. These technologies have helped companies improve customer engagement, retention, and branding while delivering robust structures, feature-rich applications, and innovative business solutions.

According to Statista, React.js is the most used web development framework in 2021. You can easily develop highly engaging and SEO-friendly websites with excellent performance and efficiency. By integrating Material UI into your React applications, you can elevate your web development experience to the next level and build dynamic and high-quality websites. Material UI provides you with rich ready-made templates and structures for your application.

When you combine the flexibility and efficiency of React, Material UI, and a headless CMS such as Crafter CMS, you can build highly dynamic, fully-featured web applications that offer an exceptional digital experience. In this article, you’ll learn about Material UI, its unique features and benefits, and why you need it for your next React web application.

A Quick Intro to Web Development Using React

True, there are several frameworks and libraries available for web development. However, React has become the frontend framework of choice for most web developers. As an open-source Javascript library, it provides developers with the flexibility to surpass user expectations.

In contrast to traditional application development, React's architecture encourages developers to break down a project into its various components. Developed by Facebook as a components-based library, React lets you build rich user interfaces for web applications. Through a virtual DOM, React allows you to write HTML code directly inside JavaScript. The virtual DOM refers to the programming concept of keeping an ideal, or “virtual,” representation of the user interface in memory, which is synchronized with the "real" DOM by using libraries such as ReactDOM. It enables browsers to push multiple changes to the DOM at once, consequently improving performance.

For any developer, writing all lines of code from scratch can seem like an unending task. Imagine having to write several lines of code for every App Bar, Drawers, and button when on a time-constraint project. You won't want to build each component from scratch.
Say hello to Material UI, a library that provides you with an impressive list of ready-made components to quickly get your React application up and running, saving you a significant amount of time in the process.

What Is Material UI?

Material UI is an open source library that provides React components out-of-the-box. It relies on the principles of Google’s Material Design. Material Design creates stunning designs, as well as building textures by paying attention to shadows and reflections.

Material UI was launched in 2014, shortly after React was known to the public, enjoying growing popularity ever since. With over 70,000 stars on GitHub, the Material UI library for React has grown to be one of the best user interface libraries.

With its powerful pre-styled components, you can create an incredibly-looking application in little time. In addition to these, you can also customize and extend these components to suit your needs. It is built on Less, meaning (Leaner Style Sheets). Less is an extension of CSS.

Features & Benefits of Material UI

Some of the features and benefits you get from using Material UI include:

Pre-built Components Library

As mentioned before, Material UI provides you with several pre-designed components that you can easily access and add to your application. That makes it easy to design a visually appealing prototype and deliver it quickly. All you have to do is install the material UI library onto your React application, then you can access a wide range of components.

Material Design

Since it is based on the principles of Material Design by Google, you can access a components library that feels familiar to your users. Similarly, you won’t need to spend time making CSS adjustments.

With Material Design, you get a comprehensive design system that explains the intent of the components and shows examples of how to use them. As well as the Material Design library, you can also use the Material Icons. In other words, you can choose icons that are consistent with your design system.

Customizable Theme

So what makes Material UI so dynamic and functional? It makes it easy to set and customize themes that can be globally applied and accessed all across all of your components. That means you can customize components' theme color, palette information, surface properties, and several other stylings. Because of this, you can ensure consistency throughout your components.


Organized Documentation

One thing that developers hate is poor documentation. The same is not the case with Material UI. The Material UI documentation is well-structured and easily accessible. Also, there are several code examples you can use to practice or understand any implementation.

Extensive Support

With Material UI, you don’t need to worry too long about bugs or issues thanks to its active team and regular updates and features. With several minor releases yearly, you get access to new features, components, and extensions. On top of that, each release features detailed and easy-to-understand documentation. You can also access the Material UI lab to use, test, and provide feedback on new features without compromising the core package.

Material-UI offers excellent support for issues and bugs with its regularly updated library.
In minor releases, the team provides fixes for any issues they find. Moreover, you can influence what additions to the library should occur in the future as a user. That is made possible due to its online account and feedback. For example, on Twitter, the official account @MaterialUI welcomes user feedback on what material they would like to see in the library. Furthermore, a developer survey is sent every year to all library developers to address any shortcomings and improve the usability of Material UI.

Active Community

Another benefit of Material-UI is the amount of support and examples you can get from the developer community. With over 23,000 forks on GitHub, the large community will be glad to help you fix and improve your implementation. If you have any questions about the Material-UI design, you can head over to StackOverflow to access previous solutions and use cases or get an answer to your question.

Using React Material UI

It’s easy to get Material UI set up on your React application. You can install it using yarn or npm. To get started, write the following code in your React app terminal:

// with npm
npm install @material-ui/core

// with yarn
yarn add @material-ui/core

You now have everything you need to develop your application using Material UI. For instance, say you want to add a button to your application, you can do it with:

import Button from '@material-ui/core/Button';

export default function NewButton() {
return (
<Button variant="contained" color="primary">
New Button
</Button>
);
}

Building Dynamic Content With Crafter CMS and Material UI

Crafter Software is constantly looking for ways to help users and the entire community innovate and develop the best-in-class applications and user experiences. That means providing as many integration points and approaches so they can take advantage of the best tools on the market.

Material UI is a powerful library for React and even Next JS applications, providing them with a platform to create aesthetically beautiful web applications. Crafter CMS is a Git-based headless CMS that acts as an excellent API-first content repository available through several APIs such as REST and GraphQL. Its user-friendly admin interface and workflow tools make it the ideal backend choice for React Material UI applications.

In the upcoming release of Crafter Studio, version 4.0, there will be direct support for building plugins and extensions to the content authoring platform with Material UI and React. Crafter Studio plugins will allow enterprises and digital agencies to provide a tailored authoring experience for their content teams.

Ready to dive into building Material UI experiences on a headless CMS platform? Read about our Crafter Engine APIs for building end-user experiences. And read about our Crafter Studio APIs for customizing the content authoring experience.

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Mike Vertal

Mike Vertal

Mike Vertal brings over 20 years of operational, technical and executive leadership experience to Crafter Software. Over the course of his career, Mike has served in executive positions at leading software and services companies. Mike holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from Case Western Reserve University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.