MobX vs Redux – What to Choose in 2024?

Quick Summary:

MobX vs Redux is an age-old debate that intrigues the React community to date. MobX offers simplicity and much-needed flexibility to React developers, whereas React Redux is strict and follows a predictable architecture. Understanding such contrasting nuances of React Redux vs MobX is important for making an informed decision for effectively handling state management in your React app.

If you are looking for a quick comparison between MobX and Redux, here is a tabular comparison that covers all the important aspects there is to know. However, if you want to understand these state management libraries beyond their surface level, we suggest you keep reading.

Aspect MobX Redux
State Management Approach Uses observables to create a reactive state. Follows a strict unidirectional data flow.
Boilerplate Code Requires less boilerplate code, making it concise. Involves more boilerplate code with actions, reducers, and stores.
Development Philosophy Emphasizes simplicity and flexibility. Enforces a structured and opinionated architecture.
Learning Curve Has a relatively shorter learning curve, especially for developers familiar with reactivity. May have a steeper learning curve due to the structured concepts.
Reactivity Offers automatic reactivity, allowing components to react to state changes. Requires manual optimizations to avoid unnecessary re-renders.
State Mutability Permissive regarding state mutability; supports both – mutable and immutable states. Enforces strict immutability principles for state updates.
Debugging Tools Provides debugging tools but may not be as extensive as Redux DevTools Offers advanced debugging tools and time-travel debugging capabilities with Redux DevTools
Use Case Flexibility Well-suited for smaller projects, rapid development, and real-time collaborations. A strong choice for large and complex applications with scalability needs.
Community & Ecosystem Has a growing community and ecosystem. Has a larger and well-established community with a wealth of third-party libraries.

State Management is an important aspect of developing scalable and highly performant React applications. MobX and Redux are two prominent state management libraries that work towards a common agenda of solving state management issues in JavaScript frameworks. However, they take a significantly different approach to attain this goal.

To better understand the benefits of MobX vs Redux, their similarities, differences, and use cases, we need to take a holistic view of the matter.

Let’s start by discussing the core concepts of MobX vs Redux:

What is React Redux? Redux Core Concepts

React Redux is one of the most popular tools for state management in React.

What is React Redux

To grasp the essence of Redux and understand its role in state management for React applications, we need to understand the core concepts that define React Redux and its functioning. Let’s see what they are:

Redux Core Concepts

  • Store: Redux revolves around a single store, which contains the entire application state.
  • Actions: Actions describe the intent to modify the state and are dispatched as requests to the Redux Store.
  • Reducers: Reducers in the Redux Store are the decision makers that specify how state should change in response to dispatched actions.
  • Immutable State: Redux emphasizes immutability to ensure predictable state changes and easier debugging.
  • Unilateral Data Flow: To maintain order and hierarchy, Redux enforces unilateral data flow where actions request the reducers to trigger changes in the state, and then the update gets passed to React components.

What is React MobX? MobX Core Concepts

Now, let’s shift our focus to React MobX and its core concepts.

What is React MobX

To begin with, MobX functions on a fundamentally different philosophy as compared to most state management solutions such as Redux. Its primary focus is on providing Reactivity and Flexibility. The introduction of ‘Reactions’ especially is a new fundamental approach that we will discuss in this section alongside other important concepts such as Observable State and Actions.

MobX Core Concepts

  • Observable State: Refers to the data that is tracked for any changes. This could include arrays, maps, or even properties. When the observable state gets modified, MobX automatically triggers any reactions and computations that rely on that state.
  • Actions: MobX Actions work differently than Redux Actions as they allow the observable state to be modified directly. So, to make any changes to the observable state, you need to ensure that the ‘changes’ are made through Actions in MobX. MobX would then automatically track and propagate these changes to any dependent or affected components.
  • Reactions: If you are an experienced React Developer, you might be well-versed in computed values. Reactions in MobX work on a similar philosophy, with the only difference being that it triggers side effects and is activated when observables are changed. So, any processes involving background changes will be handled by Reactions.

Comparing Challenges and Benefits of MobX vs Redux State Management

Each state management approach has its benefits and its challenges. When confused about whether you should go with MobX or Redux, these benefits to challenges comparison between MobX vs Redux should be considered –

Pros React MobX vs Redux Comparison Cons
✬ Lesser Boilerplate Code
✬ Easier Learning Curve
✬ MobX automatic reactivity
✬ Flexible Architecture Options
✬ Well-Suited for Real-Time Collaborations
MobX ✬ Lack of guidelines and rules
✬ Predictability accuracy reduced
✬ Developer Discipline needs to be instilled
✬ Learning Curve for developers unfamiliar with the concept of Reactivity
✬ Predictable State Management
✬ Centralized State
✬ Developer Tools
✬ Scalability Handling
✬ Community & Ecosystem
✬ Code Reusability
Redux ✬ Exceeding Boilerplate Code
✬ Learning Curve
✬ Overhead for Small Projects
✬ Immutability is a Rule
✬ Careful attention is required towards Actions and Reducers
✬ Chances of Code Verbosity

MobX vs Redux Performance Comparison

Performance is the first and foremost consideration for most technology comparisons. Choosing between MobX and Redux can greatly change the capacity of your React app to handle app data and updates. Let’s compare their performance capabilities based on some of the most important performance metrics:

Redux vs MobX

React MobX vs Redux Rendering Speed Comparison

Faster rendering speed directly impacts the user experience positively by minimizing jitters, lags, and delays when any action requires updating the UI. It adds to the responsiveness of your React app.

In our experience, MobX has always proven to be faster for rendering updates. This can be due to its nature to automatically track dependencies and selectively re-render components as and when needed. Redux, in comparison, depends on manual effort to optimize its performance in order to avoid unnecessary re-renders.

MobX vs Redux Memory Usage

Lower memory usage reduces the frequency of app crashes and out-of-memory issues. Moreover, since it is readily available on the user’s system memory, it is faster to fetch and present to the user as well.

MobX has a lower footprint on memory usage since it doesn’t need to store a copy of the entire app state tree. It relies on observable references to know all the dependencies included with a particular component that needs to be updated and selectively re-renders only them. Redux takes a more traditional approach by storing the entire immutable state tree, which impacts the memory usage, which only increases with a scaling React app.

App Updates in MobX vs Redux

How the app updates its state when there are changes requested and triggered impacts the overall performance aspect of your React application significantly. If the updates can be made more granular, it can prevent unnecessary DOM manipulations, which would otherwise slow down rendering.

Reactions in MobX are more granular since they update only some specific parts of the app, whereas Redux follows an all-or-nothing approach, so every time there is a state change, it triggers a UI update. MobX also avoids unnecessary updates by following the async update style as opposed to Redux’s synchronous updates.

Also Read: React Hooks vs Redux

Redux vs MobX Learning Curve – Which is easier to learn?

As a React developer or even as a client looking for React developers, it is important to understand the ease of learning Redux vs the ease of learning MobX. If you have an ongoing project that needs a basic state management setup, you should know which technology is easier to grasp.

Redux vs MobX Learning Curve Which is easier to learn

Knowing this, you can train your React developers with its fundamentals to increase your manpower without having to hire or contract many React developers from outside. Moreover, if you do outsource your project, an easier learning curve would translate to easily replaceable talents if they don’t perform up to the mark or abandon the project mid-way.

You can assess React Redux vs MobX Learning Curve with these metrics:

Conceptual Simplicity

Evaluate the core concepts of both MobX and Redux to understand their level of complexity and approach to state management. As we previously discussed, MobX is a simpler state management library since it takes a direct and prescriptive approach where most things are set up right out of the box. Redux has more structured concepts like actions, reducers, and stores. It also implements certain rules for making code debugging easier and reducing chances of error. These specially assigned concepts make it more complicated to grasp.

Boilerplate Code

Boilerplate codes are sections of code that are repeated in multiple places with fewer to zero variations. While they provide clarity and structure to the coding efforts and a sense of consistency as well, it has several drawbacks, such as increased code volume code complexity, which increases its verbosity, development time, and inflexibility. Since Redux has so many components, such as ‘Actions’ and ‘Reducers,’ it typically involves more boilerplate code as MobX requires less.

Documentation and Learning Curve

One of the most effective ways to assess the reliability of any development library is to check the internet for resources available for understanding it. You should check the official websites, discussion forums, GitHub Contributors, and other such dedicated platforms to get a better idea about how much learning material is available and how frequently it gets updated.

Integration with React

Using MobX with React or Redux with React should also depend on how easy it is to integrate into your existing React ecosystem.

MobX Integration with React

  • Offers seamless integration with React as it aligns well with React’s component-based architecture and takes a more direct approach to state management, making React and MobX a great pair.
  • Simplifies UI updates. MobX is highly reactive; when the observable state changes, all dependent components are automatically re-rendered, which simplifies UI updates.
  • Improves code readability and conciseness. Since MobX comes with lesser boilerplate code, you don’t need to define ‘actions,’ ‘reducers,’ or other such dedicated modules.
  • Simplifies data flow. MobX allows developers to work with observable states directly through components, eliminating the need for prop drilling, which comes with its own set of drawbacks and limitations.
  • Developer Friendly. MobX is more developer-friendly as it adapts a direct approach to state management.

MobX Integration with React

Redux Integration with React

  • Offers explicit integration with React. Developers need to use the ‘react-redux’ library to connect components to the Redux store, which involves some initial setup to get started.
  • Separation of State and Components. Redux emphasizes and ensures keeping a clear separation between state management and components. This approach is highly beneficial for maintaining a structured codebase in large applications.
  • Provides a clearer data flow. The entire system is very well organized; actions trigger changes through reducers and update the targeted components. This provides high value in code debugging and auditing.
  • Large Ecosystem. Redux has a large ecosystem with dedicated middleware tools and extensions designed for React. Having such resources can ease the development process but would also involve additional setup requirements.

Redux Integration with React

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MobX vs Redux State Mutability

State Mutability is an important aspect of state management in JavaScript applications. The way a state management library handles state mutability impacts the performance, predictability, debugging, and maintainability capabilities of your React application. MobX takes a more permissive stance, primarily known for its flexibility and reactivity, whereas Redux is strict with immutability principles to focus on providing better predictability and traceability.

Let’s break down how they handle State Mutability separately:

How does MobX handles State Mutability?

MobX takes a flexible approach to state mutability, which allows React developers to make direct modifications to observable state. The state variables can be updated imperatively, and MobX takes care of these changes, automatically triggering updates in all dependent components of the modified state. MobX follows a reactive system that ensures any changes made to an observable state can be detected, and all components depending on that state are automatically re-rendered.

How does MobX handles State Mutability

MobX doesn’t force developers to follow state mutability or immutability practices. It has provisions for both, and developers can decide which path to take depending on their application requirements.

How does Redux handles State Mutability?

Redux has a strict immutability principle. It considers the state to be immutable, and any changes made to the state would result in the creation of a new state object. The immutability approach is at the apex of React Redux architecture.

How does Redux handles State Mutability

For times when state changes are required, Redux leverages pure reducer functions that take the current state and action for returning the new state object. Instead of updating or changing the content of the previous state, a new state object is created based on the modifications instructed in the reducers. This approach is for ensuring state changes occur in isolation with no side effects. Doing so helps improve the predictability and maintainability of the codebase, improving overall debugging and maintainability.

Also Read: Redux vs Context

Redux vs MobX Scalability

Redux is more scalable than MobX. Since Redux was designed to deal with complex state management requirements with its strict and opinionated approach, it becomes easier to scale your React app than the free-natured MobX. Since Redux expects pure functions, they are easier to test and predict. This is one of the major reasons why developers generally prefer Redux over MobX or any other top React state management tools/libraries.

MobX vs Redux Development Philosophy

The main difference between MobX and Redux lies in their development philosophy. MobX follows a ‘bottoms-up’ philosophy where developers can define observables and actions close to the place they are used. Redux, in contrast, follows a ‘top-down’ approach for enforcing proper structure and centralized state management.

MobX vs Redux Developer Discipline

MobX offers immense flexibility in all aspects of React State Management. While this might look like a better option than Redux’s opinionated framework, it could backfire, too. If the developers working with MobX’s flexibility don’t maintain discipline in structuring their codebase, it could lead to poor code observability and maintenance. Redux, with its strict guidelines, can enforce a more centralized and structured state management approach.

MobX and Redux: Migration and Integration to React

You might already be using MobX or Redux in your existing app. But you can shift your state management library from MobX to Redux or Redux to MobX. How would you go about it? Let’s map it out to see how seamless their migration process is:

Migration from Redux to MobX

If you are planning to migrate from Redux to MobX, you can follow the below-mentioned points to ensure a seamless transition:

How to Migrate from Redux to MobX

How to Migrate from Redux to MobX?

  1. Start by reviewing your Redux codebase. This will help you understand your current state management logic.
  2. Reorganize the state logic to accommodate it to the MobX direct approach. Remove actions, reducers, and other Redux-oriented functions.
  3. Update the components that are currently connected to Redux. Make necessary changes to accommodate them to MobX.
  4. Conduct thorough testing of the new MobX-based state management approach to ensure it works efficiently without any regressions.
  5. Focus on the gradual rollout, migrating one feature or a section at a single time.

Why use MobX over Redux?

Exploring the advantages of MobX over Redux in state management for enhanced simplicity and efficiency.

Why use MobX over Redux

  1. Better Flexibility and Simplicity. If you are running a smaller project, you will enjoy and benefit from MobX’s simplicity and flexibility with reduced boilerplate code and rapid development capabilities.
  2. Real-Time Interactive Collaboration. MobX reactivity allows seamless real-time collaborative applications or developing interactive dashboards where changes occur frequently.
  3. If you consider a fresh React developer and teach them MobX without first teaching them about Redux, you may benefit from the shorter learning curve.

Migration from MobX to Redux?

Migrating from MobX to Redux is generally preferable when you have a scaling app that requires a properly structured state management approach that is designed to accommodate the scaling requirements of your project. Here is how you can go about it:

How do you migrate from MobX to Redux

How do you migrate from MobX to Redux?

  1. Start by reviewing your MobX codebase. Rewrite the state management logic as per Redux’s architecture. Here, you will need to create actions, reducers, and stores.
  2. If you need data from your MobX store, migrate it to the Redux store by converting the data structure of your MobX codebase.
  3. Update all the components currently integrated with MobX to connect them to the Redux store. Make provisions for how these components access and influence the state.
  4. Conduct rigorous testing frequently to ensure a seamless and bug-free migration journey.
  5. Consider gradual rollout to minimize migration disruptions.

Why use Redux over MobX?

Uncovering the benefits of choosing Redux over MobX for robust and predictable state management in your application.

Why use Redux over MobX

  1. Provides better scalability for large and complex applications that require a structured state management approach. If you were using MobX at the start of your project, and it has grown significantly, switching to Redux might be a good idea.
  2. Redux makes debugging and traceability easier with its opinionated framework. Moreover, it provides advanced debugging tools and time-travel debugging.
  3. Community and Ecosystem – Since Redux has a larger community and a wealth of third-party resources, it can help enhance the state management capabilities of your project.

MobX and Redux Together

MobX and Redux don’t necessarily have to be an alternate option to each other. They can be used together in a single React application but with some caveats. Here is all you need to know:

How to use MobX and Redux Together

How to use MobX and Redux Together?

  1. Isolate the libraries. You can use Mobx with Redux in the same application; however, it is advisable to keep them isolated on different aspects of the applications.
  2. Select the use cases and features where using Redux would be better and where MobX provides more benefits. Redux is generally proposed for centralized state management, and MobX allows developers to play closer to the components that require activity.
  3. Set clear boundaries as to when and where to use Redux and MobX. Ensure all teams and developers have full understanding and clarity on this.

Why mixing Redux with MobX is a good idea?

Discovering the synergy and advantages of combining Redux with MobX for a flexible and powerful state management solution.

Why mixing Redux with MobX is a good idea

  1. The best of both worlds – when you use MobX and Redux together for different aspects of your React project, you can benefit from structured state management where needed and reactivity of MobX elsewhere.
  2. It is an ideal situation if you are considering migrating from one library to another, as it allows room for gradual migration while minimizing disruptions.

Migrating from MobX to Redux or Redux to MobX is an important strategic decision that should be made based on project requirement analysis and formulating a well-structured migration plan. Using both at different aspects of the codebase could also be a better idea.

Wrapping Up!

Understanding the differences between MobX and Redux is important to choose the right state management library for your project. Remember, there are many other state management libraries or implementations for you to choose from. The primary focus on how to choose between them should always be aligning their approach to your requirements to see which is a better fit.

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Yes, very much so. Redux is still relevant in 2023, and that is likely to stay the same since it provides exceptional state management capabilities for managing complex data flows and maintaining readable, clear, and concise connections between components. It is an opinionated library that simplifies decision-making for collaborative teams, ensuring they have a single source store for all data of their application.

The key difference between MobX and Redux is that MobX allows the app to store different observable data types in decentralized MobX stores automatically. Moreover, MobX is designed to work better for small to medium-scale React apps with basic state management requirements, whereas Redux is aimed at complex and enterprise-level apps.

You will need to install React-Redux and set up your Redux store with the createStore function. You need to make additional configurations, which can be quite troublesome to tackle yourself. You can hire React.js developers from a Trusted React Development Company that has experience in making such migrations.
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    Saurabh Barot

    Saurabh Barot, the CTO of Aglowid IT Solutions, leads a team of 50+ IT experts across various domains. He excels in web, mobile, IoT, AI/ML, and emerging tech. Saurabh's technical prowess is underscored by his contributions to Agile, Scrum, and Sprint-based milestones. His guidance as a CTO ensures remote teams achieve project success with precision and technical excellence.

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