React Cosmos is a decade old project that started organically in the Bucharest-based Analytics team that pioneered React at Hootsuite. It was first showcased at ReactEurope 2015 in Paris.
The project quickly garnered outside interest and became a staple in the React community, paving the way for component-driven development. As the React ecosystem matured, numerous other similar tools emerged, like Storybook, Styleguidist and Carte Blanche, further confirming the need for component explorers in the UI development community.
The use cases of component isolation tools roughly fall into two categories: isolated development and UI documentation (aka interactive style guides). Some tools tackle one of the two, some both. React Cosmos is specialized on the former—isolated component development and developer experience. You could use React Cosmos for the latter use case, too, perhaps with plugin enhancement, but other tools may be more suited for building style guides.
The React Cosmos project has had its peaks and valleys over the years. The first years were marked by experimentation, iteration, and in
some many cases undoing previous design mistakes. The APIs and user interface were redesigned from the ground up in 2019. A powerful plugin system, multi bundler support, and revamped docs were released in 2023.
React Cosmos has slowly matured, is still growing, and is more robust than ever. People who migrate from other tools often call it a breath of fresh air. Every major release trimmed the fat and strengthened the core. The new plugin system opens up endless possibilities, and there's no shortage of ideas either! What's yours?
There are many people who shaped React Cosmos over the years. The initial Hootsuite Analytics UI team: Andrei Picus, Catalin Miron, Flavius Gosu, Ovidiu Bute and Valentin Radulescu. Max Salvén, Xavier Cazalot and Thomas Mattacchione, who believed in the project more than me at times. And all other 100 contributors (and counting). I'm also grateful for Dan Abramov's support in the early days.
Special thanks to Pascal Graf for designing the new logo, and to Kreativa Studio for the original Cosmonaut illustration.
React Cosmos is lead by Ovidiu Cherecheș.