What is the difference between Element and Component?

An Element is a plain object describing what you want to appear on the screen in terms of the DOM nodes or other components. Elements can contain other Elements in their props. Creating a React element is cheap. Once an element is created, it is never mutated.

The object representation of React Element would be as follows:

const element = React.createElement('div', { id: 'login-btn' }, 'Login');

The above React.createElement() function returns an object:

type: 'div',
props: {
children: 'Login',
id: 'login-btn'

And finally it renders to the DOM using ReactDOM.render():

<div id="login-btn">Login</div>

Whereas a component can be declared in several different ways. It can be a class with a render() method. Alternatively, in simple cases, it can be defined as a function. In either case, it takes props as an input, and returns a JSX tree as the output:

const Button = ({ onLogin }) => (
<div id={'login-btn'} onClick={onLogin}>

Then JSX gets transpiled to a React.createElement() function tree:

const Button = ({ onLogin }) =>
React.createElement('div', { id: 'login-btn', onClick: onLogin }, 'Login');

February 26, 2022