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Why Use React Instead of iFrames for Dashboards and Reporting Capabilities

May 21, 2024

You may be here because:

  • You’re considering embedding dashboards into your application and are evaluating the best methods to do so.
  • You’ve used iFrames in the past and are curious if there are more modern, efficient solutions for your B2B SaaS.
  • You’re concerned about the security implications of using iFrames.
  • You want to enhance the performance and interactivity of your embedded dashboards.

Let's delve into the details to understand why React is often the preferred choice over iFrames.

Why React is the Better Choice

1. Enhanced Security

By embedding dashboards directly as native javascript components you can offer robust security features that are critical for protecting sensitive data in B2B SaaS applications:

  • Strict Data Binding: Native javascript components enforce a strong data-binding system, reducing the risk of cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
  • Component Isolation: Native JS component-based architecture isolates components, minimizing the impact of security breaches and ensuring that vulnerabilities in one part of the application do not compromise the entire system.

2. Superior Performance

Native javascript components excel in performance, which is crucial for delivering responsive and dynamic dashboards for SaaS applications and product teams:

  • Virtual DOM: React components' Virtual DOM allows for efficient updates and rendering, significantly improving the speed and performance of applications.
  • Efficient Rendering: It only re-renders components that have changed, rather than reloading entire pages or elements, leading to faster load times and a smoother user experience. This is particularly beneficial for product teams that need to frequently update and interact with dashboard elements as they monitor and manage product performance.

3. Greater Interactivity and Customization

Native javascript components enable the creation of highly interactive and customizable user interfaces, which is essential for tailored dashboard experiences in B2B SaaS applications:

  • Customizable Components: These allow developers to create reusable components tailored to specific user needs, providing flexibility in designing dashboard layouts and functionalities.
  • Rich User Interaction: These native javascript components also support advanced interactivity through state management and event handling, making it easier to implement features like real-time data updates and interactive charts. Product teams can leverage these capabilities to build dashboards that allow for dynamic data manipulation and visualization, such as filtering sales data by region or adjusting time ranges for performance metrics.

4. Scalability and Ease of Maintenance

Native javascript components simplify scaling and maintaining applications, which is crucial for growing SaaS products and managing complex dashboards:

  • Component-Based Architecture: The modular approach allows for easy scalability. Developers can build and maintain individual components independently, facilitating the development of complex applications.
  • Active Community and Continuous Improvement: The components also benefit from an active community and regular updates, ensuring access to the latest features and best practices for web development. This continuous improvement is essential for product teams looking to keep their tools up-to-date with the latest technology and user expectations.

5. Seamless Integration with Modern Tools

Native javascript components integrate seamlessly with modern development tools and libraries, enhancing the development and maintenance of dashboards:

  • Integration with State Management Libraries: Tools like Redux enhance native javascript components' capabilities in managing complex application states, essential for dynamic dashboards and reporting tools.
  • Compatibility with Modern Development Environments: These works well with a wide range of development tools, including build tools (Webpack), testing libraries (Jest), and CSS-in-JS solutions. This compatibility streamlines the development process, from initial build to testing and deployment.

The Limitations of Using iFrames

1. Security Concerns

iFrames can introduce significant security risks, which are particularly concerning in B2B SaaS applications handling sensitive data:

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): iFrames can be exploited for XSS attacks, potentially allowing malicious scripts to execute within the embedded content.
  • Phishing Risks: iFrames can be used to embed deceptive content, posing phishing risks where users might unknowingly provide sensitive information to malicious sites.

2. Performance Issues

iFrames can adversely affect the performance of your application, which is critical for responsive and interactive SaaS dashboards:

  • Slower Loading Times: Each iFrame requires a separate HTTP request to load its content, which can increase load times and degrade user experience. For instance, an iFrame-based dashboard might take significantly longer to load due to multiple content sources being fetched separately.
  • Resource Consumption: Multiple iFrames can consume excessive resources, leading to slower performance and a less responsive interface. This can be particularly problematic in applications with high data interaction requirements.

3. Limited Interactivity and Customization

iFrames are often restricted in their ability to provide rich interactivity and customization options, which are essential for dynamic dashboards:

  • Styling and Scripting Limitations: Customizing the appearance and behavior of content within an iFrame is challenging due to its isolation from the parent page’s styles and scripts. For example, applying custom themes or interactivity to an iFrame can be cumbersome and often requires complex workarounds.
  • Event Handling Challenges: Handling user interactions and events within iFrames is cumbersome, often requiring complex workarounds. This limits the ability to provide seamless user experiences and responsive interactions.

4. Scalability and Maintenance Challenges

iFrames present challenges in scalability and maintenance, which are critical for growing SaaS applications:

  • Complex Integration: Integrating iFrames into larger, more complex applications can be problematic and prone to errors. For instance, synchronizing state and data flow between an iFrame and its parent application often requires additional complexity.
  • Maintenance Burden: Keeping iFrame content updated and synchronized with the main application can become a significant maintenance burden. Changes in the embedded content often necessitate updates to the iFrame configuration, leading to increased development overhead.


Embedding your analytics capabilities through native JavaScript components offers numerous advantages, including improved performance, seamless integration, consistent styling, enhanced security, better developer experience, and greater scalability.

For those of you not using React, do not fear. Vizzly also supports Angular, Vue, and Svelte.

Learn how Vizzly empowers Leading AI startups with Custom reporting capabilities.

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