There is no denying the immense popularity and practicality of React. In the fast-changing technology landscape, keeping up with all the new frameworks and tools is a difficult task. React brought a much-needed sigh of relief for developers with its ease of use. The reusable components, great developer tools, and extensive ecosystem are some of the most loved features of React.
Instead of the traditional approach of directly manipulating the DOM, React introduced a useful level of abstraction in the form of the virtual DOM concept.
The React library is being actively developed and maintained by coders at the tech giant Facebook. This provides it with a much-needed edge over other frameworks and libraries.
All these factors allow React to maintain its popularity among developers even though newer frameworks are constantly emerging and competing for recognition amongst frontend developers.
The success of any framework, library, or programming language can be attributed to its features and the active status of its community.
Apart from these two factors, an often overlooked but highly utilitarian aspect of any programming language or framework is the use of design patterns, and React manages to deliver in this area.
In this post, we take a look at a few of the must-know to react design patterns.
React Design Patterns
There are numerous design patterns that are available in React.js. Here, we shortlist a few recommended patterns.
In order to understand the concept of stateless functions, let us first take a look at what is meant by state. The state is simply the data that is imported into a component. Typically data is fetched from the database.
Components can be of two types, namely, stateful and stateless components. The difference between both is merely the presence of state or lack thereof. Stateless components are also called functional components or presentational components. In React, such components always render the same thing or only what is passed to them via props.
Your aim, as a developer, should be to create stateless components even if there is no immediate scenario in which you would have to reuse that particular component. Most often developers figure out whether a component needs to have a state or not once they start writing the code as it is not always clear beforehand.
For a hierarchy of components, the best practice is to let parent components keep as much state as possible and make stateless child components. Data can be passed down via props.
Conditions are the foremost tool in the arsenal of any software developer. In the process of writing React components, the need often arises to render a certain JSX code based on the state. This is achieved through conditional rendering. Conditional rendering is very useful as it allows you to create distinct components based on your needs and then render only the ones that are required by the application.
For instance, conditional rendering can be used to display different messages to the user based on the login status of the user.
We discussed how design patterns are there to solve common problems. Render props are available in React to help us solve the problem of logic repetition. According to official React documentation, render props are defined as a ‘technique for sharing code between React components using a prop whose value is a function’.
Render props prove really handy as they allow us to share the same state across different components. Instead of hardcoding the logic inside each component, you can use a function prop to determine what to render.
Some popular libraries that make use of render props include Formik, React Router, and Downshift.
Web forms are a common requirement in a large number of applications and controlled components are React’s answer to handling form state. The controlled component takes the state through props. It can notify any changes by means of callbacks like onChange.
Parent components can control it by handling the callback and managing its own state meanwhile, the new values are passed to the controlled component as props. By default React forms have support for both controlled and uncontrolled components. It is highly recommended that you use controlled components.
Hooks are a welcome addition to React and the developer community really appreciated this new addition with great enthusiasm. However, it must be kept in mind that sometimes hooks can become a little tricky to work with when the arguments are objects, arrays, or functions. This can become somewhat confusing.
On the other hand, custom hooks are easy and simple to use and they also provide immense benefits to the developer.
React has proven to be a highly popular library. The community is among the fastest-growing developer communities online. You will also find lots of useful web development resources available online that make it easy to learn react.js and adapt to it.
The power of React is due to its amazing features and the robust architecture that it offers. One of the most prominent and widely loved features of React is its design patterns. Design patterns are in fact what gives this library its extraordinary practicality and usefulness. They make code optimization and maintenance easier. They allow developers to create apps that are flexible in nature, deliver better performance, and produce a codebase that is easier to maintain.
We have discussed a few popular React design patterns like stateless functions, render props, controlled components, conditional rendering, and react hooks. However, it must be noted that react design patterns are not just limited to these patterns and there are several different design patterns that you can implement.
Once you get familiar with the usage of the common design patterns, it will become easier to graduate to others.