5 Best Practices in React from the Nyoka team
Apr 04, 2023
In this article, we discuss React's five best practices and how we apply them.
Component decomposition and reusability
One of React's core principles is to break down complex user interfaces into smaller, reusable components. We always strive to identify components that can be reused throughout the application. By doing so, we can achieve a clean and maintainable codebase.
Example: Suppose we are working on an e-commerce site with a list of products and a filtering feature. Instead of creating one large component for the entire page, we break it down into smaller components such as 'ProductList', 'ProductCard', 'Filter' and 'FilterOption'. This way, we can reuse the 'ProductCard' component for different product categories.
State Management with MobX
In complex applications, managing the state of components can be a serious problem. MobX is a state management library that offers an effective solution to this problem.
Example: In a multi-step form application, we can use MobX to store form data and pass it to child components. This provides a seamless exchange of data and eliminates the need to "drill down on props," which can complicate codebase management.
Using React Hooks for Functional Components
Since the advent of React Hooks, it has become increasingly popular to use functional components instead of class components. Hooks simplify state management and lifecycle methods in functional components.
Example: Imagine a search bar component that gets results from an API based on user input. We would use the 'useState' hook to control the value of the input and the 'useEffect' hook to handle the API call each time the input changes.
Optimizing performance with useMemo and useCallback
React applications can sometimes encounter performance issues, especially in complex applications with frequent re-mapping. The useMemo and useCallback hooks are useful tools for performance optimization.
Example: In a dashboard with multiple graphs displaying data obtained from the API, we would use the 'useMemo' hook to memoize the data conversion functions. This ensures that they only recalculate when the data changes, preventing unnecessary recalculations. Similarly, I would use 'useCallback' for event handlers and functions passed to child components to avoid unnecessary re-rendering.
Unit testing with Jest and the React testing library
Testing is a crucial aspect of software development, and React is no exception. By writing unit tests, developers can make sure their components work as expected and catch any bugs early in development.
Example: In a weather application with a component displaying temperature, we would use Jest and the React testing library to test whether the component was displaying the correct temperature based on the data provided. This would ensure that any future changes to the component's implementation would not compromise its core functionality.
By breaking the user interface into reusable components, using state management solutions, applying functional components and hooks, optimizing performance, and compiling unit tests, developers can create maintainable and scalable applications that will stand the test of time.