@abw/react-context-generator

2.0.1 • Public • Published

react-context-generator

DEPRECATION NOTICE

This module has been superceded by @abw/react-context. It does the same thing and a little bit more. The name change reflects the fact that it's no longer just a context generator.

It works the same way and should be a drop-in replacement (although see the note below about breaking changes between versions 1 and 2).

This module will continue to be available but no further development will be done on it.

Introduction

This is a small and simple module that provides some syntactic sugar to streamline the use of React Context to maintain state in your React applications.

Seriously, it's embarassingly small. We're talking 20 lines of code or so for the main function.

If you're not already familiar with React Context then you should start by reading the React Context documentation: https://reactjs.org/docs/context.html

Version 2 - Breaking Changes

For version 1 you can import the Generator function as the default.

// version 1.*.*
import Generator from '@abw/react-context-generator`

For version 2 and above you must use named imports.

// version 2.*.*
import { Generator } from '@abw/react-context-generator`

Installation

Add react-context-generator to your project using your favourite package manager.

npm:

$ npm add @abw/react-context-generator

yarn:

$ yarn add @abw/react-context-generator

pnpm:

$ pnpm add @abw/react-context-generator

Wrapping a Component that Maintains State

Here's a simple example of a component that maintains some state and provides methods for manipulating that state.

// Counter.js
import React from "react";
import { Generator } from "@abw/react-context-generator";

class Counter extends React.Component {
  constructor(props) {
    super(props);
    this.state = {
      count: this.props.initialCount || 0
    };
    this.actions = {
      inc: this.increment.bind(this),
      dec: this.decrement.bind(this),
    };
  }
  increment() {
    this.setState({ count: this.state.count + 1 });
  }
  decrement() {
    this.setState({ count: this.state.count - 1 });
  }
  render() {
    return this.props.render({
      ...this.state,
      ...this.actions,
    });
  }
}

export default Generator(Counter);

It stores a count value in the state which is initially set to 0 or a custom value provided by an initialCount property. It has increment() and decrement() methods which respectively add or subtract one from the count.

In the constructor() method we also define this.actions to store versions of these methods that are bound to this, allowing them to be called as functions from anywhere in our code. I've given then shorter names here - inc and dec but that's entirely arbitrary. The original names would serve the purpose just as well.

So far this is all fairly standard Javascript/React code. Where it gets interesting is in the render() method. All we do here is call the render() function that is passed in as a property - this.props.render() - and pass it an object containing the things that we want to share with other components.

In this case we're passing everything in the state (which in this simple example only contains count) and the actions that we've defined to manipulate the state (inc and dec).

The final line of code calls the Generator() function imported from @abw/react-context-generator passing the Counter component as an argument. This is then the default value exported by the Counter.js module.

export default Generator(Counter);

Using the Context Provider

Now when we import this module we get an object that contains two entries: a Provider and a Consumer.

The Provider is designed to enclose any and all components that might need to access the state. It's typically added somewhere near the "outside" of your application.

// MyApp.jsx
import React from "react";
import Counter from "./Counter.js";

const MyApp = () =>
  <div id="myapp">
    <h1>Welcome to My Counting App!</h1>
    <Counter.Provider>
      ...the rest of your app goes here...
    </Counter.Provider>
  </div>

export default MyApp

You can pass custom properties to your Provider if you want to. They will get passed down to the Counter component, e.g.

  <Counter.Provider initialCount={100}>
    ...the rest of your app goes here...
  </Counter.Provider>

Using the Context Consumer

When you need to access the state provided by Counter from somewhere deep inside your app you simply need to wrap it in the Counter.Consumer function. All of the items that the Counter module shares as context will be passed into your component as properties.

// Controls.js
import React from "react";
import Counter from "./Counter.js";

const Controls = ({count, inc, dec}) => <div>
  <p>The current count is {count}</p>
  <button onClick={inc}>Increment</button>
  <button onClick={dec}>Decrement</button>
</div>

export default Counter.Consumer(Controls)

That's all there is to it. Sweet and simple!

Base Class Context

There's a base class context module that you can subclass. It provides a number of conveniences to help you reduce the amount of code you need to write.

import { Generator, Context } from "@abw/react-context-generator";

class Counter extends Context {
  static initialState = {
    count: 10,
  }
  static initialProps = {
    count: 'initialCount',
  }
  static actions     = "inc dec";
  static debug       = false;
  static debugPrefix = 'Counter > ';
  static debugColor  = 'orangered'

  inc() {
    this.debug("Incrementing count")
    this.setState({ count: this.state.count + 1 });
  }
  dec() {
    this.debug("Decrementing count")
    this.setState({ count: this.state.count - 1 });
  }
}

export default Generator(Counter);

The initialState static property defines the initial state of the context. The initialProps property indicates which properties can be passed to the context to set the initial state. In this example the count will be set to 10 by default and an initialCount property can be passed to it to set it to a different value.

The actions list says which methods should be exposed in the context data as callable action functions. It can be specified as an array of method names or as a whitespace delimited string as shown here.

The debug option can be set true to enable debugging. The optional debugPrefix and debugColor allow you to customise the debugging messages sent to console.log(). When debugging is enabled the this.debug() method calls will generate debugging messages on the console. Otherwise they are ignored.

The default behaviour is to render any consumer components, passing them props for each item in the state, all action functions, and any props passed to the context object itself.

You can define a getRenderProps() method to change that behaviour if you like.

The default method looks like this:

getRenderProps() {
  return this.getContext();
}

You might prefer to bundle everything up and pass a single prop to consumer components.

getRenderProps() {
  return { Counter: this.getContext() };
}

In this case a consumer component would look like this:

const Controls = ({Counter}) => <div>
  <p>The current count is {Counter.count}</p>
  <button onClick={Counter.inc}>Increment</button>
  <button onClick={Counter.dec}>Decrement</button>
</div>

The default getContext() method looks like this:

getContext() {
  return {
    ...this.props,    // properties passed to the context
    ...this.state,    // internal state
    ...this.actions,  // callable action functions mapped to methods
  };
}

You can also re-defined this method if you like. Perhaps like this:

getContext() {
  return {
    props:   this.props,    // properties passed to the context
    state:   this.state,    // internal state
    actions: this.actions,  // callable action functions mapped to methods
  };
}

In this case the consumer component would look like this:

const Controls = ({Counter}) => <div>
  <p>The current count is {Counter.state.count}</p>
  <button onClick={Counter.actions.inc}>Increment</button>
  <button onClick={Counter.actions.dec}>Decrement</button>
</div>

Example Project

There's an example Next JS project in the example directory which demonstrates it in use.

To play around with it you'll need to checkout the repository and then install the dependencies.

git clone https://github.com/abw/react-context-generator.git
cd react-context-generator/example
pnpm install    # or npm / yarn
pnpm dev        # or npm / yarn

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npm i @abw/react-context-generator

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