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0.3.1 • Public • Published

React Observable Context

React's context is good - but we can do better!

  • 🧭 Avoid re-renders of root components with contexts
  • 👁️ Use observer based patterns to subscribe to changes in context
  • 👯‍♂️ Provides the same API as React's createContext

React Observable Context is a replacement for React's createContext method allowing you to create contexts that are directly mutable with subscriber support.


Let's dive right in with a simple example of how to use React Observable Context:

import React from 'react';
import {
} from '@chrfalch/react-observable-context';

// Let's declare our context - let's use our implementation of createContext:
const MyContext = createContext({
  counter: 0,

// Create a component using the context's value
const CurrentCount = () => {
  const context = React.useContext(MyContext);
  const { counter } = useObserver(context, 'counter');
  return <div>{counter}</div>;

// Create the app component that also uses the context
const App = () => {
  // Remember that per React documentation you can use a context without a provider
  // but you will get the default value - which is a valid object in this example.
  return (
      <CurrentCount />
      <button title="Inc" onClick={() => MyContext.counter++}>


createContext is a replacement for React's createContext method. It accepts the same arguments and returns the same type, but the resulting context object is observable through the useObserver hook.

💡 You don't need a setter function (setCounter or increment) to update the context object - you can simply update the value directly on the Context object.


The hook useObserver observes changes in an observable object. It accepts two arguments - the observable object and a path to the value you want to observe.

To subscribe to changes in a specific slice of the context, you can pass a path to the value you want to observe:

const ctx = React.useContext(MyContext)!;
const {counter} = useObserver(ctx, 'counter');

💡 You cannot set values with the state returned from useObserver - it is read-only. To update the context object, you need to update the value directly on the context object.

You can also pass multiple values to the useObserver hook to observe more than one value:

const ctx = React.useContext(MyContext)!;
const {counter, isPaused} = useObserver(ctx, 'counter', 'isPaused');

💡 Tips: Properties in a nested context will often end up with keys containing dots. To destructure such a property you can use the following syntax:

const { 'my.nested.key': myNestedKey } = useObserver(ctx, 'my.nested.key');


This hook lets you create a memoized observable object. It accepts an object as an argument and returns a memoized observable object.

This hook is typically used to create the context object with a specific value when using a Context Provider:

// Context value will be a memoized observable object
const contextValue = useObservable({ counter: 1 });
return <MyContext.Provider value={contextValue}>{children}</MyContext.Provider>;

💡 Tips: The initial value will only be read once - the hook does not update the observable if the initial value is changed.

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npm i @chrfalch/react-observable-context

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