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A package for integrating Lit SSR with React and React frameworks.


By default, React's SSR library renders custom elements shallowly, i.e. only the element's open and closing tags, attributes, and light DOM children are present in the server-rendered HTML - shadow DOM contents are not rendered.

This package provides tools to integrate @lit-labs/ssr with React SSR so that Lit components are deeply rendered, including their shadow DOM contents.


To get React SSR to deeply render Lit components, we'll need React JSX code to call an enhanced version of createElement() provided by this package. The way to achieve this depends on your project configuration.

Monkey patching React element creation (recommended)

This package provides the @lit-labs/ssr-react/enable-lit-ssr.js module which, when imported in a server environment, has the side-effect of monkey patching React.createElement() and runtime JSX functions to be enhanced to add the declarative shadow DOM output to registered custom elements. This can be imported at the entry point of the application before React is imported or any JSX containing Lit components is evaluated.

// index.js
import '@lit-labs/ssr-react/enable-lit-ssr.js';

import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';
import './my-element.js';

const App = () => {
  return <my-element />;

In the browser environment, this module does not patch React.createElement() but instead imports @lit-labs/ssr-client/lit-element-hydrate-support.js which must be imported before the lit package to allow hydration of server-rendered Lit elements.

Using the Classic Runtime JSX Transform

The classic JSX transform replaces JSX expressions with React.createElement() function calls. In the default mode, it requires that React is imported and available in the scope of the JSX file.

If you wish to control which components use the enhanced createElement() function without a global monkey patch, you may do so by using a JSX pragma.

- import React from 'react';
+ /** @jsx createElement */
+ import {createElement} from '@lit-labs/ssr-react';

const Component = (props) => {
  return <my-element />;

You may also set the compiler options to specify the function to use instead of the JSX pragma.

  • For Babel: set the pragma option for @babel/preset-react to "createElement".
  • For TypeScript: set the jsxFactory option in tsconfig.json to "createElement".

Note that the import line must still be present for every file that contains JSX expressions to transform in the classic runtime mode.

This approach only works for server-rendering custom elements added to your project's JSX expressions. It will not affect any pre-compiled JSX expressions or direct calls to React.createElement(). You will also need to manually import the @lit-labs/ssr-client/lit-element-hydrate-support.js to your client JS. For those scenarios, use the monkey patching approach.

Using the Automatic Runtime JSX Transform

If your project is using the runtime JSX transform, this package can serve as the JSX import source.

  • For Babel: set the importSource option in @babel/preset-react to @lit-labs/ssr-react.
  • For TypeScript: set the jsxImportSource option in tsconfig.json to @lit-labs/ssr-react.

These JSX runtime modules contain jsx functions enhanced to add the declarative shadow DOM output to registered custom elements when imported into server environemtns. They also automatically import @lit-labs/ssr-client/lit-element-hydrate-support.js in the browser environment.

This method will not work for any pre-compiled JSX expressions or direct calls to React.createElement(), including those in the usage of the @lit/react package's createComponent(). Consider using the monkey patching approach to handle such scenarios.

Advanced Usage

For composing multiple createElement() functions, e.g. for use along side other React libraries that enhancee createElement(), this package also provides a wrapCreateElement() function which accepts a createElement() function and returns an enhanced one.

import {wrapCreateElement} from '@lit-labs/ssr-react';
import React from 'react';

const enhancedCreateElement = wrapCreateElement(React.createElement);

How it Works

The enhancements to React.createElement() or runtime JSX functions work by adding a <template shadowrootmode> element to the custom element's children list, if the custom element is defined and has a Lit SSR ElementRenderer registered to SSR the element. By default, all LitElement subclasses are rendered by the built-in LitElementRenderer.

Handling of Props

For bare custom elements, all props provided by React are set as attributes on the element during server rendering, as is the default behavior for custom elements rendered by React on the client (as of version 18). This works for simple components whose properties can easily be represented as attributes, i.e. they are easily serialized/deserialized and the attribute name does not differ with the property name.

For Lit elements wrapped with @lit/react's createComponent(), properties present on the element will be set as properties instead of attributes for server rendering. Client side hydration will also be deferred such that it'll wait for element properties to be set before the first update happens.

Enabling Declarative Shadow DOM

As of February 2023, declarative shadow DOM is supported in Chromium and Safari Technology Preview. For browsers that do not yet support it, you must include the template-shadowroot polyfill. Without this, React's own hydration may warn of hydration mismatch due to the lingering <template> element. See https://lit.dev/docs/ssr/client-usage/#using-the-template-shadowroot-polyfill for inspiration on how to incorporate this into your application.


Please see CONTRIBUTING.md.

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