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    16.8.6 • Public • Published


    create-subscription is a utility for subscribing to external data sources inside React components. It is officially supported and maintained by the React team.

    When should you NOT use this?

    This utility should be used for subscriptions to a single value that are typically only read in one place and may update frequently (e.g. a component that subscribes to a geolocation API to show a dot on a map).

    Other cases have better long-term solutions:

    • Redux/Flux stores should use the context API instead.
    • I/O subscriptions (e.g. notifications) that update infrequently should use react-cache instead.
    • Complex libraries like Relay/Apollo should manage subscriptions manually with the same techniques which this library uses under the hood (as referenced here) in a way that is most optimized for their library usage.

    Limitations in async mode

    The main motivation for create-subscription is to provide a way for library authors to ensure compatibility with React's upcoming asynchronous rendering mode. create-subscription guarantees correctness in async mode, accounting for the subtle bugs and edge cases that a library author might otherwise miss.

    However, it achieves correctness by sometimes de-opting to synchronous mode, obviating the benefits of async rendering. This is an inherent limitation of storing state outside of React's managed state queue and rendering in response to a change event.

    The effect of de-opting to sync mode is that the main thread may periodically be blocked (in the case of CPU-bound work), and placeholders may appear earlier than desired (in the case of IO-bound work).

    For full compatibility with asynchronous rendering, including both time-slicing and React Suspense, the suggested longer-term solution is to move to one of the patterns described in the previous section.

    What types of subscriptions can this support?

    This abstraction can handle a variety of subscription types, including:

    • Event dispatchers like HTMLInputElement.
    • Custom pub/sub components like Relay's FragmentSpecResolver.
    • Observable types like RxJS BehaviorSubject and ReplaySubject. (Types like RxJS Subject or Observable are not supported, because they provide no way to read the "current" value after it has been emitted.)
    • Native Promises.


    # Yarn 
    yarn add create-subscription
    # NPM 
    npm install create-subscription


    To configure a subscription, you must provide two methods: getCurrentValue and subscribe.

    import { createSubscription } from "create-subscription";
    const Subscription = createSubscription({
      getCurrentValue(source) {
        // Return the current value of the subscription (source),
        // or `undefined` if the value can't be read synchronously (e.g. native Promises).
      subscribe(source, callback) {
        // Subscribe (e.g. add an event listener) to the subscription (source).
        // Call callback(newValue) whenever a subscription changes.
        // Return an unsubscribe method,
        // Or a no-op if unsubscribe is not supported (e.g. native Promises).

    To use the Subscription component, pass the subscribable property (e.g. an event dispatcher, observable) as the source property and use a render prop, children, to handle the subscribed value when it changes:

    <Subscription source={eventDispatcher}>
      {value => <AnotherComponent value={value} />}


    This API can be used to subscribe to a variety of "subscribable" sources, from event dispatchers to RxJS observables. Below are a few examples of how to subscribe to common types.

    Subscribing to event dispatchers

    Below is an example showing how create-subscription can be used to subscribe to event dispatchers such as DOM elements.

    import React from "react";
    import { createSubscription } from "create-subscription";
    // Start with a simple component.
    // In this case, it's a function component, but it could have been a class.
    function FollowerComponent({ followersCount }) {
      return <div>You have {followersCount} followers!</div>;
    // Create a wrapper component to manage the subscription.
    const EventHandlerSubscription = createSubscription({
      getCurrentValue: eventDispatcher => eventDispatcher.value,
      subscribe: (eventDispatcher, callback) => {
        const onChange = event => callback(eventDispatcher.value);
        eventDispatcher.addEventListener("change", onChange);
        return () => eventDispatcher.removeEventListener("change", onChange);
    // Your component can now be used as shown below.
    // In this example, 'eventDispatcher' represents a generic event dispatcher.
    <EventHandlerSubscription source={eventDispatcher}>
      {value => <FollowerComponent followersCount={value} />}

    Subscribing to observables

    Below are examples showing how create-subscription can be used to subscribe to certain types of observables (e.g. RxJS BehaviorSubject and ReplaySubject).

    Note that it is not possible to support all observable types (e.g. RxJS Subject or Observable) because some provide no way to read the "current" value after it has been emitted.


    const BehaviorSubscription = createSubscription({
      getCurrentValue: behaviorSubject => behaviorSubject.getValue(),
      subscribe: (behaviorSubject, callback) => {
        const subscription = behaviorSubject.subscribe(callback);
        return () => subscription.unsubscribe();


    const ReplaySubscription = createSubscription({
      getCurrentValue: replaySubject => {
        let currentValue;
        // ReplaySubject does not have a sync data getter,
        // So we need to temporarily subscribe to retrieve the most recent value.
          .subscribe(value => {
            currentValue = value;
        return currentValue;
      subscribe: (replaySubject, callback) => {
        const subscription = replaySubject.subscribe(callback);
        return () => subscription.unsubscribe();

    Subscribing to a Promise

    Below is an example showing how create-subscription can be used with native Promises.

    Note that an initial render value of undefined is unavoidable due to the fact that Promises provide no way to synchronously read their current value.

    Note the lack of a way to "unsubscribe" from a Promise can result in memory leaks as long as something has a reference to the Promise. This should be taken into consideration when determining whether Promises are appropriate to use in this way within your application.

    import React from "react";
    import { createSubscription } from "create-subscription";
    // Start with a simple component.
    function LoadingComponent({ loadingStatus }) {
      if (loadingStatus === undefined) {
        // Loading
      } else if (loadingStatus === null) {
        // Error
      } else {
        // Success
    // Wrap the function component with a subscriber HOC.
    // This HOC will manage subscriptions and pass values to the decorated component.
    // It will add and remove subscriptions in an async-safe way when props change.
    const PromiseSubscription = createSubscription({
      getCurrentValue: promise => {
        // There is no way to synchronously read a Promise's value,
        // So this method should return undefined.
        return undefined;
      subscribe: (promise, callback) => {
          // Success
          value => callback(value),
          // Failure
          () => callback(null)
        // There is no way to "unsubscribe" from a Promise.
        // create-subscription will still prevent stale values from rendering.
        return () => {};
    // Your component can now be used as shown below.
    <PromiseSubscription source={loadingPromise}>
      {loadingStatus => <LoadingComponent loadingStatus={loadingStatus} />}




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