Nihilist Postmodern Mistake


    1.1.4 • Public • Published


    Decouple your styling from your components

    Update - Version 1 has moved to a newer, simpler, hook based API


    Styling in react is fragmented, because the focus is on the wrong problem. How many times have you tried to include a component in your project only to be annoyed by having to work with their styling system? Having to work through the frictions of extending/overriding styles? Having to rely on limited styling logic included in the component?

    The problem is that components and styling are too coupled. destyle is a style namespace manager, like an upgrade to vanilla css, that allows you to decouple your styling and styling logic from your components and component logic. It allows the creation of purely style-less components, that are easily themeable and overridable, and is css library agnostic (with exception to highly coupled libs like styled components).

    Vanilla CSS - (basic decoupling)

    CSS Component
    Styles Component Markup
    Component Logic
    Style Logic

    Styled Components - (heavily coupled)

    CSS Component
    Component Markup
    Component Logic
    Style Logic

    destyle - (complete decoupling)

    CSS Component
    Styles Component Markup
    Style Logic Component Logic

    Getting Started

    npm install destyle --save


    Edit 94jvkn010o

    Building Components

    destyle uses a hook (useStyles) with which you pass a namespace key, props, and any extra arguments (eg. state), and it returns a processed object containing your styles on whatever keynames you like. For example:

    import React from 'react'
    import { useStyles } from 'destyle'
    const UserCard = props => {
      const [styles] = useStyles('UserCardStyles', props)
      return (
        <div className={styles.container}>
          <img className={styles.avatar} src="https://..." />
          <div className={styles.content}>
            <div className={}>Disco Biscuit</div>
            <div className={styles.details}>
              I enjoy being a cat.

    Providing styles

    In the root of your application, you use the <StyleProvider> component to pass in a theme object containing all your namespaces and associated styling functions. As you can see below, each namespace expects a function that receives props (and anything else passed to useStyles, and returns an object where each key represents the styles/classes that should be provided to each element within the related component.

    import { StyleProvider } from 'destyle'
    import { css } from 'emotion'
    const UserCardStyles = props => ({
      container: css`
        font-family: 'Arial';
        background-color: #f5f5f5;
        height: 96px;
        width: 100%;
      avatar: css`
        float: left;
        height: 96px;
        width: 96px;
        border-right-style: solid;
        border-right-width: 4px;
        border-right-color: ${ ? #D05E5E : #111};
      // Rest of your styles
    const theme = {
    const App = () => (
      <StyleProvider theme={theme}>
        <UserCard />

    Notice how you can easily use props to determine your styling, and those props don't even need to be mentioned inside your component. They are pure styling logic props.

    But I really like putting styles in the same file as my components

    Well do that then. Ideally you would put your styles in a separate file to avoid forced inclusion of your code in another project, but the beauty of using destyle, is that you can export your style objects from anywhere (just so long as you build them all into a single theme object to pass to the provider).


    To separate both styling and styling logic from component markup and component logic. This will allow the community to build functional style-less components which are easily themable, and overridable. To try and be as style syntax agnostic as possible (obviously any lib that couples by design will not work). This makes the community less fragmented, as each style lib simply becomes a stylistic choice. To keep the lib as simple as possible, and potentially allow for plugins that can use the namespace for more advanced meta ideas.

    Discussion & The Future

    While this module could be used in production (and we are), it is the beginning of a new idea, and so we expect the api to likely change. Because using this provides a fully accessible namespace, we can imagine a future where plugins are added that can do things like document the namespace, report style coverage, and other interesting ideas. Ideally this could be used to create a style-less full component library, that can be themed in different ways. Imagine if say material components and ant design were just themes over the same set of components. Imagine if everyone built style-less components with destyle.

    Please discuss any new ideas in the issues.

    Made by Syntropy


    npm i destyle

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    • matt-syntropy