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fluxette

fluxette

fluxette is a minimalist yet powerful Flux implementation, inspired by ideas from Dan Abramov (@gaearon)'s talk on Redux.

Table of Contents

Why?

Why fluxette? (We used to have a list of buzzwords here.)

"fluxette" means "little flux". That's exactly what it is, coming in at a tiny 1.4 kB, minified (even smaller gzipped!). It is a library that combines the advantages of orthogonal code with the robust design of Facebook Flux. Through simple rules, it allows for the creation and exploitation of very advanced design patterns. It relies only on the basic convention that your stores are pure functions in the form of (State, Action) => State (see The Law of Functional Flux). As a result, its dispatcher exists as one simple line. fluxette makes migrating from other implementations in the family of functional Flux very easy (e.g. copy-paste reducers/listeners from redux).

fluxette abstracts away many of the headaches that you may have had with React and other Flux implementations, such as Store dependencies (waitFor), superfluous setStates ("did the state really change?" and "I'm not done updating yet!"), listening to finer and coarser-grained updates, Uncaught Error: Invariant Violation: Dispatch.dispatch(...), and more.

Install

npm install --save fluxette

Browser builds (umd) are also available.

You'll probably want reducer as well for common reducer compositions.

npm install --save reducer

If you're working with React, you should grab the React bindings.

npm install --save fluxette-react

Getting Started

Say you have a simple React component that you want to refactor with Flux:

class Updater extends React.Component {
    constructor() {
        super();
        this.state = {
            text: ''
        };
    }
    change(e) {
        this.setState({ text: e.target.value });
    }
    render() {
        return (
            <div>
                <input onChange={ ::this.change } />
                <div>{ this.state.text }</div>
            </div>
        );
    }
}
 
React.render(<Updater />, document.getElementById('root'));

This is a simple component that shows you the text that you've typed into a textbox right below it. We can interpret our event as an action of type UPDATE that carries the value of the textbox.

// constants 
const UPDATE = 'UPDATE';
 
// actions 
const update = value => ({ type: UPDATE, value });

We'll also need a Reducer to manage our state.

import Flux from 'fluxette';
import Leaf from 'reducer/leaf';
 
// leaf reducer 
const updater = Leaf('', {
    [UPDATE]: (state, action) => action.value
});
 
// flux interface 
const flux = Flux(updater);

Leaf creates a pure function that looks at your actions and uses them to determine how to operate on the state. Our Reducer's default value is an empty string, just like in our Updater component. It listens to any actions of the type UPDATE, and uses the value that the action carries as our new state.

We also create a Flux object, which we can now integrate into our component.

Putting it all together

Here we import two things from the React bindings: the @connect decorator and the Context component. Context provides flux on this.context to all of its children, which @connect then utilizes to manage listeners on your component (also attaches dispatch to the component, for convenience).

import React from 'react';
import Flux from 'fluxette';
import Leaf from 'reducer/leaf';
import { Context, connect } from 'fluxette-react'
 
// constants 
const UPDATE = 'UPDATE';
 
// actions 
const update = value => ({ type: UPDATE, value });
 
// reducer 
const updater = Leaf('', {
    [UPDATE]: (state, action) => action.value
});
 
// flux interface 
const flux = Flux(updater);
 
@connect(state => ({ text: state }))
class Updater extends React.Component {
    change(e) {
        this.dispatch(update(e.target.value));
    }
    render() {
        return (
            <div>
                <input onChange={ ::this.change } />
                <div>{ this.state.text }</div>
            </div>
        );
    }
}
 
React.render(
    <Context flux={ flux }>
        { () => <Updater /> }
    </Context>,
    document.getElementById('root')
);

API

Flux(reducer)

Creates your central Flux object that manages the dispatcher and state. Its methods can be called anonymously.

import Flux from 'fluxette';
import reducers from './reducers';
 
const flux = Flux(reducers);

flux.dispatch(actions, [update = true])

Processes actions and calls all listeners if update is true. actions can be any Object, or array of Objects, which can be nested. If you use middleware, that includes Functions, Promises, and others. You can call dispatch without any arguments to call all listeners, if you streamed or buffered updates to the dispatcher. It also returns the array of actions that were processed by the dispatch pipeline, making techniques like Promise chaining easy.

flux.dispatch({ type: 'MY_ACTION_TYPE', data: 'x' });
 
// thunks 
import thunk from 'fluxette-thunk';
flux = flux.using(thunk);
flux.dispatch(({ dispatch }) => {
    // useful if this function came from somewhere else 
    dispatch({ type: 'MY_ACTION_TYPE', data: 'x' });
})

flux.using(...middleware)

Takes an argument list of middleware folds them over the internal dispatcher, on a new Flux object. This can be called multiple times.

flux = flux.using(thunk, promise);

flux.state()

Returns the state.

flux.state();

flux.hook(fn)

Registers a function as a listener.

flux.hook(state => console.log(state));

flux.unhook(fn)

Deregisters a function that was previously registered as a listener.

let fn = ::console.log;
 
flux.hook(fn);
 
flux.unhook(fn);

Glossary

State

A State is any value that is representative of your application. It can be a primitive, Object, Array, or anything else. If you wish to implement de/rehydration, you may want to keep JSON serialization in mind.

Action

An Action is an Object that contains information on how to update the state. Customarily, they have a type property, along with any other data that your reducers may need to operate on the state.

Action Creator

Action Creators are not internally known by fluxette, but are usually used in Flux applications to parametrize actions. By the norm of Functional Flux, they are functions that return Actions.

Reducer

A Reducer is a function that accepts a state and an action, which it combines, or reduces, to create a new state. All Reducers should have the signature (State, Action) => State. The Shape, Reducer, and Filter facilities all return a Reducer. There are Pure Reducers and Dirty Reducers. Pure Reducers reduce based only on the state and action provided, while Dirty Reducers pull data from outside, or have side effects.

Hook

Hooks (or Listeners) are functions that respond to a change in the state. They have a wide spectrum of uses; they are similar to the change event listeners of a traditional MVC framework. They have a signature of (?State) => void. The connect decorator uses a hook to subscribe your components to state changes.

Selector

A Selector is a function that takes a state and makes it more specific. Selectors are very useful in React components, to keep your render method DRY and orthogonal, and to take advantage of caching features. For more advanced caching, you can use the select facility, which also returns a Selector. Selectors have the signature (State) => State.

Deriver

The Deriver is an concept specific to the select facility. select takes a Selector or an array of Selectors, and passes the results of each to the deriver to create a logical (as opposed to raw) data object that your application uses. Derivers are functions that expect the results of Selectors and returns a State.

The Law of Functional Flux

In the most general sense, Functional Flux relies on reducing actions into the state. Therefore, Stores or Reducers are pure functions with the signature (State, Action) => State. If a Store processes an action that it listens to, which results in a different state, it returns a value or reference that differs from the state that it was called with. This recursively cascades down to the root of the state tree. At the end of the dispatch, all listeners are called. Any of which that depend on data that could have possibly changed are called with new values or references. Thus, listeners can simply maintain a reference to the old state and compare with the new one to determine whether the state has changed.

Middleware

Middleware can extend the functionality of the dispatcher by accommodating functions, Promises, and other data structures, allowing for advanced asynchronous and multiplexing functionality. Middleware do not require knowledge of other middleware, which makes them easily composable. To use middleware, create a new flux object that implements them, by passing a list to flux.using.

import thunk from 'fluxette-thunk';
import promise from 'fluxette-promise';
 
flux = flux.using(thunk, promise);

Writing Middleware

Middleware is implemented as a creator function that takes a next argument, which returns a dispatcher function that takes an action argument. The middleware is bound to the Flux object, so methods such as dispatch are available on this. To accommodate this, a creator cannot be an arrow function. Unless you need to break the dispatch pipeline, you should call next to pass the action on to the next dispatcher function. A valid breakage of the pipeline can be seen in the Promise middleware, where it passes this.dispatch to the Promise#then. It is good practice to return the value of your last call, whether it may be a next, then, or other call.

Rehydration

fluxette supports both imperative and declarative rehydration. You may pick whichever suits your needs more.

Imperative

import Flux from 'fluxette';
import Shape from 'reducer/shape';
import History from 'reducer/history';
 
let flux = Flux(Shape({
    history: History(),
    // ... 
}));
 
flux.dispatch(actions);
// dehydrating 
let { history } = flux.state();
sendToServer({ history });
// rehydrating 
let { history } = getFromServer();
flux.dispatch(history);

Declarative

import Flux from 'fluxette';
import Shape from 'reducer/shape';
import History from 'reducer/history';
import Hydrate from 'reducer/hydrate';
 
let flux = Flux(Hydrate(Shape({
    history: History(),
    // ... 
})));
 
flux.dispatch(actions);
// dehydrating 
let state = flux.state();
sendToServer({ state });
// rehydrating 
let { state } = getFromServer();
flux.dispatch({ type: Hydrate.type, state });

If, for any reason you wanted to use both methods, this is one possible way:

Mux

import Flux from 'fluxette';
import Shape from 'reducer/shape';
import History from 'reducer/history';
import Hydrate from 'reducer/hydrate';
 
let flux = Flux(Hydrate(Shape({
    history: History(),
    // ... 
})));
 
let state = flux.state();
flux.dispatch(actions);
// dehydrating 
let history = state.history;
sendToServer({ state, history });
// rehydrating 
let { state, history } = getFromServer();
flux.dispatch([{ type: Hydrate.type, state }, ...history]);

Debugging

To log all actions in raw form, as dispatch is directly called with: Add a logger to the beginning of your middleware chain. This will log all actions before they are possibly transformed by other middleware.

flux = flux.using(
    function(next) {
        return action => {
            console.log(this.state(), action);
            next(action);
        }
    },
    ...middleware
);

To log all actions just before they are reduced: Add a logger to the end of your middleware chain. This will log only actions that the reducers see, and will be logged to the history.

flux = flux.using(
    ...middleware,
    function(next) {
        return action => {
            console.log(this.state(), action);
            next(action);
        }
    }
);

To log all actions after they are reduced: Pass your logger/debugger to hook and unhook when you're done.

let logger = (state, actions) => {
    console.log(state, actions);
    sendToDashboard(state);
    alertTimeMachine(actions);
}
 
flux.hook(logger);
 
flux.unhook(logger);

SSR

Universal flux is very easy. Because fluxette doesn't force you to use use singletons, you can create new instances on the fly.

import Flux from 'fluxette';
import reducers from './reducers';
import App from './views';
 
server.route('/', (req, res) => {
    let flux = Flux(reducers);
    res.end(React.renderToString(
        <Context flux={ flux }>
            { () => <App /> }
        </Context>
    ));
})

Asynchronous

fluxette by itself is completely synchronous, but is engineered with asynchronous functionality in mind. thunk and promise are two middleware available in the ecosystem.

Mix and match the many possible styles to your liking.

One way to use the thunk middleware is to use an async action that combines actions:

import thunk from 'fluxette-thunk';
 
flux = flux.using(thunk);
let { dispatch } = flux;
 
// actions 
let resource = {
    request: () => ({ type: RESOURCE.REQUEST }),
    success: data => ({ type: RESOURCE.SUCCESS, data }),
    failure: err => ({ type: RESOURCE.FAILURE, err })
};
 
// async action 
let getResource = url => {
    ({ dispatch }) => {
        dispatch(resource.request());
        asyncRequest(url, (err, data) => {
            if (err) {
                dispatch(resource.failure(err));
            }
            else {
                dispatch(resource.success(data));
            }
        });
    }
}
 
dispatch(getResource(data));

Another way is to return an array of actions directly from the action creator:

import thunk from 'fluxette-thunk';
 
flux = flux.using(thunk);
 
let getResource = url => [
    { type: RESOURCE.REQUEST },
    ({ dispatch }) => {
        asyncRequest(url, (err, data) => {
            if (err) {
                dispatch({ type: RESOURCE.FAILURE, err });
            }
            else {
                dispatch({ type: RESOURCE.SUCCESS, data });
            }
        });
    }
];
 
flux.dispatch(getResource(data));

Or, if your asynchronous actions can be represented as Promises (usually the most concise and reasonable way):

import thunk from 'fluxette-thunk';
 
flux = flux.using(thunk);
 
let getResource = data =>
    ({ dispatch }) => {
        dispatch({ type: RESOURCE.REQUEST });
        asyncRequest(url)
            .then(data => ({ type: RESOURCE.SUCCESS, data }))
            .catch(err => ({ type: RESOURCE.FAILURE, err }))
            .then(dispatch);
    }
 
flux.dispatch(getResource(data));

Optimistic Updates

Using the design pattern outlined in Asynchronous, the preemptive request action can be used for optimistic updates on an asynchronous write from the client. If the write completed successfully, the success action can then be dispatched, without the user experiencing any latency. If the write failed, a failure action can be dispatched to easily rollback the changes from the optimistic update.

import thunk from 'fluxette-thunk';
import Leaf from 'reducer/leaf';
 
flux = flux.using(thunk);
 
let setMessage = (messages, { message }) => ({
    ...messages,
    [message.id]: message
});
 
let messageReducer = Leaf({}, {
    [MESSAGE.REQUEST]: setMessage,
    [MESSAGE.SUCCESS]: setMessage,
    [MESSAGE.FAILURE]: (messages, { message }) => {
        let { [message.id]: remove, ...rollback } = messages;
        return rollback;
    }
});
 
let sendMessage = message =>
    ({ dispatch }) => {
        dispatch({ type: MESSAGE.REQUEST, message });
        sendToServerPromise(message)
            .then(() => ({ type: RESOURCE.SUCCESS, message }))
            .catch(err => ({ type: RESOURCE.FAILURE, err }))
            .then(dispatch);
    };
 
flux.dispatch(sendMessage(message));

Store Dependencies

Store dependencies in vanilla flux is handled by using waitFor, but waitFor is hard to trace, and may result in unpredictable application behavior, such as infinite loops. The fluxette way to handle reducer dependencies is to instead split an action into two semantic actions, which will be dispatched in order. This is known as action splitting, and it allows for declarative reducer dependencies, simultaneously improving clarity and preventing any possibility of mutual locks. In most Flux implementations, this would not be a viable solution, as dispatching twice results in an extra setState on each component. Since fluxette allows you to dispatch arrays of actions, atomic action handling is possible, and only one setState is called once the array has been fully processed. A dependency refactor usually should not involve changing component code; you can just make the relevant action creator return an array of actions instead. If you do not want to use action splitting, you can implement a short custom Store instead (see Store Composition).

Store Composition

Because Stores are just pure functions, they can easily be composed and reused.

import Leaf from 'reducer/leaf';
 
let player = Leaf({ points: 0 }, {
    [PLAYER.ADDPOINTS]: (state, action) => ({ ...state, points: state.points + action.points })
});
 
let game = (state = { left: {}, right: {} }, action) => {
    if (action.player === LEFT) {
        let left = player(state.left);
        if (left !== state.left) {
            return { ...state, left };
        }
    }
    else if (action.player === RIGHT) {
        let right = player(state.right);
        if (right !== state.right) {
            return { ...state, right };
        }
    }
    return state;
}

For simpler use cases, just plug Reducers into other Reducers. (You should write a Reducer to do this).

import Shape from 'reducer/shape';
 
let users = {};
 
let dispatchCount = (state = 0) => state + 1;
 
let userReducer = Shape(users);
 
// user_029347 joined 
users['user_029347'] = dispatchCount;
 
// after 5 dispatches 
state()
// { 
// user_029347: 5 
// } 
 
// user_120938 joined 
users['user_120938'] = dispatchCount;
 
// after 2 dispatches 
state()
// { 
// user_029347: 7, 
//  user_120938: 2 
// } 

Examples

Examples can be found here.

Testing

npm i -g testem mocha
npm test

Todo

  • write async data dependencies example
  • add code coverage, CI, badges, etc.
  • submit to HN

Influences