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This module is a compatibility layer that makes React-based modules work with Preact, without any code changes.

It provides the same exports as react and react-dom, meaning you can use your build tool of choice to drop it in where React is being depended on.

Interested? Here's an example project that uses preact-compat to work with an existing React library unmodified, achieving more than 95% reduction in size:



... or really, "why preact"?

React is a great library and a great concept, and has a large community of module authors creating high-quality components. However, these components are tightly coupled to React through the use of generic package imports (example).

Preact is a tiny (3kb) implementation of the core value of React, and maintains a nearly identical API. With a shim like this in place, it is possible to use other React-like libraries like Preact, without forking modules just to change their imports.

There are better long-term ways to solve the coupling issue, like using factory functions that accept named generic methods (not just React DI), as suggested by Eric Elliot. However, since the React community has already authored so many modules in a more explicitly coupled manner, it's worth having a simple short-term solution for those who would like to liberate themselves from library lock-in.


You need to install preact-compat first through npm:

npm i --save preact-compat

NOTE: You need to have preact already installed, if you don't, install it like so:

npm i --save preact

Usage with Webpack

Using preact-compat with Webpack is easy.

All you have to do is add an alias for react and react-dom:

    // ... 
    resolve: {
        alias: {
            'react': 'preact-compat',
            'react-dom': 'preact-compat'
    // ... 

Usage with Browserify

Using preact-compat with Browserify is as simple as installing and configuring aliasify.

First, install it: npm install --save-dev aliasify

... then in your package.json, configure aliasify to alias react and react-dom:

    // ... 
    "aliasify": {
        "aliases": {
            "react": "preact-compat",
            "react-dom": "preact-compat"
    // ... 

Usage with Babel

Using preact-compat with Babel is easy.

Install the babel plugin for aliasing: npm install --save-dev babel-plugin-module-resolver

All you have to do is tell babel to process jsx with 'h' and add an alias for react and react-dom in your .babelrc:

    // ... 
    "plugins": [
        ["transform-react-jsx", { "pragma":"h" }],
        ["module-resolver", {
        "root": ["."],
        "alias": {
            "react": "preact-compat",
            "react-dom": "preact-compat"
    "presets": [
    // ... 

Once Aliased

With the above Webpack or Browserify aliases in place, existing React modules should work nicely:

import React, { Component } from 'react';
import { render } from 'react-dom';
class Foo extends Component {
    propTypes = {
        a: React.PropTypes.string.isRequired
    render() {
        let { a, b, children } = this.props;
        return <div {...{a,b}}>{ children }</div>;
    <Foo a="a">test</Foo>
), document.body);

Use Without Webpack/Browserify

preact-compat and its single dependency proptypes are both published as UMD modules as of preact-compat version 0.6. This means you can use them via a <script> tag without issue:

<script src="//"></script>
<script src="//"></script>
<script src="//"></script>
    var React = preactCompat,
        ReactDOM = preactCompat;
    ReactDOM.render(<h1>Hello!</h1>, document.body);

You can see the above in action with this JSFiddle Example.


preact-compat adds support for validating PropTypes out of the box. This can be disabled the same way it is when using React, by defining a global process.env.NODE_ENV='production'. PropType errors should work the same as in React - the proptypes module used here is extracted verbatim from the React source into a standalone module.

PropType validation example output