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A generic drag-and-drop dataflow editor for React.

You can read about the design of this component in this blog post!

Table of Contents


npm i react-dataflow-editor



To use the editor, you must first define a static schema listing the kinds of nodes you want to use. Here's an example schema:

const kinds = {
	add: {
		name: "Addition",
		inputs: { a: null, b: null },
		outputs: { sum: null },
		backgroundColor: "lavender",
	div: {
		name: "Division",
		inputs: { dividend: null, divisor: null },
		outputs: { quotient: null, remainder: null },
		backgroundColor: "darksalmon",

This schema declares two kinds of nodes - an add node with two inputs a and b and one output sum, and a div node with two inputs dividend and divisor and two outputs quotient and remainder.

A schema is an object assignable to the type Record<string, { name: string; inputs: Record<string, null>; outputs: Record<string, null>; backgroundColor: string }>. However the schema must be defined without type annotations (and with TypeScript's strict mode enabled); this is because the editor is designed to leverage TypeScript's default type assignment rules to derive a more specific concrete typing of each schema that it will use to paramerize the editor component.


Once you've defined your schema (with no type annotations), you can pass it into the Editor component, along with a state value and a dispatch method. Editor is a controlled component - meaning the editor always renders the value of the current state prop, no matter what - but it doesn't use an onChange: (newState) => void callback like most controlled React components. Instead, it uses a dispatch callback that gets invoked with individual actions when the user tries to create/delete/move nodes or edges.

If all you want is to get the new state value on every change, you should use the exported makeReducer method in conjunction with React's useReducer hook, like in this example:

import React, { useReducer } from "react"
import {
} from "react-dataflow-editor"

// Derive a concrete type-level schema from the kinds catalog
type S = GetSchema<typeof kinds>

interface MyEditorProps {
	initialValue?: EditorState<S>

const defaultInitialValue: EditorState<S> = {
	nodes: {},
	edges: {},
	focus: null,

function MyEditor(props: MyEditorProps) {
	const reducer = makeReducer(kinds)
	const [state, dispatch] = useReducer(
		props.initialValue || defaultInitialValue

	return <Editor<S> kinds={kinds} state={state} dispatch={dispatch} />

If you want to take more fine-grained control over the editor actions - for example, if you wanted to prevent the user from deleting certain nodes - you can write you own dispatch method with your own logic inside it. In that case, you'll probably want to make use of the exported reduce method instead.

The kinds, dispatch, and options props provided to the Editor component must not change - the editor will not update to reflect new values of these props. Only their initial values will be used.


If you want to render a read-only version of the editor, use the separate Viewer component. The viewer component takes all the same props as the editor component, including a dispatch callback, but the only actions that it will get invoked with are Focus actions. If you want users to be able to and deselect nodes and edges (and if you want to use the currently-selected node or edge in your application), you still need to use the useReducer hook the same way.



PRs accepted!

I'm very interested in improving the real-world usability of the library. In particular I don't really know how to expose control over styling and layout in a useful way, so if you're trying to use this component I'd love to hear what kind of interface you'd like to have. Please open an issue to discuss this!


MIT © 2021 Joel Gustafson




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