Share your code. npm Orgs help your team discover, share, and reuse code. Create a free org »

strux

1.0.0 • Public • Published

Strux (1.0 Beta)

Cross-component communication finally made simple.

Watch out! There are breaking changes in version 1.0!

What is Strux?

Strux is designed for React.js. It's a layer on top of Redux that allows you to describe communication between application components in a revolutionary way – as a separate concern.

What problem does it solve?

In short, you don't write disptaches and subscriptions within your components. Instead, use Strux to just plug those components together in another file.

tl;dr; –

Although Redux has solved a big piece of the spaghetti code problem, it can still be remarkably difficult to understand the flow of data between components at a high level. For example, if component A subscribes to an action, there is no good way within component A to tell where that action is coming from or what conditions trigger it.

Strux attempts to provide a paradigm wherein cross-component communication can be fully described in one cohesive place, thus making it extremely easy to understand which components are dispatching which actions and which components are picking those up.

How does it work?

Strux makes working with redux simpler than it's ever been. All you have to do is build your components using Strux's Component class and all the grunt work will be handled for you, allowing you to plug your components together however you'd like.

There is no need to create a store, write a reducer, map state to props, dispatch actions, subscribe to dispatches, or anything else.

Here's a full, working example:

// Notice we're not importing Component from React.
import { Component } from 'strux';
 
// All we're doing here is creating a standard class.
// The only real difference is that we get to use
// 1 new lifecycle method – componentTakesState.
class Foo extends Component {
  constructor() {
    super();
  }
  componentDidMount() {
    this.setState({
      value1: 1,
      value2: 2
    });
  }
  componentTakesState(appState, triggerClass, diff) {
    console.log('Redux application state:', appState);
    console.log('Name of class that triggered the action:', triggerClass);
    console.log('Relevant values that changed:', diff);
  }
  render() {
    return <div>Hello</div>
  }
}
 
// And let's create another class here, just so we can
// have 2 classes that talk to each other.
class Bar extends Component {
  constructor() {
    super();
  }
  componentDidMount() {
    this.setState({
      valueA: 'A',
      valueB: 'B'
    });
  }
  componentTakesState(appState, triggerClass, diff) {
    console.log('Redux application state:', appState);
    console.log('Name of class that triggered the action:', triggerClass);
    console.log('Relevant values that changed:', diff);
  }
  render() {
    return <div>Goodbye</div>
  }
}
 
/*****************************************************
 * Now we can describe how these components will pass
 * data to each other.
******************************************************/
 
// The Foo class will take new data whenever the `valueA` value
// changes on the Bar class.
Foo.takesStateWhen({
  Bar: {
    valueA: true
  }
});
 
// The Bar class will take new data whenever the `value1` and/or
// `value2` values change on the Foo class, as long as at least one
// of the validator functions returns true.
Bar.takesStateWhen({
  Foo: {
    value1: newVal => newVal > 0,
    value2: (newVal, oldVal) => newVal !== oldVal
  }
});

Can you walk me through what's going on in that example?

Sure thing.

By using Strux's extension of React's Component class, you get access to 2 new features:

  1. A new static method called takesStateWhen.
  2. A new lifecycle method called componentTakesState.

In addition to having these new methods exposed, Strux works behind the scenes to automatically map each component state to an object within the global application state held by Redux. So, for example, if you had 2 Strux Components called Foo and Bar, the resulting Redux state would look like this:

{
  Foo: { ...Foo_component_state },
  Bar: { ...Bar_component_state }
}

Whenever you call setState, Strux will automatically keep your application state up-to-date with the newest values. As such, calling takesStateWhen will allow you to describe how a given component will observe those values on other components and decide whether or not to react to them when they are updated. If the decision to react is made, that data will be passed in to the component's componentTakesState method automatically.

In the above example we wrote the following:

Foo.takesStateWhen({
  Bar: {
    valueA: true
  }
});

Here, we've passed an object to takesStateWhen containing the names of all other Strux components the Foo class cares about. For each of those (in this case only Bar), we write the names of state values on that class we'd like to observe. By assigning true to one of these names, we're saying that whenever the Bar class calls setState and updates its valueA property, the componentTakesState method on the Foo class will be called automatically and handed that data.

On the other hand, we have some other options for how to handle writing a takesStateWhen call. Take the following example:

Bar.takesStateWhen({
  Foo: {
    value1: newVal => newVal > 0,
    value2: (newVal, oldVal) => newVal !== oldVal
  }
});

In this case, the only difference is that, instead of assigning true to any of these values, we've assigned them "validator functions". A validator in this sense will be called whenever setState updates the component in question. It will be handed the updated value and the previous value for the state property and will allow you to determine whether or not your observer component cares about the update. For example, here we've said that whenever the Foo class updates its value1 property, the Bar class is only going to react to that change if the updated value is greater than 0.

I keep mentioning that the updated data will be passed to a componentTakesState method. But now let's be a little more specific.

In the previous example, we implemented this method as follows for the Bar class:

componentTakesState(appState, triggerClass, diff) {
  console.log('Redux application state:', appState);
  console.log('Name of class that triggered the action:', triggerClass);
  console.log('Relevant values that changed:', diff);
}

Assuming that the Foo class updates its values to 100 and 200 respectively, this method will produce the following result:

Redux application state: { Foo: { ... }, Bar: { ... } }
Name of class that triggered the action: Foo
Relevant values that changed: { value1: 100, value2: 200 }

Because both validator functions passed, we end up with both values in our diff object. If only one of them had passed, or if only one value had been updated on the state, then we would only have gotten that value in our diff object. Pretty simple.

But I'm a power user. I need more than that.

Fair enough.

By default, when we create validator functions in our takesStateWhen calls, there is another implicit check that gets put in place. Specifically, Strux adds a check to see whether a new value is different from the old value before it even looks at the validator. So if the value didn't change, the observer won't pick up the change.

Normally this makes things go a lot faster. But in some cases, it might not be exactly what you want. If not, you can add a little extra syntax to your takesStateWhen calls. For example...

Bar.takesStateWhen({
  Foo: {
    value1: ['change', newVal => newVal > 0],
    value2: ['always', (newVal, oldVal) => newVal !== oldVal]
  }
});

Here, our validators have become arrays. The first item indicates when the validator should be called and the second item is the validator itself.

As you can see, your 2 options are "change" and "always". If you use "change", the validator function will only be called when the incoming value is different from the previous value. If the value hasn't changed, the validator won't be called and the observer component will not have its componentTakesState function called.

If you use "always", the validator will always be called, even if the new value and the old value are the same. Note that Strux uses a simple === check to determine whether values have changed. If you need more than that, you'll have to handle it on your own.

Why do I have to use a special version of Component?

Strux implicitly manages subscriptions and triggers Redux dispatches within component lifecycle functions. In order to do that, it needs access to the component's constructor function so that it can set those things up. Strux's version of Component doesn't do anything special except extend React's Component to set up a few handlers for lifecycle functions when the component gets instantiated, and exposes the features we talked about.

In fact, you can take an entire, pre-existing React app, change the import location of Component from react to strux on every class, and nothing will break (unless you're using replaceState, because that method is not supported on ES6 classes and will probably be removed from React in the future).

I believe this is the simplest possible user experience and, overall, you'll be taking less of a performance hit than you would if you were to use traditional react-redux instead.

Does Strux handle anything asynchronous?

Strux hooks into the asynchronous callback parameter of the setState method, making sure that you never end up with an old copy of a component state by accident. Beyond that, no. Strux is meant to do one thing well: plug your components together. So if you're looking for something else, you're on your own.

What is the full Strux API?

For the most part, we've already gone through it.

Strux exposes Component and store from its module. We've already talked about how Component works. And store is just your standard, run-of-the-mill Redux store that Strux is using behind the scenes. You likely won't ever need it.

Are there any other considerations to keep in mind?

Yep, here's a list for you:

  1. Strux implicitly uses Redux as a peer dependency so you'll need to include it in your dependencies. However, you will not need to manually import Redux and create your own store. If you do, your store will not play well with the Strux store.
  2. Strux implicitly uses Redux. In other words, react-redux will not play nicely with Strux. You'll need to pick one or the other.
  3. If you call this.state = ... inside of a component constructor for the purpose of setting up an initial state, Strux will not consider that initial state as something that should be communicated across components. It will wait until the state starts getting manipulated before it will start passing data around.

install

npm i strux

Downloadsweekly downloads

14

version

1.0.0

license

MIT

homepage

github.com

repository

Gitgithub

last publish

collaborators

  • avatar