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0.1.2 • Public • Published


A simple library for using React.js-inspired hooks in web components.

It is intended to be used with lit-html or other similar rendering engines, but it is agnostic of your choice of rendering engines.

This is very similar to haunted which is an excellent library. See the section below on prior art for the design differences between the two libraries if you're unsure which to use.


unhooked has a named export for unhooked to set up the library, as well as one for each hook.

NOTE: hooks follow the same rules as in React. The order they're called in cannot change, so you should use them inside if statements or other conditional logic.

All React hooks are supported except for the following:

useImperativeHandle from React is not defined here since it doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of web components. When defining functions with the function keyword (rather than ES2015 arrow syntax), this is bound to the HTMLElement instance of the web component. Use can use this directly in the hook, or use it in a useEffect hook if needed to customize the interface of the web component.

useContext is not currently defined, but will be added in the future.

unhooked(renderFunction, options?)

Sets up and returns a custom wrapper for customElements.define that wraps functions into classes extending HTMLElement and applies any default options from the optional parameters.

This should be global and defined in one spot in your application and exported for use in all your components.

The renderFunction parameter should be a function that takes the return value of your functional component as the first parameter, and the DOM node to render it to as the second parameter.


// using lit-html
import {render} from 'lit-html';
import {unhooked} from 'unhooked';

export const defineElement = unhooked(render);

// without a rendering library -- not recommended!
import {unhooked} from 'unhooked';

export const defineElement = unhooked((html, domNode) => domNode.innerHTML = html);

The optional options parameter defines the default options to apply to all components. If not specified the defaults are:

  useShadowDOM: true

The returned function takes the name of the web component, the function of the component, and an optional options parameter to override the defaults above.


// web-components.js
import {render, html} from 'lit-html';
import {unhooked} from 'unhooked';

export const defineElement = unhooked(render, {useShadowDOM: false});

// my-component.js
import {defineElement} from './web-components.js';

function MyComponent() {
  return html`<p>Hello World!</p>`;

defineElement('my-component', MyComponent, {useShadowDOM: true});

Properties and Attributes

unhooked uses essentially the same api to define the mapping between properties and attributes of the web component as lit-element.

Specifying a .properties object on a functional component setups up the mapping between properties and attributes. The .properties object should have property names as keys, and property config objects as values. Any handled properties are exposed as parameters in the function itself, and trigger updates when changed.

Specify attribute: false to turn off mapping attributes to properties, or attribute: othername to customize the mapping of a differently named attribute to the property.

Specify type: String | Number | Boolean | Object | Array to define the default type conversions between attributes and properties. Objects and arrays are serialized/deserialized with json by default.

Specify hasChanged: (oldValue, newValue) => boolean to override the default changed checking for whether or not to re-render and update when the value changes. By default this is compared by reference e.g. oldValue !== newValue.

Specify reflect: true to enable mapping changes to properties back to attributes. This is not as useful as in lit-element since your state should probably be stored in hooks, but is included for compatability with lit-element and niche uses that might use this.

Specify noAccessor: true to prevent creating getters and setters for the property on the component.

Specify converter: (value: string, type): instance of type (from attribute to property only) or converter: {fromAttribute: (value, type) => instance of type, toAttribute: (value, type) => string value} to customize the default conversions to/from attributes.

See the lit-element documentation on properties for more information on all of these config options.

For simple use-cases it's enough to just specify the type option.


// my-component.js
import {defineElement} from './web-components.js';
import {html} from 'lit-html';

// value is mapped from a string to an Array
function MyComponent({value}) {
    return html`
        <p>Length: ${value.length}</p>
        <p>Items: ${value.join(', ')}<p>

MyComponent.properties = {
    value: {
        // Uses JSON.parse to convert from string attribute to array property
        type: Array,

defineElement('my-component, MyComponent);

// index.html
<my-component value="[1, 2, 3]"></my-component>

useState hook

const [state, setState] = useState(initialState?)

Keeps track of some state, and provides a function to update it. If specified the initialState is set as the value on the first render only. Calling setState updates the value and re-renders the component.

See React docs for more information.


import {useState} from 'unhooked';
import {html} from 'lit-html';

function TestStateHook() {
    const [state, setState] = useState(0);

    return html`
        <button @click=${() => setState(state + 1)}>{state}</button>

useRef hook

const ref = useRef(initialValue?)

Keeps track of a mutable reference. Any changes do not cause a rerender. Not used for accessing component instances like in React, since with web components you have access to the dom directly (this in non-arrow functional components is bound to the instance of the HTMLElement for the component).

See React docs for more information.


import {useRef} from 'unhooked';
import {html} from 'lit-html';

function TestRefHook() {
    const ref = useRef();
    const onClick = () => {
        if (ref.current) {
            // Already running setTimeout
        ref.current = setTimeout(() => {
            window.alert('hello world!');
            ref.current = null;
        }, 1000);
    return html`<button @click=${onClick}>Click me</button>`

useReducer hook

const [state, dispatch] = useReducer(reducer, initialState?)

Tracks state and applies to apply the next value of state from the current one.

See React docs for more information.


import {useReducer} from 'unhooked';
import {html} from 'lit-html';

function ReducerHookTest() {
    const [state, dispatch] = useReducer((state, action) => state + action, 0);
    const onClick = () => {
        dispatch(state < 5 ? 1 : 2);
    return html`<button @click=${onClick}>${state}</button>`;

useObjectReducer hook

A common use of the useReducer hook is for redux-style reducers where the argument of the dispatch function is an object with a type value indicated the type of the action, and the reducer function switches over those to decide how to update the state.

To ease this common use-case we also provide a useObjectReducer hook which works similarly to the createReducer function in the redux-toolkit but with the argument order switched around to match that of the useReducer hook.


import {useObjectReducer} from 'unhooked';
import {html} from 'lit-html';

function ObjectReducerHookTest() {
    const [state, dispatch] = useObjectReducer({
        increment: (state, action) => ({
            value: state.value + action.payload,
        decrement: (state, action) => ({
            value: state.value - action.payload,
        setUnit: (state, action) => ({
            unit: action.payload,
    }, {
        value: 0,
        unit: 1,
    return html`
        <p>Current value: ${state.value}</p>
            Current unit:
            <input type="number" @change=${e => dispatch({type: 'setUnit', payload: parseInt(e.target.value)} .value=${state.unit}></input>
        <button @click=${() => dispatch({type: 'increment', payload: 1})}>increment</button>
        <button @click=${() => dispatch({type: 'decrement', payload: 1})}>decrement</button>


const actionCreator = createAction(name, prepareFunction?)

We also export a createAction function similar to this one from the redux toolkit to ease setup and creation of actions for use in redux-style reducers.

The first parameter is the name of the action, which gets exposed as action.type. The action creator itself also return the name when calling toString() so that it can be used directly as the key in an object reducer.

The second parameter is an optional function to customize the payload. It receives any arguments to the action creator and should return an object with a payload property.


import {createAction} from 'unhooked';
import {html} from 'lit-html';

const increment = createAction('unhooked/increment');
const decrement = createAction('unhooked/decrement');

function CreateActionTest() {
    const [state, dispatch] = useObjectReducer({
        [increment]: (state, action) => state + action.payload,
        [decrement]: (state, action) => state - action.payload,
    }, 5);
    return html`
        <p>Current value: ${state}</p>
        <button @click=${() => dispatch(increment(1))}>increment</button>
        <button @click=${() => dispatch(decrement(1))}>decrement</button>

useEffect and useLayoutEffect hooks

useEffect(callback, inputs?)

The useEffect hook (and the useLayoutEffect variant) execute a function after rendering the component. useLayoutEffect executes synchronously immediately after rendering, and the useEffect executes asynchronously after rendering. You should use useEffect unless you explicitly need the timing guarantees of useLayoutEffect.

The second parameter of both hooks is an optional array of values to compare. If those values haven't changed, the callback is skipped. The values are compared by reference. To only run a function on first mount pass [] as the inputs argument.

For more information see the React docs for useEffect and useLayoutEffect.


import {useEffect} from 'unhooked';
import {html} from 'lit-html';

function EffectHookTest() {
    useEffect(() => {
        console.log('just rendered!);
    }, []);
    return html`<p>hello world</p>`;

useCallback hook

const callback = useCallback(fn, inputs?)

The useCallback hook returns a persistent reference to a function unless the input arguments change. This is helpful for good performance with event listeners and stuff where they might not need to change every render. NOTE: how useful this hook is depends on the rendering engine you're using though.

The inputs optional parameter works as specified above in the useEffect hook documentation. If you don't specify the inputs, the function will get redefined each render and so the hook does nothing.

See React docs for more information.


import {useCallback} from 'unhooked';
import {html} from 'lit-html';

function CallbackHookTest() {
    // function never changes; always a consistent reference
    const onClick = useCallback(() => console.log('was clicked'), []);
    return <button @click=${onClick}>click me</button>

useMemo hook

const value = useMemo(fn, inputs?)

The useMemo hook works similarly to the useCallback hook except it executes the function instead of just capturing the value of it. This is useful for expensive to calculate values that don't necessarily change every render.

See React docs for more information.


import {useMemo, useState, useReducer} from 'unhooked';
import {html} from 'lit-html';

function MemoHookTest() {
    const [value, setValue] = useState(1);
    const absValue = useMemo(() => Math.abs(value), [value]);
    // Forces a rerender; absValue not recalculated
    const [, forceUpdate] = useReducer(v => v + 1, 0);
    return html`
        <input type="number" .value=${value} @change=${e => setValue(parseFloat(e.target.value))} placeholder="Value:" />
        <p>Absolute value: ${absValue}</p>
        <button @click=${forceUpdate}>Force update</button>

Prior Art

This is very similar to haunted which is an excellent library for using hooks in web components. If that library meets your needs, you should definitely consider using it as it has been around longer and has many more users.

unhooked also takes inspiration from lit-element for the mapping from attributes to properties which is excellent, and React for hooks.

However there are a couple of things this library addresses that make it a better fit for some use-cases that haunted doesn't apply to:

  1. IE11 support -- unhooked is written with language features that can be used in all major browsers including IE11 and easily transpiled (for class support). haunted uses features of ES2015 proxies that aren't supported in the polyfills so it doesn't work in IE11 at all (at least I couldn't configure the polyfills to get it working, your experience might vary).

  2. Shadow DOM -- similarly not using shadow dom makes it significantly easier to use support older browsers such as IE11, so unhooked allows global opt in/out of using shadow dom rather than having to configure it on every component

  3. Rendering engines -- unhooked works across all rendering engines and doesn't bundle one as part of the library. Most existing projects will have something for this already, so by packaging a rendering engine in, you risk duplicating the library and increasing the size of the bundle or creating runtime errors with incompatible features that aren't exported and might not work in all versions of the library.

  4. Type conversions on attributes -- the ability to parse json from attributes into properties, or other type conversions, makes web components significantly easier to use in traditional server-rendered applications.


npm i unhooked

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  • joshuacaron