Programming Tips, React

React Hooks Best Practices: How to Write Better and Cleaner Code

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React Hooks are a new addition to the React library that allow developers to use state and other React features without writing classes. Hooks provide a simpler and more flexible way to write React components, making code easier to understand and maintain.

By following React Hooks Best Practices, you can improve the quality and maintainability of your code. These practices help prevent common issues with Hooks and ensure that your code is easy to read and modify over time.

Importance of using React Hooks Best Practices for code quality and maintainability

Using React Hooks Best Practices can lead to several benefits for your codebase:

  • Better organization: By following best practices, you can organize your Hooks in a consistent and logical manner, making it easier to understand how your components work.
  • Improved performance: Properly using Hooks can improve the performance of your application by reducing unnecessary re-renders and optimizing expensive calculations.
  • Easier debugging: Well-structured and well-documented Hooks can make it easier to debug issues in your application.
  • Increased reusability: By creating reusable Hooks, you can reduce duplication of code and make it easier to share functionality between components.

Use small, focused and reusable hooks

When creating custom hooks in React, it’s important to follow the principle of keeping them small, focused, and reusable. This means that each hook should serve a specific purpose and be designed to be easily used across multiple components.

Benefits of small, focused and reusable hooks

Creating small, focused and reusable hooks can provide several benefits:

  • Modularity: Hooks can be easily combined to create more complex functionality, making your code more modular and easier to manage.
  • Reusability: Using smaller hooks makes it easier to reuse code across different components, reducing duplication and improving maintainability.
  • Testability: Small and focused hooks are easier to test since they have a clear input and output.

Examples of small, focused and reusable hooks

Here are some examples of small, focused and reusable hooks:

// A hook to fetch data from an API endpoint
function useFetch(url) {
  const [data, setData] = useState(null);
  const [isLoading, setLoading] = useState(true);

  useEffect(() => {
    async function fetchData() {
      try {
        const response = await fetch(url);
        const json = await response.json();
        setData(json);
      } catch (error) {
        console.error(error);
      } finally {
        setLoading(false);
      }
    }

    fetchData();
  }, [url]);

  return { data, isLoading };
}

// A hook to debounce a value change
function useDebounce(value, delay) {
  const [debouncedValue, setDebouncedValue] = useState(value);

  useEffect(() => {
    const timer = setTimeout(() => {
      setDebouncedValue(value);
    }, delay);

    return () => {
      clearTimeout(timer);
    };
  }, [value, delay]);

  return debouncedValue;
}

Tips for writing small, focused and reusable hooks

  • Identify common functionality: Look for functionality that is being repeated across different components and create a hook for it.
  • Keep hooks focused: Each hook should have a clear purpose and not try to do too much. If a hook becomes too complex, consider breaking it down into smaller hooks.
  • Make hooks customizable: Allow users of your hook to pass in options or parameters to customize its behavior for their specific use case.
  • Document your hooks: Make sure to document the input/output of your hooks and any assumptions or limitations they may have.

Use memoization with useState and useCallback

Explanation of memoization

Memoization is a programming technique that involves caching the results of expensive function calls and returning the cached result when the same inputs occur again. This can greatly improve performance by avoiding redundant computations.

Benefits of using memoization with useState and useCallback

In React, memoization can be particularly useful when used in conjunction with the useState and useCallback hooks. By memoizing the results of a computation or callback function using useCallback, you can ensure that the component only re-renders when necessary, rather than on every state update. Similarly, memoizing the value returned by useState can prevent unnecessary re-renders caused by changes to state that don’t affect the component’s output.

Examples of using memoization with useState and useCallback

import React, { useState, useCallback } from 'react';

function MyComponent() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  const memoizedCallback = useCallback(() => {
    // Expensive computation here
    return count;
  }, [count]);

  return (
    <div>
      <p>Count: {count}</p>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>Increment Count</button>
      <p>Memoized Value: {memoizedCallback()}</p>
    </div>
  );
}

In this example, the memoizedCallback function is created using useCallback and takes count as its dependency. This means that it will only be recomputed if count changes. The memoized value is then rendered alongside the current count value.

Another example using memoization with useState:

import React, { useState, useMemo } from 'react';

function MyComponent() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  const memoizedValue = useMemo(() => {
    // Expensive computation here
    return count % 2 === 0 ? 'even' : 'odd';
  }, [count]);

  return (
    <div>
      <p>Count: {count}</p>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>Increment Count</button>
      <p>Memoized Value: {memoizedValue}</p>
    </div>
  );
}

In this example, a memoized value is created using useMemo, which takes a function that returns the computed value and an array of dependencies. The memoized value in this case is a string indicating whether the current count value is even or odd.

Tips for using memoization effectively

– Only use memoization on functions that are truly expensive to compute.
– Use useCallback when you need to memoize a callback function that is passed down to child components. This can prevent unnecessary re-renders of those child components.
– Use useMemo when you need to memoize a value based on some input, such as props or state.
– Be careful not to create circular dependencies with your memoization dependencies. This can cause unexpected behavior.
– Consider using a library like React.memo to automatically memoize your components based on their props.

Use useEffect correctly

React Hooks provide us with the useEffect hook, which allows us to perform side effects in our functional components. Side effects are any actions that affect something outside of the component itself, such as making a network request, manipulating the DOM, or creating a timer.

Explanation of useEffect

The useEffect hook takes two arguments: a function and an optional array of dependencies. The function passed to useEffect will be called after every render of the component, unless a dependency array is provided. If a dependency array is provided, the function will only be called when one of the dependencies changes.

The function passed to useEffect can return a cleanup function. This cleanup function will be called before the next time the effect runs. It’s important to clean up any resources created by the effect, such as event listeners or timers, to avoid memory leaks.

Common mistakes with useEffect

  • Not including a dependency array when needed, leading to unnecessary re-renders or missed updates.
  • Mutating state or props inside the effect without using the dependency array, causing infinite loops or stale data.
  • Not returning a cleanup function when needed, causing memory leaks.

Best practices for using useEffect

  • Always include a dependency array if necessary, to control the timing and frequency of the effect.
  • Avoid changing state or props inside the effect without including them in the dependency array.
  • Clean up any resources created by the effect in the cleanup function.
  • Separate unrelated effects into different useEffect hooks for clarity and organization.

Examples of using useEffect correctly

Here are some examples of using useEffect correctly:

import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

function Example() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  // This effect will run only once, on mount
  useEffect(() => {
    console.log('Mounted');
  }, []);

  // This effect will run whenever count changes
  useEffect(() => {
    console.log('Count changed:', count);
  }, [count]);

  // This effect will clean up the interval when the component unmounts
  useEffect(() => {
    const interval = setInterval(() => {
      setCount(c =&gt; c + 1);
    }, 1000);

    return () =&gt; clearInterval(interval);
  }, []);

  return (
    &lt;div&gt;
      &lt;p&gt;Count: {count}&lt;/p&gt;
      &lt;button onClick={() =&gt; setCount(c =&gt; c + 1)&gt;Increment&lt;/button&gt;
    &lt;/div&gt;
  );
}

In this example, we’re using useEffect to log messages to the console and update the count state. We’ve used a separate useEffect hook for each effect to keep them organized.

Use custom hooks for shared logic

Custom hooks are a way to reuse logic across components in React. They allow you to extract repeated logic into a separate function, which can then be shared among multiple components. Custom hooks are created using the “use” prefix and should follow the same rules as regular hooks.

Benefits of using custom hooks for shared logic

  • Reuse logic: Custom hooks allow you to reuse logic that is shared among multiple components without having to duplicate it in each component.
  • Encapsulation: Custom hooks allow you to encapsulate complex logic inside a single function, making it easier to read and understand.
  • Abstraction: Custom hooks abstract away implementation details, allowing you to focus on the higher-level behavior of your application.

Examples of custom hooks for shared logic

Here are a few examples of custom hooks:

import { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

function useFetch(url) {
  const [data, setData] = useState(null);
  const [loading, setLoading] = useState(true);

  useEffect(() => {
    async function fetchData() {
      const response = await fetch(url);
      const data = await response.json();
      setData(data);
      setLoading(false);
    }
    fetchData();
  }, [url]);

  return { data, loading };
}

This is an example of a custom hook for fetching data from an API. It uses the “useState” and “useEffect” hooks to manage state and make the API call. It returns an object with the data and loading state.

import { useState, useCallback } from 'react';

function useToggle(initialState = false) {
  const [state, setState] = useState(initialState);
  const toggle = useCallback(() => setState(state => !state), []);
  return [state, toggle];
}

This is an example of a custom hook for toggling a boolean state. It uses the “useState” and “useCallback” hooks to manage state and define the toggle function. It returns an array with the current state and the toggle function.

Tips for writing effective custom hooks

  • Follow the rules of hooks: Custom hooks must follow the same rules as regular hooks, such as only calling hooks at the top level and not inside loops or conditions.
  • Keep them simple: Custom hooks should be simple functions that encapsulate a specific piece of logic. Avoid creating complex or multi-purpose hooks.
  • Name them well: Use descriptive names for your custom hooks that accurately reflect their purpose.
  • Test them: Just like regular components, custom hooks should be tested to ensure they work correctly.

Avoid unnecessary rerenders

When a component re-renders, it can potentially cause performance issues and slow down your application. Unnecessary rerenders occur when a component is rendered even though its props or state haven’t changed. This can happen when:

  • A parent component re-renders and passes the same props to a child component
  • A component’s state is updated with the same value
  • An event handler function is recreated on every render

To avoid unnecessary rerenders, you can use the following techniques:

Using useMemo

The useMemo hook allows you to memoize the result of a function so that it is only recalculated when its dependencies change. By using useMemo, you can prevent expensive calculations from being performed on every render.

import { useMemo } from 'react';

function MyComponent({ data }) {
  const processedData = useMemo(() => {
    // Expensive calculation
    return processData(data);
  }, [data]);

  return (
    <div>{processedData}</div>
  );
}

In this example, the `processedData` variable is only recalculated when the `data` prop changes.

Using React.memo

The React.memo higher-order component can be used to memoize functional components so that they are only re-rendered when their props change. This can be especially useful for performance optimization in large applications.

import React, { memo } from 'react';

const MyComponent = memo(({ data }) => {
  return (
    <div>{data}</div>
  );
});

In this example, the `MyComponent` functional component will only re-render when its `data` prop changes.

Examples of avoiding unnecessary rerenders

Here’s an example of how you can use both `useMemo` and `React.memo` to avoid unnecessary rerenders:

import React, { useState, useMemo, memo } from 'react';

const MyComponent = memo(({ data }) => {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  const processedData = useMemo(() => {
    // Expensive calculation
    return processData(data);
  }, [data]);

  const handleClick = () => {
    setCount(count + 1);
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <button onClick={handleClick}>Increment Count</button>
      <div>{processedData}</div>
      <div>Count: {count}</div>
    </div>
  );
});

In this example, the `processedData` variable is only recalculated when the `data` prop changes and the `MyComponent` functional component will only re-render when its props change or when the `count` state value changes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, here’s a recap of the best practices for writing React Hooks:

1. Use useEffect() to manage side-effects

Use useEffect() to handle any side-effects that your component may have, such as fetching data or updating the document title.

2. Keep your hooks simple and focused

Each hook should have one specific responsibility, making it easier to reuse and test.

3. Name your custom hooks properly

Use descriptive names for your custom hooks so that others can easily understand their purpose.

4. Memorize the rules of Hooks

Make sure you understand and follow the rules of Hooks, such as only calling them at the top level of your component.

5. Utilize useCallback() and useMemo()

Use useCallback() and useMemo() to optimize performance and prevent unnecessary re-renders.

It’s important to follow these best practices to ensure that your code is clean, maintainable, and scalable. By following these practices, you can also make it easier for others to work with your code.

Remember that practicing, learning, and improving are key to becoming a better React developer. Keep exploring new techniques and approaches to improve your skills and build better applications.

About the author / 

Mohamed Rias

I'm a programmer, photographer, and proud parent. With a passion for coding and a love of capturing life's moments through my camera lens, I'm always on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities to grow. As a dedicated parent, I understand the importance of balancing work and family, and I strive to be the best version of myself in all aspects of my life.

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