Part 4: Get Up and Running with #React and #TypeScript

The “Get Up and Running with React and TypeScript” series is made up of posts from chapters in my book “Hello React and TypeScript“. If you have questions, comments or corrections, please reach out to me in the comments or on Twitter @charleslbryant.

You can view the posts in this series on the Hello React and TypeScript category page.

Component Props and State

https://charleslbryant.gitbooks.io/hello-react-and-typescript/content/Samples/ComponentPropsAndState.html

This sample gives an basic example of using props and state in your components.

Source Code

https://github.com/charleslbryant/hello-react-and-typescript/releases/tag/0.0.4

src/main.tsx

/// <reference path="../typings/tsd.d.ts" />

import * as React from 'react';
import * as DOM from 'react-dom';
import HelloWorld from './helloworld';

const root = document.getElementById('app');

class Main extends React.Component<any, any> {
    constructor(props: any){
        super(props);
    }

    public render() {
        return (
            <div>
              <HelloWorld defaultName='World' />
            </div>
        );
    }
}

DOM.render(<Main />, root);

The change to main.tsx is minor. Here is the one change.


return (
    <div>
        <HelloWorld defaultName='World' />
    </div>
);

We are just passing defaultName to the HelloWorld component. This is doing exactly what you think it is, its setting the default value for who we are saying Hello to. Notice that this name is explicit in defining this input. It is a default value, the HelloWorld component can change this value and the assumption is that it may be changed.

Another thing to notice is the camelCasing.

All DOM properties and attributes (including event handlers) should be camelCased to be consistent with standard JavaScript style. https://facebook.github.io/react/docs/dom-differences.html

src/helloworld.tsx

/// <reference path="../typings/tsd.d.ts" />

import * as React from 'react';

export default class HelloWorld extends React.Component<any, any> {
    constructor(props: any){
        super(props);
        this.state = { name: this.props.defaultName };
    }

    public render() {
        return (
            <div>
                Hello { this.state.name }!
            </div>
        );
    }
}

We made two changes to helloworld.tsx, but they are significant to the interactivity of our little application.


constructor(props: any){
    super(props);
    this.state = { name: this.props.defaultName };
}

In the constructor we are setting the initial state for this component. this.state is a plain JavaScript object. It is a mutable representation of the model for the view. this.state is expected to change over time as events occur in the component. In this sample we are initializing this.state with an object literal{ name: this.props.defaultName }.

this.props.defaultName was passed in from main.tsx. this.props is also a plain JavaScript object. The difference being it is an immutable representation data used by the component. this.props should not be changed and they are passed in by parent components. If you change props, they will be overwritten when the parent rerenders. Mutating props puts your component in an inconsisten state, so don’t do it.


return (
   <div>Hello { this.state.name }!</div>
);

The next change is to the return value of the render method. We are using this.state.name to set the name dispayed in the UI.

In this sample we use this.props to initialize this.state. We know that we want to update the name of who we say hello to, so we are using a state object to represent the name. If we didn’t want to update name, we could use props directly. For example

return (
    <div>Hello { this.props.name }!</div>
);

Using props like this is saying that we don’t expect this component to change the name. In fact, to make it explicit, we changed the name from defaultName to name. Also, main.txt would have to be changed from passing defaultName to name. Using props means we expect the parent to be in control of changing the value of props. Using state means we expect the component to be in control of its own state.

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