Make Controlled React Components with Control Props

Kent C. Dodds
InstructorKent C. Dodds

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Published 5 years ago
Updated 3 years ago

Sometimes users of your component want to have more control over what the internal state is. In this lesson we'll learn how to allow users to control some of our component’s state just like the <input />'s value prop.

Instructor: [00:00] Here we have two inputs. The first is just going to be upper case, and the second will just be lower case. Whether I press shift or even if I'm in caps lock, it's always going to be upper and lower.

[00:13] The way that we accomplish that is we store the value of these inputs in state. Then we use that state to set the value of the inputs. It doesn't matter what the user is typing, the value is always going to be what I specify it is. That means if I neglect to handle changes on the input, it's impossible for me to type in this input.

[00:32] This is called a controlled component. It means that you are responsible for handling state changes and updating the state. In the case of the input, the state is the value, but we can create our own components that allow state to be controlled.

[00:46] I've given my app some state to keep track of how many times we click and whether or not we want the toggle button to be on. Every time we click on the toggle, it increments the count. Once we've hit more than four, we're going to say, "Whoa, you've clicked too much," and we can reset it if we want to.

[01:02] We want to make it so that the user can no longer toggle the button until they've clicked reset. Just like the input where we specified the value and we want it to controlled, here we're going to specify the on state. When that's specified, we want to control the on state ourselves.

[01:17] The first thing that we're going to do is come up here to our implementation of toggle. Instead of getting the on state from the state, we're going to get it from props. With that, we actually get the functionality that we're looking for.

[01:30] We want to make sure that this works for both use cases where on is controlled inside the component or on can be controlled from outside the component. Here we'll simply say, "This.props.on is not equal to undefined." Then we'll use the prop. Otherwise, we'll use this.state.on. Just like that, everything is working great.

[01:52] We should probably clean things up a little bit because now we're managing state internally as well as externally. If we're controlling the state of the on prop, then we probably shouldn't be updating our internal state.

[02:03] I'm going to make a little helper method for this because we're going to be doing this a couple times. I'll call this is on controlled. Then we'll just return that. Then here we can call controlled.

[02:15] Then anywhere we're going to call set state, like with reset and with toggle, we should check first whether on state is controlled. If it is, then we're not going to call set state. We'll simply call the on toggle and on reset callbacks. Let's go ahead and do that. We'll make this a multi-line arrow function.

[02:33] We'll say, "If on controlled, then we'll call this.props.on reset with what the on state should be, so not this.props.on. Otherwise, we'll do what we were doing before." We'll do the same thing with the toggle callback. Let's say, "If on controlled, then this.props.on toggle with not this.props.on," so what it should be. "Otherwise, we'll do what we did before." Everything is still working.

[03:07] Now, the key here is that it still works for the new use case as well as the old use case. If I no longer control the on state, I'll get rid of that, then I should be able to continue to toggle it indefinitely because now the state is being controlled within the component instead of without the component. Great.

[03:27] In review, to make a controlled component, you take the part of the state that you want to enable users to control. Any time you're going to reference it, you're going to first check whether or not the user is controlling that component. If they are, then you reference the props version of the state. If they're not, then you reference your own version of the state.

[03:46] In addition, any time you call set state with that state, you first want to check whether that state is being controlled by a prop. If it is, then you're going to notify the caller that the state should change, but you don't change it yourself. Otherwise, you change that state yourself.

[03:59] That pattern is called control props. It gives users of your component a whole lot of control over how your component interacts with the user.