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TypeScript + React: Component patterns

Stefan Baumgartner

Written by @ddprrt

More on TypeScript, React, Preact

This list is a collection of component patterns for React when working with TypeScript. See them as an extension to the TypeScript + React Guide that deals with overall concepts and types. This list has been heavily inspired by chantastic’s original React patterns list.

Contrary to chantastic’s guide I use mainly modern-day React, so function components and – if necessary – hooks. I also focus exclusively on types.

Last updated: July 30, 2020

Have fun!

Table of Contents #

Basic function components #

When using function components without any props you don’t have the need to use extra types. Everything can be inferred. In old-style functions (which I prefer), as well as in arrow functions.

function Title() {
return <h1>Welcome to this application</h1>;
}

Props #

When using props we name props usually according to the component we’re writing, with a Props-suffix. No need to use FC component wrappers or anything similar.

type GreetingProps = {
name: string;
};

function Greeting(props: GreetingProps) {
return <p>Hi {props.name} 👋</p>
}

Destructuring makes it even more readable

function Greeting({ name }: GreetingProps) {
return <p>Hi {name} 👋</p>;
}

Default props #

Instead of setting default props, like in class-based React, it’s easier to set default values to props. We mark props with a default value optional (see the question-mark operator). The default value makes sure that name is never undefined.

type LoginMsgProps = {
name?: string;
};

function LoginMsg({ name = "Guest" }: LoginMsgProps) {
return <p>Logged in as {name}</p>;
}

Children #

Instead of using FC or FunctionComponent helpers we prefer to set children explicitly, so it follows the same pattern as other components. We set children to type React.ReactNode as it accepts most (JSX elements, strings, etc.)

type CardProps = {
title: string;
children: React.ReactNode;
};

export function Card({ title, children }: CardProps) {
return (
<section className="cards">
<h2>{title}</h2>
{children}
</section>
);
}

When we set children explicitly, we can also make sure that we never pass any children.

// This throws errors when we pass children
type SaveButtonProps = {
//... whatever
children: never
}

See my arguments why I don’t use FC in this editoral.

WithChildren helper type #

A custom helper type helps us to set children easier.

type WithChildren<T = {}> = 
T & { children?: React.ReactNode };

type CardProps = WithChildren<{
title: string;
}>;

This is very similar to FC, but with the default generic parameter to {}, it can be much more flexible:

// works as well
type CardProps = { title: string } & WithChildren;

If you are using Preact, you can use h.JSX.Element or VNode as a type instead of React.ReactNode.

Spread attributes to HTML elements #

Spreading attributes to HTML elements is a nice feature where you can make sure that you are able to set all the HTML properties that an element has without knowing upfront which you want to set. You pass them along. Here’s a button wrapping component where we spread attributes. To get the right attributes, we access a button's props through JSX.IntrinsicElements. This includes children, we spread them along.

type ButtonProps = JSX.IntrinsicElements["button"];

function Button({ ...allProps }: ButtonProps) {
return <button {...allProps} />;
}

Preset attributes #

Let’s say we want to preset type to button as the default behavior submit tries to send a form, and we just want to have things clickable. We can get type safety by omitting type from the set of button props.

type ButtonProps =
Omit<JSX.IntrinsicElements["button"], "type">;

function Button({ ...allProps }: ButtonProps) {
return <button type="button" {...allProps} />;
}

// 💥 This breaks, as we omitted type
const z = <Button type="button">Hi</Button>;

Styled components #

Not to be confused with the styled-components CSS-in-JS library. We want to set CSS classes based on a prop we define. E.g. a new type property that allows being set to either primary or secondary.

We omit the original type and className and intersect with our own types:

type StyledButton = Omit<
JSX.IntrinsicElements["button"],
"type" | "className"
> & {
type: "primary" | "secondary";
};

function StyledButton({ type, ...allProps }: StyledButton) {
return <Button className={`btn-${type}`} />;
}

Required properties #

We dropped some props from the type definition and preset them to sensible defaults. Now we want to make sure our users don’t forget to set some props. Like the alt attribute of an image or the src attribute.

For that, we create a MakeRequired helper type that removes the optional flag.

type MakeRequired<T, K extends keyof T> = Omit<T, K> &
Required<{ [P in K]: T[P] }>;

And build our props with that:

type ImgProps 
= MakeRequired<
JSX.IntrinsicElements["img"],
"alt" | "src"
>;

export function Img({ alt, ...allProps }: ImgProps) {
return <img alt={alt} {...allProps} />;
}

const zz = <Img alt="..." src="..." />;

Controlled Input #

When you use regular input elements in React and want to pre-fill them with values, you can’t change them anymore afterward. This is because the value property is now controlled by React. We have to put value in our state and control it. Usually, it’s enough to just intersect the original input element’s props with our own type. It’s optional as we want to set it to a default empty string in the component later on.

type ControlledProps = 
JSX.IntrinsicElements["input"] & {
value?: string;
};

Alternatively, we can drop the old property and rewrite it:

type ControlledProps =
Omit<JSX.IntrinsicElements["input"], "value"> & {
value?: string;
};

And use useState with default values to make it work. We also forward the onChange handler we pass from the original input props.

function Controlled({
value = "", onChange, ...allProps
}: ControlledProps) {
const [val, setVal] = useState(value);
return (
<input
value={val}
{...allProps}
onChange={e => {
setVal(() => e.target?.value);
onChange && onChange(e);
}}
/>
);
}

to be extended

Play around #

Instead of the usual TypeScript playground, I created a Codesandbox you can use to play around. Have fun!

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