State Reset and Update with React

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve taken a real liking to React, as has seemingly everyone else in the JavaScript development world.  The React app I’m working on is relatively small, making fetch requests to send and receive data, rendering only one set of data, so I’m doing a lot of resetting of component state  along with a small state modification depending on the result of the AJAX request.  Let’s have a look at how I do it!

The JavaScript

There’s not much to the state object — just a few properties:

class Controller extends React.Component { // Added as a component property defaultState = { data: null, error: null }; constructor(props) { super(props); // Set the default state immediately this.state = this.defaultState; } // ....
}

You can probably gather that either data or error will have data, the other will be null, thus I’m essentially resetting the original state value and then populating data or error.  To do this I’ve created a resetStateWithUpdates method that looks as follows:

resetStateWithUpdates(stateUpdates) { // Rest operators ensure a new object with merged properties and values. // Requires the "transform-object-rest-spread" Babel plugin this.setState({ ...this.defaultState, ...stateUpdates });
}

And is used like:

// Ooops, fetch error!
// `data` implicitly reset to null
this.resetStateWithUpdates({ error: 'Fetching data failed! Please try again!',
}); // ... or we got good data!
// `error` implicitly reset to null
this.resetStateWithUpdates({ data: data
});

Using the spread operator to merge the default state and updated state information saves multiple renders from multiple setState calls.  The code is also very short!

Everyone has their own way to handle state within their React apps, so I’m not asserting this is the best method for resetting state with a small update, but it works wonderfully for me.  The code is short, descriptive, and reusable!

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