22 Jan 2023

How to handle and manage state in React JS

Managing state in a React application is crucial for building a stable and maintainable codebase. State refers to the data or variables that determine a component's behavior and render information on the screen. In this blog post, we will discuss some best practices and techniques for handling and managing state in a React JS application.

The first step in managing state is to understand when and how to use it. In React, state should only be used when a component's behavior or render depends on it. For example, if a component needs to keep track of a form input, state would be used to store the input's value. However, if a component only needs to display data that is passed down from its parent component, props would be used instead.

When creating a new component, it's best practice to start with the minimal amount of state needed and only add more as needed. This will make it easier to understand and maintain your code. Additionally, state should be kept at the highest level possible in a component tree. This is known as "lifting state up" and allows for better reusability and management of state across multiple components.

Another important aspect of state management is immutability. In JavaScript, objects and arrays are passed by reference, meaning that if you change an object or array, it will change in all places it is referenced. To avoid unintended changes to state, it's important to make a copy of the state and update the copy instead of modifying the original state. This can be done using the spread operator or the Object.assign() method.

Handling state updates can also be challenging, as it's important to make sure that the component re-renders correctly when the state changes. In React, state updates are handled using the setState() method. This method accepts an object that represents the new state, and React will automatically re-render the component when the state changes.

Another helpful tool for managing state is the useState hook. This hook allows you to add state to functional components and also provides a way to update the state. This hook replaces the need to use class-based components and the this.state and this.setState methods.

Lastly, it's important to test your state management code to ensure that it's working as intended. React provides a testing library called Jest, which allows you to write and run unit tests for your components. By regularly running tests, you can catch bugs early and avoid introducing new ones.

In conclusion, managing state in a React application can be challenging, but by following best practices and utilizing tools like the setState method, useState hook, and Jest testing library, you can improve your workflow and catch bugs early on. Remember to start with the minimal amount of state needed, lift state up, use immutability, and regularly run tests to ensure that your state management code is working correctly.