How I write React stateless functional components


This article have been inspired by this spectrum thread How do you write your functional components? and the following twitter thread.

This post is certainly a personal preference and clearly, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day and won’t affect runtime performance. However let me tell you how I like to write my stateless components and why (because that’s the interesting part).


const Name = props => { return <View style={}>{props.children}></View>; };

Note about code formatting: I don’t want to think about it ever again. If you do write JavaScript, stop bikeshedding and just use prettier!

Back to the component. Why this style?

Let’s compare to alternatives.


function Name(props) { return <View style={}>{props.children}></View>; }

Here no big changes, we use a named function instead of arrow function, that’s ok too. First win is that you can directly export the function

export default function Name() {}

In comparison, for arrow function, you have to do

const Name = () => {}; export default Name;

But this argument is not relevant if you don’t export the component. And sometimes you don’t (or not as the default), unless you have to reuse it.

Some people say relying on function name inference is not good, because of the environment may not support it or that it’s harder to grep & sha blah blah. I don’t care about those arguments as we mostly still use babel this days (or at least one transpiler/optimizer) that will handle this for us. This things are covered. We should not have to think about this kind of problem when we use modern syntax. Otherwise we should not even use class or arrow function in the first place, right?

Anyway, I rarely use function this days, because it’s long. You can laugh.

Long you said?

function Name() {} // vs const Name = () => {};

Yeah laugh again. It's good for your health, you are welcome.

Real thing is: I don't like to use this. and when we use arrow function we are sure that this won't be a thing (at least nothing tied to the function body.

You can see a second win for the function: hoisting can be helpful if you have write many components in one file and want to define them in top-to-bottom order. But I don’t never had the need to rely on hoisting so it doesn’t matter for me.

Now let’s have a look to destructuring.

Destructured props

const Name = ({ style, children }) => { return <View style={style}>{children}></View>; };

This problem is basically not related to React component but more “how do you define your arguments in functions”. I will stick to React but this argument can be applied to regular JavaScript functions.

It’s acceptable when you have 2 or 3 arguments, but quickly can become annoying if you have 6 or 8.

const Name = ({ style, defaultValue, children, another, andAnother, andAnotherMore, andAnotherChild }) => { const computedValue = defaultValue * 10 - 2; return ( <View style={style} another={another} andAnother={andAnother}> {children} {andAnotherMore && <View>{andAnotherChild}</View>} </View> ); };

In comparison, if you use props argument (could be args or options)

const Name = props => { const computedValue = props.defaultValue * 10 - 2; return ( <View style={} another={props.another} andAnother={props.andAnother} computedValue={computedValue} > {props.children} {props.andAnotherMore && <View>{props.andAnotherChild}</View>} </View> ); };

You end up with less lines. Some find the destructured syntax noizy. props always have the same length and make it clear that your value comes as the component input. That’s why I prefer to stay consistent and use props all the time.

Some people will say that using destructuring helps to see the accepted props. That’s true if you don’t use propTypes or flow annotations. I personally recommend flow (...if you have to do JavaScript - hello Reason) so my components might look like this:

type props = {| style: any, children: React.Node |}; const Name = (props: props) => { return <View style={}>{props.children}></View>; };

Here you see upfront the accepted arguments, and their types. Way better in my opinion.

And if you avoid defining your type before, and inline it... And add to that destructuring... Well, hello repetition.

const Name = ({ style, children }: {| style: any, children: React.Node |}) => { return <View style={style}>{children}></View>; };

Now classes.


I know, if you think classes, you think "stateful". But that's not an obligation.

class Name extends React.Component { render() { return <View style={}>{this.props.children}</div>; } }

That's ok too. A bit verbose, but extensible. That said, I am always trying to avoid using this in JavaScript just because I like functional things.

Well, you could do

class Name extends React.Component { render() { const { props } = this return <View style={}>{props.children}</div>; } }

But now it’s starting to be a bit more verbose compared to the initial example. That’s why I prefer to use functions whenever I can. That’s why they have been accepted as React components by the way.

Some people might think that classes (especially PureComponent) are better since React can optimise more easily this component lifecycle. But if that’s the case, we could probably imagine a babel transformation that does it for us, right?

Now let’s take a look to the minimal example without any return statement.

No return

const Name = props => <View style={}>{props.children}></View>;

Yeah that’s definitely shorter. Sometime I do that, but as soon as I have to compute something, or add a condition, I switch to explicit return statement. Because when you want to add computations, breakpoints, logs etc, you can’t do that easily without return statement. You can’t inject a computation (except inline maybe - but I am not a one liner guy anymore). It can become annoying to have to edit the component wrapper to add the return statement. That’s why I prefer to always have it. For consitency.

I don’t really want to talk about this unnamed version

export default props => <View style={}>{props.children}></View>;

Clearly fun and concise, but not good for actual debugging for the same reasons as the previous example.

That’s why I like to end up with something like this:

const Name = props => { return <View style={}>{props.children}></View>; };

But again, it doesn’t really matter. If you are not consistent in your codebase about this it’s totally fine.

And never forget to never put all your eggs in the same basket.