Zac Anger's Blog

redux notes, part three


Tags: redux, react

Because the Redux docs say "Redux is actually really simple!" when sometimes it's not, and because those docs themselves are pretty overwhelming when you're first trying out Redux, I'm going to attempt to distill the docs and bits of my own (admittedly limited) personal experience with Redux into a couple of blog posts.

Just want to take a second to go over some syntax before going on more about Redux. A lot of folks who're new to React might also be new to new JavaScript, so some things might be looking a little unusual.

const foo = 'bar' // is roughly the same as
var foo = 'bar' // EXCEPT that you could not then do
foo = 'baz' // because you'd be reassigning a const which is not okay.
let asdf = 'ghjkl' // is a lot more like var
asdf = 'qwerty' // no errors

import React from 'react' // is kinda like
const React = require('react') // except it's actually just a part of the language now
import { resolve } from 'path' // is like
const { resolve } = require('path') // which is like
var path = require('path')
var resolve = path.resolve

export const whatever = () => {} // is like
module.exports.whatever = function(){}

export default MyThing // is like
module.exports = MyThing

  a = 'a'
, b = 'b'
, c = 'c'
, o = { a, b, c } // is the same as

var a = 'a'
var b = 'b'
var c = 'c'
var o = {
  a : a
, b : b
, c : c

const someFunc = param => param // is roughly the same as
function someFunc(param) {
  return param
// though there _are_ important differences

If you're not at all familiar with ES2015, you should really go get comfortable with it. I put together a repo a while ago for that, full of examples and notes. Check it out here. (Also if you want, check out my semi-maintained bunch of examples and resources for learning React here.)

react-redux (not a part of Redux itself, since it's supposed to be framework/library agnostic... ish) is something you'll need for writing React apps using Redux. It sort of enforces the presentational/container (or dumb/smart) way of structuring your components.

Note—you don't need react-redux to be able to use Redux with React, it just helps. A lot.

I won't go into the whole presentational/container component thing, there are a lot of blogs posts and such out there on that topic, but it's basically what it sounds like; you have components that handle how things look and components that handle how things work.

react-redux gives you this connect() function which is pretty handy. You can do a lot of the stuff it does by hand using store.subscribe(), but then you start needing to worry about shouldComponentUpdate and all this stuff, and it's all kind of annoying.

When wrapping a 'dumb' component up in a 'smart' component, there are two functions you usually throw in there. One is called mapStateToProps, and the other is mapDispatchToProps. I'd suggest you take a good look at the official docs on react-redux to get a good feel for how it all works, but setting up a container component turns out to be pretty straightforward.

import { connect } from 'react-redux'
import { someReducer } from './wherever/your/reducers/are'
import AComponent from './AComponent'

const mapStateToProps = (state, ownProps) => ({
  somethingInState: someReducer(state, ownProps.maybeSomeProperty.Here)

const mapDispatchToProps = (dispatch, ownProps) => ({
  something: probablyAnActionOrOtherFunction

const AComponentThatIsNowConnected = connect(
, mapDispatchToProps

export default AComponentThatIsNowConnected

mapDispatchToProps is a little tricky, so I'd really suggest just checking out the docs.

There's one other important bit, and that's this thing called Provider. It's a component that makes the store available to all your container components without you needing to actually pass it down everywhere. It uses this funky context thing under the hood. You don't need to put it everywhere, you just wrap a root component in it.

import React from 'react'
import { render } from 'react-dom'
import { Provider } from 'react-redux'
import { createStore } from 'redux'
import reducers from './reducers'
import App from './App'

const store = createStore(reducers)
const root = document.getElementById('root')

  <Provider store={store}>
    <App />
, root

This can trip you up when testing! You don't need to do much to work around it, but it can be annoying the first time you see all these random errors. Try something like:

import test from 'ava' // seriously awesome test runner
import React from 'react'
import { mount } from 'enzyme' // seriously awesome testing thing for React
import { createStore } from 'redux'
import { Provider } from 'react-redux'
import MyComponent from './MyComponent'

test.beforeEach('Set up <MyComponent />', t => {
  const store = createStore(() => ({}))
  t.context = mount(
    <Provider store={store}>

// and then you can do
test('<MyComponent /> isn\'t broken!', t => {'some'), 'props')
// and it won't throw errors about not finding a store and stuff!