Tech debt can quickly build up when building out an application from scratch. Frameworks like React and Redux provide great patterns to structure code in a modular fashion.
And we live in a perfect world, so that’s all we’ll ever need!
Except, of course, we don’t, and it isn’t.
When using React and Redux, I always reach a point when I take a step back and think “Wow, when did this get so messy?” This prompts a reshuffle and after resolving all the
Line x:y: ‘somethingImportant’ is not defined no-undef errors I’m finally satisfied.
Until, several weeks later, it happens again.
Code like this needs constant care. It needs love and affection. Tame the beast while making it stronger. Structuring unruly code requires an overarching strategy.
For React and Redux, I use what I like to call IARS.
Say it how you like, IARS stands for Interactions, Actions, Reducers, Selectors.
Here’s a breakdown.
This is where the grunt work is done, triggered by user activity. Saving something new? Put the functionality in here and export it so the front end component can access it.
Anything being changed in your application should be kicked off from here.
Example: I do a lot of blockchain app development, so Figure 1 is an example of a function in interactions.js loading a player from a game I’m creating.
Figure 1: Snippet of interactions.js
The only external dependency here is
playerDetailsLoaded from actions.js.
tennisPlayer is a smart contract instance on the blockchain. It stores a list of players and exposes a public
players array, which is called with the
id to retrieve a single player.
Figure 2 shows how it gets called from the component:
Actions are what the dispatcher uses to interact with the reducers. Your actions.js file will end up looking like Figure 3 after a while:
Figure 3: actions.js
Line 55 shows the
playerDetailsLoadedfunction called from the dispatcher in interactions.js.
This file will get large pretty quickly, so it’s wise to turn actions.js into an actions directory and separate the actions logically. More on that later.
Reducers are what alters data in the Redux store. If you’ve used Redux before, you’ll know what these look like. Figure 4 shows an example of our
PLAYER_DETAILS_SELECTED reducer on line 22.
Figure 4: reducers.js
Selectors are what the components use to access the data in the redux store. I use a combination of lodash and reselect in selectors.js. Figure 5 shows a snippet from selectors.js with the select used to get
selectedPlayerDetails from the redux store.
Figure 5: selectors.js
Figure 6 shows how to call it from the component.
Figure 6: selecting playerDetails in component code
And there we have it! From component to interaction, to action, to reducer, to selector, and back to the component.
The great thing about this pattern is that each component need only know about a few interactions and a few selectors, keeping the component code clean.
Start with a
redux/ folder with the following files:
As the application grows, and when you feel the files growing too large (perhaps past a few hundred lines each), restructure your Redux folder to have a folder for each one. Inside each folder, separate the code into logical files.
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