10 React Router Best Practices

React Router is a powerful tool that helps you manage your routes in a React application. Here are 10 best practices you should follow when using React Router.

React Router is a powerful routing library that helps developers build single page applications with React. When used correctly, React Router can help you build a fast and responsive application that provides a great user experience.

However, React Router also has a few potential pitfalls that can trip up developers who are new to the library. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 React Router best practices that will help you avoid these pitfalls and build a better React application.

1. Use a

A is used to group together multiple s and only renders the first one that matches the current location. In other words, it allows you to specify a “fallback” route in case none of the other routes match the current location.

This is useful because it means that you don’t have to worry about accidentally rendering multiple routes at the same time, which can lead to unexpected behavior.

It also makes your code more readable and easier to maintain, since you can see at a glance which routes are being rendered.

2. Don’t use Switch with dynamic routes

Switch only renders the first route that matches the location, so if you have a dynamic route like /:id and another static route like /about, only the /:id route will be rendered. This is because Switch treats all routes as static, even if they are dynamic.

Instead of using Switch, you should use React Router’s render method. The render method allows you to dynamically render different components based on the location, so you can use it to render both static and dynamic routes.

For example, you could use the render method to render the /:id route when the location is /about, and render the /about route when the location is /:id. This would allow both routes to be rendered, depending on the location.

3. Avoid nesting Routes

Nesting Routes creates a parent/child relationship between the two Routes. This can be problematic because when the user navigates to the child Route, the parent Route will also be rendered. This is often not the desired behavior because it can lead to duplicated content on the page or unexpected side effects.

Instead of nesting Routes, it’s best to keep them at the same level in the router config. This way, each Route will only be rendered when the user navigates to it directly.

4. Use exact prop on Route

If you don’t use the exact prop, React Router will match any path that includes the path specified in the Route. For example, if you have a Route with a path of /users, it will match both /users and /users/123.

This might not be a big deal in some cases, but in others, it can cause unexpected behavior. For instance, if you have a Route for an individual user (/users/:id), and you also have a Route for all users (/users), without the exact prop, both Routes will be matched when you visit /users/123.

To avoid this, always use the exact prop on Routes. That way, you can be confident that only the intended Route will be matched.

5. Always add key to list of elements

React Router uses the key to keep track of which component is which, and when one component is replaced with another, React Router uses the key to know which component to unmount and which component to mount.

If you don’t add a key, React Router will generate one for you, but it’s better to have a consistent key so that you can more easily debug your code.

6. Use componentDidMount() for data fetching

When a route is rendered, React Router will call the componentDidMount() lifecycle method. This is the perfect place to fetch data that you need to display in the component.

If you were to fetch data in the render() method, it would cause unnecessary re-rendering of the component every time the data is fetched, which would be inefficient.

So, to avoid this, make sure to fetch your data in componentDidMount().

7. Use React Router Link instead of anchor tag

React Router Link is a special version of the HTML anchor tag that tells React Router to route to a specific path instead of reloading the page. This is important because it allows your app to maintain its state even when the URL changes.

Anchor tags, on the other hand, will always reload the page, which means that your app will lose its state every time someone clicks on a link. This can be very frustrating for users, and it can also make it difficult for Google to index your pages properly.

So, if you’re using React Router in your app, make sure to use React Router Link instead of anchor tags.

8. Use Redirects when needed

If you’re not familiar with React Router, it’s a popular library for creating single-page applications in React. When using React Router, there are times when you’ll want to redirect users from one route to another. For example, if a user is trying to access a protected route and they’re not logged in, you might want to redirect them to the login page.

Redirects are important because they help you control the flow of your application and keep users from getting lost. If you don’t use Redirects, users can end up on routes that don’t exist, which can lead to errors.

So, when should you use Redirects? Here are some situations where Redirects can be helpful:

– When a user is trying to access a protected route and they’re not logged in
– When a user is trying to access a route that doesn’t exist
– When you need to redirect a user to a different route based on their actions

9. Use history object to navigate programmatically

If you’re using the browser’s built-in navigation methods (i.e. pushState and popState), you’re limited to only being able to navigate forwards and backwards through the history stack. However, if you use the history object, you have access to a number of different methods that give you more flexibility when it comes to navigation.

For example, let’s say you want to redirect a user to a different page after they login. With the browser’s built-in navigation methods, you would have to first save the URL of the page you want to redirect them to in local storage, and then use the popState event to trigger the redirect.

With the history object, you can simply call the replace method with the desired URL, and the user will be redirected without having to go through the extra step of saving the URL in local storage.

Overall, using the history object gives you more control over navigation, which can be especially useful when you need to do things like redirect users or manage query parameters.

10. Use location object to get current url

The location object is a property of the router component, and it gives you access to information about the current url. This includes the pathname, query string, and hash.

Using the location object to get the current url gives you a few benefits.

First, it’s more accurate than using window.location.href, because the location object is updated when the url changes, whereas window.location.href is not.

Second, it’s more convenient than parsing the url yourself, because all the information is already parsed and available as properties of the location object.

Finally, it’s more reliable than using the browser’s history API, because the location object is updated even if the url doesn’t change (for example, when the user clicks on a link with a fragment identifier).

So, if you need to know the current url in your React application, be sure to use the location object.


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