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Serializing a style using your Chakra UI theme

Axel Navarro
IT solutions builder. JavaScript is my thing, Linux is my passion. Rocker 4ever!
・3 min read

A time ago I had to build a subscription form using the Spreedly iFrame API to allow a user to use its credit card in a safe way.

After a while, I found myself into an issue with the card number and the CVV number inputs because Spreedly inserts an iframe; therefore the inputs are not under my control (and my CSS).

The easy solution

Fortunately, Spreedly accepts a style inline string via the setStyle function.

Spreedly.on("ready", () => {
  Spreedly.setStyle("number", "width:225px;  height:35px;");
});
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This is a little bit ugly but it's a solution after all. Let's see how to improve this...

Using the theme with strings

We can use the useTheme hook to get all the tokens we defined in the theme.

import {useEffect} from 'react'
import {useTheme} from "@chakra-ui/react"

const buildStyles = theme => `
  border: 2px solid ${theme.colors.gray[300]},
  color: ${theme.colors.black},
  lineHeight: ${theme.sizes[5]}
`

const MyComp = () => {
  const theme = useTheme();
  useEffect(() => {
    Spreedly.on("ready", () => {
      Spreedly.setStyle("number", buildStyles(theme));
    });
  }, []);

  return <>...</>;
};
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This is similar to styled-components because of the string templates usage to create styles.

💡 Tip: remember that your component should be wrapped by a ChakraProvider to get the theme object.

Using a CSS object

I looked for a nicer way to handle a CSS object in JavaScript instead of using one big string. Chakra UI uses emotion under the hook to build the CSS classes, so I found this solution:

import {css} from "@chakra-ui/react"
import {serializeStyles} from '@emotion/serialize'

const toCSSString = (styles, theme) => serializeStyles([css(styles)(theme)]).styles;
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The serializeStyles function from emotion convert an object into another one built with a name attribute for an auto-generated CSS class name; and the styles attribute with all the style properties in one string. 😁

The css function from Chakra UI normalizes the shortcuts that Chakra provides like:

<Box w="full" h={9} bg="blue.300"/>
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The w, h and bg are aliases for width, height and background style properties. The props for this Box component are passed to the css getting this output:

{
  height: "var(--chakra-sizes-9)",
  background: "var(--chakra-colors-blue-300)",
  width: "var(--chakra-sizes-full)"
}
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Here we can't use nice values like 9, full or blue.300 because Spreedly is inside an iframe and our CSS custom properties (a.k.a. CSS variables) are not in the scope of the iframe's stylesheet.

Building the inline styles from an object

We are going to put them all together to get the final theme values (not the custom properties) and serialize the CSS object into a inline style string using emotion.

import {css, useTheme} from "@chakra-ui/react"
import {serializeStyles} from '@emotion/serialize'

const buildStyles = theme => ({
  border: `2px solid ${theme.colors.gray[300]}`,
  color: theme.colors.black,
  lineHeight: theme.sizes[5]
});

const toCSSString = (styles, theme) => serializeStyles([css(styles)(theme)]).styles;

const MyComp = () => {
  const theme = useTheme();
  useEffect(() => {
    Spreedly.on("ready", () => {
      Spreedly.setStyle(
        "number",
        toCSSString(buildStyles(theme), theme)
      );
    });
  }, []);

  return <>...</>;
};
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Conclusion

I hope these internals functions from Chakra UI and emotion help you when using Spreedly, an iframe, or a UI component where you can't send the styles in the cool way that Chakra provides.

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