DEV Community ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Jorge Carvajal
Jorge Carvajal

Posted on

React Router

Table of Contents

-What is React Router

-Setting up Routes

-Passing Down Props

-Helpful Links

What is React Router

React router is a one of the greatest tool for using react, also one of the intuitive tools for react to use. React Router is a tool to mark your components to endpoints without using your server do that for you. React Router is a sense acts like a server itself, you can pass things down like you could with a request parameter or in a request body in a AJAX request. This can do really nice things to make your webapp do things like building a navigation bar or build components that can be linked through other elements on your page. Another great use is building a 404 page that can catch a user trying to reach your page with a bad endpoint as to not lead them to an bad request page given from the browser. I expect the reader of this blog top understand React basics and I wont get deep into building a react app.

Table of Contents

Setting Up Routes

Setting up pretty straight forward, you will need to set up the routes in your root component. For the sake of explaining I will refer to the root component as App.jsx but the same applies for .tsx and whatever you might want to call your parent component. You will also need a component to show your navigation bar that I will refer as Nav-bar.jsx. App.jsx will hold your routes and render your Nav-bar.jsx, and your Nav-bar.jsx will render the links of your components and the child components that the user has clicked. You will want to also add routes that will also not be in your Nav-bar.jsx but wish to render through another component. You will have to install react router into your package.json with this command:

npm install react-router-dom
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

After installing this package and setting up your index.jsx, you can start building out your route. App.jsx will look similar to this:

// Required dependencies
import { BrowserRouter, Routes, Route } from "react-router-dom";
// Component that you want to build routes to
import Nav-bar from "./pages/Nav-bar";
import Home from "./pages/Home";
import Page1 from "./pages/Page1";
import Page2 from "./pages/Page2";
import 404Page from "./pages/404Page";

const App = () => (
     <BrowserRouter>
    <!--Renders nav bar -->
          <Nav-bar />
          <Routes>
               <!-- This is the route to your main page-->
               <Route path="/" element={<Home />}>
               <Route path="page1" element={<Page1 />} />
               <!--Path with a id will act as a query param-->
               <Route path="page2:id" element={<Page2 />} />
               <!--This is a catch all route-->
               <Route path="*" element={<404Page />} />
          </Routes>
    </BrowserRouter>
)
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Next thing to do is setup your navigation or Nav-bar.jsx:

import { Outlet, Link } from "react-router-dom";

const Nav-Bar = () => (
  <>
    <nav>
      <ul>
        <!--Sets up links to components-->
        <li>
          <Link to="/">Home</Link>
        </li>
        <li>
          <Link to="/pothole">page1</Link>
        </li>
      </ul>
    </nav>
    <!--This render clicked component-->
    <Outlet />
  </>
)
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

App.jsx will render the Nav-bar.jsx as an ul. As you clicked through the li it will render clicked component. 404Page and Page2 are not on the Nav-bar for different reasons. The 404Page will render is the user tries to goto a endpoint that does not exist. Page2 has a :id in its route path and this can be used on page one to pass down props into from another route.

Table of Contents

Pass down Props and State

Passing down props can be really useful tool in your react tool belt. You may want to pass down something like a string that user might have inputted in a form. Lets setup Page1 to pass down a prop down to Page2.
Page1.jsx:

import { Link } from "react-router-dom";

const Page1 = () =>{
     const [user, setUser] = useState(
          {
               id: 123,
               userName: 'Jane Smith'
          }
     );
     return (
          <Link to={'/page2:' + user.id } >
               <button>Submit</button>
          </Link>
     )
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

This is taking the state object and passing down the id value to the Page2 component. To receive the prop in Page2:

import {useLocation} from 'react-router-dom';

const Page2 = () =>{
     const id = useLocation().pathname.split(':')[1];
     return(
          <>
               { id }
          </>
     )
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Page2 will render 123 on the page that is passed down from Page1. Using the useLocation object at the key of pathname will give you what component was passed down from and the prop that was passed down with it. By splitting it at the colon and taking the 1 index will give you the prop that was passed down. Alternatively you can pass down state this can be useful if you plan on passing down a larger object than just a string. If you change the <Link> on Page1 to this:

<Link to="/page2" state={user}>
     <button>Location</Button>
</Link>
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

To receive the state from Page2:

import { useLocation } from 'react-router-dom';

const Page2 = () =>{
     const location = useLocation();
     const user = location.state;
     return(
          <p>
               { user.id }
               { user.name }
          </p>
     )
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

This will pass down the whole user object down from Page1 down to Page2. This is really useful if you want pass down larger objects than just a string. Both methods have their own use cases depending on what you are doing and what you need done.

Table of Contents

React Router is a great and need to use piece of technology that is essential to understand how to use in order to build a good react app. Not only is it great to add endpoints to your pages on your react app but it is one of the most intuitive tools to use. There are so many other great things that you can use React Router can do, I would suggest looking at the helpful links to take a deeper dive and feel free to reach out to me through any of my social links, if you find something that you learned about React Router that you love.

Table of Contents

Helpful Links

W3 Schools

React Router Docs

Tyler McGinnis's Blog

GeeksforGeeks Blog

Top comments (0)

Create an Account!
Now it's your turn!
ย 
๐Ÿ—’ Share a tutorial
๐Ÿค” Reflect on your coding journey
โ“ Ask a question

Create an account to join hundreds of thousands of DEV members on their journey.