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Clara Situma
Clara Situma

Posted on • Updated on

Why we use empty array with UseEffect

If you do not pass an empty array as an argument to useEffect,
the effect will run on every render of the component.

This means that any code inside the useEffect callback will be executed on initial render, and on subsequent updates to the component.

Here is an example of using useEffect without an empty array:


import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

function MyComponent() {
  const [data, setData] = useState(null);

  useEffect(() => {
    // This will run on every render of the component
    fetchData().then(response => setData(response));
  });

  return (
    // component render code here
  );
}

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In this example, useEffect is used to fetch data from an API on every render of the component. This means that the fetchData function will be called o*n initial render, and **on every subsequent update to the component.*

This can lead to unnecessary network requests and can negatively impact the performance of your application.

If you do not want the useEffect callback to run on every render, you should pass an empty array as an argument to useEffect.

This tells React that the effect does not depend on any values from the component's props or state, so it only needs to be run once on initial render.

Here is an example of using useEffect with an empty array:


import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

function MyComponent() {
  const [data, setData] = useState(null);

  useEffect(() => {
    // This will only run on initial render
    fetchData().then(response => setData(response));
  }, []);

  return (
    // component render code here
  );
}
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In this example, useEffect is used to fetch data from an API when the component is first rendered.

The empty array as an argument to useEffect means that the fetchData function will only be called on initial render, and not on subsequent renders when the data state changes.

This helps to avoid unnecessary network requests and can improve performance.

Top comments (12)

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brense profile image
Rense Bakker

Bonus points if you also add a cleanup to your useEffect, to cancel the request when the component gets unmounted during fetching. In your current code the state update will produce an error if the component gets unmounted during fetching (cant update state of unmounted component).

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csituma profile image
Clara Situma

what do you think about this dev.to/csituma/do-i-need-to-use-cl...

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brense profile image
Rense Bakker

I mostly agree with that, except that you should also cleanup if you do delayed state updates in your useEffect, to avoid updating state on unmounted components (which will result in an error).

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csituma profile image
Clara Situma

Thank you, that's a great addition

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ritikbanger profile image
Ritik Banger

Providing no dependency in the useEffect give sideEffects and introduce bugs. Always, Always give the dependencies required by useEffect. By using empty array you can get your desired result but it will definitely introduce bug and hard to maintain the code in long run.

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csituma profile image
Clara Situma • Edited on

Thanks for that addition Ritik :)

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csituma profile image
Clara Situma

This is correct.

However in instances where there are no dependencies, an empty array is okay,
Don't you agree?

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ritikbanger profile image
Ritik Banger

Could you give an example where the instance does not have any dependency? Even if you use a variable/function, you have to give a dependency.

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csituma profile image
Clara Situma

Hmm...

A simple fetch?

useEffect(() => {
fetch("pokeapi.co/api/v2/type/3")
}, []);

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ritikbanger profile image
Ritik Banger • Edited on

In this example, the useEffect will ask for the dependency of fetch function.

The corrected code:

useEffect(() => {
fetch("pokeapi.co/api/v2/type/3")
}, [fetch]);
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If you use the empty array as a dependency and if you have any linter, you will surely get an error/warning based on the setup.

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csituma profile image
Clara Situma

In your example, using fetch as dependency is unnecessary and will infact bring up a warning(mutating it can't cause a re-render because it will be recognised as an Outer scope value )

You should try run the code

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ritikbanger profile image
Ritik Banger

In this example, the fetch function is added to the dependencies array for the useEffect hook. This means that the effect will be re-run any time the fetch function changes. However, since the fetch function is a built-in JavaScript function, it is not expected to change and this should not be a problem.

It is generally a good idea to include all of the dependencies for an effect in the dependencies array, as this ensures that the effect will be run only when the dependencies change. In this case, adding the fetch function to the array will not cause any problems, and it will satisfy the linter.

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