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State Management with a Single Line of Code

Ankit Singh on November 02, 2020

If you're like me and feel that there has to be an easier way of state-management, then you'd like what ActiveJS can do for you. I feel like I'm s...
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Andre Greeff

Careful Ankit, you might just make people actually start enjoying state management if you carry on like this.. (:

All jokes aside, this is a very nicely written article though, thanks for the ActiveJS intro! :D

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Ankit Singh Author

Hey Andre, wouldn't that be something ;)

thank you :)
I'm just glad that I didn't mess up

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Darlan Tódero ten Caten

Your first article is just... awesome! Well done man!

About your library, I'm very impressed with so much love you put into it: beautiful website, incredible documentation with examples to easily verify how it works.

I'm very happy with MobX at the moment in my projects but I certainly will try your library in future projects as I really love how simple it is.

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Ankit Singh Author

thank you :)

I didn't have much else to do, but still it wasn't easy, thanks for noticing :)

Making it simple was the objective, "Pragmatic not Idealistic" is the motto.
Glad that you find it that way :)

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Rodrigo Schneider

Hey Ankit! Really nice article, thanks for sharing this! Wish I knew this a few months ago.

Just a little correction: in the Type-Safe heading you typed disptach instead of dispatch. It's not a big deal, but just to let you know in case you didn't notice that.

Have a great day and I'm already following you! :)

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Ankit Singh Author

hey Rodrigo,
my pleasure, and I wish could have finished it sooner :)

damn, didn't know I was dyslexic, thanks for letting me know, jk ;)
fixed it

you too, thank you :)

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joon • Edited

So yesterday I was feeling fed up with setting up redux and realizing
that the whole process was going to be a pain when I just needed simple
global state functionality.
Instead of the obvious 'searching for a good alternative' I just went and wrote a single file version instead.

gist.github.com/fl-y/dc500f0841fd1...

Quite pleased with myself,
on my way to work while scrolling through dev.to I noticed this gem.
I feel like this is pretty much what my prototype would have become with a LOT of hard work(But probably multitudes worse).
I sincerely thank you for sharing this project.

Going to try this out straight away :)

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Patrick Charles-Lundaahl

Adding on to my last comment, I'd just like to say that, while I may not may not use this myself (I only really do front-end development at work, and that's almost exclusively limited to modifying existing apps), I think this is just a really cool project.

Regardless of current bundle size, etc., having more people thinking about state management and trying to improve it just strikes me as a really good thing.

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Ankit Singh Author

It's okay if you can't use it, the encouraging words are good enough :)

Regarding the bundle size, I guess there's some confusion, the 8kB is the complete library bundled together (without tree-shaking) along with RxJS dependencies. If you're using a module bundler or already using RxJS in your project, the final build size contribution will be much lower.

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MadeInLagny

Nice work ! Since you subscribe to variables and not store, how do you deal with this in a component-based app ? Do you need to susbscribe to all required values in each component ?

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Ankit Singh Author • Edited

hey MadeInLagny, thanks :)

The general idea is that you access the Units directly, wherever required, however if two Units make more sense together, you can keep them separate but get their combined value by grouping them together using a Cluster.

// two Units
export const unit1 = new DictUnit({initialValue: {a: 1}});
export const unit2 = new DictUnit({initialValue: {b: 2}});
// grouped together
export const myGroup = new Cluster({unit1, unit2}) // using shorthand notation
// subscribe for reactive grouped value access
myGroup.subscribe(groupedValue => console.log(groupedValue))
// you'll see {unit1: {a: 1}, unit2: {b: 2}} in the console immediately and 
// it'll also log any future values
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MadeInLagny

But how do you access myGroup value in a component where it was not initialised ?

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Ankit Singh Author • Edited

ahh I see, do you mean how to share a Unit or Cluster with multiple components?

you initialize them and export them from a separate file, then you can access them wherever needed, with a simple/direct import.

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Andrey

Have a look into Hookstate hookstate.js.org. it is truly one line state management, but covers a lot of use cases and takes care of rerendering performance without extra effort from a programmer

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Ankit Singh Author

hey Andrey, kudos for the amazing things you're doing with hookstate.

I remember stumbling on hookstate at some time when I was searching for alternatives to reducer based state managers, I really liked the hookstate. But as I don't have much experience or use case for React, I had to move on. I guess that's one of the differences that sets ActiveJS apart, it can be used with any framework, or even without a framework as well.

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Konstantin Ignatyev

Interesting idea, but 'working' assignments which do nothing is very bad idea.

newValue.c = 'hehe' // works, but

dataUnit.value() // still {c: 3}

that is not acceptable IMO, must throw exception

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Ankit Singh Author

thanks :)

There's an option to enable that behavior as well, but it's only recommended to be used in development mode, see checkImmutability flag in docs.activejs.dev/guides/developme...

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Konstantin Ignatyev

Well, I think that should be the only behavior.

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Ankit Singh Author

ActiveJS is configured with most sensible defaults, and gives you the ability to configure it in your own way.

You can keep the checkImmutability check on in the production as well, but it's not something that ActiveJS or people much smarter than me recommend :)

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Jacob Samuel G.

I love that you use rxjs. I was going to write something similar (not so good) for my next project. It may be irrelevant, but what happens when LocalStorage is not available? Personally I use "Persistore" to handle storage, as I am confident in the falls back it offers. I haven't checked the Active source code yet. Do you think it could support plugins to handle persistence?

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Ankit Singh Author • Edited

thanks :)

are you referring to usage in NodeJS environment? Because all modern browsers have localStorage afaik. And if it's not available then plugins won't be able to help there.

that being said, yes you can replace the storage used for persistence, anything that implements the Storage developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/W... interface can be used, see docs.activejs.dev/guides/persistence.

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Jon Randy

One line... plus 1.64MB to import the library, and likely add dependencies on top of that. Ludicrous

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Ankit Singh Author

only 8kB gzipped, and it's tree-shakeable too, that's what would go to production, not all the 1.64MBs of documentation, typings, and unpacked code.

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Aaron Gong

Thank you for the good effort.

Yes it is 8KB gzip, will also need to add 11kb for rxjs (but this is ok for those who have use case for rxjs).

The next step is to make the library have as little dependencies as possible. One that does not have breaking changes or at least are easily manageable.

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Ankit Singh Author

my pleasure :)

not quite correct, those 8kBs include all the RxJS dependencies that ActiveJS has, and 8kBs are for projects that are going to use ActiveJS without a module bundler, the target use case of ActiveJS is going to be modern Web-Apps built with modern frameworks, all of them have a module bundler like webpack, to eliminate any unused/dead-code from the bundle, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_shaking.

Dependency on RxJS is a feature not a bug ;)
Since the ActiveJS Units extend RxJS' Observable class, it gives you the possibility to use all the myriads of RxJS operators.

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Darlan Tódero ten Caten

Why so angry man? You just read the title and get straight here to comment without taking the time to analyze the work of the author?

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Chris Kapilla

very impressive design -- I will investigate it further.

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Patrick Charles-Lundaahl

That's one heck of a first article! Bravo!

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Ankit Singh Author

this means a lot, thank you :)

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srikanth597

Interesting, glad I found this.

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Anurag Hazra

This looks promising

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Damian Esteban

This is an impressive library. Thanks for the share :).

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Ibebugwu Chukwuemeka

This is real nice. Probably try it out in my next project

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Liran Cohen

Well done

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Yuri Eastwood

Woah, nice article! I was even more astonished when I read was your first! hehe
Didn't knew about ActiveJS, it seems really interesting!

Keep up the good work! Kudos!

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zoedreams profile image
☮️✝️☪️🕉☸️✡️☯️

nice article. i like the type checking ability. A sneaky way to use strong typing. Thank you for sharing

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Julio Vasconez Yulan

Amazing work man!

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Ankit Singh Author

hey Julio, what a surprise, great to see you here :)

thanks :)

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Tomas Rimkus

Why not just use Akita? It's really simple and works well with vanilla JS -> datorama.github.io/akita/docs/addi...

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Denis Kashkovsky

What about github.com/grammarly/focal ? In addiction Focal can lift any react component to receive props as observables.

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Ankit Singh Author

Never heard about it, just checked it out, "focal" looks great, it's a very similar approach I must say. From what I could gather, it only works with React, ActiveJS has no such affiliation as of yet, that can be a good or bad thing depending on who you ask. We don't have any plans to create special bindings for any framework, but it's something that we can think about. Thanks for sharing this.