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Femi Akinyemi
Femi Akinyemi

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How to Prevent Unnecessary React Component Re-Rendering

Understanding how React renders components is essential for building efficient and performant applications. When a componentโ€™s state or props change, React automatically updates the User Interface(UI) to reflect those changes. As a result, React calls the component's render method again to generate the updated UI representation.

In this article, we will explore three React Hooks and how they prevent unnecessary renderings in React

These tools allow us to optimize our code by avoiding unnecessary re-renders, improving performance, and storing values efficiently.

By the end of this article, we'll better understand how to make our React applications faster and more responsive using these handy React hooks.

Using React's useMemo

In React, useMemo can prevent unnecessary re-renderings and optimize performance.

Let's explore how the useMemo hook can prevent unnecessary re-renders in our React components.

By memorizing the result of a function and tracking its dependencies, useMemo ensures that the process is recomputed only when necessary.

Consider the following example:

    import { useMemo, useState } from 'react';

    function Page() {
      const [count, setCount] = useState(0);
      const [items] = useState(generateItems(300));

      const selectedItem = useMemo(() => items.find((item) => item.id === count), [
        count,
        items,
      ]);

      function generateItems(count) {
        const items = [];
        for (let i = 0; i < count; i++) {
          items.push({
            id: i,
            isSelected: i === count - 1,
          });
        }
        return items;
      }

      return (
        <div className="tutorial">
          <h1>Count: {count}</h1>
          <h1>Selected Item: {selectedItem?.id}</h1>
          <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>Increment</button>
        </div>
      );
    }

    export default Page;
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The code above is a React component called Page that uses useMemo to optimize the selectedItem calculation.

Here's the explanation:

  • The component maintains a state variable count using the useState hook.

  • The items state is initialized using the useState hook with the result of the generateItemsfunction.

  • The selectedItem is calculated using useMemo, which memorizes the result of the items.find operation. It only re-calculates when either count or items change.

  • The generateItems function generates an array of items based on the given count.

  • The component renders the current **count** value, the selectedItem id, and a button to increment the count.

Using useMemo optimizes performance by memoizing the result of the items.find operation. It ensures that the calculation of selectedItem is only performed when the dependencies (count or items) change, preventing unnecessary re-calculations on subsequent renders.

Memoization should be employed selectively for computationally intensive operations, as it introduces additional overhead to the rendering process.

Using React's useCallback

The useCallback hook in React allows for the memoization of functions, preventing them from being recreated during each component render. By utilizing useCallback. a part is created only once and reused in subsequent renders as long as its dependencies remain unchanged.

Consider the following example:

    import React, { useState, useCallback, memo } from 'react';

    const allColors = ['red', 'green', 'blue', 'yellow', 'orange'];

    const shuffle = (array) => {
      const shuffledArray = [...array];
      for (let i = shuffledArray.length - 1; i > 0; i--) {
        const j = Math.floor(Math.random() * (i + 1));
        [shuffledArray[i], shuffledArray[j]] = [shuffledArray[j], shuffledArray[i]];
      }
      return shuffledArray;
    };

    const Filter = memo(({ onChange }) => {
      console.log('Filter rendered!');

      return (
        <input
          type='text'
          placeholder='Filter colors...'
          onChange={(e) => onChange(e.target.value)}
        />
      );
    });

    function Page() {
      const [colors, setColors] = useState(allColors);
      console.log(colors[0])

      const handleFilter = useCallback((text) => {
        const filteredColors = allColors.filter((color) =>
          color.includes(text.toLowerCase())
        );
        setColors(filteredColors);
      }, [colors]);


      return (
        <div className='tutorial'>
        <div className='align-center mb-2 flex'>
          <button onClick={() => setColors(shuffle(allColors))}>
            Shuffle
          </button>
          <Filter onChange={handleFilter} />
        </div>
        <ul>
          {colors.map((color) => (
            <li key={color}>{color}</li>
          ))}
        </ul>
      </div>
      );
    }

    export default Page;
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The code above demonstrates a simple color filtering and shuffling functionality in a React component. Let's go through it step by step:

  • The initial array of colors is defined as allColors.

  • The shuffle function takes an array and shuffles its elements randomly. It uses the Fisher-Yates algorithm to achieve shuffling.

  • The Filter component is a memoized functional component that renders an input element. It receives an onChange prop and triggers the callback function when the input value changes.

  • The Page component is the main component that renders the color filtering and shuffling functionality.

  • The state variable colors are initialized using the useState hook, with the initial value set to allColors. It represents the filtered list of colors.

  • The handleFilter function is created using the useCallback hook. It takes a text parameter and filters the allColors array based on the provided text. The filtered colors are then set using the setColors function from the useState hook. The dependency array [colors] ensures that the handleFilter function is only recreated if the colors state changes, optimizing performance by preventing unnecessary re-renders.

  • Inside the Page component is a button for shuffling the colors. When the button clicks, it calls the setColors function with the shuffled array of allColors.

  • The Filter component is rendered with the onChange prop set to the handleFilter function.

  • Finally, the colors array is mapped to render the list of color items as <li> elements.

The useCallback hook is used to memoize the handleFilter function, which means the function is only created once and reused on subsequent renders if the dependencies (in this case, the colors state) remain the same.

This optimization prevents unnecessary re-renders of child components that receive the handleFilter function as a prop, such as the Filter component.
It ensures that the Filter component is not re-rendered if the colors state hasn't changed, improving performance.

Using React's useRef

Another approach to enhance performance in React applications and avoid unnecessary re-renders is using the useRef hook. Using useRef, we can store a mutable value that persists across renders, effectively preventing unnecessary re-renders.

This technique allows us to maintain a reference to a value without triggering component updates when that value changes. By leveraging the mutability of the reference, we can optimize performance in specific scenarios.

Consider the following example:

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

    function App() {
      const [name, setName] = useState('');
      const inputRef = useRef(null);

      function handleClick() {
        inputRef.current.focus();
      }

      return (
        <div>
          <input
            type="text"
            value={name}
            onChange={(e) => setName(e.target.value)}
            ref={inputRef}
          />
          <button onClick={handleClick}>Focus</button>
        </div>
      );
    }

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The example above has a simple input field and a button. The useRef hook creates a ref called inputRef. As soon as the button is clicked, the handleClick function is called, which focuses on the input element by accessing the current property of the inputRef ref object. As such, it prevents unnecessary rerendering of the component when the input value changes.

To ensure optimal use of `useRef,` reserve it solely for mutable values that do not impact the component's rendering. If a mutable value influences the component's rendering, it should be stored within its state instead.

Conclusion

Throughout this tutorial, we explored the concept of React re-rendering and its potential impact on the performance of our applications. We delved into the optimization techniques that can help mitigate unnecessary re-renders. React offers a variety of hooks that enable us to enhance the performance of our applications. We can effectively store values and functions between renders by leveraging these hooks, significantly boosting React application performance.

References

How To Stop React Components From Re-Rendering
Methods Of Improving And Optimizing Performance In React Apps

Top comments (11)

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leob profile image
leob

Yeah okay - but if you have to reach for these hooks, chances are there might already be something wrong with the way you've designed and composed your React components ... these hooks are often used to plaster over poor designs or other issues in the first place.

Also proves (again) what I don't like about React - this kind of low level optimization should really be done by the framework, so that the developer can focus on functionality and UI/UX :)

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maafaishal profile image
Muhammad A Faishal

Yeah, these APIs are really useful.

For reference, before doing optimizations like useMemo, we can apply another approach following overreacted.io/before-you-memo/ by Dan Abramov.

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femi_dev profile image
Femi Akinyemi

Thanks for the info. I will definitely check it out

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jenap profile image
Jenap User

Nice article for Optimization, Thanks dev.to/femi_dev Femi Akinyemi

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femi_dev profile image
Femi Akinyemi

Glad you found it helpful @jenap

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citronbrick profile image
CitronBrick

The generateItems function can be simplified quite a bit using Array.from

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szeredaiakos profile image
szeredaiakos

If you know exactly how a computer works, this is pretty much nonsensical. ๐Ÿ˜†

Very good article tho'

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femi_dev profile image
Femi Akinyemi

Thanks for your comment @szeredaiakos Can you please explain more or better still share more resources on what you just said

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szeredaiakos profile image
szeredaiakos

First paragraph for ex. Technically when a state changes in any computer system nothing happens automatically per-se. An update cycle is the one which does the update (setCount in yr first example).

The update in React is very much in the hands of the developer.

Other libraries and systems may employ a periodic update. In these, for performance reasons, the state is expected to behave as a cog in finite state automata. That is ... what one whould describe as ... automatic.

Dont dwell on it to much, base level concepts are often distorted towards the surface. That is, to a degree, the purpose of all the layers between one's code and the pixels on the screen.

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femi_dev profile image
Femi Akinyemi

Thanks for sharing this. I will look this up again and do more research