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Yosi Leyid for Hasidic Development Group

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React States: Best Practices for Managing State in Your Applications

React is a popular JavaScript library used for building user interfaces. One of the key concepts in React is state, which is used to manage data and make components interactive. In this blog post, we'll dive into what React states are, how they work, and how they can be used to build powerful and dynamic applications.

What is a React state?

In simple terms, a state is an object that holds data and determines how a component should behave and render. It is like a memory that keeps track of the changes in a component's properties and allows it to be responsive to user interactions. A state is mutable and can be updated using the setState method, triggering a re-render of the component and its children.

How do React states work?

To create a state in React, we need to first define an initial state value in the constructor of our component class. The state can be a primitive data type, such as a string or number, or an object that contains multiple key-value pairs.

class MyComponent extends React.Component {
  constructor(props) {
    this.state = {
      count: 0,
      message: 'Hello, world!'
  // ...
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In the above code, we've defined an initial state for a component called MyComponent. It has two properties, count and message, with initial values of 0 and 'Hello, world!' respectively. To update the state, we can call the setState method, passing in an object that contains the updated key-value pairs. For example, to increment the count property by 1, we can do:

this.setState({ count: this.state.count + 1 });
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When setState is called, React will compare the new state with the previous state and make necessary updates to the component and its children. This includes updating the virtual DOM, diffing the changes, and rendering the updated component to the real DOM.

Why use React states?

React states are useful for building dynamic, interactive UIs that respond to user inputs and events. They provide a way to manage and update data within a component without requiring a full page refresh or server call. States can be used to create controlled components, which are components that have their values controlled by React, rather than the user. This allows for better data validation and error handling. For example, if we have an input field that only accepts numbers, we can use a state to validate the input and prevent the user from submitting invalid data.

States can also be used to create unidirectional data flow, where the data flows in a single direction from parent to child components. This makes it easier to reason about the data and reduces the likelihood of bugs caused by conflicting state changes.

Best practices for using React states

To use React states effectively, it's important to follow some best practices that will ensure optimal performance and maintainability of your code.

Keep states minimal

States should only contain data that is essential for rendering the component. It's important to avoid putting too much data into a state, as this can cause performance issues and make the code harder to maintain.

Avoid cascading states

Cascading states occur when a state is passed down through multiple levels of components, resulting in the need for multiple props and setState calls. This can lead to code that is hard to read and maintain. To avoid cascading states, consider using a state management library like Redux or MobX.

Use functional components

Functional components are simpler and easier to read than class components, and they provide better performance. Since functional components don't have a state, they rely on props to render. This makes it easier to reason about the data and ensures that the data flows in a unidirectional way, from parent to child components. Functional components are also easier to test, since they are pure functions that only take in props and return a JSX element. This makes it easier to write unit tests and ensure that the component behaves as expected.

Functional components can also use hooks, which are a powerful mechanism for managing state and other side effects in React. Hooks allow us to use state and other React features without the need for a class component. They provide a simple and intuitive way to manage state, handle effects, and perform other common tasks in React. Overall, functional components are a great choice for building simple, reusable, and performant components in React. They provide a simpler and more intuitive way to build components and help ensure that our code is maintainable, scalable, and easy to test

Use immutability

When updating a state, it's important to do so immutably. This means creating a new object with the updated data, rather than directly modifying the existing state. This ensures that React can detect the changes and re-render the component and its children as needed.

Optimize re-renders

Since re-rendering a component can be a performance-intensive operation, it's important to optimize the re-renders as much as possible. One way to do this is to use the shouldComponentUpdate lifecycle method, which allows us to determine if a component should re-render or not. By implementing this method, we can skip unnecessary re-renders and improve the overall performance of the application.


React states are an essential part of building dynamic, interactive user interfaces. By managing data and allowing components to respond to user interactions, states provide a powerful mechanism for building robust and responsive applications. By following best practices and optimizing our code, we can ensure that our React applications are performant, maintainable, and scalable.

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