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Understanding useState Hook in React – An introduction and a Comprehensive Guide for Web Developers


In the world of web development, React is often cited as one of the most popular JavaScript libraries for building user interfaces. As a powerful library, it offers several ways to manage state and perform side effects but its core feature remains managing component state – that's where useState hook comes in. This article aims to demystify what useState is, how to use it, and some of the best practices when working with it.

What is useState?

useState is a built-in Hook provided by React for adding local state to functional components. The basic syntax of useState looks like this:

const [state, setState] = useState(initialState);
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Here, useState returns two values:

  • the current state and
  • a function that updates it.

This is why we’re using array destructuring to give names to these items. The initial value of the state can be either an object or a function returning an object. If you pass a function, it will only be executed on the first render after which it'll return the same value every time.

Uses and Implementations

Let's look at a practical example:

import React, { useState } from 'react';

function Example() {
  // Declare a new state variable, which we'll call "count"
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  return (
      <p>You clicked {count} times</p>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>
        Click me
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In this example, we've created a counter button. On each click of the button, setCount updates the state to be one more than its previous value and causes the component to re-render with the new count.

Best Practices

Here are some tips when using useState:

  1. Avoiding direct mutation: The main feature of useState hook is that it allows you to add local state without having to make your components class-based by avoiding direct mutations on the component's state.
  2. Conditional Updates: You can conditionally update useState based on conditions in your event handlers or elsewhere in your code using logical && operator. This makes it easier to manage what state gets updated when, and why.
  3. Preventing Unnecessary Rendering: If you are passing a function (like setCount) to useState, React will always return the same function reference. So for complex objects or functions, ensure they don't cause unnecessary re-renders by using React.useMemo() or `React.useCallback().
  4. Ordering State Updates: If you need to perform multiple state updates based on the current state (known as "batch updates" in React), use a function with setState, which gives you the previous state value. For example:

setCount(prevCount => prevCount + 1);


The useState Hook is fundamental to managing component state in functional components in React. By understanding its usage and best practices, developers can efficiently build complex user interfaces with React. Happy coding!

Remember that the power of this hook lies not only in adding local state but also in enabling you to abstract out repetitive logic into custom Hooks for cleaner code organization. You're now equipped to handle more complex scenarios with useState and beyond!

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