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Apply React Suspense to Lazy Load Image

Andrew
Math → MBA → PM → Consultant → FE developer → ...
Updated on ・3 min read
When the user is under a slow network or the image size is large, the image will paint step by step which makes the user feel even slower. A solution to prevent bad user experience is to display a placeholder and replace by the correct image after the image was loaded. In this article, I will demonstrate how to achieve it by using react suspense.

Agenda

Generate Image Placeholder

We want to display the image after the image is loaded. So we need to display something else during the image loading process.

A solution is to display the same image with a smaller size. But we will have to generate a smaller version for all our images. This might not be the best solution in some scenarios.

Another solution is to generate a placeholder. Here I generate an SVG base on the size and color we want and encode to Base64. Then we can use it as a placeholder before the image is loaded.

const cache = {};
const generatePlaceholder = (ratio, color) => {
  const width = 1;
  const height = ratio;
  const key = `${ratio},${color}`;

  if (!cache[key]) {
    cache[key] = `data:image/svg+xml;base64, ${window.btoa(
      `<svg height="${height}" width="${width}" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg">
        <rect x="0" y="0" width="${width}" height="${height}" fill="${color}"/>
      </svg>`
    )}`;
  }

  return cache[key];
};
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React-Cache

To allow react suspense for know the image is loaded, we need to apply React-Cache to create a resource and resolve when image is loaded.

import { unstable_createResource } from "react-cache";

const ImageResource = unstable_createResource(
  src =>
    new Promise(resolve => {
      const img = new Image();
      img.src = src;
      img.onload = resolve;
    })
);
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If we use this in our application, we will see an error:

Cannot ready property 'readContext' of undefined
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The reason is that the API of React-Cache is unstable at the moment. So we need to add a patch to fix this issue. Here I use patch-package to handle this problem.

(1) install package

  yarn add patch-package postinstall-postinstall
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(2) add postinstall script at package.json。

  "postinstall": "patch-package"
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(3) modify the codebase on this comment

(4) generate patch

  yarn patch-package react-cache
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PS. Although we can apply this patch to make the React-Cache work but is still no suggest to use this in the production environment.

React-Suspense

Now we can apply React suspense to create a lazy load image.

Here we put our image src into the ImageResource and use the placeholder as a fallback in React suspense.

Before the image loaded, the suspense will display the fallback.

After the image loaded and resolve the resource, the placeholder will be replaced by the original image.

import React, { Suspense } from "react";

const OriImg = ({ src, alt }) => {
  ImageResource.read(src);

  return <img src={src} alt={alt} />;
};

const LazyLoadImg = ({ src, alt, ratio }) => {
  const placeholder = generatePlaceholder(ratio, "black");

  return (
    <Suspense fallback={<img src={placeholder} alt={alt} />}>
      <OriImg src={src} alt={alt} />
    </Suspense>
  );
};
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The result will look like this. And here is the repository for reference.

GitHub logo oahehc / react-image-suspense

apply react suspense for image lazy loading

image-lazy-load

SrcSet

It's worth mentioning that although display a placeholder while the image is loading can increase the user experience. But it won't make the image load faster. Therefore, providing a proper size of the image is very important. When choosing the size for the images, don't forget to consider the resolution of the device.

And If we want to display different sizes of the image on our web application base on the screen size. We can use srcset attribute on the img tag.

<img
  sizes="(min-width: 40em) 80vw, 100vw"
  srcset=" ... "
  alt="…">
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Reference

Discussion (1)

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sergchr profile image
Sergiy

Or you could use native image loading.