Understanding React Render Props and HOC

Here’s a great post by Aditya Agarwal on the difference between render props and higher-order components in React. I particularly like the demo he chose to explain the two. But, to summarize:

Higher-order components (HOCs) take a component and return a component. So let’s say you have a component called Username that just returns a string of a user’s name and you want to capitalize that somewhere – this is the perfect opportunity to use a HOC that wraps that Username component and changes each character. Just like the excellent tutorial Kingsley Silas wrote up here on CSS-Tricks.

HOCs are particularly useful for when you want to modify a component and then use it in a bunch of places, or to make tiny batches of code to prevent overwhelming a component with too many options and props.

A render prop on the other hand is “a function prop that a component uses to know what to render.” At least, that’s what the React docs say, but it took me a while to figure it out. As far as I understand, it lets you provide a way for a React component (typically one that just has a bunch of data you want to reuse) and give it to another (so a component that then renders that data).

here’s a great example of this in the React docs:

class MouseTracker extends React.Component {
  render() {
    return (

Move the mouse around!

( )}/>
); } }

What’s happening here is that someone defined a Mouse component in the codebase that provides x + y coordinates based on the position of the user’s mouse. This Mouse component then returns a bunch of data that we store as mouse and then pass it down into the Cat component which is what renders something with that data.

This is great when you want to reuse the data from Mouse but also when you want to pass lots of different types of data into the Cat component. Say you want Cat to render something else based on the type of data you feed into it.

So, to summarize: HOCs and render props are two ways to do similar work. Namely, they can break our code into lots of reusable bits and encourage us to make components that are more flexible in the long run.

Direct Link to ArticlePermalink

The post Understanding React Render Props and HOC appeared first on CSS-Tricks.