How to create React custom Hook with useFetch

How to create React custom Hook with useFetch

This article is about how to create custom hooks for data fetching. we'll explained and made a small demo to explain how we can declaratively fetch data and render it on screen by using the useFetch hook with the native fetch() API.

This article is about how to create custom hooks for data fetching. we'll explained and made a small demo to explain how we can declaratively fetch data and render it on screen by using the useFetch hook with the native fetch() API.

A custom hook is a JavaScript function with a unique naming convention that requires:

  1. the function name to start with use and
  2. the function may call other Hooks

Table of Contents

  • Abstracting fetch into useFetch()
  • Avoiding reference loops
  • useEffect’s return error
  • Handling errors
  • Setting loading indicators
  • Usage
  • Final thoughts

The whole idea behind custom hooks is just so that we can extract component logic into reusable functions.

Often times as we build out React applications, we see ourselves writing almost the same exact codes in two or more different components. Ideally what we could do in such cases would be to extract that recurrent logic into a reusable piece of code (hook) and reuse it where the need be.

Before hooks, we share stateful logic between components using render props and higher order components, however, since the introduction of hooks and since we came to understand how neat they make these concepts, it no longer made sense to keep using those. Basically, when we want to share logic between two JavaScript functions, we extract it to a third function possibly because both components and hooks are equally just functions.

Abstracting fetch into useFetch()

The rationale behind this move is not different from what we have already explained above. Compared to using the native fetch API out of the box, abstracting it into the useFetch hook gives us a one-liner ability, more declarative code style, reusable logic and an overall cleaner code as we’ll see in a minute. Consider this simple useFetch example:

const useFetch = (url, options) => {
  const [response, setResponse] = React.useState(null);
  useEffect(async () => {
      const res = await fetch(url, options);
      const json = await res.json();
      setResponse(json);
  });
  return response;
};

Here, the effect hook called useEffect is used to perform to major functions —

  1. fetch the data with the native fetch API and
  2. Set the data in the local state of the component with the state hook’s update function.

Also notice that the promise resolving happens with async/await.

Avoiding reference loops

The effect hook runs on two occasions — When the component mounts and also when the component updates. What this means is, if nothing is done about the useFetch example above, we will most definitely run into a scary recurrent loop cycle. Why? Because we are setting the state after every data fetch, as a result, when we set the state, the component updates and the effect runs again.

Obviously, this will result in an infinite data fetching loop and we don’t want that. What we do want, is to only fetch data when the component mounts and we have a neat way of doing it. All we have to do is provide an empty array as second argument to the effect hook, this will stop it from activating on component updates but only when the component is mounted.

  useEffect(async () => {
      const res = await fetch(url, options);
      const json = await res.json();
      setResponse(json);
  }, []); // empty array

The second is an array containing all the variables on which the hook depends on. If any of the variables change, the hook runs again, but if the argument is an empty array, the hook doesn’t run when updating the component since there are no variables to watch.

useEffect’s return error

You may have noticed that in the effect hook above, we are using async/await to fetch data. However, according to documentation stipulations, every function annotated with async returns an implicit promise. So in our effect hook, we are returning an implicit promise whereas an effect hook should only return either nothing or a clean up function.

So by design, we are already breaking this rule because —

  1. We are not returning nothing
  2. A promise does not clean up anything

As a result, if we go ahead with the code as is, we will get a warning in the console pointing out the fact that useEffect function must return a cleanup function or nothing.

Simply put, using async functions directly in the useEffect() function is frowned at. What we can do to fix this is exactly what is recommended in the warning above. Write the async function and use it inside the effect.

React.useEffect(() => {
    const fetchData = async () => {
      const res = await fetch(url, options);
      const json = await res.json();
      setResponse(json);
    };
    fetchData();
  }, []);

Instead of using the async function directly inside the effect function, we created a new async function fetchData() to perform the fetching operation and simply call the function inside useEffect. This way, we abide by the rule of returning nothing or just a cleanup function in an effect hook. And if you should check back on the console, you won’t see any more warnings.

Handling errors

One thing we haven’t mentioned or covered so far is how we can handle error boundaries in this concept. Well, it’s not complicated, when using async/await, it is common practice to use the good old try/catch construct for error handling and thankfully it will also work for us here.

const useFetch = (url, options) => {
  const [response, setResponse] = React.useState(null);
  const [error, setError] = React.useState(null);
  React.useEffect(() => {
    const fetchData = async () => {
      try {
        const res = await fetch(url, options);
        const json = await res.json();
        setResponse(json);
      } catch (error) {
        setError(error);
      }
    };
    fetchData();
  }, []);
  return { response, error };
};

Here, we used the very popular JavaScript try/catch syntax to set and handle error boundaries. The error itself is just another state initialized with a state hook so whenever the hook runs, the error state resets. However, whenever there is an error state, the component renders feedback to the user or practically you can perform any desired operation with it.

Setting loading indicators

You may already know this, but i still feel that it’ll be helpful to point out that you can use hooks to handle loading states for your fetching operations. The good thing is, It’s just another state variable managed by a state hook so if we wanted to implement a loading state in our last example, we’ll set the state variable and update our useFetch() function accordingly.

const useFetch = (url, options) => {
  const [response, setResponse] = React.useState(null);
  const [error, setError] = React.useState(null);
  const [isLoading, setIsLoading] = React.useState(false);
  React.useEffect(() => {
    const fetchData = async () => {
      setIsLoading(true);
      try {
        const res = await fetch(url, options);
        const json = await res.json();
        setResponse(json);
        setIsLoading(false)
      } catch (error) {
        setError(error);
      }
    };
    fetchData();
  }, []);
  return { response, error, isLoading };
    };
Usage

We cannot complete this tutorial without working on a hands-on demonstration to put everything we’ve talked about in practice. Let’s build a mini app that will fetch a bunch of dog images and their names. We’ll use useFetch to call the very good dog API for the data we’ll need for this app.

First we define our useFetch() function which is exactly the same as what we did before. We will simply reuse the one we created while demonstrating error handling above to explain the data fetching concept in practice since it already has most of the things we’ll need.

const useFetch = (url, options) => {
  const [response, setResponse] = React.useState(null);
  const [error, setError] = React.useState(null);
  React.useEffect(() => {
    const fetchData = async () => {
      try {
        const res = await fetch(url, options);
        const json = await res.json();
        setResponse(json);
      } catch (error) {
        setError(error);
      }
    };
    fetchData();
  }, []);
  return { response, error };
};

Next, we create the App() function that will actually use our useFetch() function to request for the dog data that we need and display it on screen.

function App() {
  const res = useFetch("https://dog.ceo/api/breeds/image/random", {});
  if (!res.response) {
    return Loading...

  }
  const dogName = res.response.status
  const imageUrl = res.response.message
  return (
    
      
        ### {dogName}

        
          
        
      
    
  );
}

Here, we just passed the url into the useFetch() function with an empty options object to fetch the data for the cat. It’s really that simple, nothing elaborate or complex. Once we’ve fetched the data, we just extract it from the response object and display it on screen. Here’s a demo on Codesandbox:

Final thoughts

Data fetching has always been an issue to contend with when building frontend-end applications, this is usually because of all the edge cases that you will need to account for. In this post, we have explained and made a small demo to explain how we can declaratively fetch data and render it on screen by using the useFetch hook with the native fetch() API.

Why ReactJS is better for Web Application Development?

Why ReactJS is better for Web Application Development?

Web Application Development is the point of contact for a business in today's digital era. It is important to choose the right platform for Web Application Development to build a high end Web

Web Application Development is essential for a business in today’s digital era. Finding the right platform for Web Application Development is important for building an effective Web Application that can enhance the overall customer engagement. Here’s what makes ReactJS a better option for building your next Web Application.

ReactJS Development Services | ReactJS Development Company - Chapter 247 Infotech

ReactJS Development Services | ReactJS Development Company - Chapter 247 Infotech

Chapter 247 Infotech is a leading ReactJS development company in India, USA, offering ReactJS development services at par to a spectrum of business domains from E-commerce, healthcare to Edutech at

The ease of user interface in an application drives the customer engagement. By leveraging ReactJS Development you can build Web Applications that are user centric and deliver high end user experience to tap into better business opportunities...

Pagination in ReactJs

Pagination in ReactJs

There are a lot of resourceful materials online that give good insights into pagination in ReactJs, as well as NPM packages you can easily use

There are a lot of resourceful materials online that give good insights into pagination in ReactJs, as well as NPM packages you can easily use. As much as I appreciate those materials and love to use those packages, they mostly deal with loading the whole dataset on the page first then completely handle the pagination in the frontend. I am approaching this article with the concept of loading the exact data needed on the page, then manually loading other dataset based on the request when the user clicks the pagination number display. Below is the content structure to guide us through this article:

Table of Contents
  • Project Setup
  • HTML and CSS Styling
  • Pagination Data Format
  • Sample API request
  • Displaying the initial data
  • Showing Page Number and getting Other data
Project Setup

We are going to use create-react-app v0.1.0 which has the CSS Module configured already. Open your terminal and cd to the folder you want the project installed. Then run the below command:

npx create-react-app pagination  --use-npm

The above command will download the project into the folder calledpagination. You need to cd into the folder and run npm start. If everything goes well, you will have a page that looks like below:

HTML and CSS Styling

Open the project in your favorite code editor and locate the App.js file, We need to prepare our App.js to the look exactly like the way we want it by adding the HTML code and CSS style below:

Create a new file called App.module.css in the same directory where you have your App.js, then import it into your App.js using:

import styles from './App.module.css';

I want us to handle the display of the pagination number first, below is the style and HTML structure of what we are going to use.

  render() {
    

    return (
      <div className={styles.app}>
        
        <table className={styles.table}>
          <thead>
            <tr>
              <th>S/N</th>
              <th>First Name</th>
              <th>Last Name</th>
            </tr>
          </thead>
          <tbody>
              <tr>
                <td>1</td>
                <td>Abel</td>
                <td>Agoi</td>
              </tr>
              <tr>
                <td>2</td>
                <td>Muyiwa</td>
                <td>Aregbesola</td>
              </tr>
              <tr>
                <td>3</td>
                <td>Opeyemi</td>
                <td>Agoi</td>
              </tr>
              <tr>
                <td>4</td>
                <td>Ope</td>
                <td>Aina</td>
              </tr>
          </tbody>
        </table>


        <div className={styles.pagination}>
          <span>&laquo;</span>
          <span className={styles.active}>1</span>
          <span>2</span>
          <span>3</span>
          <span>4</span>
        </div>

      </div>
    );
  }

pagination_01.js

Add the content below into your App.module.css.

.app {
    width: 50%;
    margin: 0 auto;
}

table {
  border-collapse: collapse;
  border-spacing: 0; 
}


table {
  border-collapse: separate;
  border-spacing: 0;
  color: #4a4a4d;
  font: 14px/1.4 "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
  width: 100%;
}
tr {
  overflow-x: scroll;
}
th,
td {
  padding: 15px 15px;
  vertical-align: middle;
  /* text-align: left; */
}
thead {
  font-size: 14px;
  line-height: 24px;
  font-family: Lato;
  border: 1px solid transparent;

  max-width: 100%;
  font-weight: 900;
  line-height: 24px;
  mix-blend-mode: normal;

  color: rgba(51, 51, 51, .5);
  background: rgba(255, 255, 255, .9);
}
thead tr th {
  padding: 15px 15px;
  border: 1px solid transparent;


  text-align: left;
}
tbody {
  max-width: 100%;
}
tbody tr:nth-child(odd) {
  background: #f0f0f2;
}
tbody tr:hover {
  background: #f0f0f2;
}
td {
  padding: 15px 15px;
}
td:first-child {
}


.pagination {
    margin-top: 25px;
}
.pagination span {
  cursor: pointer;
  color: black;
  float: left;
  padding: 8px 16px;
  text-decoration: none;
  transition: background-color .3s;
  border: 1px solid #ddd;
}

.pagination span.active {
  background-color: #0099FF;
  color: white;
  border: 1px solid #0099FF;
}

pagination_app.module.css

Sorry for the plenty code written so far :), I want us to have a good looking table with pagination style in place before we move into the actual paging. If everything goes well, your view should look like below:

Pagination Data Format

In most cases, when you are making API calls to an endpoint that returns a paginated data, you need to pass at least the page number with the URL, hence a sample URL will look like below:

https://reqres.in/api/users?page=2

The most important thing to take note of in the URL above is the page=2 where 2 is the page number dataset we want to get. It can be 3,4 or any number as much as the dataset we have in the backend.

The response will always contain three important data which are per_page, total and the actual data we want to loop through. A sample response looks like below:

Sample API request

Talking about making an API request to the backend, We need a backend to make the request to, I decide to use https://reqres.in/ as the API endpoint for this tutorial because it is free, always available and reliable. You can decide to make your API request directly inside your component’s ComponentDidMount() or dispatch an action to redux from your ComponentDidMount() but for the purpose of this tutorial, we are going to make the API call from the App.js componentDidMount().

Firstly, we need to set the component’s state like below inside your App.js

  state = {
    users: null,
    total: null,
    per_page: null,
    current_page: null
  }

pagination_component_state.js

users is going to be the data we are going to loop over, while total and per_page is going to help us with calculating paging logic while the current_page will be used to style the active pagination link.

The next thing we should do is create a helper method that will serve the purpose of making an HTTP request to the API endpoint and also update the state with the response data. The method will look like below:

  makeHttpRequestWithPage = async pageNumber => {
    let response = await fetch(`https://reqres.in/api/users?page=${pageNumber}`, {
      method: 'GET',
      headers: {
        'Accept': 'application/json',
        'Content-Type': 'application/json',
      },
    });

    const data = await response.json();

    this.setState({
      users: data.data,
      total: data.total,
      per_page: data.per_page,
      current_page: data.page,
    });
  }

pagination_http_request.js

This method will accept a parameter called pageNumber so it can be reusable and will always update the state with the right data when the response is successful.

Since on page load, we need to make the HTTP request to the backend, and we are going to do this inside thecomponentDidMount() by calling the method above and passing it the first-page number we want which should be 1. Hence, the componentDidMount() will look like below:

 componentDidMount() {
    this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(1);
  }

pagination_componentDidMount.js

If we add console.dir(this.state.users) inside the render() method, below will be printed in the console

The null was before the data arrived, once the data arrived, it updates the state, hence the array of users data.

Displaying the initial data

Haven gotten the data needed, we need to loop through the data and display it. Hence we can update our render method to have below:

    let users;

    if (this.state.users !== null) {
      users = this.state.users.map(user => (
        <tr key={user.id}>
          <td>{user.id}</td>
          <td>{user.first_name}</td>
          <td>{user.last_name}</td>
        </tr>
      )); 
    }
    
    return (
      <div className={styles.app}>
        
        <table className={styles.table}>
          <thead>
            <tr>
              <th>S/N</th>
              <th>First Name</th>
              <th>Last Name</th>
            </tr>
          </thead>
          <tbody>
              { users }
          </tbody>
        </table>


        <div className={styles.pagination}>
          <span>&laquo;</span>
          <span className={styles.active}>1</span>
          <span>2</span>
          <span>3</span>
          <span>4</span>
          <span>&raquo;</span>
        </div>

      </div>
    );

gistfile1.txt

I replaced the dummy data we had inside the with the result of the loop which I equated to users. We have the assurance that when the state changes, ReactJs will automatically update the content of the table. The final stage is displaying the page logic and getting the other contents based on the page number clicked which will be sent to the API endpoint.

Showing Page Number and getting other data

Before we talk about showing page number automatically using the desired logic, I want us to manually show those numbers and make the actual API calls when the numbers are clicked. For now, we are going to hard code the pagination numbers ourselves like below:

<div className={styles.pagination}>
  <span onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(1)}>1</span>
  <span onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(2)}>2</span>
  <span onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(3)}>3</span>
  <span onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(4)}>4</span>
</div>

pagination_hard_code.js

The above code will look like below when previewed in the browser.

Notice that each span has an event handler attached to it, and I passed the page number to that event handler, so anytime we click on the pagination link, it will make a new HTTP request and update the component states, hence the user’s table data. We do not want to hard-code the links as we did above, so we need to automatically display those links.

So we’re planning on showing the page numbers for a series of pieces of data so that users can easily navigate multiple items. There are a few things that we need to know first:

  • The page that we’re on
  • Total number of items
  • Number of items per page

Good news is that we have captured all these things in our component’s state.

Next, we need to look at how we want to display the page numbers, there is a wide range of methods that people use:

  • Simple Next/Previous buttons with no numbers
  • A list of all possible pages
  • Page 1 & the last page, with the current page (and 2 above/below) shown

I personally prefer to show the very first page, that last page, and then the current page with 2 pages above & below. So for example on page 12 out of 24 pages we’d see:

1, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 24

This allows users to quickly navigate to the start, and to the end, as well as jump through multiple pages at once. For the purpose of this tutorial, I am going to show us how to show a list of all possible pages(item two above) then item three too.

The Arithmetic

We need to work out the total number of pages, for this, we want to take the total number of items that there are, and divide it by the number of items per page. But we want to make sure that we take that number and round it up.

So if there were 12 items in total, and we were showing 5 per page, we’d have a total of 3 pages of items. If we were to show 3 per page, we’d show 4 pages.

const pageNumbers = [];
for (let i = 1; i <= Math.ceil(this.state.meta.total / this.state.meta.per_page); i++) {
    pageNumbers.push(i);
}

page_logic_pagination.js

Haven gotten the page numbers, we need to loop through to display the span since we want to show all possible numbers first, our loop will look like below:

renderPageNumbers = pageNumbers.map(number => {
  let classes = this.state.current_page === number ? styles.active : '';

  return (
    <span key={number} className={classes} onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(number)}>{number}</span>
  );
});

pagination_all_numbers_loop.js

We need to update our pagination view to look like below:

<div className={styles.pagination}>
  <span onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(1)}>&laquo;</span>
  {renderPageNumbers}
</div>

pagination_view._01js

Congrats, we have successfully handle pagination, make HTTP request to the backend and changing the table content when user click on the page number to see.

To be sure we are on the same page, my App.js code looks like below:

import React, { Component } from 'react';
import styles from './App.module.css';

class App extends Component {


  state = {
    users: null,
    total: null,
    per_page: null,
    current_page: 1
  }


  componentDidMount() {
    this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(1);
  }


  makeHttpRequestWithPage = async pageNumber => {
    const response = await fetch(`https://reqres.in/api/users?page=${pageNumber}`, {
      method: 'GET',
      headers: {
        'Accept': 'application/json',
        'Content-Type': 'application/json',
      },
    });

    const data = await response.json();

    this.setState({
      users: data.data,
      total: data.total,
      per_page: data.per_page,
      current_page: data.page
    });
  }


  render() {

    let users, renderPageNumbers;

    if (this.state.users !== null) {
      users = this.state.users.map(user => (
        <tr key={user.id}>
          <td>{user.id}</td>
          <td>{user.first_name}</td>
          <td>{user.last_name}</td>
        </tr>
      ));
    }

    const pageNumbers = [];
    if (this.state.total !== null) {
      for (let i = 1; i <= Math.ceil(this.state.total / this.state.per_page); i++) {
        pageNumbers.push(i);
      }


      renderPageNumbers = pageNumbers.map(number => {
        let classes = this.state.current_page === number ? styles.active : '';

        return (
          <span key={number} className={classes} onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(number)}>{number}</span>
        );
      });
    }

    return (


      <div className={styles.app}>

        <table className={styles.table}>
          <thead>
            <tr>
              <th>S/N</th>
              <th>First Name</th>
              <th>Last Name</th>
            </tr>
          </thead>
          <tbody>
            {users}
          </tbody>
        </table>


        <div className={styles.pagination}>
          <span onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(1)}>&laquo;</span>
          {renderPageNumbers}
          <span onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(1)}>&raquo;</span>
        </div>

      </div>
    );
  }

}

export default App;

pagination_app.js

and my view like below:

We can change the page number display logic to below since it will accommodate for large dataset.

renderPageNumbers = pageNumbers.map(number => {
  let classes = this.state.current_page === number ? styles.active : '';

  if (number == 1 || number == this.state.total || (number >= this.state.current_page - 2 && number <= this.state.current_page + 2)) {
    return (
      <span key={number} className={classes} onClick={() => this.makeHttpRequestWithPage(number)}>{number}</span>
    );
  }
});

pagination_another_display_logic.js

Thanks for reading.