The Ugly Side of React Hooks

The Ugly Side of React Hooks

In this post, I will share my own point of view about React Hooks, and as the title of this post implies, I am not a big fan.

In this post, I will share my own point of view about React Hooks, and as the title of this post implies, I am not a big fan.

Let’s break down the motivation for ditching classes in favor of hooks, as described in the official React’s docs.

Motivation #1: Classes are confusing

we’ve found that classes can be a large barrier to learning React. You have to understand how "this"_ works in JavaScript, which is very different from how it works in most languages. You have to remember to bind the event handlers. Without unstable [syntax proposals_](https://babeljs.io/docs/en/babel-plugin-transform-class-properties/?ref=hackernoon.com), the code is very verbose […] The distinction between function and class components in React and when to use each one leads to disagreements even between experienced React developers.

Ok, I can agree that 

thiscould be a bit confusing when you are just starting your way in Javascript, but arrow functions solve the confusion, and calling a_stage 3_feature that is already being supported out of the box by Typescript, an “_unstable syntax proposal_”, is just pure demagoguery. React team is referring to theclass fieldsyntax, a syntax that is already being vastly used and will probably soon be officially supported

class Foo extends React.Component {
  onPress = () => {
    console.log(this.props.someProp);
  }

  render() {
    return <Button onPress={this.onPress} />
  }
}

As you can see, by using a class field arrow function, you don’t need to bind anything in the constructor, and 

this will always point to the correct context.

And if classes are confusing, what can we say about the new hooked functions? A hooked function is not a regular function, because it has state, it has a weird looking 

this(aka_useRef_), and it can have multiple instances. But it is definitely not a class, it is something in between, and from now on I will refer to it as aFunclass. So, are those Funclasses going to be easier for human and machines? I am not sure about machines, but I really don’t think that Funclasses are conceptually easier to understand than classes. Classes are a well known and thought out concept, and every developer is familiar with the concept ofthis, even if in javascript it’s a bit different. Funclasses on the other hand, are a new concept, and a pretty weird one. They feel much more magical, and they rely too much on conventions instead of a strict syntax. You have to follow somestrict and weird rules, you need to be careful of where you put your code, and there are many pitfalls. Telling me to avoid putting a hook inside anifstatement, because the internal mechanism of hooks is based on call order, is just insane! I would expect something like this from a half baked POC library, not from a well known library like React. Be also prepared for some awful naming like useRef (a fancy name forthis),useEffect ,useMemo,useImperativeHandle(say whatt??) and more.

The syntax of classes was specifically invented in order to deal with the concept of multiple instances and the concept of an instance scope (the exact purpose of 

this ). Funclasses are just a weird way of achieving the same goal, using the wrong puzzle pieces. Many people are confusing Funclasses with functional programming, but Funclasses are actually just classes in disguise. A class is a concept, not a syntax.

Oh, and about the last note:

The distinction between function and class components in React and when to use each one leads to disagreements even between experienced React developers

Until now, the distinction was pretty clear- if you needed a state or lifecycle methods, you used a class, otherwise it doesn’t really matter if you used a function or class. Personally, I liked the idea that when I stumbled upon a function component, I could immediately know that this is a “dumb component” without a state. Sadly, with the introduction of Funclasses, this is not the situation anymore.

react react-hooks javascript reactjs react-native react-hook rethinking-programming hackernoon-top-story

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