The Modern Guide to React Prop Types

The Modern Guide to React Prop Types

Explore React prop-type packages in depth and eliminate confusion surrounding variables and functions when your project grows. We examine prop types in depth to help you build a quality codebase.

Explore React prop-type packages in depth and eliminate confusion surrounding variables and functions when your project grows.

Weakly typed languages such as JavaScript make programming easy. You do not need to go digging through documentation to understand every type in your dependencies, especially when coding in an IDE. While this feature can be useful, it can become a burden for you and your team as the number of variables grows and old developers leave your projects.

Type checking in React through the prop-types package ensures that you know what each variable stores even if documentation is lacking or not helpful. In this discourse, we examine prop types in depth to help you build a quality codebase.

Prerequisites

Before getting started, make sure you have a basic understanding of React. You can import the code in this tutorial into your own application and start experimenting.

We use Node.js. You only need to include the core React libraries in your package.json file:

"dependencies": {
 "react": "^17.0.1",
 "react-dom": "^17.0.1",
 "react-scripts": "4.0.0",
 "web-vitals": "^0.2.4"
}

Make sure you have a full React and Node.js project. You are now ready to start working with prop types.

What are React prop types?

React prop types are a way to ensure that the types passed to your functions match those you intended the function to take. Prop types keep you from making an inappropriate method call, particularly when combined with unit testing.

It is not uncommon to find a function in your code, long after writing it, and realize that it does not quite match what you need. For example, if a method reliably returns a string-based ISO timestamp and you are performing math on numeric UTC timestamps, the result is a pesky undefined value at some point after your function call.

Under the hood, React checks the property types passed to a component against those you define. The framework logs a warning to the console when they do not match.

React Check Failed Property Type Visual

Since the function only logs a warning, make sure to check your console before pushing to production. Otherwise, you may miss a conflict.

Why should I type-check in React and JavaScript?

Weakly typed languages do not require you to specify the types associated with different variables — JavaScript does not check your variables. They’re different from strongly typed server-side languages, in that errors fatally break programs at runtime, creating a headache for users and developers alike.

react javascript

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