React Router Getting started with React Router

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React Router is a popular and complete routing library for React.js that keeps UI in sync with the URL. It supports lazy code loading, dynamic route matching, and location transition handling, and was initially inspired by Ember's router.

TODO: this section should also mention any large subjects within react-router, and link out to the related topics. Since the Documentation for react-router is new, you may need to create initial versions of those related topics.


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Getting Started

This getting started assumes you are working with create-react-app, or something equivalent using Babel and all the goodies out there.

Also check out the great documentation right here.

First, install react-router-dom:

npm install react-router-dom or yarn add react-router-dom .

Then, create a component that exists of a basic Navbar with two items and basic pages:

import React from 'react'
import { BrowserRouter, Route, Link } from 'react-router-dom'

const Home = () => (
    <p>We are now on the HOME page</p>

const About = () => (
    <p>We are now on the ABOUT page</p>

const App = () => (
        <li><Link to="/">Home</Link></li>
        <li><Link to="/about">About</Link></li>
      <Route path="/" component={Home}/>
      <Route path="/about" component={About}/>
export default App

Let's go step by step through this code:

  • import React from 'react' : Make sure you import React
  • import { BrowserRouter as Router, Route, Link } from 'react-router-dom' split up:
  • BrowserRouter is the actual router itself. Make sure to wrap your component within the BrowserRouter component.
  • Route is one particular route that can be navigated to
  • Link is a component that produces an <a href="..."> tag, which you can use as a hyperlink.

  • const Home is a function that returns the homepage.
  • const About is a function that returns the About page.

  • const App is the main component:

  • <BrowserRouter> is the JSX component that wraps the components in which you want to use the <Route> component.

  • 'is a single element to wrap all JSX inside the BrowserRouter` in.

  • <ul> is the Navbar. It contains a link to Home and a link to About.

  • <li><Link to="/">Home</Link></li> links to the homepage. You can see that, since the link refers to "/", an empty relative path renders the homepage.

  • <li><Link to="/about">About</Link></li> links to the About page.

  • <Route path="/" component={Home}/> describes which component should be rendered if the relative path is "/" .

  • <Route path="/about" component={About}/> describes which component should be rendered if the relative path is "/about" .

Lot to learn from here, but hopefully this explains the fundamentals, so from here you can continue your learnings.

Hello World with React and React Router

Once you've installed react and react-router , Its time to use both of them together.

The syntax is very simple, you specify the url and the component you want to render when that url is opened

<Route path="hello" component={ HelloComponent } />

This means when the url path is hello , Render the component HelloComponent

FILENAME: app.js

'use strict';

import React from 'react';
import { render } from 'react-dom';
import { Router, browserHistory, Link } from 'react-router';

// These are just demo components which render different text.

let DashboardPage = () => (
    <h1>Welcome User</h1>
    <p>This is your dashboard and I am an example of a stateless functional component.</p>
    <Link to="/settings">Goto Settings Page</Link>

let SettingsPage = () => (
    <h1>Manage your settings</h1>
    <p>display the settings form fields here...or whatever you want</p>
    <Link to="/">Back to Dashboard Page</Link>

let AuthLoginPage = () => (
    <h1>Login Now</h1>
      <form action="">
        <input type="text" name="email" placeholder="email address" />
        <input type="password" name="password" placeholder="password" />
        <button type="submit">Login</button>

let AuthLogoutPage = () => (
    <h1>You have been successfully logged out.</h1>
    <div style={{ marginTop: 30 }}>
      <Link to="/auth/login">Back to login page</Link>

let ArticlePage = ({ params }) => (
  <h3>Article {}</h3>

let PageNotFound = () => (
    <h1>The page you're looking for doesn't exist.</h1>

// Here we pass Router to the render function.
render( (
    <Router history={ browserHistory }>

      <Route path="/" component={ DashboardPage } />
      <Route path="settings" component={ SettingsPage } />

      <Route path="auth">
        <IndexRoute component={ AuthLoginPage } />
        <Route path="login" component={ AuthLoginPage } />
        <Route path="logout" component={ AuthLogoutPage } />
      <Route path="articles/:id" component={ ArticlePage } />

      <Route path="*" component={ PageNotFound } />

  ), document.body );

Route Parameters : Router path can be configured to take parameters so that we can read the parameter's value at the component. The path in <Route path="articles/:id" component={ ArticlePage } /> have a /:id . This id variable serves the purpose of path parameter and it can be accessed at the component ArticlePage by using {} .

If we visit http://localhost:3000/#/articles/123 then {} at component ArticlePage will be resolved to 123. But visiting url http://localhost:3000/#/articles , will not work because there is no id parameter.

The route parameter can be made optional by writing it in between a pair of parenthesis:
<Route path="articles(/:id)" component={ ArticlePage } />

If you want to use sub routes, then you can do

<Route path="path" component={ PathComponent }>
  <Route path="subpath" component={ SubPathComponent } />
  • when /path is accessed, PathComponent will be rendered
  • when /path/subpath is is accessed, PathComponent will be rendered and SubPathComponent will be passed to it as props.children

You can use path="*" to catch all the routes that doesn't exist and render 404 page not found page.

Installation and Setup

To install React Router, just run the npm command

npm install --save react-router

And you're done. This is literally all you have to do to install react router.

Please Note : react-router is dependent on react , So make sure you install react as well.

To set up:

using an ES6 transpiler, like babel

import { Router, Route, Link } from 'react-router'

not using an ES6 transpiler

var Router = require('react-router').Router
var Route = require('react-router').Route
var Link = require('react-router').Link

Installation using UMD build

A build is also available on npmcdn. You can include the script like this:

<script src=""></script>

The library will be available globally on window.ReactRouter .

Got any React Router Question?