React Props in React Props.children and component composition


Example

The "child" components of a component are available on a special prop, props.children. This prop is very useful for "Compositing" components together, and can make JSX markup more intuitive or reflective of the intended final structure of the DOM:

var SomeComponent = function () {
    return (
        <article className="textBox">
            <header>{this.props.heading}</header>
            <div className="paragraphs">
                {this.props.children}
            </div>
        </article>
    );
}

Which allows us to include an arbitrary number of sub-elements when using the component later:

var ParentComponent = function () {
    return (
        <SomeComponent heading="Amazing Article Box" >
            <p className="first"> Lots of content </p>
            <p> Or not </p>
        </SomeComponent>
    );
}

Props.children can also be manipulated by the component. Because props.children may or may not be an array, React provides utility functions for them as React.Children. Consider in the previous example if we had wanted to wrap each paragraph in its own <section> element:

var SomeComponent = function () {
    return (
        <article className="textBox">
            <header>{this.props.heading}</header>
            <div className="paragraphs">
                {React.Children.map(this.props.children, function (child) {
                    return (
                        <section className={child.props.className}>
                            React.cloneElement(child)
                        </section>
                    );
                })}
            </div>
        </article>
    );
}

Note the use of React.cloneElement to remove the props from the child <p> tag - because props are immutable, these values cannot be changed directly. Instead, a clone without these props must be used.

Additionally, when adding elements in loops, be aware of how React reconciles children during a rerender, and strongly consider including a globally unique key prop on child elements added in a loop.