React Component states - Dynamic user-interface


Example

Suppose we want to have the following behaviour - We have a heading (say h3 element) and on clicking it, we want it to become an input box so that we can modify heading name. React makes this highly simple and intuitive using component states and if else statements. (Code explanation below)

// I have used ReactBootstrap elements. But the code works with regular html elements also
var Button = ReactBootstrap.Button;
var Form = ReactBootstrap.Form;
var FormGroup = ReactBootstrap.FormGroup;
var FormControl = ReactBootstrap.FormControl;

var Comment = reactCreateClass({
  getInitialState: function() {
    return {show: false, newTitle: ''};
  },

  handleTitleSubmit: function() {
     //code to handle input box submit - for example, issue an ajax request to change name in database
  },

  handleTitleChange: function(e) {
    //code to change the name in form input box. newTitle is initialized as empty string. We need to update it with the string currently entered by user in the form
    this.setState({newTitle: e.target.value});
  },

  changeComponent: function() {
    // this toggles the show variable which is used  for dynamic UI
    this.setState({show: !this.state.show)};
  },

  render: function() {

    var clickableTitle;

    if(this.state.show) {
        clickableTitle = <Form inline onSubmit={this.handleTitleSubmit}>
                             <FormGroup controlId="formInlineTitle">
                                 <FormControl type="text" onChange={this.handleTitleChange}>
                             </FormGroup>
                         </Form>;
    } else {
        clickabletitle = <div>
                            <Button bsStyle="link" onClick={this.changeComponent}>
                                <h3> Default Text </h3>
                            </Button>
                         </div>;
    }

    return (
        <div className="comment">
            {clickableTitle}
        </div>
    );
  }
});

ReactDOM.render(
    <Comment />, document.getElementById('content')
);

The main part of the code is the clickableTitle variable. Based on the state variable show, it can be either be a Form element or a Button element. React allows nesting of components.

So we can add a {clickableTitle} element in the render function. It looks for the clickableTitle variable. Based on the value 'this.state.show', it displays the corresponding element.