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setState Callback in React – When Should You Use It?

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09/12/2021 |

5 min read

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While setState callback may not be the most popular or commonly used method in React, still, it has a few use cases that may come in handy in some circumstances, especially if you have to do with React class components.

One of the reasons why it’s good to shed light on React’s functionalities is that this JavaScript library is making headlines as one of the most trending and most desired IT technologies. In the StackOverflow 2021 Developer Survey, React.js was named the most commonly used web framework, with as many as 40.1% of respondents utilizing it (compared to 35.9% in the year 2020). On top of that, it has been dubbed the most wanted web framework, and turned out to be one of the most loved web frameworks.

In this blog post, we’ll try to explain what setState and React Hooks setState callback – an integral part of React – are and where the latter method can be used.

 

Table of contents:

  1. setState callback in React in a nutshell
  2. React setState callback – major use cases
  3. React and setState callback boiled down

setState callback in React in a nutshell

React.js, a heavily used free, open-source JavaScript library, released by Facebook in 2013, is known for providing many cutting-edge developer tools. 

The most characteristic feature of React is that each React class component follows a pattern that can be referred to as a component lifecycle. The phases that every React class component goes through are called mounting, followed by updating, and then unmounting.

Importantly, React provides many varied component lifecycle methods. Among numerous ones where React „calls for you”, there are two methods „you can call from your components”, and these are called forceUpdate and setState

setState is used for updating components, which may be performed either immediately, or delayed by React. It may wait in a queue to be batched together with multiple calls during the same cycle, or just till the next render.

This is because, as React itself emphasizes, the setState method should not be regarded as an immediate command but rather as a request. What React advises to do, however, is using the setState callback or componentDidUpdate methods, as both of them are ready to launch as soon as the update has been applied.

Using setState for updating components takes place in the render phase that React can pause, restart, or abort. React itself names setState „the primary method you use to update the user interface in response to event handlers and server responses”.

As for setState callback, it is simply any function that is sent to another function as an argument (or a parameter) – with the intention of being called back afterwards.

React setState callback – major use cases

Now, let’s dig a little deeper into what React setState callback function has to offer.

What makes the use of setState React callback reasonable, is the asynchronous nature of the setState method and the above-mentioned uncertainty regarding the time when the change of this.state variable becomes effective. Thanks to utilizing the setState callback, software developers may enjoy returning the desired result immediately.

The callback function is also used for making an API call and passing the updated state value to it. Other use cases include making AJAX requests or throwing errors after the content of state has been checked.

But, what’s worth mentioning: to some developers, setState callback seems to be a little outdated method now, as it was used more commonly a few years back. They argue that for now, it may be easier to use smoother ways like contexts and hooks, or (if necessary) libraries like Redux or MobX

If you want to learn more about React Hooks, take a look at Codete’s #LETSMEETUP YT channel – our Tech Lead, Mateusz Bryła, has prepared a whole series of videos about React Hooks >

React and setState callback React boiled down

setState callback in React may be regarded as a niche or even a little old-school solution but, still, it can be useful in a few cases. They include making API calls and AJAX requests, throwing errors and, first of all, making sure that the new state has been loaded effectively. 

In general, setState callback is used in React class components after the state has been changed definitely. 

setState callback is only one of the many functionalities, features, and methods React offers that make it very convenient, handy and beneficial for developers who decide to make use of it in their projects. And the latter include primarily such use cases as building eye-catching, and very fast web applications with a focus on outstanding UI, as well as modern mobile projects in general.

 

Why use React in your projects? 

But why is it worth using React in your projects, in detail? 

Well, React lovers praise it for its flexibility, simplicity, versatility, SEO-friendliness, impressive speed and performance, and a strong community of happy and helpful React users. Other advantages include making front-end development more intuitive with React’s declarative syntax, reusable components, dependencies handling, and supporting server rendering of its components, to name but a few.

On top of that, React is easy to use and adapt and offers outstanding cross-platform support. But first and foremost, using this versatile front-end library makes coding in JavaScript – for both web and app projects – more pleasant, easier, and faster.

Thanks to React and its numerous features and methods, including setState callback, the impressive view layer of modern apps and web projects is built efficiently and fast, with minimal effort required.

And you, do you find utilizing setState function or setState callback beneficial? Are there any other methods or tools of that kind that you can recommend? What other React methods of features are especially valuable and useful in your day-to-day work?

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