Nikhil Kumaran S

React Performance Improvements: Make your React app Performant.

React Performance Improvements: Make your React app Performant.

Introduction

In this blog post, I'll explain some methods which you can use to improve the performance of your ReactJS application. By performance, I mean the user interactivity performance, like reducing sluggishness, slowness or freeze issue, and not the page load performance like reducing bundle size.

Premature optimization is the root of all evil

I agree with this quote but at the same time knowing what could go wrong and preventing it, is always a plus.

Causes for sluggishness in UI

  • Unnecessary re-rendering of components.
  • Too much data being rendered on the UI. - Will write about this in the next blog post.

Preventing unnecessary re-renders

Use Memoized/Pure components

Components should re-render only when its state or props changes. React by default doesn't do this. When a component is updated(state/props changes) all of its child components are re-rendered. To avoid this we wrap the child component with React.memo

Eg:

In the above example, we have an App component which has an input field that changes the input state and we have a Counter component which has a button that increments the count state. We also have a console.log which prints on every re-render of the Counter component.

When you click the button the count is incremented and the console.log is triggered. This is fine because our component state(count) changes so our component re-renders. Now, when you type on the input field you will again see that the console.log is triggered. This shouldn't happen because the Counter's state(count) and props(label) both are not changed. So to avoid this unnecessary re-render we wrap the Counter component with React.memo By doing this we memorized our component which means when there is no change in the input(state/props) the output won't change(re-render).

If you use a Class component you can prevent the re-render by extending the Counter component with React.PureComponent instead of React.Component(Refer below)

Use React.useCallback for function props

When you send a callback function as a prop, whenever your component updates new reference of the function will be created and passed to the child which makes the child re-render. To avoid this we use React.useCallback.

Eg:

I've changed the previous example by adding an extra prop clearInput(callback function). This function clears the input field. In the Counter component I'm calling this on even values of count. Now, when you type in the input field, the Counter component is re-rendered because the function reference changes each time you type(input state changes). To avoid this, we create the callback function with React.useCallback and setInput as its dependency. Now if you type, the Counter component doesn't re-render.

In the case of class component, you should define a function as a class method and bind the method in the constructor or use arrow functions(Refer code below).

Use React.useMemo for object props.

Similar to functions, when you send an object as a prop, whenever your component updates new object reference will be created(even though the value of the object is the same) and passed to the child which makes the child re-render. To avoid this we use React.useMemo.

Eg:

I've changed the previous example by adding another input field and an extra prop data(object). This data prop depends on input2 state, so it changes whenever when we type on the second input field. But it shouldn't change when we type on the first input field. To fix this we create the data object using React.useMemo and input2 as its dependency. Now if you type on the first input field the Counter component doesn't re-render.

In the case of class component, you should have the data object in the state and use componentDidUpdate lifecycle method to check for state/props change, and based on that update the data object(Refer code below).

Great. Now our React App is performant. If you have a simple app, these optimizations don't make much difference. But if your app is already showing signs of sluggishness, these changes definitely will make a difference. Also, before you start optimizing your app, use React dev tools(profiler) to easily identify which components are causing issues.

Recap

  • The main cause of sluggishness is the unnecessary re-rendering of components.
  • Memoize your functional component with React.memo
  • Make your class component pure by extending React.PureComponent
  • Use React.useCallback when sending functions as props
  • Use class methods and bind them in the constructor when necessary(in case of class components)
  • Use React.useMemo when sending objects as props
  • Have your objects in state and update them by comparing, using componentDidUpdate(in case of class components)

That's it, folks, Thanks for reading this blog post. Hope it's been useful for you.