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Updating state on props change in React Form

Posted by: admin November 30, 2017 Leave a comment


I am having trouble with a React form and managing the state properly. I have a time input field in a form (in a modal). The initial value is set as a state variable in getInitialState, and is passed in from a parent component. This in itself works fine.

The problem comes when I want to update the default start_time value through the parent component. The update itself happens in the parent component through setState start_time: new_time. However in my form, the default start_time value never changes, since it is only defined once in getInitialState.

I have tried to use componentWillUpdate to force a change in state through setState start_time: next_props.start_time, which did actually work, but gave me Uncaught RangeError: Maximum call stack size exceeded errors.

So my question is, what’s the correct way of updating state in this case? Am I thinking about this wrong somehow?

Current Code:

@ModalBody = React.createClass
  getInitialState: ->
    start_time: @props.start_time.format("HH:mm")

  #works but takes long and causes:
  #"Uncaught RangeError: Maximum call stack size exceeded"
  componentWillUpdate: (next_props, next_state) ->
    @setState(start_time: next_props.start_time.format("HH:mm"))

  fieldChanged: (fieldName, event) ->
    stateUpdate = {}
    stateUpdate[fieldName] = event.target.value

  render: ->
      className: "modal-body"
      React.DOM.form null,
        React.createElement FormLabelInputField,
          type: "time"
          id: "start_time"
          label_name: "Start Time"
          value: @state.start_time
          onChange: @fieldChanged.bind(null, "start_time”)

@FormLabelInputField = React.createClass
  render: ->
      className: "form-group"
        htmlFor: @props.id
        @props.label_name + ": "
        className: "form-control"
        type: @props.type
        id: @props.id
        value: @props.value
        onChange: @props.onChange

If I understand correctly, you have a parent component that is passing start_time down to the ModalBody component which assigns it to its own state? And you want to update that time from the parent, not a child component.

React has some tips on dealing with this scenario. (Note, this is an old article that has since been removed from the web. Here’s a link to the current doc on component props).

Using props to generate state in getInitialState often leads to duplication of “source of truth”, i.e. where the real data is. This is because getInitialState is only invoked when the component is first created.

Whenever possible, compute values on-the-fly to ensure that they don’t get out of sync later on and cause maintenance trouble.

Basically, whenever you assign parent’s props to a child’s state the render method isn’t always called on prop update. You have to invoke it manually, using the componentWillReceiveProps method.

componentWillReceiveProps(nextProps) {
  // You don't have to do this check first, but it can help prevent an unneeded render
  if (nextProps.startTime !== this.state.startTime) {
    this.setState({ startTime: nextProps.startTime });