View and Controller Helpers

View Helpers API

Once the bundled files have been generated in your app/assets/webpack folder and you have registered your components, you will want to render these components on your Rails views using the included helper method, react_component.

react_component

react_component(component_name,
                props: {},
                prerender: nil,
                trace: nil,
                replay_console: nil,
                raise_on_prerender_error: nil,
                id: nil,
                html_options: {})
  • component_name: Can be a React component, created using an ES6 class or a generator function that returns a React component (or, only on the server side, an object with shape { redirectLocation, error, renderedHtml }), or a "renderer function" that manually renders a React component to the dom (client side only). All options except props, id, html_options will inherit from your react_on_rails.rb initializer, as described here.
  • general options:
    • props: Ruby Hash which contains the properties to pass to the react object, or a JSON string. If you pass a string, we'll escape it for you.
    • prerender: enable server-side rendering of a component. Set to false when debugging!
    • id: Id for the div, will be used to attach the React component. This will get assigned automatically if you do not provide an id. Must be unique.
    • html_options: Any other HTML options get placed on the added div for the component. For example, you can set a class (or inline style) on the outer div so that it behaves like a span, with the styling of display:inline-block.
    • trace: set to true to print additional debugging information in the browser. Defaults to true for development, off otherwise. Only on the client side will you will see the railsContext and your props.
  • options if prerender (server rendering) is true:
    • replay_console: Default is true. False will disable echoing server-rendering logs to the browser. While this can make troubleshooting server rendering difficult, so long as you have the configuration of logging_on_server set to true, you'll still see the errors on the server.
    • logging_on_server: Default is true. True will log JS console messages and errors to the server.
    • raise_on_prerender_error: Default is false. True will throw an error on the server side rendering. Your controller will have to handle the error.

react_component_hash

react_component_hash is used to return multiple HTML strings for server rendering, such as for adding meta-tags to a page. It is exactly like react_component except for the following:

  1. prerender: true is automatically added to options, as this method doesn't make sense for client only rendering.
  2. Your JavaScript for server rendering must return an Object for the key server_rendered_html.
  3. Your view code must expect an object and not a string.

Here is an example of ERB view code:

  <% react_helmet_app = react_component_hash("ReactHelmetApp", prerender: true,
                                             props: { helloWorldData: { name: "Mr. Server Side Rendering"}},
                                             id: "react-helmet-0", trace: true) %>
  <% content_for :title do %>
    <%= react_helmet_app['title'] %>
  <% end %>
  <%= react_helmet_app["componentHtml"] %>

And here is the JavaScript code:

export default (props, _railsContext) => {
  const componentHtml = renderToString(<ReactHelmet {...props} />);
  const helmet = Helmet.renderStatic();

  const renderedHtml = {
    componentHtml,
    title: helmet.title.toString(),
  };
  return { renderedHtml };
};

cached_react_component and cached_react_component_hash

Fragment caching is a React on Rails Pro feature. The API is the same as the above, but for 2 differences:

  1. The cache_key takes the same parameters as any Rails cache view helper.
  2. The props are passed via a block so that evaluation of the props is not done unless the cache is broken. Suppose you put your props calculation into some method called some_slow_method_that_returns_props:
<%= cached_react_component("App", cache_key: [@user, @post], prerender: true) do
  some_slow_method_that_returns_props
end %>

rails_context

You can call rails_context(server_side: true | false) from your controller or view to see what values are are in the Rails Context. Pass true or false depending on whether you want to see the server side or the client side rails_context.

Renderer Functions (function that will call ReactDOM.render or ReactDOM.hydrate)

A "renderer function" is a generator function that accepts three arguments (rather than 2): (props, railsContext, domNodeId) => { ... }. Instead of returning a React component, a renderer is responsible for installing a callback that will call ReactDOM.render (in React 16+, ReactDOM.hydrate) to render a React component into the DOM. The "renderer function" is called at the same time the document ready event would instantate the React components into the DOM.

Why would you want to call ReactDOM.hydrate yourself? One possible use case is code splitting. In a nutshell, you don't want to load the React component on the DOM node yet. So you want to install some handler that will call ReactDOM.hydrate at a later time. In the case of code splitting with server rendering, the server rendered code has any async code loaded and used to server render. Thus, the client code must also fully load any asynch code before server rendering. Otherwise, the client code would first render partially, not matching the server rendering, and then a second later, the full code would render, resulting in an unpleasant flashing on the screen.

Renderer functions are not meant to be used on the server since there's no DOM on the server. Instead, use a generator function. Attempting to server render with a renderer function will throw an error.

React Router

React Router is supported, including server-side rendering! See:

  1. React on Rails docs for react-router
  2. Examples in spec/dummy/app/views/react_router and follow to the JavaScript code in the spec/dummy/client/app/startup/ServerRouterApp.jsx.
  3. Code Splitting docs for information about how to set up code splitting for server rendered routes.

server_render_js

server_render_js(js_expression, options = {})

  • js_expression, like 2 + 3, and not a block of js code. If you have more than one line that needs to be executed, wrap it in an IIFE. JS exceptions will be caught, and console messages will be handled properly
  • Currently, the only option you may pass is replay_console (boolean)

This is a helper method that takes any JavaScript expression and returns the output from evaluating it. If you have more than one line that needs to be executed, wrap it in an IIFE. JS exceptions will be caught and console messages handled properly.

More details

See the lib/react_on_rails/helper.rb source.

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