React Redux Final Project Recap: Greenthumb Gardens

Posted by hcarnes on April 10, 2018

For my final project, I built an application with a React/Redux frontend and a Rails backend. I created Greenthumb Gardens, which is an app that allows users to search community gardens in NYC and update and view the plants that can be found at each garden. I used the NYC open data API to get information on each garden.

Container Components vs. Stateless Components

The project required the app to have 2 container components and 5 stateless components. This pushed me to understand the difference between each, as well as how they work together. For this post, I’ll share 2 components (1 stateless and 1 container) and explain my reasoning behind how I categorized each component.

Stateless functional components

  • get data exclusively from their props
  • sometimes are called presentational components because they are concerned with how things look
  • they pretty much just take props and return the markup of the component

Here is an example of a stateless component found in Greenthumb Gardens:

import List from 'material-ui/List';
import React, { Component } from 'react';
import GardenListItem from './GardenListItem'
import { Link } from 'react-router-dom';

class GardenList extends Component {

  render() {
    return (
      <div>
        <List component="nav">
          {this.props.gardens.map((garden, index) => (
            <Link to={`/gardens/${index}`}>
              <GardenListItem garden={garden} />
            </Link>
            ))}
        </List>
      </div>
    )
  }
}

export default GardenList;

So you can see, GardenList renders each garden found in the array of gardens as a link and gardens is accessed through props. The main function here is to render gardens to the page.

Container Components

  • manage stateless functional components
  • pass data and callback methods down to their children as props
  • provide data and behavior to other components
import React, { Component } from 'react';
import TextField from 'material-ui/TextField';
import { connect } from 'react-redux';
import { searchGardens } from '../actions/searchGardens';
import { bindActionCreators } from 'redux';
import GardenList from '../components/GardenList'

class FilterableGardenList extends Component {

  handleFilter = (event) => {
    this.props.searchGardens(event.currentTarget.value)
  }

  componentDidMount() {
    this.props.searchGardens(this.props.query)
  }

  render() {
    return (
      <div>
        <TextField onChange={this.handleFilter} placeholder="Search" />
        <GardenList gardens={this.props.gardens} />
      </div>
    )
  }
}

const mapDispatchToProps = (dispatch) => {
  return bindActionCreators({ searchGardens: searchGardens }, dispatch)
}

const mapStateToProps = (state) => {
  return { gardens: state.gardens.filter(garden => garden.garden_name.toLowerCase().includes(state.query)) };
};

export default connect(mapStateToProps, mapDispatchToProps)(FilterableGardenList)

Container components are the integration point for Redux and the stateless functional components. FilterableGardenList uses Redux’s connect to map the store’s state and dispatch to the props of a component. You can also find a stateless component GardenList inside of this container component.

Final Notes

While container components and stateless components serve different purposes, there is a gray area in regards to where to draw the distinction. This blog post written by none other than Mr. Dan Abramov himself, was extremely helpful in terms of figuring out “What the heck is the difference between “stateless” and “container” components.

That’s a wrap for my Flatiron project recaps because this is the last project for the program. And my love affair with programming has only begun!