Krzysztof Żuraw

Lowering selectors in react/redux

  • #selectors
  • #react
  • #redux

If you need to calculate a value out of state chances are that you are using reselect library. I’m using it too in my work but recently I noticed that there is quite a mess in my selectors. As the application grows also selectors files grow too. Recently I wanted to add a new selector to already existing module - it turns out that this module has 700 lines of code!

Inspiration

I’m a reader and fan of Kent C Dodds & Cory House work - they are preaching different approaches to writing your applications. Instead of having a central place where you keep your store, selectors, etc you start by keeping them near a place there are needed. If there is a need to reuse a selector or a piece of the state you can always lift them up. Following this idea, I decided to write ADR for my team so we can start lowering selectors and state to components that are needed them.

ADR with lowering selectors

What are ADRs? It is an architectural design record. I’m using it as a way to discuss and introduce new patterns to the codebase. Thanks to having such a document I can point developers and tell them - this is our pattern of doing this and that. In good ADR you should also find what were reasons that such a pattern was introduced.

So I wrote an ADR with the idea of lowering selectors next to their respective components. What does it mean? Normally you should extract logic from render into selector not only for better readability and also for testing it. This results in having a lot of selectors in one single file that in a reality where used only once or twice by components using this module. Instead of doing that I proposed to create a new file (named selectors.ts) next to the already existing component where you want to use a selector. In such a file you fill find only those functions that are used by component(s) next to them. If there is a situation that selector becomes widely used I can refactor it to the main module.

Below you can find a graphical representation of lowering selectors:

selectors

I already have a lot of selectors in main modules that is why I introduced a rule of thumb - from right now if you want to use selector you need to make a decision - will this selector be reused?

  • yes - (rare cases) - let it stay in the main module
  • no - (the majority of cases) - move it to selectors.ts file mentioned in the preceding paragraph

What are the benefits of doing such a thing?

  • I hope that moving out of huge file selectors will be more maintainable and easier to reason about. What are the cons?
  • Sometimes it can be hard to decide where to put selector. I can see a situation where there is a folder full of components that have selectors and jumping between them and code can be problematic.

This approach is valid if you have redux - will it be valid if you don’t use it? I think yes - you need to calculate a data from state anyhow and according to reselect docs you can use this library without redux at all.

Summary & TL;DR

If your selector file is too big - maybe it is worth moving specific selectors next to components that uses them.